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Christina Zimmerman of Home School Now

I first met Christina at the Northshore LEI gathering. Soon after she stepped up to support Ivory in hosting the Northshore LEI community. Learning more about what she does and also the breadth of what she has created is such an example of what can happen when we are doing what we are called to do. In many ways her work not only fuels "play" as key to the learning environment but also acts as a daily reminder of how she herself approaches her work - something we can all be encouraged in.

What do you love most about what you do? I have been working with kids since I can remember, so the easy answer is, the kids, of course. They bring so much joy into our lives each day. They remind us how simple life can be and how to slow down on a daily basis. Kids can turn any day around with a simple hug or sweet innocent question and everything else seems to feel nonexistent. They are the true reminders of what life is all about.

What first sparked the idea?  After teaching in public schools for over 8 years and feeling super discouraged with the system and my impact on kids, I knew there had to be an alternative way of reaching kids. I decided that I would rather tutor and work with kids one-on-one rather than in the classroom spinning my wheels. After working with kids in a small group for a year, I had multiple families requesting I homeschool their kids and give them the same experience. I guess the idea came when I had the demand to try to expand my way of teaching and get more teachers on board with me. It all happened really fast and really flawlessly, so I knew I was on the right path.  What surprised you along the way? When I expanded and hired teachers to bring the vision to life, I wasn’t sure it was actually going to work. I had so many doubts that I was failing the kids rather than helping them. I had fears that the students would be behind and it would be my fault. I continued on with my vision even though I wasn’t sure how successful it actually was. It took over a year or two to actually see the results in the students. I was surprised how successful kids can be when they are given the right tools, loving teachers, unique learning experiences, and a nurturing environment. They were not only learning, but they were thriving and advanced little sponges!

Who or What were key influencers in your journey? I was influenced mostly by the kids and the community feedback. When I had parents telling me that their kids finally loved school and how HSN has changed their children, I knew I had to keep it going. There were times (and still are times) that I struggle to make ends meet and raise enough money to run the school, but when I see the impact our nonprofit is having on the kids, I know I have to find a way to continue this journey. What have you had to overcome in order to achieve success, what has been a challenge? There have been multiple challenges along the way. I started this journey homeschooling three kids on a bus (literally) in Ha’ena. Multiple location losses, fundraising, kids dropping in and out, financial difficulties, etc. The list could go on and on. Fast forward four years, I have over 100 students enrolled, two real school locations, eight teachers, and an amazing team behind me! I still struggle with daily challenges and financial difficulties, but the longer we run, the more dialed in I feel. I am SO happy I continued this journey and did not give up years ago, because I truly wanted to so many times. I was tired of feeling defeated when I was trying to do something good. I always saw a small spark that kept me going. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew I had to keep going.  What is you greatest strength? My greatest strength is persistence. I always find an answer to each problem because I know that no matter what, it’s on me. Running my own nonprofit is so different than working in public schools where I could pawn the problems off on someone else. I have realized that I have the power to get it done!

Whats a recent milestone you’ve achieved? How did it impact your business? I recently put on my first huge fundraiser. I had no clue what I was doing and I took on the job solo, having no idea how it was going to turn out. We ended our night with over 300+ people dancing the night away all super stoked on life! The night was beyond successful!  I’ve never worked such long hours preparing (also being 6 months pregnant) not knowing the end results. I learned so much along the way and already feel more confident to start my next one!  What do you wish someone would have told you? To slow down and know that it will all turn out the way it is supposed to. I guess that could go for all aspects of life. Currently listening too . . . . Birthing and Pregnancy podcasts- ha! Favorite book of the moment . . . .  Educated: A Memoir Bucket List longing? Green School in Bali- they are a huge inspiration of what I aspire to create on Kauai.

What are you looking forward to in 2020? First baby boy coming to join my family! Due on NYE! My biggest accomplishment yet.

Love seeing this vision expand and grow, impacting so may kids on our island!

Follow along over on IG at @homeschool_now_hawaii Thank you Christina for sharing your journey with us!

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