With over 1,000 students enrolled in dozens of supplementary classes, the center is ‘bursting at the seams’ of its current facility
For Clark County Today
In 2017, a significant resource for homeschooling parents was brought to Clark County in the form of classes being offered to supplement learning for students. Now, the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center (FPHRC) has become so popular among area families that it’s outgrown its current building and will relocate in the very near future to one that can accommodate the hundreds of families who utilize the center.
The founders of FPHRC, Jay and Heidi St. John, first had the idea for the center when they were looking for options for their own children 24 years ago. Seeing red flags darting up all over the public school system, the St. Johns spent a great deal of time researching, networking, and praying for the answers. When they didn’t find any, they set to work creating their own answers, which also benefited many other families in the area.
“It’s not just that families are fleeing to some other method of education,” Heidi said. “They are fleeing from the public school system. I’ve been talking about the dangers lurking in the public schools for over twenty years, and the COVID pandemic really gave families a chance to see what was happening in the classrooms. This resource center puts parents where they should be: in charge of their children’s education.”
Currently, the center has over 1,000 students enrolled in dozens of supplementary classes ranging from core subjects like math and science to languages, several methods of art, and physical fitness, to many extracurricular subjects and activities like woodshop, dance, and theater. With the vast array of offerings, the St. Johns now have what they call a “good problem”: they’ve outgrown their building.
“Ask anyone who tries to find a parking space mid-week!” said Heidi. “Our current facility is bursting at the seams. We’ve been praying about a new facility for two years, and God’s provision for this vision has been incredible.”
Aside from supplemental classes, the center holds a family lounge area for parents to work on schooling, a coffee shop, a used curriculum book store, preschool classes, occupational and speech therapy, music lessons, teen mentorship, and other resources like transcript writing and state testing. The theater and dance departments host performances multiple times throughout the year, and the center also sponsors a prom for high school-aged students.
The St. Johns and the FPHRC team are in the process of purchasing a new building in East Vancouver that will more adequately serve their families. Whereas the current facility hosts 54 parking spots with 12 small classrooms and one multi-purpose room with a total of 19,000 square feet, the new building will have 250 parking spaces with over 15 large classrooms, a multi-purpose room, and a full auditorium sitting at 54,000 square feet. Between large, generous donations from private donors and grants, the FPHRC team has secured about $15 million. The building will cost a total of $16.4 million, so the team is currently fundraising to hit that final milestone to finalize closing. The funds raised will also be used for several updates to the space, including converting some of the space to a gymnasium, dance and art studios, an automotive space, and more.
“A lot of families feel like homeschooling is too hard,” Jay said, “like it’s something you have to be trained to do. But the reality is, as a parent, you love and know your kid better than anyone else does, and just by putting that effort into your kids, and pouring into them, you’re helping them succeed. Studies have shown that homeschool kids do academically better than their public school counterparts.”
The couple has begun receiving emails from people all over the nation asking them to help replicate FPHRC in their states. “That is really where we’re at now,” Heidi said. “I believe we’re going to live to see what will be an incredible revolution in education. We’ve been calling it ‘education reborn.’ Parents will be in charge of their children’s education. And we want parents all over the nation to hear this: Help is on the way! There is hope in education! We believe with God’s help and partnering with people around the country, we’re going to see a transformation in education that’s going to reverberate for generations to come.”
To contribute or share the link for the fundraiser, click HERE.
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