The 20/20 Clarity of Hindsight

Looking back, we had never really considered homeschooling our son, but during his 5th grade year, his assessment test showed that he was reading at a 2nd grade level.  The diagnosis was dyslexia, so we sought out the best school in our area to help correct this issue.  Our son was deemed by the school to be a perfect fit for it, so all we had to do was wait until the end of June to hear if they had graduated enough children to create room for our boy.  We were reassured a number of times that the prospects were excellent.  Panic set in when we read the letter stating that there wasn’t a spot for him for the upcoming fall. Those words pierced our soul.  It was now July and we had no viable alternative for him to attend at the end of August.  We scrambled to visit a couple of private schools in desperation, thinking that there might be an outside chance we could make it work, but the moment we stepped foot in them, our hope faded away and our hearts grew heavy.

It is amazing how the answer to some of life’s most perplexing challenges can be right in front of you, but you can’t see it. Fortunately for us, a wise and close friend came to our rescue and removed our blinders.  I will never forget her saying, “I will tell you what we will do, I am homeschooling my two boys, so with your help, I will take on your son as a student also, which will give you time from now until December to find the right place for him.”  Those words stunned us at first, but in an instant, the sound logic rang loud and clear.  What started out as a temporary situation became a natural long term fit, and our boy thrived in homeschooling.  By adding a reading tutor into the mix, we took a very difficult situation and made it a perfect custom tailored offering.

All that was going on while, unbeknownst to us the foundational concepts for HomeEdExpert-Advisor were being mapped out. What we would have given to have had that capability available during those years.  Our first reality check set in while we were staring at the thousands of curriculum and textbook choices.  We were totally overwhelmed with information and options, so we reached out to more experienced homeschoolers for advice, but at the end of the day we made some really wild guesses based on our limited understanding of the choices.    The most difficult issue to overcome was not determining the courses and materials for our son, but rather finding textbooks that fit our novice teaching experience.  That was the hardest match to pair, and it truly cost us considerable time and money, as in every semester with lots of trial and error!  Our close friend still has 5 math books, each costing over $100, which were tried but never quite fit into anyone’s teaching style.

So there you have it, the premise behind HomeEdExpert-Advisor, which is very simple; in an information-saturated situation, the wisdom of an expert can efficiently and effectively guide you to the best choice, not only for the student, but also as importantly for the teacher.  The cost to you is pennies on the dollar, but the value is huge to you and your children’s future.  We are glad you found us because we are homeschoolers too.  We will never be able to remove all notions of doubt from your home school, but you will be able to move forward with solid confidence in your educational product choices knowing that they are a tailored fit to you as a teacher and your children as students.  The greatest part of homeschooling is the memories that are created along the way. One of our goals is to give you more time to do just that.

So after many years of homeschooling, our only son, who is our pride and joy, went on to become a decorated scholar athlete at Virginia Tech, whose name has appeared on the All ACC academic honor roll multiple times. Had you told us you knew of a way this could happen during that summer after 5th grade, we would have been more than skeptical and sarcastic. The answer was right there before us, and all we needed was a subtle nudge from our wise and trusted friend to be brave and keep seeking additional answers. In hindsight, what appeared to be a difficult situation turned out to be an absolute wonderful opportunity.  It took considerable energy and thought to get the pieces to fit together, but it was worth every bit of effort required. Blessings and cheers to you all in your pursuit as homeschoolers!  Trust in the thought that the best is yet to come.

Photo: Football score, Nov 9th 2013: VT 42 – #7 Miami 24, SunLife Stadium.  Our son sees his first playing time at offensive guard on all field goals and extra points.  What a day!

The Un-Convention

Although far from startup, Expert Logic Systems, Inc. (eLSi) is a little company with big ideas.  It’s the way we have always been, beginning with our founders and transitioning to our executives and technologies, the initial systems of which are incorporated into HomeEdExpert and HomeEdShopper.  We think of ourselves as visionaries, but we’re allowing you to share your perspectives because like us, you were homeschooling when many looked at you with that same titled head, crinkled brow posture.  “What school does your son attend? Oh, he’s homeschooled.  Really!”  You may a “newbie” and a bit unsure about what lies ahead and how you’ll manage the course, but like us, feel very strongly that this is the right path for your family. Sound familiar?  We are a “family,” that is, fathers, mothers, children, relatives and friends alike, who have contributed and consoled us, watched the passion subside and re-ignite, yet again, as we shape and refine our efforts in pursuit of our goals.  We often chuckle that, if we knew then what we know now, we might have passed and taken an easier route.  Probably not, because we’re passionate about home education, to the point that when we see those heads starting to tilt again, in our heart of hearts, we believe that it has merit and will be the right choice for many.  Believe us when we say that the exit ramps have been frequent and tempting on the road less traveled, but like your homeschool, the benefit to our family and the quality of the end product is what drives us, so we continue onward in pursuit of our goals.

 So, have you ever had that frustrating feeling when you have a solution, but you don’t quite know how to explain the problem?  That was us in 2000.  We started with some what-ifs that truly took on a life of their own; what if we could create a system that captured the knowledge of an expert and produced product recommendations?  Hmmm, what if…  What started as an idea that we felt as though it were divinely inspired urged us to push ourselves to continually evolve.  At times we had serious concerns, doubts and questions that cast a fearful darkness upon us.  Are we still in the forward direction or have we strayed?  What is our next viable move? Belief, prayer, and trust are such simple words on a page, but paramount to one’s will to endure.  And when you least expect, that perplexing barrier melts away like ice from a sun-drenched roof after a relentless winter storm.

“The Un-Convention”… first, we built HomeEdExpert Advisor, our patented system for recommending educational products.  Our first generation release in 2010, in hind sight, came about exactly the way you would expect from a small band of nerds; phenomenal back end “computing power” with an incredibly rough front end “user interface (UI).”  We were so proud of how well our proprietary algorithm worked, but the customer experience was less than ideal.  Our application “look and feel” was more liken to a “stare and slap,” yet we were as proud it as a mama bear with her newly born cub.  We built HomeEdShopper Express, our price comparison search engine, almost as an afterthought because the capability was already “plugged into, HomeEd Expert; we created the new UI to integrate them together. We knew we had two really sophisticated services, yet we struggled to clearly display the problem they were solving.  When you are staring at a tree, sometimes it is extremely hard to see the forest that is right before you.  However, an angel delivered the message to us. “Book fair bargains anytime and anywhere” at the virtual convention… the un-Convention!

Please understand that conventions have their place and purpose, when your focus is collaboration, fellowship, and sharing.  But a big part of why we attend is to seek out authors, distributors and publishers, in order to ask questions about their products and prices, and to see what others are purchasing. If you step back and think about the desired goal, the correctly matched educational product for the teacher and their students, you realize a convention is extremely limited in providing this desired outcome.  Regardless of your age, a couple of days at a convention are extremely exhausting.  The sheer size and volume can be a sensory overload. The efficiency and effectiveness of this experience is less than optimal.  And even though there are lots of educational products to see and discuss, the reality is that the convention allows for only a very small sampling compared to what is really available.  Further, if you’re a vendor, you can only bring but so much product.  Lastly, there are the travel expenses and time, both of which are very valuable.  We believe we have achieved a better way to search for and match to educational products… anytime and anywhere, at your convenience.   So go to that convention, but enjoy attending more lectures and talking with other home educators about how to make your homeschool better. But, don’t forget your mobile device, so that you can compare competitive prices on site with our Un- Convention.

Now that we have introduced ourselves, we will set out to embark on the journey together and follow the whimsical wisdom of the eLSi Owl This BLOG, the Hooty Hoot, is is our sight into the vast window of the thought provoking world of prose; life lessons of homeschooling.  Topics will wander endlessly, but always bring you back to the forward-looking vision of the enthusiastic education of our students. Blessings and Cheers.