- Married for 27 years
- Mother of three daughters (two homeschool graduates and a 14-year-old)
- Was homeschooled 2 years (last two years of high school)
- Started homeschooling in 2010
Renée Gotcher is a wife, mother, freelance writer and editor, and educator with a passion to share her homeschooling journey and faith walk with others as an encouraging testimony to God’s amazing grace, unconditional love, and desire to continually shape us into the image of Christ.
Renée’s first career was in journalism. She was an executive editor for a national technology magazine based in San Francisco, where she worked for 7 years. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Oral Roberts University. After leaving the journalism world in 2002 to become a work-at-home mother, Renée started an independent business as a Mary Kay beauty consultant and served as a Sr. Sales Director for her team of inspiring entrepreneurial women until the spring of 2011, when she decided to focus on home educating her three daughters full time and pursue freelance writing and editing opportunities.
After homeschooling independently and freelancing for five years, Renée joined a unique homeschooling partnership program called Artios Academies in 2015, where she taught middle school and high school history and literature in the classroom once a week. Artios partners with homeschooling families who are looking to integrate the arts with academic subjects, all while keeping a biblical worldview. It was the perfect fit for Renée’s artsy daughters, and by the end of that first year, she was also serving as interim campus director. Later that summer, she and her husband took over ownership of the Castle Rock campus, and Renée continued to direct and teach until 2019, when her eldest daughter graduated from high school.
Renée is the co-founder of NextGen Homeschool and has been a contributing writer for other Christian homeschooling and motherhood websites, including the Teach Them Diligently Blog, “Welcome to the Family Table,” “Christian Marriage Adventure,” and “Word Traveling.”
Renée has been happily married to her best friend Kenny Gotcher, whom she met while attending ORU, for 27 years. Kenny was homeschooled from fourth grade until college along with his sisters, fellow NextGen Homeschool writers Rosanna Ward and Elizabeth Thomas.
Currently loving life in Castle Rock, Colorado, Renée and her family are outdoor enthusiasts who love to travel and enjoy God’s breathtaking creations, for which Colorado is an excellent showcase. Camping, hiking, fishing, snowboarding, skiing, and biking are some of her family’s favorite activities.
This blog reflects a lifetime of learning and God’s leading to share this journey with you for His greater glory.
- Mother of two daughters (homeschool graduates) and two sons
- Was homeschooled from 8th grade until college
- Started homeschooling in 2005
Rosanna Ward is a mother of four children — two of which are homeschool graduates (daughters Hannah and Virginia). Her eldest daughter Hannah recently graduated from Oral Roberts University and has taken two missionary trips to Haiti since graduating high school. Her daughter Virginia is married and expecting her first child in August.
Rosanna is a homeschool graduate and graduated from Oral Roberts University with a B.S. in Recreational Administration. She is currently passionate about studying History and Genealogy.
- Married for 14 years
- Mother of five daughters (two currently homeschooled)
- Was homeschooled K-12th grade
- Began homeschooling in 2009
In 1998, Elizabeth left home against her parents’ wishes and spent four years in an abusive relationship, where she nearly lost her life. During that relationship, she was blessed with three daughters: Stormie, Rachael, and Faith. In 2002, Elizabeth left the relationship and spent five months in a shelter for battered women with her three daughters before moving closer to her sister, Rosanna, to start over. During her four years as a single mother, Elizabeth worked two to three jobs at a time while taking classes part time. She received her G.E.D. and began taking classes at a local community college to work toward a degree.
In 2007, she met and married Anthony Thomas, and the next year she gave birth to Cadence Grace. The idea of going back to work after Cadence was born was painful, and when Tony asked Elizabeth to stay home, it was a fast “yes!” When he asked her to homeschool all four girls, that was a little harder. Now, Elizabeth loves to watch her children learn new things! They have since added another daughter, Melody, to their family.
Currently residing in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, Elizabeth likes to shop and do girly stuff (like dress up and take fun pictures) with her girls. She loves makeup and doing nails. She likes to work out, ride bikes, and rollerblade, as well as crafting. She loves being in church and loves praise and worship. Elizabeth also likes to garden — even when almost everything dies. A favorite quote: “A clean house is a happy home, but a sterile house is not a home, it’s a hospital.” Elizabeth likes watching movies with her husband and thinks the most romantic thing on earth is when her husband finishes her sentences. She loves having a schedule that changes weekly and finds that homeschooling is so much more than just an education — it’s God’s plan for life.
- Married for 17 years
- Mother of two sons and a daughter
- Was homeschooled from 6th-12th grade
- Began homeschooling in 2010
Cristina Eklund formally worked in Visual Merchandising for a large global retail company for five years, and not long after getting married, she and her husband Jeremy moved to Nicaragua for two years to pursue their mutual desire (since childhood) to be missionaries.
Now living in Concord, Calif., they are homeschooling their two sons and daughter. Cristina’s husband was homeschooled until the 3rd grade, and Cristina was homeschooled from 6th grade through high school and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.