By Trudy Den Hoed
Nearly fifteen years ago, I gained 6 more people to love and to cherish. I married my husband who was a widower with 5 kids ranging from ages 4 to 13. I adopted these dear children as my own, and I decided I would remain at home with them.
Prior to this, I was an elementary teacher, but I wanted to be there for my kids when they needed me. I wanted to spend all the time I could with them. And even though the principal and vice-principal of their school tried to get me to teach for them and even made me feel guilty that I wasn't teaching at their school, I felt my place was at home with my children.
When our youngest son was in 8th grade, I decided to try homeschooling. For a little extra income and as help to a friend, I also supervised my friend's family for a couple of years.
Because I was too overwhelmed with many things, I dropped the supervising for a couple of years until last year when our son was in the 12th grade. I was asked by four other homeschooling families to supervise for them. I decided to start again, not only for extra income, but because I enjoy working with children.
There is an increasing need for homeschool supervisors in Iowa. Now that our son has graduated, I continue to supervise homeschooling families. I oversee five families now. I haven't really advertised, but I gain families through word of mouth. Under the Competent Private Instruction law, I am allowed up to twenty families or 40 children.
In 1998, a plan began to form in my mind. Once our son was finished with homeschooling, I would have more time on my hands. I didn't really want to return to teaching in a school system, because I didn't want to be bound to a schedule. I wanted to be available if my children needed me to watch our grandchildren or if my aging parents needed my help, etc. I also wanted to be able to ride along with my trucking husband if I felt like it. But what should I do? I love children, and I want to make a difference in their lives. After much prayer for the Lord's guidance and wisdom, I decided to start a children's literary magazine.
My purpose in publishing this magazine is not so much in making lots of money, although I do hope eventually to gain some monetary profit. My primary focus is to encourage young people to use the creative gifts God has given them, to exercise and develop writing skills, to explore the wonderful world of language, and to read wholesome literature.
After mountains of planning and organizing, my November/December, 1998, issue of Nifty Nibbles was sent out. I had advertised in NICHE, an Iowa Home Educator's newsletter, and at our town's library to encourage K-12 authors to send me their writings on the true meanings of Thanksgiving or Christmas for publication. I was pleased with the results. My premier issue contained some great stories and poems!
After the initial stage, I worked on more advertising. I emailed homeschooling organizations throughout the states, and many of them advertised my magazine in their newsletters. I also designed my own Nifty Nibbles web page in which I ask for writings, give submission guidelines, and announce writing contests and contest winners. I now have writers and readers from coast to coast!
In this past year, I held two writing contests. Poetry contest winners were given poetry books. Winners of an animal writing contest were given subscriptions of Nature Friend Magazine, who kindly donated two subscriptions. My present contest is announced in the Nov./Dec., 1999, issue and on my web page. Even if entries don't win the contest, most of them are still published. If I can't publish a writing for some reason, I try to let each author know the reason for it or I offer advise on how he or she can revise it.
I thoroughly enjoy my stay-at-home job, not only for the flexibility it gives me in working out my own schedule, but for giving the opportunity of being published to our precious children.
Trudy Den Hoed
Hull, IA 51239-7351
Web Address: http://www.angelfire.com/ia/niftynibbles