Issue 29 | October 19, 2012 | Featuring the Ehrgott Family

Cindy Ehrgott's three daughters are now grown and successful in their careers: Whitney 26 as a commercial diver, Madison 23 as a semi-professional ballet dancer and Bailey 21 as a musician.  As these three individuals grew through their home school experience, their mother also grew in her ability to recognize each of their "bends" and in her role to facilitate their education.  Read the reassuring stories of Whitney, Madison and Bailey's surprising diverse yet similar paths in home schooling 

INSIDE NARHS: Getting the Transcript Timing Down

Not too infrequently, we receive a portfolio in the mail about the same time we receive an urgent request for the transcript to be sent out to colleges or possible employers.  We do our best; but we thought it might help if you knew what goes on behind the scenes in order to prepare for the transcript's journey to the college. 

  • 7 days - Depending on where you live, portfolios sent here might take up to a week en route.
  • 1 day - the advisor will be able to pick up the portfolio within 24 hours of arrival.
  • 3-14 days - If the portfolio arrives between August and October, it will be placed among the company of other waiting portfolios. Advisors tend to study them in the order in which they arrive.  Once the portfolio is examined, either the family is contacted for more documentation (which slows the progress down some), or the report is sent to the transcript office.
  • 14-21 days - The transcript office is staffed by two individuals who currently have a list of 50 + transcripts to complete.  If the report arrives today, it would take 3 weeks to complete and send.  During this time of year, it would not be unusual for the transcript to be ready in five weeks.  In order to avoid this backlog, aim to send the portfolio in June.  Both the advisor and the transcript office have a smaller work load then.

FEATURED Family: The Ehrgott Family


When Cindy Ehrgott was growing up, she was a straight "A" student, with a very strong work ethic trained into her.  It worked for her; shouldn't it work for everyone?  That's the child-rearing philosophy she held tightly, until her first daughter began formal classroom instruction, that is. Because, during the first parent / teacher conference her philosophy began to unravel at some rather unsettling news regarding Cindy's first-born, Whitney.  The teacher's interpretation of Whitney's inattentiveness and reluctance to try new things signaled that she might need counseling.   Cindy agreed to first in-school counseling and then later to auditory testing/training with no apparent "improvement." 

Not long after these intervention measures began, Cindy listened to a friend who suggested she try home schooling (which actually started as "school at home"). On the 4th day of Cindy's new attempt at educating Whitney, a family acquaintance arrived to do some shovel work around the property.  As Cindy discussed with him the yard task, she explained that she had a tension headache over her home schooling experiment and was going to place Whitney on the school bus the next morning. But the yard-work friend suggested something different. "If someone had taken the time with me like you are with Whitney, I wouldn't be digging ditches today. "   So Cindy shelved the workbooks and brought out the Legos....reluctantly at first because she was fearful that Whitney would get behind. 

Fortunately, that fear only lasted until Cindy heard about a woman who, having a double major in college, tried the same education techniques with her children and experienced positive, long-lasting results into their adult years.  Hearing the reassuring testimony of other's success, Cindy began to relax with Whitney and then later with Madison and Bailey, fortunately for everyone!   


 Whitney DivingAs Whitney began to thrive in the atmosphere induced by Cindy's efforts to promote 


delight-directed learning, she developed the courage to try new things.  Whitney had always loved the water, even as a baby. But how she combined technology with her love of water is quite the story!

At age 12, when Whitney had the opportunity to assist her dad weld a fence, she found the process very interesting.  So as the daughter reached high school age, Cindy discovered a public school farm shop class where the teacher was a woman.  Whitney spent most of the year learning to weld using expensive, sophisticated equipment that the family could never have been able to afford.  
As a result of the skills and passion she acquired, the next year, Whitney decided she wanted to build a house under water. Obviously, by now, Cindy's "relaxed" atmosphere was inspiring all kinds of creative ideas.   So Cindy began to research diving and technology from an internet site produced in Seattle. From the opportunities learned there, Whitney decided not to go for her AA in Running Start, but rather worked for a two-year degree in welding.  At the same time, she attended a Voc/Tech school to develop even more welding techniques.  She was now well-prepared for earning the WAVE scholarship and admission into the Seattle-based Divers Institute of Technology where she eventually was awarded her worldwide certification.  


 MadisonMadison was very studious, loving to learn.  She would have been a model student in public school, just like her mother, except she was never interested in going.  When she was 2 1/2 she was fascinated by the computer, so Cindy bought educational/fun games that Madison would spend hours playing. 

She was a strongly-oriented homebody, but at age 12, Cindy convinced Madison to visit a ballet studio down the street to observe a class.  After watching little 5 and 6 year-olds pointing their feet and dancing, she leaned over and whispered to Cindy, "I think I can do that."  Given the "go-ahead" Cindy enrolled her right away!  The teacher said that most ballet studios would reject a girl Madison's age, but she was very happy to have Madison.  To this day, that teacher is appreciated for the chance she gave Madison.  For years after that, ballet gave her such a sense of freedom and accomplishment.  So much so, that when Madison was 17 she had to make a difficult choice.  

Madison Dancing

She passed the college Running Start test that would give her 2 free years of college while in high school.  At the same time she wanted to attend the local vocational skills center and go half days to computer classes, which was also a 2-year program.   So, she made the choice to stop ballet in the prime of her dancing.  It was a painful decision with lots of tears.  As a parent, Cindy supported Madison and let her know that she was doing a good thing.  On the other hand, the family pocketbook was empty (ballet was costing $500/month) and it was a financial reprieve.  However, it was obvious that Madison was going to miss the freedom she experienced when she danced. 

The good news is that ALL of the credits (college and skills center) would transfer to NARHS.  Madison also took French for 2 years at the local high school and those credits transferred to NARHS as well!   So, basically Madison's NARHS credits were coming from 4 places - local high school, home school, skills center, and college! 

For the next 3 years, Madison attended the local college earning 4 AA degrees, after which she applied to Central Washington University and received a merit scholarship.  Cindy will tell you the rest of the story and get you up-to-date with her second daughter:

"Not surprisingly, one day, Madison came to us and told us of how much her heart missed dancing.  We told her to go for it, school could wait.  She needed to see for herself where the gift of dancing could take her.  Today she is dancing full time for Mid-Columbia Ballet Company as a Principal and Solo dancer.  We are enjoying this time in her life and we can tell her heart is free again; she is happy.  No matter where this takes her, she will benefit from this timely choice."


 BaileyEarly in life, Bailey Anna demonstrated a love for music. She started on an upright piano moving at age 10 to a guitar -and a warped guitar at that. However, within 2 months, Cindy knew Bailey must have a gift if she could get music out of a guitar in such sad condition. So enough money was saved to buy a $300 Fender and pay for lessons. Bailey caught on so fast! It was as if her energy was vortexed into the guitar. Four months later Cindy was financing a $6,000 Paul Reed Smith Custom 24. 

 Bailey's awakened music passion consumed much of her day. She wrote lyrics...and strummed. Instead of chores...she strummed. Eventually that gift in music would feed out into the tendrils of NARHS. Cindy did some research and found out which high school in the area had the best music program. The family moved to Pasco, just for Bailey Anna. (She still doesn't know this.) There, she played guitar for the Jazz Band and also for a singing group. She went to music festivals and earned awards, all while earning NARHS credit (Social Studies-Leadership). While studying at the high school level, she attended the local college and immediately took the lead guitarist position in the jazz ensemble. Through NARHS she was able to take all her music experiences and turn them into courses. Lyric-writing got her some language credit; her work at a local music store gave her business and math credit. Before long, her gift of writing music and lyrics and playing jazz guitar has taken her across the region and earned her playing rights and admission into a top Washington Jazz Workshop. She has studied with a student of Jim Hall (the guitar legend) and has played with other fellow musicians earning money or just earning her way. She has also recorded a CD with other fellow college musicians! 

 Tucked into all this musical experience, Bailey also loved making a mess in the kitchen so she took Cindy's suggestion and signed up at a local skills center for the culinary program, which translated into more English, Science and Math credit on her high school transcript. 

 The beautiful thing about NARHS is that Bailey Anna could go her way and stay on her path. She didn't have to "turn here" and "turn there" to fulfill empty credits. She was able to fully focus on her gift of music and her fetish for good food and use whatever she could "get her hands on" to achieve her goals in both music and high school graduation, which occurred in June of 2011. Today, she is a budding jazz guitar teacher, helps manage Mills Music store and is the lead guitarist (3 years) for the Columbia Basin College Jazz Ensemble. She recently designed and commissioned a guitar to her specifications with American Archtop Guitars. This fall she flew to Los Angeles to take a look at University of Southern California and get admissions information. She hopes to earn a merit scholarship once she decides what college she wants to attend. For now, she is content working on a 2-year degree at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington. And on Sundays she works at Rocco's's like the period at the end of her sentence.    

 Final Thoughts 

 Now, as Cindy reflects on the diverse pathways each daughter took, she also sees some strong similarities. "It was the same sequence of events for all three: While promoting and facilitating exploration, I waited for each to express an emerging passion. From there we found an avenue for training and collected all the courses and educational experiences onto the NARHS transcript, which shows 5 years of high school for each girl." NARHS became a clearinghouse of credits coming from all directions. And then the NARHS transcript became the springboard from which many opportunities for higher education developed. 

If Cindy knew then what she knows now, her fear "that Whitney would get behind" would not create any dip whatsoever on the maternal Richter scale of worry.