August 22, 2008

Marketing Executive Starts Online Home School Inc.

By Anna Marie Kukec

Web-based Home School Inc. in Des Plaines is gearing up for expansion.

The company's Web site,, has garnered 20,000 registered users and about 40,000 daily visitors interested in home schooling.

By the end of this year, about 100,000 daily visitors and around $4 million in revenues are expected, said Chief Executive Officer and founder Thomas Morrow of Arlington Heights.

"Home schooling has been a growing trend and we see our business growing by 7 percent to 12 percent," said Morrow.

Morrow, a former Motorola Inc. marketing and operations executive, had started his own IT consulting firm. But friends suggested he launch the Web-based home education site because not much was offered online to meet their needs.

And now that Morrow plans to home school his two children, the Web site took on new meaning.

He got some seed money from friends, family and educators and started the business in 2005. Its Web site went live in January 2007. He's now talking with venture capital firms to help boost the Internet business even further, aiming to expand his staff from 11 to 40 employees later this year.

The site now offers reference materials, a bookstore and a community of other like-minded educators. It also provides a planner that allows parents to set up their school, plan curriculum, create assignments, chart progress and keep records for each child safe and secure.

Next, Morrow aims to add new tools, including a business-to- business area and more services for educators. New features, such as a virtual field trip to museums and other places, will offer an inside look without the expense associated with such trips.

While there may be CD-ROMs in the marketplace that handle some of the planning, the site offers Web-based convenience and interaction.

Registered users hail from all 50 states, every province in Canada, as well as Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, China, Singapore and Australia.

"People who visit our site learned about us from some trade shows and word of mouth," Morrow said.

Surfing: During all Chicago Rush Arena Football League games this season, the Allstate Arena's jumbotron will double as the world's largest video game monitor. That's because Arlington Heights-based Golden Tee Golf ( partnered with TopGolf of Wood Dale ( to conduct the "Hole-in-One Challenge." Three fans will be chosen at random to compete. If no one gets an ace, the fan closest to the pin will win prizes.

- The American Electronics Association ( named Ed Longanecker, executive director of AeA's Oakbrook Terrace office, as one of six new directors who will focus on public policy issues in the Midwest. He will remain in his local position as well. He joined AeA in 2000, and relocated to Illinois to open AeA's Midwest office in 2004, after having spent five years as the managing director of AeA's Texas Council. Longanecker also serves on Mayor Richard M. Daley's Council of Technology Advisors.

- Harper College ( received approval for a new associate's degree in nanoscience technology. It starts this fall. Harper is the first community college in the state to offer the degree. For information, contact Sally Griffith, (847) 925-6793 or [email protected]

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