Meet The Harris Family (Greg, Sono & Josh)

The names of Gregg, Sono, and Joshua Harris are household words to millions of homeschooling families all across the country. Pioneers in the homeschool education movement, the Harrises are authors either individually or jointly of more than 15 acclaimed books and audiocassettes, many of which are regarded as classics by today’s home educators. Through their publications the Harrises have laid the practical and biblical foundations of Christian home education, and encouraged both novice and veteran homeschoolers like.

When Gregg and Sono decided in 1981 to educate their 5-year-old son, Joshua, at home, their decision was radical for its time. Mainstream educators dismissed homeschoolers as part of a fringe movement whose members were ill-equipped to offer children a solid, well-rounded education. In contrast, the Harrises, like many of their fellow homeschoolers, believed that in spite of its lofty goals, public education had failed to live up to its promise of ushering in a "golden age" of learning. Gregg offers a blunt indictment of American education: "It has successfully produced a nation with massive adult illiteracy. It has successfully broken the moral backbone of our youth. It has successfully and subtly undermined parental authority. It has weakened the confidence of America in the free market system. It has successfully made us . . . ‘a nation at risk.’ " (The Christian Home School). His critical comments echo the sentiments of many homeschoolers.

As Gregg and Sono’s expertise in homeschooling grew, so did their family. Josh was joined by Joel, Alex, Brett, Sarah, and Isaac. Gregg and Sono firmly believed that it was their "God-given responsibility to provide their children’s education" (The Christian Home School) and committed themselves to giving all of their children a quality education at home. Eventually they felt a desire to share their experiences with other homeschool families and began to write and publish their own books. Gregg’s The Christian Home School was first published in 1988 and became an overnight bestseller. Hailed by fellow homeschool expert Mary Pride as being "the best first book to read," it offers a comprehensive introduction to homeschooling by answering the "who, what, when, where, how, and why questions" that many novice home educators ask. Sono’s book, Fun Physical Fitness for the Home, sprung from her background as a professional ballet dancer and her 10 years’ experience teaching ballet, modern dance, and gymnastics. Homeschool moms have discovered that the exercises Sono suggests not only benefit their children, but also provide a good aerobic workout for themselves.

Josh has followed in his parents’ footsteps as a successful writer and conference speaker. When he was growing up, he collaborated on several books with his mother and father. At 17, he founded New Attitude, a magazine for homeschool teens. In 1998 his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye soared to #1 on the Christian bestseller lists and remained there for four months. "The success of I Kissed Dating Goodbye is very clearly something God has brought about," Josh comments. "No one could have predicted it would touch so many lives and be read by such a broad range of people." To date the book has sold over a quarter million copies and been translated into three languages.

It was after Josh believed that God was calling him to the ministry and left his hometown of Gresham, Oregon, and moved across the country to Gaithersburg, Maryland, that Josh met his wife, Shannon. They were married in October of 1998 and have two children.

Following the success of I Kissed Dating Goodbye came Boy Meets Girl, which focuses on pursuing the possibility of marriage with someone they may be serious about. Joshua's next book, Not Even a Hint, offers practical advice for combating unholy urges, preparing young people for a lifetime of resisting temptation, and embracing godly desire.

Gregg and Sono continue to live in Gresham with their five younger children. Sono teaches their children full-time while Gregg serves as the director for Noble Institute for Leadership Development, chairman of the board for the National Home Education Research Institute, and associate publisher for Noble Publishing Associates.

Updated June 2003.

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