As a graduated homeschool student, I had the benefit of receiving an education based on my own personal interests. One of those interests has always been a desire to work for myself. Looking back, I realize all the lessons I learned would never have been possible if I had attended a public or private school.

One of my first business ventures was when I was about 12 years old and I would go door-to-door in the winter selling homemade hot chocolate mixes. I have never enjoyed marketing, but here I was, with about thirty seconds to try to sell something to a customer before the door was slammed in my face. After a long afternoon of talking to all sorts of people, I realized the true expense of business operation.

When I was 13 I began mowing lawns for neighbors after school hours. However, as my business began to grow, I found myself spending more time working for the business and thus had less time for “traditional” schoolwork. Thankfully, I never had to choose between school and business. There was always time for both. My schoolwork was framed by my business to give me an education that could actually be useful and practical in life. I learned firsthand how hard it was to actually end up with profit at the end of a long day! This real-life learning taught me that budgeting was a key to business success. Mom and Dad taught me how to budget for tithe, business, savings, and spending.

You may be asking where to draw the line between school and work. Because we lived in a subdivision, we were never allowed outside until after 2:30. This time may be different for some, but we always made it a point to be careful not to give our neighbors the impression that my parents were raising nothing but a group of rampant hoodlums who were allowed to spend the day however they wished. I easily accomplished my traditional bookwork in the morning and early afternoon. But as soon as 2:30 came, you could be sure to find me hard at work while there was still daylight!

I am so thankful to have been able to graduate from high school with my own full-time landscaping business. I am 23 years old now and debt-free. The landscaping business I graduated with now has over 50 property contracts, and I have recently started a radon inspection company as well. None of this would have been possible if not for the foresight my parents had in giving me an education based on my interests. They made sure that the education they provided did not hinder me, but rather enabled me to broaden my horizons, allowing me to pursue knowledge that I use every day.