by Sarah Slamer

Editor’s Note: Sarah Slamer was homeschooled all of her life. She is currently a student at Biola University studying Bible, Theology, and Ministry. She plans to go into children’s ministry someday, incorporating her love of music and theatre into her ministry to children. She currently serves as the children’s choir director at Purpose Church in Pomona, CA.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” That is a quote by William Butler Yeats, an Irish poet. I love this because through my homeschool journey, a fire has been lit within me that has given me the desire to learn more. From kindergarten through high school, I was taught at home by my parents. Though I have not experienced any other form of education, I would not trade it for anything else. There are many reasons that I loved this educational experience. 

I am an independent learner. I prefer to learn and work on my own. It has been to my advantage to be able to work alone in my room where I am free from distractions. The home environment enabled me to learn study habits that will help me succeed in further education. 

Learning at home also provided unique opportunities and allowed for a more flexible schedule. For example, a couple of times, I saved to buy my family Disneyland annual passes. This gave us the option to go to Disneyland on a weekday morning when few people were there. We had the flexibility to do that since we learned from home. Sometimes, a Disneyland trip was a fun break, it was time with friends, or it would become an educational field trip. We would learn on the drive or would do some schoolwork on the weekends or evenings. 

My mom chose which curriculum we used, which allowed us to learn from a biblical perspective. This has greatly affected the way I see learning and the world. I view learning as a privilege and a joy. It is a way for me to experience and know more about the wonderful world that God has made.

I had the opportunity to be around children of all ages since we were part of LIFE, a homeschool co-op and support group. When I was younger, I had older girls who invested in me. When I was older, there were little girls who I could pour into. I love kids and love interacting with them. I have been so blessed to discover that passion and to cultivate it. This has mainly been possible because I was homeschooled and a part of a group of homeschool families. 

Additionally, being a part of performing arts in LIFE grew my confidence in all areas of life. When I first started performing arts, I was shy and had stage fright. I was really hard on myself, and after not getting the part I wanted a couple of times, I convinced myself I did not belong on stage. I spent a few years doing backstage work, which I loved (and it greatly helped me in the shows I directed later on). However, Mrs. Christa, our amazing performing arts director, encouraged me to try again. I did and she helped me to grow and learn from the ground up. Over the years, I slowly grew more confident, not only in performing, but in interacting with others and leading, especially assistant directing the shows. Home education, being a part of LIFE and specifically, performing arts has greatly impacted my character and given me numerous opportunities to lead. 

Having more time with my family has been an amazing opportunity, especially with my parents. That was what I loved most. I was able to learn from my mom in everyday life. I would sometimes spend time with my dad at lunch if he were at home, or by going to work with him and doing school at his office. We could also work our schedule around his schedule to be able to spend time with him whenever he was not working. Schooling at home also allowed me to learn alongside my brother, create more memories with him, and talk about the things we were learning together. 

Homeschooling was one of the highlights of my childhood. I am so grateful for the opportunities I had because of it. I believe that it has set me up well to continue on to the next steps that God has called me to. I hope to be a children’s pastor someday and incorporate my love of music and theatre into my ministry to children. I am currently a student at Biola University, where I am doing an accelerated program to earn my Master of Arts in Christian Ministry & Leadership. I also plan to minor in theatre and am a part of the honors program. I recently accepted the position of Elementary Kids’ Choir Director at Purpose Church in Pomona. 

As I begin all of these new adventures, I am confident that my homeschool journey has prepared me well for these things. Proverbs 1:7 is a good reminder of the most important part of learning. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”