In this article, I’d like to highlight students who have chosen to homeschool because they want to pursue a passion. They see no reason to try to fit this interest around the constraints of a school day or wait until after graduation to pursue it. These students are living proof that homeschooling is more than an educational choice; it’s a lifestyle.
Ernie Francis Jr.
Ernie Francis Jr. is a talented seventeen-year-old race car driver and homeschooler using Time4Learning. He was born and raised in South Florida. Ernie Francis Jr. inherited his love for racing from his father, Ernie Francis Sr., who was also a champion race car driver.
Both children and adults admire Ernie, who started racing go-karts at age four. At thirteen, Ernie moved from karts to cars and competed in races with his Spec Miata. With his astounding skills, he accomplished eighteen Top Ten finishes, ten Top Five finishes, six Podium appearances, and two Wins in eighteen races. At fourteen years old, he again blew everyone away by winning championships in both NASA (National Auto Sport Association) and FARA (Formula Automobile Racing Association). Out of thirty-four races, Ernie took home thirty-two Top Ten finishes, twenty-six Top Five finishes, twenty-five podium appearances, and twenty-one wins. In 2013, when Ernie Francis Jr. turned fifteen years old, he became the youngest licensed, professional driver competing in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships. Ernie was honored as “Rookie of The Year” with numerous podium appearances and seven wins—more wins than any other driver, in any class.
In 2014, Ernie became the youngest Trans Am Champion and Rookie of the Year for his phenomenal racing and sportsmanship. However, being on the road and competing in races across the country (and outside of it) made Ernie’s schedule very tight. He and his family decided to homeschool due to the demands of his very busy schedule. Ernie started using Time4Learning’s online curriculum because it could travel with him on the road. Then, in 2015, Time4Learning became a sponsor of Ernie Francis Jr.! We are very proud to be along for the journey of such an inspiring, talented, and bright young man.
Anthony & Penelope
Anthony and Penelope, a talented brother and sister duo, write, star in, direct, and edit videos. These Time4Learning members are also currently part of a homeschool group where they study robotics and pursue modeling, sports, and other activities. A few years ago, their parents realized that school was not meeting their children’s needs. Penelope was struggling with reading and her mother knew that her daughter needed a change.
Homeschooling removed the pressure and frustrations from school, and soon Penelope’s mother realized that her daughter was blooming. She recognized that her daughter’s learning styles and comfort zone were different from traditional educational methods. Her daughter was not behind or slow, she just learned better with different learning styles and instruction. The next year, Penelope’s brother joined her when their mother decided to homeschool him as well.
With a more suitable schedule, Anthony discovered that he really loved editing videos. His sister had a big personality and was already modeling, so he asked her to start acting in his videos. Anthony began filming, directing, and editing his own videos with his talented sister at his side. You can check out their latest work on Time4Learning Youtube, where they conduct an interview with Ernie Francis Jr.
Stories like these are inspirational because they show how students can realize their dreams when they have the freedom to pursue a passion through homeschooling. Rather than enrolling in their local schools and programs, these students took advantage of homeschooling’s flexible schedule to pursue interests that weren’t readily available through local schools.
The choices we make when following a hobby or interest can often determine how far that passion can be pursued. Many parents and students aren’t even aware that choosing to homeschool is a real possibility for them. Some attend their local schools and programs, potentially missing out on life-changing experiences.
Students in schools can and do make choices about their studies, sports, hobbies, clubs, and artistic interests; however, regular full-day classes are still required. Sometimes students will struggle through a school routine with no say in it, just to spend a few hours doing the things they truly love.
A large majority of homeschoolers, on the other hand, know that their education is a conscious choice that can be aligned with their interests and dreams. These students and their families choose what they want to focus on and plan accordingly. Time4Learning’s online curriculum combines the technology and education kids love with the flexibility they need to pursue their dreams.