Now that a generation of homeschool students has graduated and moved into the workforce, we are able to witness their powerful influence. Parents and students can be encouraged by the success of homeschool graduates.
Living in one of Saddam Hussein's former Presidential Palaces is a life-changing experience for a woman from Kansas. Casey Wasson, 23, was sent to Baghdad in September 2003. She works there for the Coalition Provisional Authority as an Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Finance, assisting in the reconstruction of Iraq.
As a homeschooled student, Wasson's parents trained her to approach every task from a biblical perspective. She sees her work now as a rich ministry field. "Working in a field as complex as nation-building requires a melding of economic, political, cultural, psychological, and religious principles," she says. "As a Christian, my faith affects how I look at each of these areas, so foreign policy is a fertile ground for sharing and promoting the Christian perspective."
This is not just a cerebral exercise for Wasson. An ambassador's American bodyguard she had contact with commented that Wasson was the first person he knew who actually lived what she believed. She was able to lead him in a prayer of repentance in Saddam's former palace. "What a blessing that a gaudy room once used for kangaroo trials could now become the place where someone came to know Christ," she said.
Captain Maximilian Bremer of the U.S. Air Force credits homeschooling for where he is today. After graduating from high school, Bremer applied to the Air Force Academy. Bremer was the first homeschooler to complete the training. He graduated with distinction in 1997 and received his Masters from Harvard in 1999. Capt. Bremer has flown 66 combat sorties in both Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has been awarded with 6 Air Medals and an Aerial Achievement Medal.
Capt. Bremer is thankful for his parents' commitment. "I credit them both with spending time with me," he says. "Because of their interest in me, I always felt comfortable stepping out a bit and taking an interest in the world."
His work gives him opportunity to testify for Christ. "There were a couple of times on those late-night missions over enemy territory where it looked like we might not make it home," he says. "I had a great chance to talk about faith, life and hope of eternity."
Capt. Bremer currently works at the Pentagon and he and his wife, Tamsey, have one son.
Heather Herrick, 23, teaches the fifth grade at Foundations Academy, a classical Christian school in Boise, Idaho. She took the teaching job two weeks before the school year began. "I was three months out of college, with no teaching experience whatsoever. The ability to teach myself that I gained in homeschooling allowed me to figure out what I needed to learn and do on my own," she says.
Herrick credits her parents for giving her a love for learning and a heart for other people. These qualities are essential for a successful teacher, and she realizes the impact she can have in the classroom. "Christians involved in education have wonderful opportunities to talk to young people about spiritual truths and point them to Jesus Christ. The way I treat my students, talk about Jesus Christ, and handle authority will make an even deeper impact than most of the ideas we discuss in class."
Many homeschool graduates are choosing the law as their profession. Will Humble, 26, is an attorney in Dallas, Texas. After completing law school and taking the bar examination, he studied Spanish in Costa Rica at a missionary school. He then began working for a Hispanic law office specializing in immigration law.
"Homeschooling helped me see at a young age how important it is to relate well with others outside my peer group," says Humble. "Now I am daily dealing with and trying to advise people who are very different from me."
Humble's parents supported and encouraged him as he grew up. "They made homeschooling more of a lifestyle than merely an educational choice. They encouraged me to find and pursue my dreams."
As an attorney, Humble's Christian worldview daily influences his decisions in representing clients. "When I know that telling the truth will cause the client to be denied U.S. residency, what do I do?" he asks rhetorically. "Telling the truth is non-optional."
Will Sarris, 24, works for CBS in New York City. He has worked for several programs, including The Early Show, 48 Hours Investigates, CBS Evening News, and is currently with 60 Minutes.
Working with highly placed individuals gives Sarris the chance to discuss important issues. "I have been able to talk about issues ranging from homeschooling to abortion to affirmative action," he says. "My homeschooling background gave me a wide range of knowledge, so that I feel very comfortable talking with them about almost any issue."
Sarris hopes one day to become a film producer and director. He points to a time when the Christian worldview influenced art, music, literature and theater. "We need to be in the culture in a way that will meaningfully influence it for Christ, and be careful not to be of it by adopting the cultural lifestyle."
More than just assimilating into society never to be heard from again, these men and women are bringing their Christian worldview into a variety of vocations, professions and cultural fields, acting as a positive witness both for Christianity and homeschooling. We have yet to witness the full effect homeschoolers will have on our country and the world, but we eagerly anticipate the continued transformation for Christ.