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Entrepreneurship happens naturally when you homeschool-- at least in my family! .... And a job opportunity for homeschool teens at the 'Twirly Top' ice cream shop!
Sarah Keckler, PHAA homeschool graduate and entrepreneur, PHAA homeschool graduate and entrepreneur

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: We've known Sarah Keckler and her family ever since the first full year of the PA Homeschool law-- and I was delighted to receive an email recently from Sarah wondering about finding a way to let homeschool teens know about flexible summer job opportunities at her 1950's-style ice cream stand, the Twirly Top, located between Carlisle and Gettysburg PA. I encouraged her to write up a full article about how she found her way to becoming a business owner and entrepreneur-- and I know you'll be delighted with all that Sarah shares here-- very inspiring (and funny!) for sure! Soooo, hoping some of you know homeschool teens eager for a great summer job where they can really develop both skills and character... AND hoping many of you opt to visit the Twirly Top and the surrounding area (the link above has links to local sites to see!). We're also hoping that Sarah just might be able to take part in the special panel presentation on entrepreneurship at this summer's PHAA Homeschool Conference, on Friday July 11th -- she'll be a terrific motivational speaker! And even if she's not able to make it (she may need to be managing the Twirly Top!), we're definitely giving out this article as a hand-out to all attendees ;-). Enjoy! And by the way... my husband says that Sarah was *star* student in his AP Macro-Economics online class when she was a high school homeschooler!


When I was a child, the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” seemed like a joke.  I don’t recall anyone in my family ever taking this question very seriously and I followed suit with answers ranging in career path from the unlikely (racehorse jockey) to the non-existent (professional tree-climber) to the relatively unemployable (flying trapeze artist).  Into my high school years, these responses became less acceptable so I picked a generic “something in business” reply with absolutely no idea what that might mean- I certainly did not expect it to entail owning and operating an ice cream shop!  My journey from a shy homeschooled child to a 25-year-old business owner has been nothing short of eventful and I hope this article will provide insights and inspiration for homeschool students and educators alike.

Childhood participation in entrepreneurial pursuits

     To be honest, I never really saw an up-close example of a ‘traditional’ 9 to 5 office job.  My childhood was full of entrepreneurial pursuits, although I did not recognize any of them as such at the time.  My dad was a truck driver and caretaker of our large backyard garden plot and my mom was the homeschool instructor for myself and all 6 of my siblings. In her spare time (tongue-in-cheek) she taught piano lessons, did homeschool evaluations, made and sold quilts, and ran our little farmette.  During my teen years, my mom expanded her scope by obtaining a bakery license for our kitchen and selling baked goods to nearby restaurants, neighbors, and eventually farmers markets.  Even my grandparents exemplified non-traditional “jobs” post-retirement.  My artist/inventor/mechanical genius grandfather with a passion for trains and old cars created highly-detailed pencil drawings of classic antique cars, train engines, and Harley-Davidsons.  He framed and sold the drawings at craft shows alongside my grandmother’s exquisite crocheted lace tablecloths, starched Christmas decorations, and homemade fudge.

     My siblings and I all had roles in each of these ventures.... 


Comments: 19

I just got this note accompanying a registration for our July 12 High School at Home Conference
Howard Richman, 5/17/2013

Patty Hegberg writes:

I am enclosing my registration fee for the 2013 High School at Home Conference. I am very much looking forward to it!

Our son Tim, is graduating this year and will be attending Dickinson College in the fall. He obtained a $10,000 scholarship plus considerable grant money from the college. PHAA [Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency] has a great reputation and we had no issues with any of his applications. Thank you for all you do!...


Comments: 7

Blog review of the PHAA High School at Home Conference, July 15, 2011
Polly Castor, 8/2/2011

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: I was delighted to receive a link to Polly Castor's blogsite, where she wrote up a review of her recent experience driving with another homeschool friend all the way from Connecticut to attend our PHAA High School at Home Conference. Her teens will be taking part in three of our AP online classes for homeschoolers this coming school year. Shows that this conference sparks interest from families beyond Pennsylvania-- we welcome families from any state to take part in this great annual day of focused learning and thinking about the high school at home experience. We hope you come next July!

polly castor's nametag

Today I went to the High School at Home Conference in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It was a 4.5 hour drive from here, and I went with a friend who is also a homeschooling mom.  We left at 4:15am and returned at 11:30pm, having shared a full and enlightening day.  This is the first time either of us had ever been to this particular conference and it was a delight for both of us, having thought that the big, general homeschooling conferences were rather weak on higher level homeschooling support. 

This conference was put on by PA Homeschoolers, and two of my children are taking online AP classes with them next year. (I can’t help wishing I knew about them when my oldest was homeschooling!) These classes promise to be rigorous and fruitful.  My son will take both AP Economics and AP World History with them next year, and I was delighted to get to meet his Econ teacher.  He invites debate and encourages competition in a way I’m sure my son will love.  My daughter will be taking AP Studio Art (Drawing) and I met her teacher as well.  She also seems to be very competent and a good fit.  I saw some of her previous student’s work and it was incredible.  

The keynote speaker was Jeannette Webb, a college admissions consultant specializing in homeschoolers.  The talk she gave us, “Ten Mistakes Students Make When Planning for College,” is available for a free download on her website aiminghigherconsultants.com.  Her talented homeschool kids (admittedly with the enviable demographic advantage of being from Oklahoma) got in every Ivy League school to which they applied, and both turned down acceptances to Harvard....


Comments: 10

Bring your science fair projects to the High School at Home Conference, July 15, 2011
Cynthia Lang, AP Computer Science teacher, 6/21/2011

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: We are getting excited about our upcoming July 15, 2011 PHAA High School at Home Conference-- and we hope YOU will be coming too! The full schedule is now posted at our www.phaa.org website (or just click here). There are a wealth of new session topics, and I'm sure you'll find it a very worthwhile time to interact and network with experienced families who've helped their teens learn at home and in the wider world right through high school. Teens are especially welcome to attend-- there are always sessions of interest for them throughout the day, and it's a great way for your teens to connect with others in the PHAA program and to get inspired. AND this year there is even a Science Fair exhibit area for teens-- read on to find out more!  

Did you do a science fair project this school year?  If so, we would like you to bring it to the PHAA High School at Home Conference at the Hotel Carlisle near Carlisle, PA, July 15, 2011.  (For more info, go towww.phaa.org.) Prizes will be awarded: $100 for first, $50 for second, $25 for third. The fair will be held in the ballroom on tables around the outside where people can view the projects throughout the day. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair judging guidelines will be used for awarding prizes. You can review these guidelines at http://sciserv.org/isef/judges/judges_guidelines.asp.

If you are planning on participating, please email me, Cynthia Lang, at CKLang@aol.com or Howard Richman at howard@pahomeschoolers.com by July 8, 2011. Send the student name, grade just completed, phone, email, and title of project, and abstract (brief summary of project). This is our first time showcasing science and engineering research at the High School at Home Conference.  Please help make this a success by participating!


Comments: 5


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