Creative young people of all disciplines benefit from the flexibility of homeschooling by being able to take classes in their chosen fields of interest and still complete the academic subjects their institutionally-educated fellow students fulfill.
A successful example of the balance between academics and arts is Miss Quinn Martin – a homeschooled teenager of tremendous talent. Quinn’s creative aptitude and ambition keep her engaged in multiple performance disciplines as a singer-songwriter, actress, and dancer. Her early career achievements include the release of her debut album, All the Sides of You, on All Time Records, television and stage roles in two Nickelodeon TV Network programs and more than 120 performances as the lead in Annie.
The songs on All the Sides of You, co-written and sung by Quinn, demonstrate not only her distinctive vocal ability but a mature knowledge of topics that are relevant to young people. After one listen, it is easy to understand that she has been writing songs and acting since the fledgling age of six. Her emotional depth and dynamic vocal range are evocative of classic voices spanning from Patsy Cline to Kelly Clarkson.
Quinn says she draws songwriting inspiration from experiences with her friends. For example, “Money to Burn,” (co-written by producer and label head, Lennon Leppert, and Adam Neilson) comes from the lament that kids her age never have enough money to do things they consider cool. She says, “It’s always the fight: Oh, I can’t go there, I don’t have enough money. We’ll see some of our other friends go to all these places and do all these things, and it’s like, not all of us can afford to do that. So the song reassures kids and people of any age, that you don’t need a lot of money to have fun.” The sing-a-long chorus expresses, “…Cause all the best times, we will have cannot bought with card or cash. They might be VIP. We’ll just get in for free and sing out loud ‘til everyone has heard, that we don’t need no money to burn.”
The all-ages dance club song, “Invisible,” deals with the insecurity we all feel at times in a crowd. Quinn says, “My friend invited me to the fair. I thought it was just going to be me and her, but then a bunch of other people show upped and she hung out with them and left me hanging. I felt kind of ignored. I was just standing there feeling invisible.”
She continues to share that she gathers ideas by watching and listening to what others experience and adding her twist. The title track, “All the Sides of You,” is a positive culmination of the theme with an invitation for others to share their experiences. The lyrics reach out: “…I could be shallow and never care, I may surprise you if you’ll let me hear… if you’d only show me all the sides of you.”
Leppert, who is also a homeschool alumnus, says, “One of the reasons he signed Quinn to All Time Records is her prolificacy, “Not only does she have a great voice, but she writes. When we met, she already had twelve songs written.”
Quinn believes she has been able to devote so much time to her recording career because she is homeschooled.
Quinn and her family live in a suburb of Los Angeles, which affords her the opportunity to pursue her artistic goals in the capital of the entertainment world. Most homeschooling parents can relate to her parents’ dedication in squiring her to and from rehearsals, recording sessions, classes, and auditions. This commitment to a child’s endeavors is a hallmark of homeschooling parents everywhere. The time-management flexibility available to them is a significant reason to homeschool – not just for “entertainment” children, but for serious scientific and artistic children, who have a strong professional direction and want a head start on their careers.
Both Quinn and her mom (Perry Martin) agree the best part of homeschooling is the flexibility in schedule and curriculum.
Quinn began a homeschooling program through Trinity Pacific Christian School in Thousand Oaks, California in her fourth-grade year. Perry shared this about Quinn and her older brother’s move away from the classroom, “There was a little bit of a transition, I think there always is with kids. They were accustomed to being in a structured classroom environment every day.” She went on to say, “I immediately saw that we were much more flexible, and we could really focus on what they enjoyed doing, and doing things together.”
Homeschooling parents come to realize that in institutional schools, 60 to 80 percent of each school day is wasted on non-academic endeavors, such as classroom control. To achieve academic equality with school children only requires about two hours per day of homeschooling, since there are no control issues or interruptions by other students. This schedule leaves a significant amount of time for the student to devote to special interests. In Quinn’s case, that time has been filled to the brim with creative action and energy. She currently attends an independent study high school, but still has plenty of time to devote to her artistic endeavors.
A substantial part of the move to homeschooling was Quinn’s serious dedication to the arts. At eight years old, Quinn was already spending a considerable amount of time and effort training her voice with most evenings spent in rehearsals and performance in community theatre. Her mom wasn’t the only one who recognized Quinn’s talent. At the recommendation of an entertainment industry veteran who happened to see Quinn in Annie, the Osbrink Agency signed Quinn.
Another benefit of vital importance to Perry is the added focus on quality family time. The Martin family makes sure to unplug and sit down together for dinner. Perry advises, “Whether it’s a vacation or a meal together, eliminate the electronics and video games and have fun together.”
Homeschooling has also had a positive effect on Perry’s quality of life. Before, Perry was extremely busy with the school council, PTA, and various other activities. Now, she is equally busy but is happier doing things that directly benefit her children.
Perry advises parents to teach their children the skill of evaluation so when they go out into the world they have the ability to see all sides of things. She commented, “Whether it comes from a textbook or a teacher, encourage them to ask questions, dig deeper to understand the options.”
Quinn confidently says that homeschooling has given her an edge in early career achievements. She likes to be able to manage her work. She says, “I can choose what I want to do with my time. I can work really hard one day and get all my school work done so the next day I can concentrate on other things that have to do with my career.”
“I feel like I have more of an open choice when making friends. I can make friends in other areas of my life, not just at school,” says Quinn.
Measure for measure, homeschooling hits the right note for the Martin family.
Written by Andrea DeLesDernier and Michael Leppert