Ask the Grad, Homeschool
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Ask the Grad – Sarah Holman {and giveaway!}

Texas author and political aide Sarah Holman  tells how she feels about being a homeschooler in this week’s “Ask the Grad.” She shares with us God’s leading over the path of her life and why she is surprised to be a published author. Be sure to enter the giveaway for her novel, Destiny of One, at the end of this post!

One of Those Homeschoolers

Sarah Holman

I can see it in their eyes.  As I sit behind my desk, working on entering information into the computer and they talk to my co-worker, their eyes are glancing my way every once in a while.  I smile and continue my work.  As they turn to leave the office they turn to me and say, “You’re one of those homeschoolers, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am,” I say proudly.

“I thought so,” they say and leave the representative’s office.

As I turn back to my work I continue to smile.  It is fun that at 21, with no family around, people still identify my as “one of those homeschoolers”.  Is it the fact that I am polite to them and call them “sir” and “ma’am”? Is it the fact that I wear skirts and dress professionally, unlike many girls in the capital building?  Or did someone put a sign on my back when I wasn’t looking? There is just something about being a homeschooler that sets you apart from the rest.  Something that begins long before you are born.

The Road to Homeschooling

My parents were raised in non-Christian homes and went to public schools.  God brought some amazing people in their lives in their teens and twenties that led them to the Lord before they ever knew each other, and when the time was right he brought them together.

My parents were already considered odd by their families for being believers.  After reading Mary Pride’s book  The Way Home , my parents made the decision to take my older sister out of school and start homeschooling her, to the horror on many in the family.  But my parents stood firm, truly believing that it was what God had called them to do.

My parents’ method of homeschooling isn’t very orthodox, but it was perfect for our family.  Mom taught us the basics of math, science, English, and history, but all other subjects we explored ourselves.  Sometimes, even the basics we were allowed to do on our own, if we found something we were interested in and were learning on our own.

I loved being homeschooled, though I do have an aversion to math.  I learned to read early (at four) and have been an avid reader ever since.  I read not only the usual children’s stories and such but devoured a lot of history and biographies early on.  By the time I was 11 and had six wonderful siblings, I could be found often as not with a book in my hand.

The Road to Writing

It was at the age of 11 that I expressed the desire to write a book set in my favorite time period, the Middle Ages.  My parents encouraged me to go for it, expecting, I’m sure, that, like most children, I would soon get tired of my project and return to already written books.  I found something out about myself; I was/am a very driven person when it comes to certain things.  To the surprise of all I stuck with it for three years and at fourteen printed out my first manuscript: Shieham.

Don’t be expecting it on store shelves anytime soon; it wasn’t very good.  But it was good for something; it awakened the writer in me.  Over the next three years, as I finished high school and looked toward nursing school, I continued to write.  By the time I was 17 and graduated I had completed three more books and had ideas for many more.

At 17 God really began working in my heart through a writer’s conference and through different people in my life.  Although I had planned to become a nurse, it just didn’t feel like that was what God was calling me to do.  Enter Maria Morris, the main character for a book that I had just started called The Destiny of One.

Over the next year, Maria and I spent many hours together as I crafted a book that I knew from the beginning was different from all the others.  It was the first book in which I felt like a spectator, not a writer.  I felt like I was watching the story unfold and just trying to keep up.  Maria, like me, was struggling to find what God wanted her to do with her life and, like her, by the end of the book, I had my answer.

Although I had planned to be a nurse and write as a hobby, I found that God was calling me to write full time instead.  This was a hard realization for me to come to.  I loved writing, but I knew that my grandparents and other extended family members would be disappointed in me for my decision.  But, with the support of my parents, I gave up my ideas of a nursing career and started to take my writing seriously.

It is funny, as I continued to refine The Destiny of One and write the rough drafts of the next two books in the Destiny trilogy, God used them to teach me lessons. 2008 and 2009 were very hard years for my family and the Destiny books, and their main character Maria, became my escape.  Often I would write something, read it, and realize that I was putting down on paper the very things God was teaching me.

In 2010 things started to look better.  I showed part of my manuscript to some friends who encouraged me to publish the book.  With much prayer, I began to work hard on The Destiny of One to make it ready for publication.  I knew that even if just one person bought it, and through the story was drawn closer to God, it would be worth all my effort.

The Texas Capitol, where Sarah Holman works

As I worked hard on my book, I also found myself getting involved in a local political campaign.  I had been involved politics somewhat before, but this year I was encouraged to do campaign work.  I loved it.  My books began to take shape, so did the local race.

As I looked toward publishing the book, I felt like God was leading me to self-publish. In October, as I sent my book out to my amazing review team, I was block-walking every Saturday.  I was holding my breath and crossing my fingers awaiting the outcome of the race as well as what my reviewers had to say about my book.

The candidate I had worked for won the race in November!  Once more, he offered me a part time job in his office at the Texas state capitol.  I was so honored.  Life was good.  The only thing that was keeping me from being perfectly happy was that I was waiting the results of the review team. They didn’t come until late January and early February.

I opened the e-mail, scared at what I might find.  I knew that I needed to get people’s opinions.  I didn’t want to publish something that wasn’t any good, but it was still hard to ask people to tell me what they thought.  I loved my story; what if others didn’t?

I almost cried as I began to read the reviews.  Although most of them suggested some changes, all of them were very positive.  My book just might work.

As I started my new job, I also began the final revision of my book. The days between February and May seemed to fly by and be full of happy work.

The Road Ahead

The Destiny of One

On May 13, 2011, I published my book.  I have sold several copies and given away even more.  The biggest blessing I have received though, was from an e-mail where a girl told me how the book had helped draw her closer to God.  All my work on the book was justified.

As I sit behind my desk at work, and smiling at the fact that people can still pick me out as one of “those homeschoolers”, I can’t help wonder what God has in store for me next

Sarah Holman, a homeschool graduate, lives in central Texas.  When not pursuing her passion of writing, she can be found taking long walks, reading, sewing or spending time with her family. You can find out more about her at her blog www.destinyofone.blogspot.com, her books at www.thedestinyofone.com, or you may write to her at thedestinyofone@juno.com.

The Giveaway!

Sarah wants to give away a copy of The Destiny of One to a reader of WhateverStateIAm! Here’s a synopsis of the book:

Destiny – it’s a word that plagues Maria Morris. What does God want her to do with her life? Should she go to college or does God have other plans for her? When her parents go missing during a business trip, Maria embarks on a quest that will change her life forever. Trying to fight against an overbearing Milky Way Government, Maria travels to earth in search of a lost prince and some crown jewels. Her faith is tested, however, when a new law is passed. Will Maria be able to find her parents and the crown jewels before it’s too late? Is she strong enough to stand up for her faith even if it means never seeing her family again? Most of all, will Maria discover her true Destiny?

You can enter below to win your own copy of Destiny of One by doing any of these four:

1) Leave a comment below telling what you like best about “Ask the Grad” featuring homeschool graduates like Sarah Holman.

2) Post Sarah Holman’s giveaway on facebook, so your friends know!

3) Tweet about Sarah Holman’s “Ask the Grad” article and giveaway.

4) Move into the space age by giving Sarah Holman and Destiny of One +1 on Google +.

Winner will be announced tomorrow morning.

The Winner!

Congratulations to Maria Silva! You may get your own copy of Destiny of One at Sarah Homan’s website.

Giveaway has ended.

15 Comments

  1. Sarah, I’ve been blessed by all of the Ask-the-Grad posts, but I especially enjoyed yours. Your opening about how you are still marked as a homeschooler caught me, since I often feel the difference between myself and my co-workers. I’m several years past graduation myself, and have been blessed to find God’s chosen work for my life as well. While God’s work is not guaranteed to be easy, it is always good and will be beautiful in the years to come.

    What do I like best about Ask-the-Grad? The chance to feel a kinship with more of “my kind,” to see what other homeschool graduates have done with their lives (or rather, have let God do through their lives), and the opportunity to enter into their work through praying for them. Someday perhaps I’ll join in and add my own story!

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  2. Reading Ask the Grad gives me hope and help on this journey of home education! I love the insight of the young people; it helps to keep me focused on the true goal.

    Like

  3. homeschoolgraduate ~ it is so encouraging to see what God is doing in other homeschool graduates lives, knowing he do the same in ours.

    Suzanne Ruckman ~ I glad that sharing my story is helping you keep focused on such a noble goal.

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  4. Sarah, I was so blessed to read this interview. Your story is a true testimony to what God can do with a fully surrendered heart willing to be daring. Your faith continues to be an inspiration to me. I am so grateful for all that you have taught me, dear friend!! I love you and I absolutely loved reading about your homeschooling and writing journey! 🙂 ❤

    *please don't enter me in the giveaway as I already own The Destiny of One

    Like

  5. Maria Silva says

    I read Sarah’s story and I was moved for the message and the sincerity of it. My grandchildren are homeschooling and my granddaughter is writing a book like Sarah, I would love the opportunity of my granddaughter could read this book. Even if we don’t win the book I would like to buy it for her

    Love in Jesus
    Maria Silva

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  6. Rachelle Rea ~ I have been so blessed by your friendship, I am glad I can bless you in return

    Maria Silva ~ Your granddaughter are so blessed to have a supportive grandmother. I hope she enjoys The Destiny of One

    Like

  7. Oh wow. I love this. It is such a blessing to read about how things are turning out for a homeschool grad. We are just beginning the journey of homeschooling with our children and this came just when I needed it. Thank you! I would love to be entered into the drawing! Thank you!

    Like

  8. I like reading the Ask the Grad features because I can see how God uses all kinds of people and families. I find stories like Sarah’s fun in part because her direction after homeschooling is so different than mine . . . and yet, I identify – especially with that “one of those homeschoolers” designation. Oh . . . and I find it very interesting that her book takes place in a space travel context. I once upon a time started a story set in a similar setting . . . some of my work was lost in a computer crash 😦 but it sounds fun and interesting.

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  9. Mrs. Mary Joy Pershing ~ I’m so glad you liked it!
    Patricia Ann Lewis ~ computer crashes are no fun 😦 I had so much fun writing a book set in a time with space travel. I hope you will have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

    Like

  10. Pingback: July – at WhateverStateIAm | Whatever State I Am

  11. Pingback: Ask the Grad – Brittney Breakey | Whatever State I Am

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