Regarding education, a growing 21st century awareness is this: One size doesn’t fit all.
More and more, educators and students are matching needs, interests and learning styles – whether through academies and magnet public schools, virtual learning, charter schools or home schooling. As Cinderella discovered, the right fit can ignite opportunities and transform dreams into reality.
For Callie Hopper, homeschooling K-12 proved the perfect match.
“In the early grades, we met in a group with other families in a sort of co-op,” Callie explains. “After about age ten, I began working with tutorials, especially in upper level subjects like English, math, and Spanish. We also met with other students at a local church for classes led by a teacher/home-school mom.”
The home school learning pathway provided Callie with a life-long passion for music, the flexibility she needed to pursue music opportunities, to avoid the limitations of a traditional school day and to work classes around such opportunities. It also allowed Callie’s mom, Joy Hopper, the chance to embed music and art into the curriculum in exciting ways.
Callie began violin lessons at age five and added guitar around age eleven. Following the pathway of many performers, she began singing in church and in her teens expanded to making appearances around her hometown, Columbia. Many opportunities were offered during what would have been a regular school day, but she could easily alter her classroom schedule, hop into the car with her Mom and, like many teen professionals, hurry off to perform.
In recent years, she has performed around Columbia, Franklin and Nashville, with appearances at Puckett’s (Franklin and Columbia), the Listening Room, Antique Archeology and Nashville’s famous Blue Bird Cafe, as well as weddings and farmer’s markets. A talented and reliable team of musicians, including Paul Rassett (banjo and mandolin), Chad Alexander (acoustic guitar) and Ryan Speakman (percussion), regularly back up her singing. She met these musicians during her junior year after winning vocal coaching at the Dark Horse Studio.
“I won the chance to work with Kim Henderson on vocals, and we really hit it off,” says Callie who, along with singing, was also writing her own songs. “Kim had worked at the studio before, and we talked to the owner about the possibility of my bartering work in the building for studio time.”
While she was helping and cleaning around the studio, Callie also had the chance to be around other music and recording professionals
“I was thrilled to be making those connections and to be around people who knew about making music and putting it all together. I connected with a sound engineer (Speakman) and his musician friends, and using my studio time, the four of us began working on an album of my songs during the fall of my senior year. I loved working in the studio. There’s something special and relaxing about it, even when you have long, tedious days.”
Once again, the unrestricted structure of home schooling allowed Callie a chance to adjust to the availability of her musicians and studio openings. That flexible school schedule and her bartering agreement meant that Callie could take her time working on the album and was not subject to a narrow “three days only” time frame for recording. However, even with the extended recording time, she recognizes the critical need to always “find people who love it like you do, who want to put in the same effort.”
The result was her first album, Notes on Love and Such.
“Just working with people who could make it happen and watching the album come together was something I had always dreamed of,” she says.
For the artist, the fun and satisfaction of the studio is balanced with the excitement of live performance. “Before I ever recorded, I already loved performing. When I’m on stage, I feel like it’s where I’m supposed to be,” she admits.
As friends graduated and headed off to college, Callie, with the support of her parents, prayed and contemplated about her next move. The answer was clear. The pathway was set. “This is what I want to do.”
Understanding the competitiveness of the field she has chosen, she has a track record of making good choices that help her move her career forward. From education pathway to career path, Callie clearly recognizes the perfect fit for her life.
Follow Callie’s website at www.calliehopper.com.