I am homeschooled, and part of my homeschooling involves working for my Dad on this magazine. It has been a good learning experience for me. Not only have I learned how to work hard, but I have learned a lot about computers and writing.
Ever since Dad started Backwoods Home Magazine, Iíve worked for him in one way or another. Up to about two years ago, I labeled, stuffed, and stamped envelopes. I usually packaged our anthologies for mailing too. I always got to use the computer, usually playing games, but once the magazine grew a bit and we got a few more employees, I used the computer more often.
Since most jobs at this office have to do with the computer, Iíve learned many programs. Lately I have been teaching Linda, one of our employees, how to use Quark XPress, the desktop publisher program we use to make this magazine. She is typing in all of the zucchini recipes that readers have been sending in so we can publish them in a book later this year. I learned Quark XPress just by hanging around the office and asking my Dad and Lance, our associate editor, questions when I got stuck.
Another of my computer jobs is creating ads and editing photos using a program called Adobe Photoshop. Don Childers, our cover artist, has been teaching me that. Since he is a real artist, he can teach me things that only an artist would notice.
Annie Duffy, age 14
And, of course, I write this column, which helps me develop my writing skills. I also get credit for it with my English grade.
With the computers, I have access to the Internet. I can research stuff for my columns and for my schoolwork. I found some information about my goats, horse, and donkey too.
I also found some information about Veterinary Medicine, and since I hope to be a vet, I have been exploring these sections a lot. My goal is to have a business covering all aspects of animal care. Since I want to take full advantage of the preveterinary courses offered in highschool, I probably will not be homeschooled next year. Although I love to be at home, I think it will give me a good head start on my career.
My dad is buying a few acres close to my home where we will build our new office. We will also build a riding arena and a small barn. I hope to eventually locate my business there, too.
A fun part of working for my Dad has been traveling. My Dad and I have demonstrated BHM at many tradeshows in the western states, and a few in the east, to promote it. The shows are usually three days long, and Iíve had a chance to visit many places, such as Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Boston. I also get a lot of studying done in the car, by reading aloud to my Dad, who then quizzes me on what I just read. I usually read each section of my book three or four times, until I know it cold.
Since I am homeschooled and I work for my Dad, I also have a much more flexible schedule, which allows me to take trips and do things that normally I wouldnít be able to do. Things like hiking, training my animals, and night fishing.
Just recently I was offered a job exercising horses for a neighboring couple. Itís a job I really want, and thanks to my flexible hours, Iíll be able to take it.
Since my Dad is a writer, and our senior editor, John Silveira, is a mathematician, I donít often have problems with my homework. John Silveira is like a walking encyclopedia so I can almost always get answers to the questions I have.
The advantages of homeschooling over public schooling are obvious for someone like me, since I live so far from town. The advantages of working for the magazine at home are even greater. Iím getting to learn all aspects of running a business, plus I still have the freedom to do things I love.
If you are offered a chance to work in your family business, take it. I hope you get the chance to learn as much as I do.