This week, I am proud as punch to introduce you to Isabella Taylor, a young power-house of energy and creativity. She serves as a wonderful example of what is possible when we offer quality, intensive, real-life learning that is infused with student ownership and mixed with a hefty dose of the arts. Last month I posed some questions to her exploring her unique education and pursuits. I will offer her bio first, followed by our interview. Be sure to check out her blog and her fashion design website. Later this week I will share her story from her parents’ perspective. Stay tuned!
Isabella Taylor Bio
Isabella Taylor is 10 years old and lives in Austin, Texas with her Mom, Dad and dog, Star. She is honored to be a member of Mensa and a Davidson Youth Scholar. Currently, she feels privileged to partake in an unconventional education that her parents customized for her needs and interests. She attends a local private high school for some classes, participates in online courses and has private tutors at her home while drawing on the expertise of her father and mother. Her family travels extensively with her because they feel through these experiences; the reach of a living classroom is that much deeper.
She is a ferocious reader and adores painting, writing poetry and designing clothes in her spare time. She has had the opportunity to perform her poetry on local TV and other venues. Isabella has held two successful art shows in Austin, TX. She has written two books of poetry and a short novel during National Novel Writing Month. Isabella feels privileged to be a poetry editor and staff writer for Amazing Kids! Magazine and a board advisory member for Creative Kids Magazine. She has won numerous national and international poetry, art and fashion awards. Isabella looks forward to pursuing all of her creative outlets. She is especially excited about the launch of her new fashion label, Isabella Rose Fashions.
Isabella, you used to attend a brick and mortar school, then you homeschooled, and now you’re doing a wider range, including some online classes, some homeschool, and some brick and mortar. Can you talk about these experiences? How do you feel about the various modes of learning? What are your favorites, and what hasn’t worked, and why?
I did go to a private school for five years before stepping into homeschooling. What I like the most about homeschooling is the variety of ways to learn. I take online classes, have private tutors, attend a private high school for some of my classes and just work on my own. For me, this is the ultimate way to learn, and if something is not working, I can change it. It is great to have a lot of flexibility so I can spend more time on painting, designing clothes and writing poems.
I imagine a lot of people will want to know how you have time to pursue all the amazing art you do and keep up with more traditional school subjects like math, history, and science. Can you talk about that?
I have more time to work on my creative activities since I am not in school the entire day. I try to get my academic classes done in the morning and then I have every afternoon to pursue my passions. My schedule is blocked so I only have certain subjects once or twice a week. Friday is my day to catch up on anything that I need to or work on a painting or sew.
How much in charge do you feel of your own education? Do you help make your own goals? How much control do you have in what you study?
This has been the best part of learning for me. I have a lot of say in my education and my schedule. I own it. I sit down with my parents and discuss what I think I should tackle each semester and then we make a plan. I know that there are certain core subjects that are not up for negotiation, but the content or how I want to learn it is. That makes a huge difference to me. I feel like I learn differently sometimes and need to learn a topic in a nontraditional way.
What have your parents done for you to help you pursue your creative passions?
Since my parents are not artists nor do they sew or write poetry for that matter, they have put me in touch with people that can. My Mom takes me to the art store to get supplies or fabric stores to look at fabric. My Dad always supports my creative undertakings too. I am really lucky because they listen to what I want to do even though it is quite foreign to them. When I told them I wanted to learn to sew to make my own clothes, they really took me seriously and signed me up for a sewing camp.
Talk about your upcoming fashion line. What has that experience been like? What are you learning from this? Are you just doing the design work, or are you involved in the business end as well? When and where will people be able to buy your clothes?
Of course, I am super excited about my new fashion line. I have learned so much about design and production. My parents handle the money part, but I am learning what things cost to produce. It has been a very involved process. I am hands-on with the fit model in my designs. It has been a slow but very fun experience so far. It takes a lot of time to start a clothing line. Some of my clothes will be for sale soon, but I am going back to the drawing board to revamp my Spring line again and bring it out fully for 2013. There were certain things that I needed to add and fix. It really is an ongoing process. I hope to have my clothes available online and in a few small specialty boutiques to start with.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you for including me and my family for an interview on your fantastic blog!!!