(Photo: Reuters/Pierre Ducharme)
With the Christian homeschool movement beginning in the 1970s, a generation of homeschooled Christians are now adults and have gained notoriety for their work. Here are five homeschooled Christians who are making a difference.
Tim Tebow became the only college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy when he was the starting quarterback for the University of Florida Gators in 2007. The next year he would lead the Gators to a national championship and take home the game's MVP award. He was drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos and also played for the New York Jets.
Tebow's parents were Baptist missionaries in the Philippines. His athletic accomplishments influenced a law passed in Florida that allows homeschooled students to compete in public school sports programs. Other states, such as Virginia, have attempted to copy the "Tim Tebow law."
Only 23-years-old, "Soul Surfer" Bethany Hamilton already had a movie made about her life. Ten years ago, the professional surfer survived a shark attack and was left without her left arm. The tragedy, though, did not stop her from continuing to compete.
"When people ask me what my faith in Christ means to me, I usually answer in just one word: 'everything!'" Hamilton wrote on her website. "This was true before the shark attack as well as after. And I truly believe that this faith is a big part of what did get me through it. It helps to know that even when you don't have a clue why something has happened in your life, someone up there has a master plan and is watching over you. It's a tremendous relief to be able to put your trust in God and take the burden off your shoulders."
Lila Rose founded Live Action in her living room when she was a homeschooled 15-year-old. Now 24-years-old, Rose has earned the ire of many pro-choice organizations. Live Action has exposed, often through undercover videos, much of the abuse, racism, misinformation and corrupt activity in the abortion industry.
In a 2010 interview with the Home School Legal Defense Association, Rose talked about how her homeschool education helped strengthen her advocacy for the unborn.
"Being homeschooled, I was taught to love the true, the good, the beautiful. I was given confidence in the classical education to pursue my dreams, pursue my passions. And, as I face the challenges of educating my fellow peers about abortion, and about the right to life for all people, many of the skills I learned, with that classical education I learned doing speech and debate through [the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association] came to the table and were very helpful in making an impact and reaching people with the message of life," she said.
Gianna Jessen's pro-life activism began at the age of 14 when she discovered that her cerebral palsy was caused when an abortionist failed to end her life in the womb with a saline abortion attempt. Jessen's story was the inspiration for the 2012 film, "October Baby."
Her activism was recognized by President George W. Bush in 2002 when he signed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she noted President Barack Obama's opposition to a similar bill in Illinois. "If Barack Obama had his way, I wouldn't be here," she said in a campaign ad.
Jessen is currently working on a career as a singer. One of her songs can be heard on the "October Baby" soundtrack.
Unlike the above, Akiane Kramarik's parents were not Christians when they began homeschooling her. The child prodigy's "visions from God," as she calls them, that began at age three, eventually, though, led her atheist mother and lapse-Catholic father to Christ.
The self-taught poet and painter has appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Good Morning America," and CNN. The inspiration for her art continues to come from visions from God after she prays, Kramarik explains.
"I have been blessed by God," she said. "And if I'm blessed, there is one reason and one reason only, and that is to help others. I am donating a big portion of money to charity and to combat poverty. I want to help people. I want people to find hope in my paintings and draw people's attention to God."
You can see some of her paintings on her website.