When asked what she does, Angela Baker responds enthusiastically, “I do people!” She sees genius and beauty in every person and passionately believes that education should be about discovering and growing that genius. This life-long passion led her to seek alternative education for her children. She is an authentic, down-to-earth home educator of twenty-one years who knows the ups and downs of her “business.” Angela is the mother of seven children. She and her family live on a one-acre farm in rural Erda, Utah, where the main crop is children. Angela is a well-loved speaker whose talent for weaving stories with principles creates a memorable experience for her audiences. She is also an experienced parent coach and youth mentor. In order to inspire youth to dig deep and engage in a rigorous scholar experience, Angela founded Erda Youth Leadership Academy. She is a mentor for Elevation—Williamsburg Academy’s outdoor high school leadership program—where she invites youth to challenge themselves by climbing rock walls and rappelling over cliffs. She is a certified relationship coach through Townsend Relationship Center. Her formal education includes a bachelor’s in family science and a master’s in education. A cherished highlight of her homeschool journey and years of motherhood is the happy hours of reading to her children. She enjoys quiet study, fiery sunsets, family dancing in the kitchen, climbing mountains and rock walls, and refreshing moments of just sitting.
Now a strong veteran home educator of twenty years, Angela was once an insecure young mother. She had felt home schooling was right and had started off enthusiastically enough, but a few years into it she wasn’t so sure. She had many questions like: What was she thinking? Was she doing enough? Would her children be okay? What were family, friends, and neighbors thinking? Why was her eight year old struggling with reading? Why did her children resist “doing” school? Where had the love of learning gone? Would they be okay socially? What should she focus on? How does she balance baby, school, and house? Why was she so tired all of the time?
Angela was burned out and ready to quit. She was searching for the answers to her many questions and struggling to know what to do. Looking back at that time, Angela says, “This was a crucial turning point for me. It was because of my insecurities and struggles, not in spite of them, that I was inspired to a deeper purpose and a bigger vision for my work as a home educator.”
So what would empower a discouraged home schooling mother to keep going and fuel her journey for so many years? That’s what Angela would like to share with you—the vision and the journey. Along the way, she realized that the education model she gleaned as a public school student would not be enough to match the vision she had for her children’s education. She would need a different model and different methods in order to reach for the vision. Doing the same thing, she knew, would create the same results. She wanted different results. The journey is about how she changed her thinking, perspectives, and methods in order to reach for the bigger vision.
Angela believes that every human being is born to dream and yearns to create. This is because of who we are as God’s children. Education should be the way we fuel those dreams and open the ways to creating a better world. The call to be a home educator is the call to inspire dreams and show the way to making them happen.