“Home Forever” – The AmeriPlan Way

Carolee Sperry has found a way to be “home forever” working with Ameriplan. She is new to the homeschooling arena, but not to making money from home. This is a chronicle of her journey from towards working from home and homeschooling.

All About Carolee

My name is Carolee Sperry. I was born in the 1960s in Syracuse, NY. I graduated from Cicero High School in Cicero, NY. I have 3 children and 2 step- children of who lived with us. I also have a grandson who will be 2 years old in November. I graduated from college when I was in my early forties with a degree in Information Technology.

Although I was traditionally educated, I did have a brother and two uncles with hemophilia (bleeding disease) who rarely went to school. My grandmother pretty much homeschooled my two uncles, and they both turned out to be super-intelligent human beings.

Before my brother was school age, my friends and I used to play school with him using my 6 ft long chalkboard (just about the coolest thing a gal can have!) Before he started school, my brother was reading. As I said, he was often out of school due to “bleeds”. Yet he was a very smart kid. He was not homeschooled; he just attended public school whenever he could. He ended up quitting school at 16, but he did get his GED and did very well on the test. This was without full-time schooling.

I also have an older son who SHOULD have been home schooled, but back then who would have thought you could? He ended up hating school and getting into trouble. When he speaks of that time now, he said it was “so boring … they taught the same stuff over and over.”

Why I Chose Homeschooling

I will be homeschooling just one – my 12-year-old daughter. This will be our first year. She has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, which can be quite painful when it flares up. She has had pain in her hip where she could barely walk. Her fingers and wrists are affected the worst. She had a hard time doing the combination on her locker when her fingers were swollen.

Teachers in the middle school were not too sympathetic. The doctor had sent a pamphlet to the teachers describing how they could help like:

  • Allow more time to pass between classes and to complete work.
  • Keep a set of books in the classroom to save trips to the locker, which takes extra time trying to get the locker open.
  • Instead they would holler at her in front of the class and even at times sent her to the principal’s office for being a minute or two late. This was the final straw. My daughter, who is always there watching and learning when we do anything has hated school since second grade. And yet she knows so much more than most kids her age! Adults are always amazed at how nice she is and so mature (and social…) Her kindergarten teacher used to rave about how inquisitive my daughter was, how she was like a sponge just soaking up knowledge. Same for first grade.

Second grade rolled around, she started hating school, and her teacher recommended Ritalin! I am also frightened to death with the stories I hear and things I see at the middle school level. I would rather not have her there, thank you! So, that’s a little history on why I’m homeschooling.

I have a son (different from the previously mentioned one) who I swear should have been homeschooled, too! I was actually planning on homeschooling him, but listened to everyone else (i.e. “how will he get socialization skills?”)

He was bored in school, as well. We got him into the school systems alternative school two years ago where he HAS THRIVED! He is so intelligent he sometimes surprises me! He reads the paper everyday and likes subjects that made me shake in my boots in high school. He has three classes to take to graduate. Two are gym — can you believe that? Gym?

Homeschooling is the Right Choice for Me Because …

I work at home and I have always wanted to home school (don’t know why) I also hate that children in the public schools have to all learn the same things, the same way, and in the same amount of time. Why should children be rushed or held back? Why not let them go at their own pace. At home, you can do that.

And I am super-impressed with what I have read regarding state testing and SAT scores. Those who are homeschooled consistently have higher scores than public school students. And I believe I read somewhere that “Unschoolers” test highest of all! I find that amazing!

I have read the majority of books out there about homeschooling! My library card is getting worn out! The school gives a general outline of what topics to touch upon. I will also probably be joining LEAH, a homeschooling group. I also know two people who homeschool who I can cry to consult if I need help.

My “SO” (Significant Other), Ron is not sure about this whole deal, but I am always right in the long run, so … and even he praises how smart my daughter is, being she has helped him before. He is a diesel mechanic- the crazy guy you see on the side of the New York State Thruway and other places fixing Big Rigs so they can deliver our food and other supplies in a timely manner.

Night times and weekends, he is on call. When he has a “road call” on the weekend that is in a safer area than the thruway, he will often bring my daughter along. She is very interested in learning. Her “bio-Dad” is a truck driver (ironically.) She wants to be a truck driver like her Dad, and a diesel mechanic like Ron. Cute, huh? But to answer, he teaches her whether he looks at it that way or not!

I think that to be a successful homeschooler you have to believe in yourself! You were your child’s first teacher after all! homeschooling allows me to reinforce behaviors and beliefs that I want my child to learn, not what she would most likely learn from other kids!

I LOVE watching kids learn! I can’t wait to see how much my daughter will expand her mind given the chance. I love that my daughter can be comfortable in sweats and an old t-shirt if she wants, and doesn’t feel she needs a “label” to be accepted. Nor will she have the same amount of pressure to smoke, drink, do drugs and have early sex.

Since this is our first year, I know she will miss some of her friends. We live about eight miles outside of town, and many of them live in town. School was the only time she saw some friends. But that sure doesn’t mean that she’s locked away somewhere. My daughter is in Girl Scouts (yes, I am “lucky” enough to be the leader!), goes to the church youth group, and just started piano lessons.

Like I said, she can talk to anyone! She is social enough, thanks! Besides, how much socializing do they REALLY do in school? And who are they socializing with? Kids the same age. Kids today need to learn how to socialize with adults!

Working From Home

I think I have always wanted to be my own boss. I have tried several things in the past- real estate, a products company (2x’s), a toy party biz, and a biz writing letters to kids from Santa, Easter Bunny, etc … I just didn’t believe in the products enough to stick it out until I succeeded.

My mom was all for my working from home. My sister, on the other hand thinks I’m nuts! She wasn’t too supportive of my doing daycare, but later admitted she was a little jealous as she wasn’t around for her son. She has taken the supposedly “safe” route. Get a job, hope it lasts 40 years, so you can live on the money you saved up for years and years. If you lose the job…well …spend the money you have been saving for years early!

Ever since my second child was born, I have wanted to be home with my kids. I did home day care for about 10 years. That was a lot of fun, and gave my kids friend’s to play with everyday. But after a while, you burn out. I am a writer at heart, and started writing articles for a local magazine. I did half a dozen articles, then they got a new editor. I had one piece published after that.

I now have a home business with AmeriPlan. AmeriPlan is a 17-year-old Consumer Driven Health Benefits Company. I’ve been with them a little over 2 ½ yrs. I’ve been very busy with AmeriPlan, and now I blog about my biz and home life. When I am “very comfortable” financially, I’ll probably start doing a little writing again.

My family supports my working from home in various ways. My husband does so by spreading the word when he hears about someone needing an affordable dental or health plan. My daughter has helped me with putting contact info on my brochures, stamping envelopes, and she has even started running some ads online for me! She also gets to listen to my “self-help” CD’s when she rides in my car! Lucky her!

If You Want To Work From “Home Forever” You Should …

Before you decide on a work-from-home opportunity be sure to thoroughly check it out. I can’t tell you the people that had supposedly reviewed all information, talked to me, everything…then turn around and claim they didn’t know they would have to talk on the phone, get on the computer or work 2-3 hours a day (hello…how else do you make money?)

There really aren’t too many “free” business opportunities- you will most likely have to pay a small fee for supplies, products, etc … No company is going to give you all that for nothing- too many people fail to really work! SOOOOO many people want to work at home, but fail to have the self-discipline, or don’t realize they may not make $1,000 their first week! And they quit … The company would lose money if they gave the stuff to every person that said they wanted to sell their service or product!

So make sure you do your homework and look at your situation before investing in a company or project.

How I Get It All Done

I usually get up around 6 a.m. and answer emails and post some ads. Then I take a break to feed the animals – goats, chickens, ducks, a dog, 2 cats and various humans. Then hopefully, I get a few more ads posted before I do my “call backs.” Call backs consists of me returning phone calls to people that have inquired about health benefits or working at home. I work “here and there” depending on what else is going on that particular day.

I believe life is an education! Just learning to cook involves math and reading. Yesterday, we had to replace the handle on the toilet in the kid’s bathroom. As my oldest son was fixing it, my daughter was right there “telling him” how to do it – she had it figured out while he was getting some tools!

The biggest challenge that I have working from home is pretty much the same as being a parent — having time for everything. Working from home just adds a few extra “chores” like advertising, blogging, call backs, putting flyers around my community, kids, house…yadda-yadda

In my Free Time I …

I am a Girl Scout Leader and Literacy Volunteer (no student at this time.) I am looking into possibilities in town for my daughter. She wanted to volunteer in the daycare at the YMCA, but she is till too young.

Oh yeah, and occasionally I sleep. I watch an hour or two of TV late at night, but hate the TV on during the day! I like gardening and hanging out on my porch (where I am right now!) I enjoy walking, biking, gardening, my animals. That’s when I have time…
Working From Home Benefits My Family
I was actually able to go to Pennsylvania a few days EVERY week for SEVERAL months to help take care of my grandmother before she passed away – no boss would have let me do that. And because I am paid residually I still received a check, even when I barely worked!

Before my daughter was diagnosed with JRA last year, we had been to the doctors about 8 times in one month. She missed a lot of school, but I DIDN’T miss time at work! I brought work to the doctors, or did it later. No boss would have let me have all that time off.

Most recently, I drove my mom to get cataract surgery. She had some difficulties and has had to go back to the doctors every few weeks (5-6 times so far)- I was able to accompany her.

The freedom is great!

And when you get right down to it, once you pay for gas, child care, lunches at work, special clothes, etc … how much do you REALLY bring home?