I am thrilled to present another homeschooled high schooler that has found success! Elisha is a young lady who is trained as an herbalist. She has her own business at Under the Herb Tree and sells “herbal concoctions from organic fair trade and/or naturally home grown herbs, local beeswax, organic butters, essential oils, tinctures, glycerites, and everything” else in between! So… let’s meet Elisha…
Hello, Elisha. We are looking forward to getting to know you a bit. We understand that you were homeschooled.
Did you ever attend public school or were you entirely homeschooled?
I never attended public school, my parents decided to take my older sister out of public school and homeschool when she was in fourth grade, she was eight years older than I was so I was homeschooled from pre – k to highschool.
What exactly is an Herbalist and what do they do?
Websters Dictionary describes an herbalist as 1. one who collects herbs, 2. one who deals in herbs. In my own words an herbalist is someone who studies herbs and their healing powers, makes salves, teas, poultices and many other healing remedies. I personally love doing all of that, plus I grow my own herbs. I also do Farmer’s Markets on the weekends to sell my products and get my name out to the public, but the thing I like to do most is free to the public and that is talk about herbs and their healing powers. We of course are not a substitute for a Doctor.
Please tell us a bit about your business and it’s mission.
My business is centered around Christ and aimed at the family, our motto is “Healing the Family Naturally”. I look foward to becoming a wife and mother one day and having lost my mother to inflammatory breast cancer at the age of eight I know many of the responsibilities that come with that title already, so in knowing that I try to make products for wives and mothers who have a busy schedule but would like to have things on hand that are a natural alternative to running to the doctor for every scrape and bruise.
What led you to choose to become an Herbalist?
Well, I believe it was divine intervention and my Mother. I happened to be cleaning off a shelf that had many of my Mom’s books still on it, as I was flipping through to see which books we would keep and which to give away I came across an Apothacary book from the early 1800’s that had been reprinted in the 80’s. As I flipped through it I thought “I wonder why Mom had this? It looks interesting….hmmm, healing people with plants?” it intruiged me so much I kept it. I think I read that book five times through, I was so interested in it all that I decided then and there that I was going to become an herbalist. I just didn’t see any other option for me, it just fit me like a book cover.
How do you feel that being homeschooled prepared you for becoming an Herbalist and businesswoman?
Being homeschooled prepared me in so many ways. First, it made me who I was. Second, I had so many opportunities to experience things hands on that I know many public and private schools alike do not offer or if they do it is very limited. Third, It taught me that if I didn’t know something to look it up, study it, and become informed. Fourth, homeschooling allowed me to be outside, to work on my grandparents farm, and many other opportunities at times when others had to be in school, this was part of hands on training and I think this really had a part in me being interested in herbalism.
Do you feel that being homeschooled gave you an advantage that being traditionally schooled might not have?
Yes, I do and I thank my Dad for continuing to homeschool all five of his kids after my Mom died…I might have made it through public school, but I definitely wouldn’t be the woman I am today and I know I wouldn’t be an herbalist.
What made you choose to go straight into business rather than going to college first? Was this even a conscious decision?
I never wanted to go to college after high school, I was way to busy with house work and keeping my family fed. But, after I got into the groove of things and I made the conscious decision to become an herbalist I studied and studied (which I still do). I actually started my business last year (Jan. 2011), I had been an herbalist for about three years (I think) and I just really had a heart for the ladies in our church who wanted to do things naturally but just didn’t have the time so after making several balms and salves as Christmas gifts for them I decided I would just turn it into a business for all those Mom’s and Dad’s out there struggling to do things naturally.
What advice would you give to homeschooled high schoolers as far as how to decide what to do with their life after graduating?
Do something you love, and if you don’t know what that is yet then seek it out. Don’t think that college will get you any and everywhere, business owners will often pass over a college degree to hire someone with experience. So go out and experience. If you love wood working, then apprentice under a master craftsmen, if you love herbs, apprentice under an herbalist and if in a case such as mine there was no one there to apprentice under then get as many books from the library as possible, read up and try your hand at it.
If you believe college is the only way, then go for it. But remember that experiencing something is a lot better than just recieving it by ear. If possible work somewhere that will have something to do with your chosen vocation. Remember this is something you’ll be doing for the rest of your life, so choose well.
What advice would you give to their parents?
Give your kids advice, many times we don’t know what we want or what we’re good at. You have trained us, lived with us, descipled us, disciplined us for 18+ years, don’t stop just because the federal government says I’m an “adult”. We want your say in the matter (no matter what we say), so don’t be afraid to let us know what we are good at and what you feel might be a good vocation for us. We respect your opinion a lot more than you think.
Is there anything that you would do differently, in regard to post graduation decisions, if you could?
I would definately would become an herbalist as soon as I got out of highschool instead of waiting until I was 19. But otherwise I don’t think I would.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to our questions! Many blessings to you and may your business and ministry prosper!
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been an education professor for over 17 years. She is also a pastor’s wife, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 9-15) in a sweet tea sippin’, wrap around porch sittin’, sweet southern Georgia town. Jamie is also a contributing author at Online Education for Kids and MomSCHOOL