Helping Teens Build Confidence, Interview with Mo Spell

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This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Helping Teens Build Confidence, Interview with Mo Spell.

Helping Teens Build Confidence, Interview with Mo Spell

Helping Teens Build Confidence, Interview with Mo Spell

Adolescence can be tough on teens’ self-esteem. However, teens need to believe in themselves enough to feel confidence in preparing for adulthood. That is why Vicki is so excited to talk to Mo Spell, today. Mo has the most marvelous story of helping her son find him his confidence!

Mo (Maureen) is the homeschool mom of seven kids (at recording times ages eight through twenty-one). She likes to say that she has been homeschooling “since the beginning”! She was a teacher by profession, but as a young professional she met a homeschool family. She was SO impressed by their educational choices, such as using living books for curriculum. She was inspired to start thinking about homeschooling, therefore, even before she had her first child.

Mo tried homeschooling with her firstborn and loved it. So, she kept at it and has currently graduated three of her children from homeschooling high school. She is currently homeschooling four kids. (With an elementary homeschooler, Mo will be homeschooling for a long time!)

Vicki was inspired to interview Mo, when she watched a YouTube of her son, Nate. On the video, he shared the ways he learned confidence, leadership and courage and then created his own career out of these skills.

Nate’s story is a two part story:

  • Nate’s part of the story

    • Nate is twenty-one, married, out on his own, still running his own business.
    • In junior high, Nate and his mom were butting heads (Mo says they are too much alike). She began to realize that her role as homeschool mom needed to shift. She needed to move out of the “homeschool boss” position to “homeschool facilitator” position with him.
    • In junior high, this was a bit challenging for Mo. She knew he needed to cover educational requirements but she found that he needed a different educational platform.
  • What it did for Mo, as a homeschool mom

    • Mo learned that she wanted to maintain a heart connection more than she wanted to be her son’s teacher. She learned to look long term: If the heart connection gets severed, the relationship suffers for a long time!
    • She also learned to evaluate how much she was making her son’s education about herself. After all, we moms have pressure to “do things right” or we will not be good homeschool moms. (We all know that pressure to keep up with the educational Joneses!) Mo had to do some wrestling with the Lord, asking Him,
      • “What if I don’t do enough?”
      • “What if I mess up?”
    • God taught Mo something dramatically important:
      • What ifs are just worry in the future!
    • She learned the humility of trusting God with her son. Therefore, she concentrated on giving him educational opportunities that helped him see what was useful to him in life. She allowed him to pass his courses with “Cs” if they were not important to him, while he went all out and earned “As” if he saw the benefit of the course.

How homeschooling worked to build Mo’s son’s confidence

Mo found the first point of educational leverage while Nate was in junior high. He loved gaming! When she calmed down about whether gaming was educational or not, she spent time with him learning about the gaming community. She gave him time to learn Photoshop, a skill that he used to make ads for other gamers- his first business! Mo documented this in his homeschool portfolio.

Through all that, his creative education grew as he began designing graphics for games. Of course, Mo had to continue to grapple with her “what ifs”! However, God continued to impress on her:

  • Her job was to emphasize their heart connection
  • And to help him build his talents and strengths

She kept trusting that the creative things he was learning in junior and high school were transferrable for the future!

Nate’s next business in homeschool high school was creating a magazine

He designed a magazine for fun. However, a company bought a couple of the issues of his magazine to be swag for their international convention. Then, all of a sudden, he is having conversations with professionals in the industry!

Mo certainly could not deny that education would happen. However, a homeschool mom is always concerned that enough conventional education is happening. So she prayed that God would send the right mentors and educational opportunities his way.

It turned out that two things happened:

  • Mo wanted more mentors and self-discipline for her son. That is when she found Civil Air Patrol! Nate and his dad joined. The CAP experiences ended up being a vital part of his training as a leader! (Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode about what military recruiters are looking for.)
  • Mo also found a business apprenticeship program near her where young people could learn business skills by hands-on, in-the-field experiences. Nate loved the program as his junior and senior year core education.
    • Public speaking is part of Civil Air Patrol and the apprenticeship training, so Nate was learning lots about speech-making! People began telling Mo how impressed they were at his abilities. When she attended one of his “business pitch” (think Shark Tank) speeches, she was amazed at how much he had learned!
      • In fact, he won an award that gave him space at a business incubator and mentoring from the entrepreneur who ran it.
      • He also won a competition for high school students doing business pitches (making it to state level).

Nate learned most in the areas he was interested in! He took ownership of his education. Mo had to learn to let go of the education SHE wanted him to have. She found it that as he took the lead, he succeeded!

Today, as an adult, Nate has his own video production business. He also works on projects in the gaming community. Because he has a Mom who helped him build his confidence, he has the courage to lead and succeed!

You can find Mo Spell at:

For other exciting stories about homeschool student entrepreneurs, check out these interviews:

Join Vicki and Mo for an inspirational chat about building teens’ confidence for success!


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