Issue 32 | November 9, 2012 | Featuring Brett Levan

Not long ago, I spoke with a home schooling mom about her plans to prepare her son for the work-world.  She and her husband did not believe that sending their son to college for job-training was an economically sound decision because too many students emerge from their 4-year education with a degree, but also a huge debt, and no job.  The mom and her husband were both entrepreneurs and they had taught their son to be one also.  Ever since then, I was hoping to find a good example of a family who prepared a child for a career without using the college avenue.  Read about Brett Levan below.

INSIDE NARHS: What Counts for English Credit?

The English category requires 4 credits completed for high school graduation.  What kinds of courses work to satisfy the "English" credit?  Here is a list:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Literature
  • Vocabulary / Grammar / Spelling
  • Written, listening and oral skills
  • Speech
  • Research and reporting skills

Unit studies in English are possible.  Some exist in the form of organized studies published by others.  Courses can be self-designed by parents or students.  NARHS has outlined a course we call "Classics and Composition" in which the student reads 12 classics and writes a two-page paper on each.  12 classics + 12 two-page papers = 1 high school credit.

For lists of classic literature, see the new Resource Advisor or speak with your NARHS advisor.


Brett & GaryFor as long as he can remember, Brett loved to "hang-out" with his grandfather, Gary Levan, at the auto repair shop owned by the family.   Grandpa was the patient sort who enjoyed explaining all the procedures he did servicing car engines, and Brett loved watching.  It took a number of years before Brett's watching turned into working, but between the two, he was allowed to have guided practice with small steps here and there. 

Brett & Jay Brett's dad, Jay Levan, also worked in the automotive industry, first as an exotic car dealer, but later as an instructor for racecar drivers.  Brett was immersed in vehicular education whether he liked it or not.  Fortunately, it was a fit for his skills and interests.   By 9th grade, Brett put classroom education behind him to make more time for automotive interests.  His high school education fulfilled Maine state graduation requirements but also included some great self-designed courses consisting of growth in auto-reconditioning skills.  Little steps led to larger steps.  Brett needed a car to drive around, so he worked on getting a 1992 Nissan 240 SX working.  From there, Brett dove into serious automotive work.  His first major project was the complete rebuilding of a 1993 Nissan 240 SX from the ground up. It was stripped down to a bare frame.  Sound-deadeners were installed as the interior and body panels were replaced.   Then Brett pulled and disassembled the engine, to rebuild it with racing parts. At this point came a key commitment from the family.  They invested themselves in Brett's project realizing this could lead to a career - and it paid off.  Dad offered financial help.  Grandpa loaned the equipment and advice. As a result, Brett's growing work ethic, experience and expertise became unrivaled by others his age.  As if that wasn't enough, a friend suggested that he photograph the finished car and post it on Facebook. Super Street Magazine saw the pictures and asked if the car could be featured in their next edition. Since one thing leads to another, Brett was soon interning at a company that sells performance parts for cars, starting out in the shipping department.  By age 19, Brett has become the manager of that department. 

Nissan 240 SXReflecting on Brett's story reinforces the strong tie between passion and skill.  Family support is underscored again and again.  By the time Brett graduated, he had truly received an education, at many levels.   It reminds me of what I heard Steve Moitozo, the founder of NARHS, say on many occasions: "We may not educate children in the same way, but we educate them for the same thing.....adulthood."