Welcome to VaHomeschoolers’ new blog series One Homeschool Life! Each edition will highlight an inspiring homeschooler (or former homeschooler) we think you should hear about. This month we shine the spotlight on Tyler Phaup; a former homeschooler from Beaverdam, VA.
Tyler, 19, has always had a fascination with building things– a love he inherited from his dad. At 4 years old, he received his first Lego kit and found that building with them was a way for him to express his creativity. That one kit was the beginning of a Lego stash that his friends thought must be the biggest in the world! (And it just may be since that’s all he asked for every Christmas and birthday.)
When Tyler and his brother Ryan began homeschooling in 2004, their mom Karen wanted to ease the transition from public school to homeschool. One of the ideas she implemented was to coach a Lego Robotics team which included some of their public school friends. The team went on to become the Richmond area regional champions by earning the Director’s Award, the Robot Performance Award and a position to compete at the state championships at VA Tech.
Over the years, Tyler’s interests expanded, but Legos continued to be one of his passions. In 2013, when Tyler began looking for summer employment, he heard about a robotics class conducted by a newly-created local franchise called Engineering for Kids. (Engineering for Kids introduces STEM subjects to kids between 4 and 14 using hands-on techniques.) As luck would have it, they were in need of instructors and Tyler landed the job. For a teen who has built with Legos since age 4, learned robotics and computer programming by participating in two years of the First Lego League program, and enjoys working with children, the job was like a dream come true. He’s been teaching computer programming and game design using Legos for just under a year now. In addition, he’s also teaching aerospace, chemical, electrical, & mechanical engineering.
Tyler fully appreciates his good fortune. “If you’d have told me when I was 12 years old that I’d one day be paid to play with Legos, I would have thought you were joking.”
By combining his favorite childhood past times with his desire to inspire the next generation of engineers, we think Tyler is a young man to watch!
If you know a homeschooler who you think other families would love to hear about, send us an email to let us know. And if you have your own budding Lego engineer at home, don’t miss our current Facebook contest. You could win a 4-pack of tickets to the 2014 Brickfair being held August 2nd & 3rd in Northern Virginia!