Emma and founder of Kallos, Dorothea talk about how she met her fiancé, Jasper and why she said yes.
Tying The Knot
Emma: I also understand that you’re engaged right now and you’re getting married next year. Congrats! How did the two of you meet? Were you dating as a homeschooler or were you done with school when you met?
Dorothea: We grew up in the same youth ministry.
The way my church youth system worked before it got revamped was we were grouped according to our schools, so for example I used to be in Damien High so all the schools in the central area were grouped together and we have cell groups within the area. So his name is Jasper, and he was in another area. Because of the distinction in the areas, there weren’t many opportunities for different areas to merge or interact. I only knew him because he was the best friend of a leader in my cell group.
I think when we were all younger we all added random people on Facebook, and you don’t know who the person is so we recognized each other but we didn’t really interact. I knew about him because people I know say really good things about him, like he’s a very nice guy or he writes very well and everything. And I think those things stood up to me because I have a preference for guys who have a linguistic flair or appreciate the arts. After he went into the Army, our friendship grew over the years.
When he told me that he had feelings for me when we were around 20 we decided to date for a period of time first and just to get to know each other on a deeper level before we make any commitment. We both had similarities like how we pursue certain things, our values, and our convictions. And I think that was why in the end I felt pleased when he asked me officially whether I was willing to commit to this full time, not just as a dating thing. When I thought about it and prayed about it I felt peace and the assurance to say yes to it.
The Kallos Story
There was a period of time where these two other girls in my church used to home-school together almost every day. There was one day when we were at McCafe in the middle of a study break and suddenly one of them just asked me “What is one dream that you have?” and I suddenly got a reminder that many years ago when I was so young, I’ve actually had this mini dream of wanting to start a Christian girls magazine. So I shared it with both of them and one of them said that she likes to write and she was interested in girls’ ministry. The other girl because of her character and everything she said then let’s just do it, what are we waiting for? So we were like oh okay sure.
It was quite crazy because at that point in time, we were really young, around 15, 16, and 17. The 15-year-old girl was the one who said let’s just do it, don’t think so much. At that moment we were really excited and I think her enthusiasm rubbed off on us so we just said oh let’s just do it.
Actually, on the spot it wasn’t very fancy or anything but we started coming up with different names for the magazine. Something that really resonated with us was that all of us wanted the magazine to speak about beauty because beauty means something to a lot of females. I think in this day and age there’s just a lot of emphasis on exterior beauty, but nobody really speaks about the importance of inner beauty, so we wanted to target both.
We started going on Google and finding what were different names for beauty, like in different languages. A lot of weird stuff came up but after that, we saw the word Kallos, and the three of us were really drawn to it. Kallos means beauty in Greek, so after the three of us felt a resonation with that word we just thought let’s just go ahead with it.
Emma: The stereotype for homeschoolers is that if you’re homeschooling you don’t have friends. I do think that it’s a little bit challenging to make friends as a homeschooler because there just isn’t much of an opportunity, for me at least, to leave the house. Except for church on Sundays and Saturdays and the occasional sports activity. Since you came from a public school, was it hard to leave your school and friends to come into this smaller homeschooling circle?
Dorothea: At the beginning, it did feel a little weird because I grew up in kindergarten all the way to sixteen in the public school system. It was like waking up to a system every day, and you have a class of at least 35 people. So even if you’re not close to every single person in the class, there are still maybe 5 that you’re close to, that you see very frequently.
It really did feel quite weird at the beginning, when I woke up and realized that I didn’t have to go to a class anymore. I didn’t have to wear a school uniform anymore and I wouldn’t see these consistent faces anymore. I didn’t feel really sad, mostly because I was so excited about this new season of entering the homeschooling community.
For me, what really helped was the two girls that I mentioned from my church. At the beginning, we wanted to make it a fixed thing, to study together so it doesn’t get lonely for us individually. After a while, when it became a habit, it just became part of my homeschool routine. They kind of became my classmates. It was really quite strange.
I also started taking advanced placement courses with this college in the U.S. It was a virtual classroom where there was a chatbox at the side, so you can see all your classmates’ names. Nobody switches on their camera because they’re all so shy. So we can hear each other but we cannot see each other. Somehow we still all got to know each other, because part of the advanced placement course is that you’re supposed to read each other’s work, then edit it and send it back.
It felt like I was getting to know a classmate through reading the stuff that they write, like having a sneak peek into who they are and what their personalities are like. Just that I don’t ever get to see them in person. But we added each other on Facebook and Instagram.
My idea of classmates changed quite a bit after I left school. It became these two girls that I see on a more consistent basis and a whole class of virtual friends from America that I would never get to meet.
In terms of loneliness, I really didn’t feel it that much, maybe because with Kallos at the side, that was something that took up a lot of time, which I invested a lot of time and energy in. I didn’t really have a lot of space where I just sat at home and thought ‘what do I do now, should I hang out with this person or not?’ Every single day was quite dynamic and quite different. I think what would help if any homeschooler feels a bit lonely on this journey, is to try to find a community.
Try to kickstart new habits, like maybe committing to meeting once a week to study together. Or even meet to do something together, even if you don’t study together. And these consistent habits, after a while, when it gets to become part of your routine, like a part of your homeschooling life, makes the journey a bit less lonely.
Follow up interview (2023):
1. What do you do now?
Dorothea: I am currently a stay at home mum to an 18-month old infant. I do freelance work, teach English to primary school students, and work on a small business that I own in my free pockets of time or when my infant is asleep at night.
2. Compared to the last time you were with us, what has changed?
(Since you mentioned that what changed is basically what I do now, it would be the same answer for as question 1)
3. Do you have tips or tricks for teen homeschoolers who want to continue homeschooling?
Dorothea: Enjoy the schooling process! The years of having to study might seem long but they really do fly past without you realizing. Be curious about the world, take efforts to explore different interests, and always give your best in whatever you do.
Use your time wisely. As a homeschooler once, the biggest privilege I felt that I had was time. However, time was also the biggest thing that was easy to take for granted of and squander away easily. Set clear and realistic goals and expectations on what you want to achieve and use your time wisely to achieve them.
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