Confidence comes in many forms. For sixteen-year-old Shelby Adams, her confidence comes from her willingness to try new things. Those have included art lessons at age 6, Tae Kwan Do lessons at age 11, and home schooling at age 13. Since then she has become an award-winning artist, a 2nd degree, level 4 black belt, and takes courses at Metropolitan Community College. For a soft-spoken teen, she has a drive and passion to help others that speaks volumes.
Edge: How did you become interested in Tae Kwan Do?
Shelby: I tried gymnastics, soccer, and tennis, but none of them kept my interest. My mom suggested Tae Kwan Do, and I loved it from the very first class. I go to Tiger Rock Academy, and I joined a leadership program there when I was 13. I was able to help teach classes, and when I turned 16 I was able to test to become a certified instructor. I passed it, and I love teaching the younger students. The kids are great, and it’s cool to watch them grow and mature.
Edge: How has Tae Kwan Do helped you personally?
Shelby: I was pretty shy when I started, and it’s given me the confidence and assertiveness to stand up for myself. Physically, it’s made me a lot stronger too. Plus it’s a great way to just wind down. If I’ve had a rough day, I can work it out physically.
Edge: What made you decide to try home schooling?
Shelby: A few of my friends were home schooled, and I thought it’d be fun to try it. My parents looked into it, and we decided to try it for one semester and see how it went.
Amy Adams: My husband, Roy, and I place a high value on learning and researched home schooling as an option. There are different curriculums you can choose from, and it doesn’t have to be one certain way. Once you know how to learn, you can learn anything you want to. Kids have different learning styles. Some kids fit really well into a traditional school system, and others don’t. There are lots of opportunities to do things to meet your child’s interests. She had been exposed to other kids who were home schooled, and the myth that you don’t get socialization is outdated.
Edge: Home schooling has obviously worked well for both of you.
Amy: One of my biggest concerns was the parent/teacher relationship. I thought it would create more conflict between us, but I was surprised how much it balanced itself out.
Shelby: It just works for us. It was a little stressful at first, but once we got into the swing of it, we just naturally switched back and forth. And taking classes outside of home helps too. My mom teaches me most of it, but I take math online and science classes off site. And I really like my classmates at Metro.
Amy: I don’t think we could be in the house together all day every day! (She laughs). But it’s been really nice. There’s so much flexibility in it.
Shelby: And I don’t have to get up super early in the mornings!
Edge: And you’re an artist too.
Shelby: I first started drawing at age 6. My older cousin drew and I wanted to be like her. Whenever I have free time I draw, or when I’m taking an art class. I like all mediums, but my favorites are pencil and ink. I’d like to have a career that’s somehow related to art. I’ve thought it’d be cool to open an affordable place for kids to take art classes. There are so many really talented kids who can’t afford lessons.
Edge: It sounds like you enjoy working with kids in a number of ways.
Shelby: I do. This summer I’m going to Costa Rica for the fourth time. We serve at a children’s home for at risk kids. I love going there, and always miss it. The kids get into your heart and stay there.
Amy: That’s one of the things I’m most proud of about Shelby. She has a heart for other people, especially the downtrodden. She has a righteous anger, and I’m glad she does. It’s what drives her to doing things like going to Costa Rica. She has always reached out to others and makes the effort to get to know people. She recognizes that valuing people is the most important thing in life.