Children have all kinds of dreams for when they grow up—some realistic, some a bit of a stretch. My daughter once dreamed of being a ninja warrior princess, but her eyes have since been opened. However, for some kids, their pursuit of dreams could actually become a reality with some support and life adjustments from parents and families.
In the case of social media sensation and musician Justin Burke, his pursuit of music was made possible by his parents making the decision to homeschool him using K12 curriculum. This lifestyle shift enabled Justin to devote himself to both school and music—instead of having to choose one over the other.
Fast forward, and now Justin is a student at Baylor University, and he has already debuted a chart-topping album on iTunes. We had the opportunity to interview Justin, and here’s what he said contributed to his pursuit of dreams paying off in a real way.
Learning Liftoff: When did you first know you had a gift in music?
Justin Burke: I’ve been blessed to be from a very musically inclined family. My parents have videos of me drumming complex beats on pots and pans when I was two! After that, my parents got me a junior drum set, and I began lessons from my dad. I then picked up piano, guitar, and became interested in producing and learning to sing in my teens. I was never naturally gifted at singing, so I had to really work at it. I remember days where I would literally just sit in my room and do vocal exercises for hours. Going through the process of learning to sing taught me a very valuable lesson in hard work.
LL: What turned this interest into a dream?
JB: Pursuing creative endeavors like music has always been a goal of mine. I definitely thank God all the time to be in a position to share that creativity with others and get great response back. I knew from the beginning that it would take lots of hard work. I owe a lot of my success to my parents being open to homeschooling. Without having the flexible schedule to hone the skills that I needed, I would never have been able to be in the position I am now.
[Tweet “”I owe a lot of my success to my parents being open to homeschooling.” – @iamJustinBurke”]
LL: How did homeschooling with K12 curriculum turn into a viable option to help you pursue this dream?
JB: Homeschooling definitely gave me the time to develop these God-given passions and skills to a level I could never have otherwise in a regular schooling program. One of my dreams was to successfully release a self-produced album, “Sound Of The Sunshine.” I was able to chart it as a top number three album on iTunes as well as millions of streams on social media and radio play on one of my singles “Run Away With You.” Homeschooling played a big role in the success of the debut album. K12 curriculum was very engaging and really held my interest well. K12 also prepared me well for taking college classes at the community college near me when I turned 16, which helped me enter the university a year ahead. I absolutely recommend it!
LL: What has been your biggest obstacle?
JB: Wow, I have had plenty. I’m a visionary, so I have many ideas, interests, goals, and good causes I want to be a part of. My number one obstacle has been staying focused on one project at a time. Sadly, there are only 24 hours in a day!
LL: Did you ever doubt yourself?
JB: Of course! Being in social media hype can cause us all to feel insecure at times if we compare ourselves to others. Using my influence to make a difference greater than just my own personal success or fame is what keeps me motivated. At the end of the day, no matter how many people like my content, it really means nothing if I’m not actually making a difference in people’s lives. I know how easy it is to slip up into getting my self worth in relation to how many “likes” I get on social media. My main mission right now is to spread the message that every one has immense value to God no matter what others say online or in person.
LL: What advice would you give to other kids out there who are dreaming big?
JB: With God a part of your dreams, there is no limit to what you can do! Dream big enough to include making a difference in others’ lives for good, and not just your own. I have recently launched a website called LoveOutspoken.com, where my team and I can give more one-on-one support to those who are struggling with specific things and need extra encouragement, or someone to just listen and care. This has a global outreach, which is really awesome! I also lead a Love Outspoken Facebook group for youth where members share only positive uplifting things and offer prayer support and friendship among the members. I feel like since God has blessed me with such a broad influence online, I need to steward this influence wisely and encourage as many people as I can. That makes a dream worthwhile! Keep in touch with me! My social handle is @iamJustinBurke on every platform.
[Tweet “”Dream big enough to include making a difference in others’ lives for good.” – @iamJustinBurke”]
Does your child have a dream like Justin? If you are inspired by his story to help your child focus on this passion, then consider online learning as a way to encourage and enable this dream to become a reality! If K12 or homeschooling has helped your kids in their pursuit of dreams, comment below. We’d love to hear your stories!