MUHS diploma student won’t scale back education for her love of music

This story was published in the 2010-11 MU High School bulletin (July 2010).

Homeschooled in middle school, Kallen Bierly was set to attend a fine arts magnet school in Columbus, Ga., until she hit one major snag: Her new schedule wouldn’t allow for a three-hour block to practice violin.

For Kallen, that snag was a deal-breaker, and she decided to stay home to pursue music, which caused the family to scramble to find another solution. Luckily, a friend’s mother had researched online educational options and shared MU High School’s information with the Bierlys.

“The things that excited us were threefold,” says Kallen’s mom, Raelynn. “One, the price was reasonable. Two, the courses were interesting and not your average high school courses. Three, and this was major, her experience in orchestra and dance satisfied physical education and fine arts credits. And to add a fourth, MU kept all records and transcripts. Those four things were impressive, and I have worked myself out of a job.”

From Kallen’s perspective, taking MU High School courses has meant organizing her time in a way that fits her interests and aspirations. “It’s great, and I like it,” she says. “It’s an awesome way to do school. It allows you free time to pursue whatever you want.”

Kallen Bierly-Violinist
Kallen Bierly
Columbus, Ga

Photo by Marion Lambertus,
Columbus, Ga.

Because of the flexibility MU High School affords, Kallen not only practices the violin three hours daily, but also plays in the LaGrange Symphony, attends master classes at a local college, starts her academic year during a six-week summer music festival and receives dance instruction, which she has pursued since age 4.

“If I hadn’t had MU, I wouldn’t have been able to keep music as an option on a serious level or enjoy dance the way I do,” says Kallen, who is hoping to be accepted into a music conservatory. Potential minor studies include library science and/or political science, fields of interest engendered by MU courses.

Before taking an AP government course through MUHS, Kallen says she “didn’t know much about politics,” but that the course “really got me interested, and I loved the live online chats!” She’s also completed an AP English course and college-level algebra. In the fall, she’ll dual-enroll in both English and Spanish, thereby lightening her college freshman load.

“It’s been a win-win,” says Raelynn. “I couldn’t be happier.” She particularly likes MU’s high academic standards, flexibility, increased family time and being a part of her daughter’s education.

“I’ve appreciated being on top of what my child is reading and writing and what the curriculum is. This isn’t the same-old, same-old,” she says. “We are on the cutting edge of what we’re going to see a lot more of in the future.”