Homeschool Hero: Developing his Passion and Reaching for the

Homeschool Hero: Developing his
Passion and Reaching for the Skies
Follow me on the journey of Mikaël Cardinal, a junior
lecturer at the Université de Sherbrooke. Mikaël grew up
in Quebec with his four younger siblings. His parents
decided at the very beginning that they would
homeschool all their children, because they wanted to
pass on their beliefs to their children and to encourage
strong family relationships.
When asked to describe a typical day, Mikaël said that
the day would start with family time around the Bible.
Each month, the siblings would have a subject that they
would study together, and there was usually a team
project to do each day based on this common subject.
Then they would study certain subjects individually, such
as maths, French, and sciences.
Homeschooling gave Mikaël time to discover his own
unique interests and talents; he says that “one of the
main highlights from my experience was the possibility for
me to develop myself as a musician.” In high school, he spent up to four hours a day practicing
piano and preparing for competitions and exams. He is now using this talent in God’s Kingdom
as he plays on a worship team at his church.
Growing up, Mikaël was fascinated with planes—building LEGO planes, drawing planes, et
cetera. It is no surprise, then, that this love for planes became a lifelong passion for him: after
high school, he decided to get his degree in aeronautic engineering. His first step was to enter
Cegep and take a 2-year, pre-university program that included physics, advanced maths,
chemistry, literature, and philosophy, just to name a few. (In Quebec, attending Cegep paves
the way for getting into engineering or medical programs at university.) While working towards
his bachelor’s degree, Mikaël was able to be part of a team that was redesigning a new
composite wing for the SA160 aircraft! The team was responsible for designing the wing,
analyzing the aerodynamics and structure of the wing, selecting materials for the wing, and
designing the manufacturing process.
Mikaël didn’t stop with a bachelor’s degree; he is now working on his master’s degree in
mechanical engineering, and this past January he was able to present his master’s degree
work at the AIAA SciTech 2014 conference. This conference is the largest world event for
aerospace research, development, and technology. In Mikaël’s words, “The work that I
presented is related to developing mathematical models of unmanned aircrafts, based on
in-flight data. Basically, I developed a model that predicts the aircraft dynamics, based on
experimental measurements of the pilot's inputs as well as experimental air data and inertial
So how did homeschooling affect Mikaël’s university experience? When in high school, Mikaël
basically taught himself; his parents provided guidance when necessary, but he scheduled his
own learning activities. He says that this ability to teach himself has been a huge help in
university. Also, his parents continuously encouraged him to develop his skills, and this has
given him a drive for high academic performance. He said, “Being encouraged to develop my
passions, and to develop academic skills through those passions, is the greatest thing that
homeschooling brought me.”