Teaching Economics & Business Management in Real Life
Running a family business helps homeschoolers experience real-life business finances in addition to home economics. Learn about homeschool family businesses.
Rarely in life is the cause of a problem also the solution, but for several homeschooling families, this has been true. The nature of homeschooling usually requires parents to be solely responsible for their child’s care during the day. Aside from working opposing shifts, many homeschool families have had to either live on one income or find a way to make money from home.
The homeschool family business is generally born from a combination of a collective family passion and the practical need for more money. Homeschool supplies, ballet lessons, summer camp, girl scouts, and everything else kids want to participate in can become expensive.
Teaching kids financial responsibility is important. A homeschooled family might use a savings or checking account to teach kids how to balance their budget. Having kids participate in the family’s finances helps many mothers battle the “I wants.” For example, if an 11 yr old wants a pony she can research the costs of horse ownership, compare that to the family’s variable expenses in the budget and either find a way to afford a pony without starving her siblings or decide she’d rather just play with the horses down the street.
Providing a real-life education, however, might also mean involving children in the family’s income. Entrepreneurial homeschool families have been maintaining family businesses for years. In fact, homeschool families created many of the homeschool curriculum products on the market like English for the Thoughtful Child and Sonlight. Used curriculum suppliers and homeschool catalogs, like Timberdoodle and Rainbow Resource Center were also started by homeschooling families in an effort to share their resources, bring in extra income, and teach business skills to their children.
Homeschool Family Businesses
Janice Hedin and her husband lobbied for Washington State’s homeschool law in 1983 and also helped her family-run businesses selling fireworks every summer. Her son, as he grew older, was also bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and had his own website selling paintball supplies as a teen. He has since run other businesses, and as an adult, the experiences he learned in the family business have shaped his life. Teen homeschool entrepreneurs have time to follow their dreams.
The Phelps family in Kansas established the Jubilee Academy in 1993 and has added an additional pursuit to their repertoire, a site that distributes free unit studies. The Well Trained Mind website keeps a list of businesses owned and operated by homeschooling families on their website. Most of the businesses listed are homeschool curriculum suppliers and independent book publishers. However, as Janice Hedin’s example illustrates, the possibilities for a homeschool family business stretch far beyond selling educational materials.
Many homeschooling mothers have found web-based employment to be the answer to their financial situations. Working at home and Homeschooling are not uncommon practices.
Aside from learning business skills, sharing a business partnership can teach children how to make financial decisions, how to govern others, how to maintain a professional image, the difference between marketing and advertising, how to conduct market research studies, and even how to program a cash register. The logistics involved in running a business are always more than the entrepreneur predicts, yet they provide a real-life education that no textbook can reproduce.