Homeschool to Entrepreneur Writer

The love of reading

Katie is the youngest of four children, all homeschooled by their mom. From the time Katie was a baby, she loved books. Her older brothers and her parents read to her every day. Bible stories and Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories were among her favorites. She also loved stories about animals, as well as children’s books such as the Dr. Seuss books.

As her reading skills grew, so did her love of reading. She loved the internet, as it gave her an endless amount of material to read on all subjects.

young-girl-computerDuring her younger years, Katie also discovered she enjoyed writing as much as she loved reading. Although she was quite adept at most of her school subjects, she wrote with great enthusiasm. Her mother noted that whatever Katie’s future held, her writing skills would be a huge asset to her. As a teen, she explored possible career paths, most of which included college. Her mom helped guide her, but Katie was not yet sure what direction to take.

The skill becomes the career

While on the internet one day reading some blogs, Katie came across a blog on how to become a blogger. She searched for more information on blogging, then on other forms of writing. Her mom said that Katie was so immersed in what she was reading that she didn’t notice the time. When her mom came in the room to remind her they needed to leave for the youth group meeting, Katie could not stop talking about what she had discovered.

Katie’s mom laughs that Katie didn’t seem to stop for a breath the entire drive to the youth group meeting that night. Her excitement over her new-found career path just seemed to bubble from her.

Katie spent the next couple of days on career exploration centered on an online writing career. She discovered that while blogging was certainly a good possible choice, many other options existed, too.

College at least delayed

Katie decided that she would try a career in online writing before considering college. Never excited about spending time and money on college, she felt an enthusiasm for being able to jump into a career without that expense. Some of her friends encouraged her to consider college now, with them. But, her path was different.

Fast forward two years

While some of her friends chose local or distance colleges, others chose vocational schools, and still others pursued jobs, Katie poured herself into writing. She began with writing articles for others, usually at no pay. She was just gaining experience. Soon, she had offers for paid content.

teen-girl-computerAlthough she already had a computer and basic necessities for writing, she used her income to purchase a few more necessities, and even invested in an online freelance writer course.

One of her favorite memories is when a few of her close friends came home on break from college. While they were quite happy with their chosen college route, Katie’s writing career truly impressed them. She showed them her office, a remodel of her schooling area, where she was able to write. When the reunion was over, Katie quickly made notes about the stories they told of their college experiences. She used those notes to write more freelance articles for pay!

Freelance Entrepreneur

Katie did not truly make much of a profit the first year, as much of the small amount she was paid was reinvested. But, before her college-educated friends received their bachelor’s degrees, Katie’s monthly income was quite impressive. She has decided that the freelance entrepreneur lifestyle is perfect for her, though admits it would not work for everyone.

She credits her homeschool years and the freedom they allowed her to pursue her own path. While she might have found this path from any education, Katie believes that the encouragement from her mom and dad, as well as the homeschool education, helped her refine her career choice. She states that without the reading and writing through the years, her life might be quite different.

Katie recently started writing a book, in addition to her content writing. Now engaged, she plans to continue her online business when married, too. She is sure that it will allow her to homeschool their own children in the future, too.

 

 

homeschooler to entrepreneur

Homeschooler to Entrepreneur

homeschooler to entrepreneur

Many students have gone from  homeschooler to entrepreneur. Homeschooling can fuel entrepreneurship ideals and often leads to new small businesses. Creative ideas seem to spring from homeschoolers. Often, one or more of these ideas will develop into a small business.

Many homeschool families have a family-run business that their children take part in. Some children grow into the business and either join or take over as they mature. For others, the children create the business and help propel it to a business for the entire family.

School frustration led to the homeschool journey

Timothy’s homeschool journey began with the fourth grade. His parents grew frustrated with the public school system and its lack of ability to work with Timothy’s need for active learning. A bright child, Timothy needed to touch and manipulate everything in his surroundings. Math papers became flying airplanes, pencils were twirled as he daydreamed, and his teacher continually ridiculed his lack of ability to sit still and just do his work.

homeschooler to entrepreneurAs it turned out, Timothy’s difficulty with seat work and classroom learning was a great fit for this future entrepreneur. Timothy’s parents decided to give him a little break from book work. Allowed to choose his learning paths for a few weeks to break free from school issues, Timothy quickly picked up a love of self-directed learning. Within a short time, he found a hobby that seemed to click well: woodworking.

homeschooler to entrepreneurgrow-boxTimothy began building simple projects. A grow-box for his mom and a simple birdfeeder provided some basic tool skills. Although his dad had never really been much into handcrafts, he encouraged Timothy and helped him accumulate a variety of tools and the skills to use them.

A profitable hobby

homeschooler to entrepreneurBy the time he was a teenager, Timothy had learned to build many items, with many of them sold at a profit. At Christmas time, he took orders for special gifts such as a clock, a cutting board, a picture frame, and a child’s chair.  He even built a beautiful doll house for one of his younger sisters. Other seasonal projects that sold well included tree stands, stocking holders, and wreath stands. At the encouragement of a friend, he invested a little in evergreen boughs and made up a few wreaths, too. His inability to sit still had been transformed into a viable career.

Several of the church members had special items that Timothy had carefully crafted for them. They encouraged him to continue.

After graduation the learning continues

homeschooler to entrepreneurWhen he graduated from his homeschool program, Timothy knew what he wanted to do. College was not considered an option for him; he had no desire to sit still. Although he loved learning, he was a hands-on learner and did not want to sit and listen to professors.

One church member, a retired construction worker, provided the extra encouragement Timothy needed. He helped him find a contractor willing to take on an apprentice, and Timothy headed to work. Although he had already worked with many tools, Timothy now learned even more about using each tool.

Life has choices

At the moment, Timothy is trying to decide if he will continue in the construction field, perhaps even getting his contractor license. Alternatively, he might choose to use his skills to create more of his early projects and sell them at farmers’ markets. He’s even thought of opening his own specialty wood product store. He has options now.

Timothy’s early entrepreneur years, while still in grade school and high school, enabled him to learn some incredible skills while earning a bit of extra money. He credits his parents’ decision to homeschool him when he floundered in public school, as well as their constant encouragement. He also believes the encouragement of family, friends, and church members gave him the needed fuel to move from a fun hobby to an actual small business.

homeschooler to entrepreneurParents and families often make the difference between a child needing extra support in school, and those that find their gifts and talents and the ways to use them.

 

Homeschool to Entrepreneur


Meet Cindy, Homeschool Entrepreneur

It’s no secret that homeschooling often leads to successful entrepreneurs. I suppose it’s a combination of the homeschool lifestyle, parents that encourage, and the fact that homeschoolers have the time and ability to explore such opportunities. Many find that the homeschool-to-entrepreneur route is a natural progression.

One such young entrepreneur is Cindy, a young woman who discovered her love of baking, combined with a flair for creativity, could create amazing baked goods that she could sell at a profit.

pastry chef 1

At the age of eight, Cindy baked her first cupcakes and decorated them by herself. She had been helping her Mom in the kitchen all of her life, but now she was truly a baker. She continued to help in the kitchen, often designing her own baked goods. When she was in high school, Cindy’s mom encouraged her to include a cooking and baking course in addition to her other homeschool studies. Cindy loved it, and often spent more hours in the kitchen than with her other studies.

Cindy began selling under the Cottage Food Laws, baking cupcakes, muffins, and cookies, and selling them at a local farmer’s market. Cindy sold out of her creations most weeks, but took advantage of having a surplus at the end of the market when possible by giving samples to other vendors. She also took her baked goods to her church and passed them around.

pastry 2

Her business was built slowly, mainly because there were limits to what she had time to bake. The cottage food laws also limited what she could do. But, Cindy continued, though slowly.

Building Entrepreneur Skills from Homeschool Studies

Entrepreneurs need more than just the skills to create their product or perform a service. They need to manage their accounting books, work with customers and suppliers, and be overall managers. These are skills that many homeschoolers find they learn as they develop their enterprises.

Cindy agrees. “When I was trying to decide on prices, my Mom showed me how to figure my costs of supplies and then add in my time plus a profit margin. At first, my profit margin was pretty slim, but as I gained business skills, I learned to shop around for better pricing and found markets that would support a little higher selling price.”

The one skill she is afraid she might not have developed as well is that of managing others. Cindy is the youngest of four children and hasn’t had a lot of practice as a manager. Her mom helped her solve that deficiency.

“Mom saw that I was planning to expand and some day would need good managing skills. She says a good manager knows how to be managed first, so she allowed me to volunteer at a local day camp for children eight to 12 years old. I wasn’t really in charge of anything; I just did what I was told at first, and over time found ways to help even more. Eventually, I was promoted and was able to then coach other new volunteers. It was pretty good management training — at least a beginning.” Cindy explained.

When Cindy completed her homeschool studies, she wanted to open her own bakery. But, a bakery costs money, and although she had been saving money from her cottage food sales, she didn’t have nearly enough to purchase the equipment and afford rent.

Gaining More Professional Skills

That’s when she came up with a very creative solution. Cindy found a restaurant that needed a baker for just a couple of days a week. Although she was not professionally trained, the owner was very intrigued by Cindy and impressed by her skills. He decided to give her a try.

Working at the restaurant gave her some important skills, allowed her a chance to get a feel for the commercial environment and machinery, and helped her acquire her food licensing. Just as important, the owner agreed to let her bake some of her own products when the kitchen was available.

This gave Cindy the ability to build her business without the upfront capital, while offering the restaurant some incredible baked goods to feature. She is still saving for own business, but has already made changes to her plans, based on her experiences at the restaurant. She and the restaurant owner are discussing how she might be able to sell to his restaurant on a contract basis once she opens her own shop.

pastry 3

While Cindy is not yet a self-supporting businesswoman, she is well on her way. She continues to bake for the restaurant, but now has a new line of healthy baked items that she sells. She’s discovered the health market is expanding and pays better than selling those sugar laden cookies that others sell. True entrepreneurs reshape their business to suit the customers, and Cindy has done that.

Cindy’s mom is proud of each of her children and makes it clear that Cindy is just one of her kids. Cindy’s dad is a business owner. Her siblings are also business owners, two of them in partnership.

Entrepreneurship is Biblically Based

God encourages us to have family businesses, and homeschoolers are uniquely equipped to raise our children to be capable and successful entrepreneurs. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a child deciding to go on to college and choosing a professional degree to work for others. But, it is not the only way. For many, business ownership is far more practical and fits the homeschool mindset.

Read 24 Bible verses about small business:  http://christianpf.com/24-scriptures-about-business/

bible-verses-about-business

 

shopping with Mom

Questions Homeschoolers Must Answer

Years ago when we began our homeschool journey, I was careful to keep our children home during normal school hours. The fear that others would judge us as non-schoolers and report us was real at that time, even though we had plenty of proof to the contrary.

shopping with MomToday we are more adventuresome. With more homeschoolers in our community, we are now “one of those” rather than a unique oddity. Our lifestyle is still strange, but its legality is questioned less frequently.

Now we face other questions. The socialization question still comes into play and we smile as the kids themselves explain all they do with other people. Fewer formal school hours and no bus ride time gives ample time to pursue those extra-curricular activities that usually provide socialization.

A recent trip to the grocery store brought the usual questions by a new cashier. “What grade are you in?” My daughters giggled a bit. While we do use grade levels loosely, the fact is that they are never in one grade. One daughter is working in subjects that would be considered three different grade levels. Even our twins differ in levels. One is more accelerated in math, the other in language. How do you respond to the “what grade” question?

Sometimes they choose to give a grade level, choosing whatever one is age appropriate. That keeps the conversation limited on that topic. On this occasion, as with some others, they choose to explain that they homeschool, so are at different grades in different subjects. The confused cashier accepts the answer and jumps to another subject quickly. A senior in high school herself, she obviously was not sure how to respond. We chatted about the upcoming weekend, a topic with which she felt more comfortable.

Summer vacation is now upon us and I expect more questions regarding that. Like an increasing number of homeschool families, we use a flexible year-round schooling approach. If we need a week off, any time of the year, we take it. Family visiting from afar? Vacation time! Relative needing help? Vacation time! Just needing a break for a couple of days? We are free to take that, too. Year-round schooling gives us that flexibility with the added bonus that learning is continual; we don’t need to review last year’s material before continuing on. Weeks are saved in each subject in this manner and I’ve noticed that our children have always preferred it.

But what do homeschoolers say when asked if they are excited about summer vacation? When they were younger, I would smile and say, “shhh…they don’t know about that. We homeschool year-round” and laugh. The children would laugh along with me, sometimes with a cute comment of their own.

Now that they are older, I let them manage the question on their own. Often it’s a simple response of “Oh, we homeschool year-round so we get breaks when we need them, not all summer.” Sometimes it’s a little more of a discussion; occasionally they will joke about how they don’t get vacations, then continue, explaining.

I’ve learned to relax with these homeschool-unique questions over the years. We do have a different lifestyle. Our kids are with us most of the time, by our own choice. We are free to set our daily and annual schedules the way that works best for our families. If we need to shop at 9 am, then do school at 6 pm, it’s not a problem. Work at 3 different grade levels or even more? Whatever is best for the child at that time.

While it’s true that we don’t owe others an explanation on any of these topics, we find it’s an excellent time to educate other people about homeschooling. We aren’t looking to convert them, but we do strive to show glimpses of our lifestyle, to bring some understanding. No doubt some will look into the option themselves, but if we can just help them understand a little of why we choose to homeschool, we’ve accomplished a goal. I try to impress upon my children the necessity of being respectful and kind as we respond to the questions, just as they wish that others were always kind when asking.

Many years ago I feared those questions, concerned that we were being unfairly judged. Now I welcome them as a way to reach out and tell others how happy we are as homeschoolers!

 

Power of Positive Thinking

happy familyWe often think of homeschooling as teaching math, language, science, and history. Other learning such as career exploration, computer science, and music might be included, as might life skills such as personal finance and cooking. Some learning is by books, computers, or other media. Much is also by example.

Recently, I have been pondering the teaching of word mastery. Our children have a large vocabulary, but I’m referring more to using words with a positive attitude. An optimistic attitude is encouraged in our home, as is a “can-do” approach to life. I believe in these ideals, but sometimes I need to step back and ensure I am exemplifying them.

I’m normally what I refer to as a realistic optimist; I know that life can be challenging, but I also know that, in the long run, most problems will be worked out and the sun will shine again. But, when I am tired or frustrated, it’s too easy to slip into the “nothing is going right” mode, allowing the pessimistic words to flow. I’ve noticed that my children’s attitudes can quickly follow mine, and soon we are all irritable. I’ve found the opposite to also be true: my optimism can transform my family’s attitudes into the positive range, too.

“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful,” Psalm 68:3.

A positive attitude serves more than just to make happy people, although it certainly does that. Chores are easier and more fun with a happy demeanor. Schoolwork is not only easier, but the lessons learned seem to be more set into memory. And, our household is just happier and more enjoyable when everyone is in positive mindset.

“I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live,” Ecclesiastes 3:12.

Science has given us another reason to see the sun and rainbows amidst the rain. People with a happy, can-do attitude live longer and healthier lives. The Mayo Clinic cites these results in this article about positive thinking.

With all the benefits of keeping a positive outlook, it seems that modeling and teaching this to our children should be a major focus in our homeschooling and lifestyle. It may be a challenge some days to do so, but in the end the entire family will benefit!

Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

 

home is where