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Entrepreneurship and Homeschooling

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In 1985 there were about 50,000 homeschooled children in America.  Today, there are more than 2 million homeschooled children in America. It seems that people are flocking to homeschooling, and for good reason.  No longer can detractors flippantly dismiss homeschooling as a fringe activity that leaves children academically deficient and socially impaired.    Parents who take the time to look into education alternatives for their children recognize that these backward stereotypes are not only inaccurate, but they better describe the public education system!  There are many reasons why parents of all races and religions, and across the political spectrum are turning to homeschooling, virtually all of which I admire.  For example, they recognize that “public education” is more of an oxymoron than it is descriptive. Homeschoolers outperform public school students across the board on the various tests that the public school system seems to value.  Homeschoolers are generally more intellectually curious and better prepared for higher education than their public schooled peers. Because they aren’t treated as “children” to be kept out of sight, out of mind for 13 years, they usually develop superior socialization skills which better prepares them for life in the “adult” world. Homeschoolers also avoid the violence of public schools, and the many negative effects of an artificial environment which elevates questionable material and petty social concerns over the values that most parents hold dear.  Also, not to be ignored, many parents simply prefer to be a part of their child’s youth, as opposed to handing them off each day to the state.

Another group that looks to grow significantly over the next couple of decades is that of the entrepreneur.  The severe recession that we recently went through (technically over, but for all intents and purposes continues on) has pushed millions of people out of the workforce. Our heavy public debt burden and the perpetual deficits which are driving our debt even higher, our ever increasing regulations, and our terribly educated populace do not bode well for the future of our economy, and suggest that many of the lost jobs may not return anytime soon. Unlike the 20th century, there is no longer an expectation of lifetime job security.  People are tired of working for companies with no loyalty to their employees, and they are getting tired of allowing their jobs (and blackberries) to control their lives. In a society that is less centered on the family than ever before, people are looking for alternatives. This has created the perfect environment for millions of new entrepreneurs, who want freedom and the potential for economic upside, to enter the marketplace.

The growth of homeschooling and entrepreneurship should come together fabulously for many families.  While entrepreneurship is a very challenging endeavor that requires tremendous dedication, so is homeschooling.  And although many wonderful families cannot not make the leap in launching a small business, those who do will find their entrepreneurial efforts to be very complementary to their homeschooling efforts.  Logistically, a family-run business helps enable a parent to continue to serve as a breadwinner while homeschooling, but the benefits are far more than logistical.

Allowing children to participate in running a family business helps provide them with a real and relevant education.  They learn responsibility through the necessity of meeting deadlines, and through helping provide for their family.  Through customer service they are able to enhance their socialization skills by way of interactions with clients.  Their participation in marketing and sales helps them better understand the importance of articulating a value proposition and provides them with opportunities to practice the art of influencing others.  They are able to learn real finance and accounting skills as they help work through capital investment decisions and work to balance the books.  And perhaps most important, introducing your child to entrepreneurship significantly increases the likelihood that they too will become an entrepreneur one day, allowing them to have the independence and potential financial upside that most people are conditioned to avoid.

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