Parents hate going against the grain when they raise their kids because they don’t want to be wrong. It’s so much safer to be wrong when you did everything that society tells you to do as a parent. Homeschooling requires bravery from parents. It’s a risk but some parents take the leap.
But still, the harbinger of a good risk taker is one who tries to mitigate risk along the way. For homeschool parents, a good way to decrease the riskiness of alternative schooling is to increase the likelihood that the kid will find a career with relative ease.
1. Encourage self-directed learning.
One reason that teaching entrepreneurship is so important is that it’s teaching self-reliance and the long-term skill of generating income from self-directed learning. That’s what entrepreneurs do: they make money by teaching themselves to run a business. No entrepreneur knew everything about their business before they started. They learned at a ferocious pace as they progressed. If you encourage your child to direct their own learning early on, it’ll seem second-nature to them to jump into a business they know little about. Because they’ve been in charge of their own learning for as long as they can remember.
2. Encourage music and art.
Researchers at Michigan State University found that those who own businesses or patents received up to eight times more exposure to the arts as children than the general public. The conclusion from the research is that sustained exposure to music or art creates a lifelong advantage in the business world.
3. Show yourself failing.
My husband and I are both entrepreneurs. That’s actually one of the first things I learned about farmers when I met him: successful farmers are very entrepreneurial. But sometimes he has huge failures. Like, when he started a new, free-range pig business, and he had a pile of dead piglets. We showed the kids. We told them that not every business idea works. And just because something goes wrong, doesn’t mean you should give up.
We still have our free-range pigs, they are just less free-range in the snow. And while I am also an entrepreneur, running experiments of my own, the visual aid of farm animals and booming (or busted) crops is a great way for the kids to understand grit and determination.
4. Let kids fail as entrepreneurs.
My older son loves raising animals and he’s tried a lot of businesses. He raised pigs for the county fair. He earned hundreds of dollars and a ribbon, but it was so difficult for him to sell the pig. He raised goats but when we went to sell one he started crying which lead to a huge scene at the sale barn. Now all our goats are just pets.
I would have to say these are all failures. But just as the research suggests, kids failing does not discourage them – but rather, failure encourages kids to work harder. (Note that this is not true in school. In school failure discourages kids. because they don’t have freedom to succeed.)
Now Yefet is thinking of selling sweet corn. Last year he entered his sweet corn in the county fair and got a blue ribbon. He thinks he can sell corn at the farmer’s market. “I can call it Yefet’s Blue Ribbon Corn,” he told me.
I told him sure. I didn’t tell him I don’t think his strength is marketing. I didn’t tell him to stick to logistics. Because it doesn’t matter. Entrepreneurship is about trying things. And clearly kids can succeed at any age – they don’t need adults getting in their way.