Homeschooler turned Entrepreneur turned Homeschooling Entrepreneur
I have three kids, Nai’a, who just started the first grade, Sereia, who’s 4 years old, and Fisher, who’s just shy of a year. My wife and I made the decision to homeschool pretty much when the kids were born, though we’ve also agreed to re-evaluate the decision on an annual basis. Because it’s not easy, homeschooling. And we’re only getting started. I know all too well, having been homeschooled since the third grade. I had a front-row seat to my Mom and Dad’s experience as much as my own.
She worked hard to convince my Dad, who notoriously responded: “Over my dead body.”
It was back in 1994 when my Mom pulled me out of Winchester Elementary School. She wasn’t a teacher… a fact which she was made profoundly aware of in the early years. A smart woman with professional aspirations, she morphed from working full-time to working part-time and from working part-time to becoming a stay-at-home mom. In the summer before school started, she was exposed to the idea of homeschooling and was hooked. She worked hard to convince my Dad, who notoriously responded: “Over my dead body.” Eventually, he came around.
I remember when my Mom pulled me out of school, just three weeks into the new year… the principal was convinced she was ruining my life. My Mom held strong, but I think it shook her up just a little bit. Now that I have kids of my own, my wife and I can relate to the second thoughts and creeping doubts. It’s a big decision, taking your kid’s education into your own hands. From finding and buying all of the curriculum, to lesson planning, to having the patience to teach a 5 year old how to read and write, every single day.
I ended up homeschooling all the way through high school, graduating just after turning 16. In the process, I founded a digital agency that was beginning to grow as I prepared to start college. I ended up running the company for a decade. I’m currently a little over 4 years into my latest venture, Bull & Beard. My identity has become “entrepreneur” as much as it was “homeschooler.”
Homeschooling was my cocoon, entrepreneurship my butterfly.
I believe I’m living proof that the homeschool experience prepares you for entrepreneurship. As a homeschooler, I had to take more personal responsibility over my education, particularly as I got older. I socialized with people of all ages, not just the kids in my grade level. I had twice as much time as the other kids to read, enjoy hobbies and eventually start a company. Homeschooling gave me a lifestyle and platform conducive to my evolution into an entrepreneur. Homeschooling was my cocoon, entrepreneurship my butterfly.
Homeschooling is for the crazy ones…
Homeschooling and entrepreneurship are similar experiences. Homeschooling is for the crazy ones, those rogue enough to bypass the “norm” and school your kids at home. Homeschooling, like entrepreneurship, gives you more freedom, but also more responsibility. You have independence and freedom of choice, but with that you have the weight of having to make every single choice for your son or daughter. It’s similar to being an entrepreneur, setting your own schedule and carving your own path, for better or worse.
Even though it’s scary and stressful, we know our time with them is limited and we better put it to good use.
And so it is, fifteen years after graduating from homeschooling, I’ve taken up the label once again. It feels like it never left. We made the decision to homeschool our kids for many reasons, but one reason definitely stood out: we want them to know from the beginning that there are no rules in this life. Anything really is possible. We want to give them the space and time to find themselves and find their passions. Even though it’s scary and stressful, we know our time with them is limited and we better put it to good use.
Homeschooling, at least for now, is the platform we’re using to raise independent critical thinkers, kids who find joy in the pursuit of happiness, whether it’s arts, sports or a small business. Kids exposed to entrepreneurship from an early age. Kids who have time to be and play and perhaps change the world someday.