Homeschool for our family is a lifestyle. Whether we are at home, running errands, or even on vacation, I try to incorporate meaningful learning experiences for my children. Including aspects of our family business with our homeschool seemed a natural extension to their lessons. Our three children are currently in 5th, 9th, and 11th grades.
Cuts By Laser was started by my father over a decade ago, but over the past year my children have been a part of the company’s growth after the purchase of a new laser. My parents have generously allowed our entire family to be a part of this business with them.
From ideas and design, to sales and marketing, every aspect of this business is done by our family. The kids are continuing to learn each step of the business with us. Math is not a favorite subject for two of my children, especially when it is just a textbook or computer screen lesson. This business makes math applicable in an understandable way. With sales, the girls have been able to clearly see the difference in a percentage of profit from reselling a product versus the profit of something made on the laser minus the cost of supplies used. They have clearly seen how time adds to the cost of an item as well, comparing things that have to be further assembled or decorated. Keeping up with business expenses such as receipts and mileage add to their understanding of the bigger picture of our business.
My children have a natural ease of using computers that I didn’t have until years after college. They are excited to design things in the graphics program, and we all learn from the kids, too. The entire process of designing through having a completed project that they created, corrected, and tried again is incredibly rewarding. In turn, being able to sell items or give gifts that they create adds perceivable value to their time.
There is orderliness to the shop that I’m still working on in our home. Tools are organized and returned to their proper place, the floor is swept, files are saved, and the kids are learning how to contribute to each required part of keeping the shop running smoothly.
If you have a home business, consider including your children in these ways:
My girls first learned about this through a direct sales business we are also involved in. They helped track which items sell best and record when new items are ordered and received.
Online sales are as important to us as face-to-face sales now. From website development (ours is still in progress) to social media (visit our Facebook page) and other online marketing, this is an area we are also learning together. Sales at a booth offer opportunities for public speaking in a natural way. When the kids share what they like about our products or show how they designed something, the values in their sales are much more than monetary.
Do you have a vision for your business? Involve your children in creating a goal for your family business. One thing we hope to do is provide other families with hands on tools for learning geography.
Do you create products to sell? It brings such satisfaction to all of us to see something that we personally design turn into a product that others purchase from us. Being able to work through each step has increased my children’s understanding of the intricacies of business.
My daughter Heather summed it up this way: “We have all been learning new techniques and better ways to do things, not only when creating products, but also when selling those same products. We are teaching each other, and get excited when one of us comes up with a new idea. We are learning how businesses work, how to design laser creations on a computer, and how to make things that will benefit other people, too.”
Jennifer Miller is a homeschool mom and one of the reviewers on The Schoolhouse Review Crew. She blogs at A Glimpse of Our Life. She is an Independent Consultant with Lilla Rose http://www.lillarose.biz/prettyhair which gave her girls their first business experience. Cuts By Laser is their family business.