Homeschool Bootcamp Talk 4/26/18 NOTES

These are the notes for my upcoming "Children in Business" talk for the Homeschooling Bootcamp on April 26, 2018


    • Name - Jessica Heilman
    • Children - We have seven alternately educated children
    • Company - We run multiple businesses out of the home, our eldest children run and operate
    • We have been “Homeschooling” now for around 14 years


  • Why do we homeschool?
    • We chose alternative education because we at the heart are entrepreneurs and early adopters to this new digital technologically advanced economy.
    • We (my husband and I) were raised in the Silicon Valley during the height of the personal computer boom - less than one mile from Apple Headquarters, our school was one of the first to have a computer lab donated by Apple, we are in the epicenter of technology long before Facebook and Google we had IBM, HP, and INTEL at our backdoor.
    • As early adopters of technology, in 1994 when the internet began to come on the scene, we eagerly learned how to embrace it. My husband began selling it as a service and I began using it as a tool to reach out and communicate with others. When our son was of school age in 2003, the idea of homeschooling while using technology to give us aid in the education process seemed rudimentary thanks in part to online search engines and online curriculum.


  • This is a new economy
    • Amazon was created in 1994, followed by Ebay in 1995, and others such as Etsy in 2005. (These are just three examples of booming ecommerce sites)
    • In 2012 domestic ecommerce reached over $360 billion dollars, while Internationally online sales has surpassed $450 billion dollars.
    • Just yesterday Apple announced it reached over 50 billion downloads and streams via podcasts
    • Persons (adults and children) of all ages can create businesses and begin selling their products/ideas with a Paypal account and bank routing number - the barrier of entry has never been more cost effective.
    • Businesses of all types can be easily shared - WITHOUT ADVERTISING - through social media channels and word of mouth, thanks to friends and family.


  • Traditional education was not created with entrepreneurs in mind
    • Traditional schools (i.e. schools involving desks, textbooks, and away from the home) became compulsory in the United States in the 1920’s in order to fulfill a need. Thanks to circumstances such as war, mother’s needing to go to work, The Great Depression, and The Dust Bowl families began moving from the agrarian economy which they had been living in to a manufacturing economy. Children began to be taught how to amass knowledge, take cues from authority figures, learn basic accounting skills, and how to follow directions.


  • What is non-traditional education?
    • Unschooling, Homeschooling, Deschooling, Gameschooling… etc. A “non-traditional” or “alternative” education is an education which is not limited to within the four walls of a classroom being taught by a teacher, while sitting at a desk. An alternative style of education focuses mostly on what a child is naturally gifted or skilled at, and what interests them. When a child is unschooled or deschooled properly the child DOES NOT lack in learning - on the contrary the child goes from learning only periodically when they are paying attention to teacher to learning all day long being surrounded by the things the child enjoys most.
    • Some famous alternatively educated persons throughout history which should be mentioned are: Benjamin Franklin, John D Rockefeller, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Walt Disney, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
    • Let’s look at two of them now… (source wikipedia)


  • How does non-traditional education PAY?
    • With ecommerce the way it is today, with the barrier of entry being so low… anyone can start an online company.
    • Our company started in 2008 with Jeffrey and Joseph going door to door selling cookies from a recipe I had on hand which I had made my own and was very happy with. The boys began sold out in 20 minutes. Each Sunday after they would sell, until a week they missed their sales and a neighbor came to our door asking where their weekly cookies were. I realized we had created a business - the idea was formed.
    • As a school project, we decided to roll with the idea of selling cookies to our neighbors. We started doing research and allowed the boys to do what they felt they enjoyed most. Jeffrey enjoyed baking and taste testing, while Joseph enjoyed the selling and creating the designs for packaging and logos.
    • We began incorporating into their education math via baking (and profit and loss statements), arts via design, science via economics and experimentation, and humanities/social studies via customer service. (Let’s not forget tax law!) The boys began an MBA program thanks to their alternative education at 8 and 10 years old.
    • While not every child will pursue food services or vocations in the food industry, we believe all forms of business from selling knitwear to reselling antiques can incorporate the standard required curriculum in new and inventive ways and when your child comes of age they will be fully capable of not just making a living - but making a life!
    • When our boys turned 16 and were able to get jobs of their own, we helped them choose jobs which complimented their interests and would aid them in their long term company vision to create an after school cafe for kids. Jeffrey got a job as a baker - Joseph got a job in restaurant service which later led to restaurant management. In essence, they began to get paid for what they wanted to learn more about in their business.

It is our job to remind our children we DO NOT eat our profits :) - it is from our profits our ideas are funded, and ideas are EVERYTHING.

  • What interests your child?
    • According to Psychology Today Magazine, one of the key signs of the entrepreneurial spirit found in a person is a person's desire to make a business out of anything! Dog walking, baking, cooking, drawing, photography, reselling, landscaping, designing… the list goes on and on! In our house each of our children have been taught that whatever they are interested in can and will become profitable for them, if they enjoy doing it.
    • What does your child enjoy doing the most?
    • What does your child say they want to “be” when they grow up?
    • How often does your child shadow you or a loved one - what are you doing while they are intently watching?
    • What types of movies, videos, games do your children watch or play?
    • How physically active are your children? Do they love sports above all else?


  • In conclusion
    • If traditional schooling is like a brick and mortar building (with a lot of overhead and Government regulations) than homeschooling is like the modern day e-commerce exchange, the sooner we adapt to making a name for ourselves online - the better.
    • Those who are the most creative are those who are left free to create!
    • Your child can/will be able to support themselves over time with the proper training and as long as they remain interested in what they are learning.
    • Some of the most influential people in history were alternatively educated.
    • Follow your hunches and do not let fear keep you from building something great!



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