Homeschooling and Entrepreneurship

Walmart Locker on Mid-Life Blogger

Our son, Hayden, lacks one class for his Associates degree, but about a year and a half ago he decided to buy a computer repair business, putting his college education on hold. Not too long after he bought it, a local tv station invited him to appear for a short interview. It was a great opportunity that he didn’t want to pass up, but he began to worry that they would ask him about his education, or more pointedly whether he had a degree in computer science. When he first mentioned that to me, I, too, began to fret, but then it dawned on me that Hayden had been studying computer science his whole life.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use one of my links to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. It doesn’t affect the price you pay, but helps to support my blog.

 

Starting Out

When he was just nine months old I began sitting at the computer with him several times a week. While using a product called JumpStart Baby, he could touch any of the keys on the keyboard to see what would happen on the screen. As he grew, we graduated to JumpStart Toddler, then JumpStart Preschool, and so on, with each level gradually teaching more. By the time Hayden’s sister came along, he was almost four years old and while I was busy with the baby, he was able to start the computer, boot up his software, type in his name and do everything on his own.

Self-Schooling

As Hayden grew up I felt like I saw an aptitude for technology, so I looked for opportunities to nurture it. Homeschooling and Entrepreneurship Hayden had a passion for Legos and played with them throughout his childhood. Somewhere along the way I learned of Lego Robotics groups, and wished there was one in our area that he could join. When he was about ten, I decided to splurge and buy him his own kit, thinking of it as an “educational expense.” That turned out to be a good investment. Hayden spent hours every day for a year and a half, or so, designing robots and programming them on the computer. He followed his own interests and was totally self-taught.

Lego Robotics

When Hayden was about eleven, I learned that the high school computer science teacher sometimes held Lego Robotics camps. I contacted him and asked if he would consider having one the upcoming summer, and he did. The teacher’s own son, who was an incoming high school senior, assisted for the first few days. When the kids had designed their robot, he helped them program it on the computer. But when he was no longer able to be there Hayden took his place at the computer and helped the other kids. Each day when I returned to pick Hayden up, the teacher would ask me questions such as “How long have you homeschooled?” “Do you always plan to homeschool?” and “How old is he?!” At the end of the camp, Mr. O invited eleven-year-old Hayden to take his high school computer science class. He went so far as to walk me to the Principal’s office to talk to her about it. She wasn’t there, and talking with her confused secretary was amusing, but the result was that the district’s rules wouldn’t allow it since Hayden wasn’t an enrolled student. Alternatively, Mr. O gave Hayden private lessons, teaching him different computer languages and beginning animation. Not too long after that we moved to the Ozarks.

Hands-On Learning

During his teens, Hayden started tinkering with his own computers, taking them apart, fixing and upgrading them. When the opportunity arose to buy a computer-repair business, Hayden had been working there long enough to learn the ropes from the owner who was wanting to relocate. He was only twenty at the time, so it would be a big risk and responsibility for such a young man. My husband’s background was in finance. Having worked for Morgan Stanley (previously Dean Witter) for over twenty years, he was talking to an old friend about the opportunity. His response was that Hayden would learn more from the business than he would with a college degree. We agreed, and with Scott’s expertise in finance, and my experience in advertising and customer service, we felt like we still had things we could teach him and that the business would provide that avenue.

Facing Challenges

Hayden continues to learn through his business. It definitely hasn’t been easy, but I’m proud of him. Last year he was contacted about installing a new technology. I was amazed at how confidently he committed to learning it, and negotiated his rates. We asked him if he had any previous experience with the technology, and he said no, but that he could read the manual and figure it out. And he did.

Walmart Locker on Mid-Life Blogger
Walmart Lockers, Austin, Tx. Photo credit: Teresa Bressi

It was for Walmart and they hired him to do work for them in five states, installing lockers for their Pickup service. He also maintains a contract to service all of the McDonald’s restaurants within a 50-mile radius, and is called when any of them have problems with their point-of-sale system.

Entrepreneurial Traits

Once, on a radio program, I listened to a speaker talking about homeschoolers. He said that, in general, they have high self-esteem and are independent learners, and that those traits are beneficial to entrepreneurship. That has certainly held true for Hayden. I don’t know what the future holds for Hayden and his business, but I know that the scope of things he is learning will be beneficial wherever life takes him.

Please subscribe to have future posts taken straight to your inbox.

Related Reading

The Homeschool Entrepreneur Interview Feature With…a Homeschool Graduate Business Owner

Comments

  1. practicalbydefault

    Really great and encouraging posts for all parents. Our children carry on learning long after they graduate. Thank you for linking to one of my interviews. I am amazed at your son, he should be proud!

    1. Post
      Author
      midlifebloggerblog

      Thank you for allowing me to include your link. And thank you, too, about our son. When we first started homeschooling, reading about homeschool graduates was very encouraging to me. I’ve been amazed by the accomplishments of many! When our children are allowed, and given time, to follow their own interests amazing things can happen.

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
      mcurren527

      Thank you, Shan! Homeschoolers all take different paths so I hope to encourage those who are earlier in their journeys, still wondering if it’s going to work, and trying to persist in spite of their fears. I remember what it was like when my kids were young. Hearing about the graduates was very inspiring to me.

  2. susanhomeschooling

    It sounds like your son has had a great education! My own sons have done similar things with LEGO robotics and loved it!

    1. Post
      Author
  3. Pingback: Warnings from a Retired Homeschool Mom ~ Mid-Life Blogger

  4. Deborah

    That is such a great story! The freedom to allow our kids to follow their own interests, and to encourage them in areas we see they excel, is one of the best things about homeschooling!

    1. Post
      Author
      mcurren527

      I totally agree. It can be kind of scary, while you’re homeschooling, to leave the beaten path and forge your own trail. I hope my son’s story can be reassuring and encouraging to other homeschool families.

    1. Post
      Author
      Michelle Curren

      Thank you, I hope it will be encouraging to other parents. When kids are permitted to pursue their passions, and have the time to do so, you never know where it will lead. Read my post, “A Passion for Seeds” for another such story.

  5. apronstringsotherthings

    What a great testimony! I love hearing success stories the do not fit the typical mold. How wonderful that you were given encouragement and reassurance from others as you took those steps of faith educating your son.
    Thank you for sharing this with us. It helps so much to read about the path others have walked.

    1. Post
      Author
      Michelle Curren

      Thanks! I hope so. I think that’s one of the worries that some parents have, so I wanted to share a different story.

I'd love to hear what you have to say!