Unschooling & Business

Wow! Has it been a busy month! January flew by faster than geese flying south for the winter!  During the month, the family and I decided to start a new business adventure. I happen to specialize in gluten free, dairy free, corn free recipes. It's my passion and it's something I have done for 5 years. On a whim, I decided to see if there would be interest for meal plans with recipes and a shopping list, which I do for my family anyway, on a monthly basis. Boy did I hit a gem! Within 3 hours of sending out my original test email to friends and family and Facebook friends, I was approached to participate in a nationwide tour of Gluten Free & Allergy Wellness Events. Wow! Guest speaker spots, webinar spots, a table, etc. Thus began the flurry of the activity of starting a new business.

There was a website to design. New software to research, purchase and learn. There was information on how to register for an LLC in my new home state of North Carolina. There was learning how to input the recipes, format them, figure out the right layout for the shopping list. There was discovering what is the best flow on the website, creating pages, taking photographs of the meals as we tested and prepared them, uploading said photographs and linking the pages. And then there was reality: I am the mother of two kids with a large age spread (9 years), I am training a puppy, have another older dog, a house to maintain, a husband who also needs attention and laundry! Oh my gosh, WHERE do all these clothes come from!!!!!????

So, you get my life in January, yes? How does this all relate back to unschooling? Easy. You see, as Whole Life Unschoolers, we see learning as a life long adventure. It's not just for my kids. It's for us as adults too. I didn't go off to a class to learn about how to research recipe programs. I figured it out on my own. I didn't take a class on how to design my website. I researched it on my own. I didn't go to a class or an attorney to file my LLC paperwork. You guessed it, I figured it out on my own.

This is how we live our lives. We figure things out as we go. It's not that difficult. My kids live in the real world. I hear so often how are my girls going to know how to operate in the "real world."  Let me ask you this, dear Reader, how in God's creation will sitting in a room, behind a desk or at a table, with people all the same age, with the same experience levels with 1 person telling them what they should know, is going to prepare them for the world we, as adults live in?

The adult world is varied and vast. We interact with others of ALL ages. We do not live in a cubical of only like age people. If you work corporate, you do not only associate with others within a 12 month basis of your age. You speak with everyone from children to elders. No one gives us a laid out schedule of our time, we have to figure out our days ourselves.

That is what my children do, with our guidance. They figure it out. How is my starting the business affecting my family? To start with, it was Hubby who pointed out all the ways doing this will be educational to the girl. This, coming from a man who thought Whole Life Unschooling was poppercosh before he was home with us for 18 months due to unemployment. Hubby pointed out how this will be a great education in economics, entrepreneurship, budgeting of time and money, actual start up application, photography, reading, math, history, etc.

What is the family learning along this journey?
1) Hubby is learning, first hand, how much I really do around the house because he is having to pick up a large majority of it. He doesn't know how he's going to work full-time, keep the house picked up and clean, dishes done, laundry done, dogs walked and trained and keep the meals going on a regular basis over the weekends. He was so overwhelmed after only 5 hours, he retreated to bed!!! I had to come in and gently speak with him about how it is best to ask for guidance and assistance. It make me frightened when he retreats to bed after telling me to go for it with the business. Together, I showed him ways to accomplish the daily goals without being overwhelmed, how to laugh through it and how to feel proud of it rather than overwhelmed. Sunday was much better, even with the Superbowl!
2) Honey Bunny is my photographer. She is an excellent photographer. She is also helping me plan our "costumes" for the trade shows, assisting in the road trip planning with where to stop and enjoy the drive to South Florida and helping me with the financials - observing and seeing how a budget is important. She has been taking a Dave Ramsey's Personal Finance course and is learning, first hand, how credit works, how it best to operate off of cash, and how having a savings account is important and allows for choices without having to pay interest on those choices. She's also teaching me all about social media! Her boyfriend is even doing my data entry on the website.
3) Boo Bear is helping me with the recipe creation. She is creating her own recipes to test, writing them down as we go, working on her reading and fractions in the process. She is also reminding me when to stop and go enjoy the sunshine, listen to the birds and partake in the smaller enjoyments of life.
4) The dogs? Well, they are reminding I can't sit for too long at the computer and I must go out to throw a ball, walk them and get moving. It's easy to stay at the computer and work all day long when one is excited about what they are doing.

For us, this is a family adventure. It's not just Mom out here on my own, doing this by myself. For us, living in community with one another, on an equal basis with a say in what happens in their lives as well as my own, is what works for us. Mutual respect, listening, caring and allowing THEIR gifts to shine through is what is going to make this work. I'm not telling Honey Bunny what she has to do. She has stepped forward and offered. I'm not telling Boo Bear what she has to do. She has stepped into the kitchen and made up recipes on her own. Yes, at 7 I trust her in the kitchen. She takes professional cooking classes, why shouldn't I?

In the end, Whole Life Unschooling is about adding to our lives, about expanding our horizons and encouraging one another's growth through the venue of love, not fear. Am I fearful this will all be a flop and a waste of time and money? Sure I am. Am I going to allow my fear to control me? No. Because even if the business concept turns out to be a flop and a bust, look at how much more we learned along the way!

Life is learning. Embrace it. See it. Love it. Enjoy it!