being self-employed

I have often thought that there are a lot of synergies between being self-employed and homeschooling. One of them came up very early in this homeschooling journey when someone casually remarked that being bored at school might have to be endured just like sometimes we have to suck up a boring job in order to get the paycheque. At that time I was about 8 months into have made the decision not to do that and to work for myself instead. Homeschooling seemed like it was consistent with my own unwillingness to put up with stuff.

I’m enjoying the self-employed thing. It is going well. Over 3 years into it, I’m stepping back and doing some thinking about it and I’m going to make a few changes and make it work better. In the process, I’m meeting some interesting new people.

Artemis had a good post up the other day On Entrepreneurialism that really resonated for me. I recommend it. She credits her failure to see that “jobs” might not be for her to the strenght of parental conditioning. But I think that the need for a job, preferably a secure one with a pension, is a very powerful cultural discourse.

And given how illusory that security is — how many people went to work at the GM plant because it was a good, secure job? — and how dicey even those occupational pension schemes are also proving to be, much less savings invested in registered retirements plans (or that number with the k after it that the ‘mericans have) … Well, it seems to me that other options need to be looked at more favourably.

I’ve noticed that Tigger has an entrepreneurial bent. I’m trying to nurture that. It scares the living daylights out of her dad, but in a good way. I suspect more thoughts will be forthcoming.

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8 thoughts on “being self-employed

  1. I’m glad you liked it!

    I agree, homeschooling seems very much like self-employment or entrepreneurialism. If I ever have kids (which seems unlikely, but you never know) I would want to homeschool. I really think conventional schooling does bad things to our heads. The only advantage of it that I can see is that it means kids get to spend a lot of time with their peers. Has that been an issue for you at all with the homeschooling, of have you managed to find ways for Tigger to still get plenty of kid time?

    I don’t accept the accepted ‘wisdom’ that boredom is a normal state of affairs that we should just put up with. Sure, every occupation, every project, has some grunt work, and we all have to do our housework (well, most of us), but I really think that when you’re doing something that’s right for you you have a relatively small amount of boring. If you’re clockwatching, I reckon you’re in the wrong line of work.

    I think this is even more true of school. When we’re little we can’t wait to go to school. We’re *excited* about learning. Playing is learning. We *like* to learn new stuff. So the fact that schools manage to turn kids so quickly from excited, sponge-like people to bored, resentful ones suggests to me that the whole approach needs a serious overhaul. I was reading a great article on the plane about a Hawaiian school with a different approach, and the kids there seem really engaged. Boredom is *not* an essential part of schooling.

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  2. I guess you’re right about security being illusory. My hubby has been working for the Commonwealth of Virginia, in one capacity or another, for 13 years for the reliable income and benefits. He’s eligible to retire in 7 years. It’s definitely been the best thing for our family (here in the U.S. — having affordable health insurance alone is enough to keep you at a job). And law enforcement is a great field for job security — as long as human stupidity thrives, we’ll ALWAYS need cops. But his job is dangling at the governor’s whim right now, and if he gets laid off there ain’t any other jobs out there.

    I consider myself self-employed (loosely speaking, since I do all my paid work for one employer, who takes responsibility for recruiting all the clients). One thing I learned about myself through years of employment — including those “secure” government jobs with benefits — is that self-direction is very important to me. I need to be in a position where my employer expects me to be creative and self-initiated, or where I am the employer. Yes, there have always been things I HAD to do and paperwork to shuffle — but in the big picture, I’ve never fared well with being micro-managed. I would’ve made a GREAT unschooler.

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  3. Pingback: being self-employed | Homeschooling Information

  4. ah, this fits right into what we were talking about over at my blog, too.

    i have always been self-employed, so it was no stretch at all to take on my children’s education. once you are used to customizing your own life *and* once you are used to being completely responsible for your own well-being, it just slides right in.

    we will urge our sons to understand that they *are* self-employed, even if they work part or all of the time for someone else .. in the sense that they, and only they, are responsible for looking out for their own interests and getting what they need out of their work and their lives.

    i suspect that they will follow in our footsteps and become entrepreneurs. but even if they choose work that requires a technical employer, i believe they’ll maintain their sense of control over their own lives that is essential to being self-employed .. and feeling you have control over your life is a huge step toward happiness.

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  5. Pingback: being self-employed | Home School News Blog

  6. I’m pretty sure we’ve talked about this off blog :), and I think I meant to blog about it but never got around to it…

    My parents started their own business the year I was born, I was working their with the plan of taking it over when my parents retired (until I decided to up and move to Canada) Tom’s parents had their own construction business, which Tom now owns/runs, and we have the farm. So self-employment runs in the blood. It’s something the kids have absorbed but also something that we’ve been talking about more often in the past few years.

    Every once in a while Tom toys with taking a job at the local college, but in the end he always decides he’d rather do things his way, like deciding to take a holiday in late November without putting in a formal request…

    It all does go hand in hand, taking responsibility for your own paycheck, your own education, and even your own food with a garden. But then from the start I was never very good at playing with others!

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  7. I definitely agree. I think it is the whole thinking outside the box aspect of it. I ahve been thinking about this a great deal of late, trying to figure out what I will do in a few short years. I’d love to find something independent enough that I could still do the co-op, as I enjoy it and the families so much. Glad you are finding your niche!

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