With homeschooled children in the U.S. now numbering in the millions, most of them being raised in a Christian worldview, what happens when all these students reach their teen years?
Many go to college – despite the fact that higher education is increasingly steeped in leftist indoctrination and sexual obsession – toughing it out in an unfriendly environment in hopes of becoming prepared for the adult world of work and career. Some try to avoid the ravages of secular culture by attending a Christian college.
But an increasing number of homeschoolers are trying a different road. They are becoming entrepreneurs and business owners.
Whether they later go to college or not, learning to be financially successful, especially from home – and in the age of the Internet, that’s easier than ever – is turning out to be the missing ingredient many homeschoolers have been seeking in their home-education program.
Homeschooling parents share many of the same concerns: Why is it that what seems to work for other kids doesn’t necessarily work for mine? What’s going to happen to my kids when they get older? Will they be of good character? How will my child contribute to society and become financially secure?
Rhea (pronounced “Ray”) Perry was once such a homeschool mom. Living with her husband Wendell in the rural Southeast, Rhea has been homeschooling her seven children since 1988.
One of the first things she found was that her oldest son, Drew, then 14, was not exactly a model homeschool student. In fact, Drew was difficult to teach.
“All the school options and everything worked for my oldest daughter, because she’s very smart and very academic in nature,” says Rhea. “But then there was Drew, who was a little bit different, and he would probably be labeled ADD if he was tested. I never tested him because I didn’t want labels put on him, but I knew he was different and he just didn’t fit in with the school situation he was in.”
After trying different approaches, and realizing Drew just wasn’t suited for the curriculum and methods Rhea had, in desperation – or perhaps it was inspiration – Rhea and her husband sent the boy off to spend a month with a Christian entrepreneur friend of theirs.
During that month, 14-year-old Drew Perry learned all about the world of business, money, entrepreneurism and a new way of thinking about life, finances and success.
“When he came back, he was a changed person,” said Rhea, and that change slowly permeated the entire family. Soon, Rhea and her older children, including Drew, started attending professional conferences and learning a wide range of business skills and techniques.
At the age of 18, Drew became a real estate investor, who today has bought and sold many homes – which he does on eBay!
“Within three years,” Rhea says, her former-misfit/now-entrepreneur son had replaced Wendell’s income. “My husband was able to come home from corporate America and began taking care of his bedridden father for the next three-and-a-half years,” she said.
“During those years, we didn?t have to worry about paying the bills. My husband could focus on caring for his dad as we believe families are supposed to do, and life went on as normal.”
Little by little, Rhea shared her newfound love of entrepreneurism with other like-minded homeschoolers, first in small gatherings in her home, later in rented facilities, and now in major conferences featuring successful business talents – all aimed at teaching parents and their teen children about the joys and realities of being an independent entrepreneur.
“Parents have an incredible opportunity to train their children to be serious contributors to society instead of being dependent on it,” says Rhea. “I encourage families all the time to look around for opportunity and learn to create money out of nothing. With all the opportunity our free enterprise system offers, there is no reason why anyone who can read should be living paycheck to paycheck. If you don’t know where to start, consider selling something on eBay. Many families earn their living there by becoming experts in just one market.”
In America, everyone has the freedom to control their own lives and not be beholden to anyone else, she says. “It just requires the right type of education. Yet, most of us get caught up in day-to-day living and don’t look up from its mundaneness to set our goals on something higher. Working toward financial freedom is not something that comes easily. It doesn?t come from an inheritance or from winning the lottery. Getting money is only part of the game of life; managing and protecting it is important as well.”
If parents really want to impact their children’s lives positively, Rhea adds, “they will teach them to own their own businesses, tithe, and channel their resources to positively impact society in whatever realm their hearts desire. Life is not about getting, it’s about giving. Yet in the giving, what we get makes it worth the effort.”
Rhea Perry’s next “Entrepreneur Days” conferences, teaching teens and their parents to make money from home ? featuring experts on everything from investing in real estate, the stock market and precious metals to creating multiple streams of income from home-based Internet businesses – will be held next month in Los Angeles and Tennessee.