Home educators mean business

Everyone knows about the concept of fair trade, and most people will also have heard of the ‘shop local’ campaigns and farmers’ markets being promoted across the country. We are certainly becoming more discerning as consumers, and many of us are exercising positive choice by buying fair trade coffee or supporting our local butcher rather than loading up the Tesco’s trolley on a one-stop shopping trip.

It was with this new ‘positive discrimination’ in mind ( and the realisation that the home education community could do with some of it!) that the idea of a preferential trading network for home educators in business was born as a means of supporting fellow home educators and home-edupreneurs.

The Home Education Business Directory is now open for entries! Designed as a Home Ed High Street, it is divided into broad business categories and offers free ‘gold’ level listing for enterprises that are owned and run by home educators. The directory will also accept ‘silver’ level listings from businesses that offer discounts to home educating families and ‘bronze’ level entries from those whose products and services may be of interest to the home education community.

Home Education Forums, which incorporates the business directory as well as social and business networking forums, is a social enterprise whose primary aim is to benefit the home education community, while simultaneously securing sufficient revenue and sponsorship to make it viable in its own right. Its mission is to connect home educators, encourage the pooling of resources, experience and expertise, nurture home-edupreneurship and facilitate preferential trading between members and supporters to benefit the home education community and economy.

Educating your own children and running your own business present many similar challenges: both require large doses of determination and self-belief, and both bring high levels of satisfaction and fulfilment. Since home educators and entrepreneurs have so much in common, it’s hardly surprising to see home-edupreneurs (home educating entrepreneurs) so well represented within the wider business community, especially in the SME sector.

One of the great strengths of the home education community is its ability to offer peer support and mentoring to new and established home educating families through its many networks, both local and national. It is a successful and established model, which has complemented the work of the home education organisations, some of which provide direct support and information on legal and other issues. Likewise, the business community has increasingly embraced the power of networking, both on- and offline, as well as engaging with more formal organisations which offer direct business support or lobby government on business-related issues.

Home educators receive no financial support to educate their children, and many do not want any as they believe it could compromise their children’s learning freedom, so they often find practical and moral support within the home education community, especially if they are lone parents. The extra responsibilities inherent in the home educating role mean that the home-edupreneur has to be even more adept at juggling than the average schooling entrepreneur, but it also affords many more opportunities to educate children and young people about many different aspects of business from an early age, as well as providing hands-on experience where appropriate.

As independent thinkers and doers, home educators and entrepreneurs alike can often find themselves swimming against the tide of conventionality, and both invariably fare better with minimal state interference and regulation and maximum exposure to the wealth of knowledge and expertise that exists within their own trusted networks. Home Education Forums aims to be one such network for aspiring and established home-edupreneurs and would encourage everyone who values freedom in education to shop local on the home ed high street!

Home Education Forums acknowledges with thanks the support and sponsorship it has received from Unltd and many members of the Scottish Business Forums.


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