In 1970, at the age of 20, Richard Branson founded a mail-order record company by the name of Virgin Records. Since then, he has founded eight different billion-dollar companies in eight different industries. Oh, by the way, he doesn’t have a degree in business.
My general attitude to life is to enjoy every minute of every day. I never do anything with a feeling of, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to do this today.’ —Richard Branson
Branson is one of the most unconventional entrepreneurs of the 20th century. He has started a space tourism company and plans to be on the first commercial flight into space along with his children. He’s been known to participate in dangerous publicity stunts for his companies.
Richard Branson’s management style and philosophy has made him one of the most successful business men in history. Let’s take a look at some of characteristics of his management style and apply them to homeschooling.
Have Fun. Don’t Do It If You Don’t Enjoy It
Homeschooling should be something you enjoy. It shouldn’t be looked upon as an obligation. If it’s not fun then consider other alternatives. When your 8 year old son would rather run around the kitchen shooting people in the face with Nerf guns it’s not fun. When you’re sick and can barely get out of bed it’s not fun. Those should be exceptions to the rule. Make homeschooling fun.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” —Confucius
Take Risks. Explore Uncharted Territory
It’s really easy in homeschooling to buy a packaged curriculum and use that to educate your kids. They’ll turn out OK but there’s more to education that book-work. Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to explore education in a way that ignites the imagination and cultivates creativity.
“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” —Albert Einstein
You Can’t Obtain Perfection. Stop Trying
You’ve seen the pictures. You’ve read the stories. You’ve thought to yourself, “I’ll never be as perfect as Suzy Homeschooler.” Guess what? Suzy isn’t perfect either. Homeschooling and social media have created a monster: perfection. Parents post pictures of their perfect little school rooms and well-dressed kids and put up a façade or perfection. I recall Jesus saying something about white-washed tombs. Stop it. You can’t be perfect. Those people aren’t perfect. I’m not telling you to air your dirty laundry but you also shouldn’t think you need to hang out your white linens all the time. The perfect homeschooler doesn’t exist and you should stop trying to be that person. Strive for excellence instead of perfection.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” —Vince Lombardi
Beware an “Us vs. Them” Mentality
Some homeschoolers have an unhealthy “Us vs. Them” mentality. It’s us against the public schools or Christian homeschoolers against secular homeschoolers or unschoolers against traditional homeschoolers. There are many factions in homeschooling and it’s important to remember why you started homeschooling. Hopefully you started homeschooling because you wanted to provide your children with the best education possible in a positive environment. Focus on your reasons for homeschooling instead of homeschooling against something.
“A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.” —Nelson Mandela
Don’t Be Afraid to Dream Big
Sometimes we can get so focused on the daily and weekly grind of homeschooling that we fail to dream or let our kids dream. It’s OK to have crazy ideas and big dreams. Let your kids fantasize about their future and come of with big plans. Don’t tell them it’s impossible. When your kid comes up with a big idea talk to them about what it would to accomplish their dream. It might be hard and they will have to have a lot of willpower but don’t tell them it’s impossible.
“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Music for the podcast by Kevin Macleod.