Monday, September 12, 2016

Day 1: Thirty-One as Curriculum

Day 1 - The Plan

I bet you didn't expect that, did you?

You read it right. 

Yesterday, I talked about slowing our family schedule down and being more selective about the activities to which we allocate our time.

Today, I'm focusing on using the advantages we have as homeschoolers for real-life learning. We have the time. They love project based learning. They love experiments. So, wouldn't promoting and selling a real product be a combination of the two?

I think so and so we'll give it a try.

My out of pocket expense is $99 for the Consultant Kit. Let's face it, I've spend that on just one subject for one child in curriculum. And essentially, that's how I'm looking at that fee.. as curriculum.

For $99, we're getting access to a company built completely on communication. That's what the consultants do - whether it be face to face at a party, or written in an online approach. AND, it's the company's best interest to support their consultants with marketing materials - so for $99 we'll have access to professionally designed and written marketing materials.

Starts to make sense, doesn't it?

Of course, this won't be child labor - no I am not making the kids do parties or necessarily have any direct contact with customers.

But what I might do is say, here is your product line - a line of thermal products for carrying food. Ok, 
What features would you want to highlight? 
Who would be the market for this product? 
How and where would they use it? 
So how can we achieve that in a promotional email? a short video presentation? 
What adjectives would you use to describe it?

Then maybe, they'll design a flyer (writing, computer & graphics skills being used) and then we'll compare it to the one Thirty One designed. Which is more effective? Why?

We'll write short demonstration scripts and actually video a demo video explaining and promoting the product (writing, public speaking skills used) and then compare and contrast to the professional ones. 

Exciting, engaging, motivating writing projects are endless! 

Then there's graphic design and computer skills in creating product flyers.

And how about math! Oh my goodness the opportunities are endless. 
Just off the top of my head, there's:

  * Figuring out your commission (percentages)

  * Reverse Engineering a fundraising goal - if local group X wants to raise $500, how much product        would they need to sell as a group? per each group member?

  * Even my 2nd grader could use the order form to practice simple adding and subtracting with     
    carrying by filling it in with an order (more writing!) and then adding it all up.

  * How about learning about accounts payable and receivable. We can track our business and use this      as an experiment. Ok, 9/2016 we invest $99. We'll track all of our individual expenses with         
     business materials, shipping materials and postage, cost of fun marketing promotions, etc. Then,          add in the commissions we earn and see where we are at in June, 2017. (Excel Spreadsheets &      

Also, Marketing. Who is the customer for this and how will you effectively sell to them.

Then there's learning about the value of a dollar. I have to say, I think it's inevitable that entitlement rears its ugly head in every child's development at one point or another. I recently had my 13 year old tell me in disgust, "You're not even loaning me $100, it's only $80." Ah, excuse me. 

So, what if we are modestly successful and actually have someone buy something and make some money. I'll have the kids set a goal to use with the money earned in our 9 months. All the intrinsic learning about realistic expectations; breaking a large goal into monthly goals along the way, etc. 

I'm also hoping that they might understand the value of work. Perhaps at the end, the goal they pick in September won't seem worthy of the effort they put in. 

And finally, my favorite part, 50% of any commissions earned will be donated to a local non-profit! 

Charity, community service, I love it! 

My expectation is that they will choose a different non-profit for each month. I know the local humane society will top that list but my hope is that over the course of 9 months, they'll need to research other non-profits in the area to find other worthy recipients. Learning about their community's needs, who is out there helping and how they, as kids, can have a positive impact on all of that will be a tremendous achievement.

I'm not completely sure what will happen except for a tremendous amount of meaningful, engaging learning that I hope will be received enthusiastically by the girls.

Am I completely insane? Maybe. But this just might be the ticket to not only get my reluctant writer and shy speaker, communicating well and confidently, all with some laughter and fun. Really, how could this fail?

My plan is to post our projects here to both chronicle our work and maybe guide/inspire other homeschooling families. We'll have a Pinterest board up soon with links. And, I hope that we also have a blog/vlog that will be the live product of their work - to promote the products in writing and video posts. I'll insert those links soon. 

Anyone want to join us? If you do, the Consultant Kit is $99 and let's face it - you do get over $300 worth of bags that really are pretty terrific. And like I said earlier, consider it curriculum. You can quit at any time and they require $200 over a 3 month period to stay active. I'm hoping some kind souls (or maybe Grandma) will help us get there.

If you do want to join us, we sure would appreciate it if you used this link to sign up. We get credit for that and even a penny or two from your sales - more percentage computing!!

Here's the link.

Thanks everyone and remember to check back. You may find something inspirational or a great laugh at my expense. It's ok. It'll be fun, that I can promise.