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Does Your Child Work for his Supper?

Do you run a business with your children?  Lots of people do.  Sometimes families run restaurants, expect their teen children to help bus the tables, and homeschool between shifts.  The whole family helps out.

I know of a few families that raise chickens for fun and profit.  Kids have to feed the chickens, change their water, gather eggs, stuff like that.  Still others make foo-foo scented soaps, wrap 'em up with raffia, and help package orders for shipment.

Some say their parents are selfish people for making them work all day, and that we should regulate homeschooling more strictly.  Because really, how are we going to be sure children are learning properly if they are gainfully employed?  We all know they need to be in public school so that they can get gainful employment as adults.

*head thunk*

Ok.  I guess The Kansas City Star just prints what people want to buy ... 

While I recognize that there are some abusive situations out there, I think we need to put this whole "homeschooling children at the dining room table and making them work all day" into some sort of historical perspective:

Chimney sweep.  Source:  wikipedia.
About 200 years ago, childhood slavery was not uncommon, even amongst European children.  Kids as young as three were sent in to clean chimneys, often working 12 -18 hour days.  Sometimes these little people were kidnapped and employed as factory workers and street sellers, or even rat-catchers.  They had no rights.

They didn't go to school and rarely learnt to read, and certainly no one ensured that they were fed every day.  It was a travesty and an injustice, and it's part of the reason we have labour laws and compulsory education today.

But here's the thing:  there are places you can turn to if you suspect abuse in any family, homeschooling or otherwise.  There are child abuse hotlines in every state.  Additionally, in Missouri, the school will investigate when the abuse case only involves educational neglect.  So here?  There are two agencies protecting the interests of the children.

Things are not hopeless for these children and if you're worried, make the call!

I "get" why some people might be a little hesitant to endorse moms and dads raising their children a little differently than they remember as being the "right" way.  But personally?  I'm far more worried about the fate of the kids in the more awful school districts than I am about almost all homeschoolers.  Just trying to put it in perspective. 


  1. Seems to me those home-working children are already gainfully employed. Certainly they are learning how a business is run and that money must be earned and not just given. They are learning early what many struggle to learn after school and college is over and they are suddenly thrust into the workforce to search for jobs and earn a living. Many of the home-workers even get paid a small amount, when they become teens they get a proper wage, like any hired worker. How can this be seen as 'wrong'?

    1. Sometimes it happens during conventional school hours. So homeschooled children are getting an advantage employment-wise, no doubt about it. There are also "concerned" people out there who might think that because someone is working during conventional public school hours, that their regular studies must of necessity get short shrift.

      This is the same logic that insists homeschoolers only get to socialise with Uncle Charley and his imaginary friends, and the four children who attend church with the family each week on the compound. /sarc

    2. Who says homeschooling is only done during the day? A kid can work all day if they like as a teen and then do their work at night. The opposite of what I did in high school but I'm a morning person! I did school all day (bo-ring) and then worked 25 hours a week at my job as a waitress/hostess. Somehow enough homework got done to squeak by with that B average. And here I am making decent money to write and edit WITHOUT a college degree ... on the job experience even in my 30s and 40s. Why be normal?

  2. Seriously, though, some of the comments on that Star article are scary and have me glancing around when I go out in public ... who is judging me crazily when I take my kids to the pool at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday in January? SHOULDN'T WE BE HOMESCHOOLING IN A CONVENTIONAL MANNER?

    1. I thought that would count as PE! Silly me for not realizing such activities must take place in the school gym! :)


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