In the past, kids would help feed feed the pigs, harvest the corn, gather the eggs, and do whatever else was needed to help on the family farm. Through this they met practical needs but also learned the value of hard work, the satisfaction of a job well done, and “how the world works.”
My family has no farm, but I do have a software development company, and I’m excited at how our kids are becoming more and more involved in the family business.
Hannah, 14, is using Camtasia and Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection to create software overview and tutorial videos, and also do some graphic art work. Her Camtasia work is excellent, with her incorporating logo effects using Adobe After Effects, music, still shots, video captures, and a fine attention to detail when editing.
She’s done paid work for three of Quintify’s clients, and now alas I’m standing in line for her to do a major update and extension of Quintify’s own online tutorials as well as a sales-focused overview screencast.
Danny, 13, does testing for the web databases we create, making sure all is well as part of the development process. He’s also spending a lot of time learning Adobe Flex, which will enable us to offer iphone and Android apps for our database systems in the not-too-far-off future. (This has me excited!) He’s also learning PHP and MySQL, major technologies in Quintify’s arsenal.
Haneen, 10, fills out deposit slips and writes checks that I then sign. I’m also showing her how to enter the payments into Quintify’s database system, and hope to soon have her doing our invoicing. She’s also going to be learning Adobe Premier Pro once we figure out to how to transfer videos from our camcorder to the “Quintify laptop”.
And all three do data entry on behalf of clients’ system from time to time, and we plan for them to soon be doing writing projects that will help with Quintify’s SEO as well as give them something “real” to write about.
Micaiah, just turned 6, is about to be given perhaps Quintify’s most important job — making sure Daddy’s laptop is clean enough to be presentable at meetings with clients.
What enables us to run with this is the fact that we homeschool, so we can block out an hour or two from each kids’ day for “Quintify time”, which, I would argue, is some of the best education they’re getting. The other day Hannah met with a client to do a round of editing on a software overview video. During that time — at which neither Liz nor I were there — she not only used her Camtasia skills (information technology) but also got valuable experience interacting with a client (interpersonal communications), thinking through how to best present information to an audience (marketing), and made some money while at it (business 101). I’ll take that kind of education for my kids any day. (And they love doing this work.)
Like on the farm, there’s always much work to do, and I actually joked to Liz the other day asking if she knows any other smart teenage kids we can adopt into our family and put to work. Since that isn’t really an option, I’m now talking to another homeschooling family about getting their 14-year-old involved in some of the things we’re doing.
Side note: Two things we have found particularly helpful in these endeavors is Lynda.com’s training videos and the fact that Adobe offers it’s Creative Suite Master Collection on a subscription basis. We’re able to cover the subscription fees for both of these products through revenue brought in from Hannah’s work with outside clients, with Hannah still getting paid too.