At home

1st May 2009 at 01:00

Three Rhode Island Red bantams, a few old egg boxes and a pull-around trolley seemed to be more than sufficient to get Finlay's entrepreneurial juices going. We had been given hens by a local organic farmer and one corner of our garden had become their new, designated home.

My son's enthusiasm for business ideas often reminds me of my own childhood, and although the glasses of Ribena and individual digestive biscuits I tried to sell to neighbouring children 30 years ago never did result in a new concept in cafes, I enjoyed the process and there is still a spark of excitement in me when I think back to making that and other ideas come to life.

After some thought and consultation with his sister and a couple of the local children, Finlay announced the "Eggs on Legs" business hatched. The hens would each produce an egg a day, making 21 per week, so we could easily eat three ourselves and still sell three half-dozens to neighbours who appreciate good organic eggs. The "legs" part of the name was to do with the eggs being delivered directly to your door. All that was needed was a logo and some marketing to get the business going.

I saw my role as facilitator and adviser, as and when required. Helping to give a child's idea wings seems to require a delicate balance and it can be all too easy either to take over a little too much or go the opposite way and not be involved enough. Either way can result in the child losing interest.

I tried my best to get it right and we soon had egg boxes decorated with computer-generated eggs of varying colours; a leaflet explaining the great offer available to discerning egg connoisseurs and a trolley proffering some freshly-laid eggs for sampling. Adding to the thrill of the business idea was the fact that the children had taken a note of egg prices in the shop opposite and ours would be a better deal, as well as being nicer eggs.

Having time to spend putting effort into ideas that the children come up with is a part of home-schooling that works very well. They learn so much by being given the opportunities to explore their own ideas and will, I hope, cherish those memories in the years ahead. Perhaps one of their concepts will be the spark for their path in life; the least I can do is to facilitate.

Flora Dunnett is a trained primary, TEFL and Rudolf Steiner teacher. She home-schools her two children in the Borders.

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