Ursula M. Burns became the first black woman to head a Fortune 500 company when she was appointed CEO of Xerox. She also became the first woman to succeed another as head of a Fortune 500 company.
Burns led the STEM program of the White House from 2009 to 2016 and is the current chairman and CEO of VEON, the eleventh largest mobile network operator in the world based on subscribers. Burns is also on the board of Uber.
Much like we did with the previous “Homeschool Like” series, we’ll take a look at her business acumen and apply that to homeschooling.
1. Be Authentic.
In an interview with Time, Ursula Burns said in the early years of her career the one thing she would not give up is her hair.
She encourages women, especially women trying to get into STEM to use their uniqueness as an opportunity to distinguish themselves from others.
We need to encourage our children to embrace what’s unique about themselves (being homeschooled) and use that as a way to stand out from the crowd. Don’t look at it as a burden, but an opportunity.
2. Listen to your employees.
Some parents think they have all the answers when it comes to homeschooling. While we are certainly responsible for educating our children, we should listen to them too.
As our children get older, their interests will change and we should be able to tailor their education so that they have a vested interest. We can only do that if we listen to them.
3. Recognize that you can not do everything yourself.
Speaking with Poppy Harlow on CNN Money, Burns reminds men that they need to step up when their wives have a baby. Women shouldn’t have to do all the work of raising children.
The same is true in homeschooling, it’s difficult for one parent to be the only educator. Both parents need to help.
4. Take a stand for what you believe in.
Believe it or not, there are still people out there who think homeschooling is bad for children. Governments, like Brazil and Germany, have basically made it illegal to homeschool.
There may come a time when you need to take a stand for your belief in homeschooling. Be prepared to hold your ground against family, friends, and total strangers.
5. Measure goals and outcome to make better decisions.
Grades are not goals. test results don’t always reflect the outcomes you’re looking for when educating your children. Book knowledge shouldn’t be the ultimate goal.
In our family, we want to instill a love of learning. We want to equip our children to be successful adults. We also want them to define what success looks like.
6. Have fun and truly enjoy your job to have the most success.
When I hear about parents and children who are burdened by homeschooling my heart drops. Anyone who is homeschooling and doesn’t truly find joy in the process will not have ultimate success.
It brings a smile to my face when I see the joy on my wife’s face when she’s talking about an experiment the kids did or a history nugget she learned about that day.
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