Business School for Beginners

Home-schooling or rather Un-schooling – Who was to know the intensity of it when we first started out? ‘Full-on’ is a word that springs to mind when I think about the level of engagement required. Survival at times requires pulling tricks out of a hat, which if well presented, might even be understood as some of the very best free-range education.

So when 9 year old Sarah decided that running a Pancake and Coffee Stall at the beach was her ideal way to spend the summer holidays, we (the doting parents) happily jumped on board….thinking this would be a fine way for her to learn a few business skills. That was back in the beginning and we were still naïve, but you can read more about that adventure here.

The short of it was that as the cheap labour force, we (the doting parents) quickly decided that this level of educational input was overkill, especially when the wind blew east and the kites went up and we were stuck tossing pancakes or packing up gazeboes. Fortunately our daughter agreed and anyway she was rich now and wouldn’t need to work again for sometime.

We came away from this experience having learnt the following lessons: We learnt that working through the holidays is challenging, tiring and frustrating although admittedly fun at times. We learnt how to work together as a family, and we certainly learnt how to toss a pancake.

And because sharing is caring, when a local Play-School decided to throw a fund-raiser the following year we volunteered our now expert pancake skills. So for the past few years our pancake stall equipment has been dusted off once a year for the Acacia Tree School’s Moonlight Market Fundraiser.

But then, just as we were settling comfortably into our annual routine, Angus the ‘Nougat Guy’ spotted us, possibly drawn to our talent and flare – although more likely drawn to the smell of pancakes smothered in cinnamon sugar and lemon – and invited us to join a monthly town market underway and in desperate need of a Pancake Stall.

Now the thought of pancakes once a month was far more manageable than every. day. of. the. holidays… and Leah was showing strong potential as assistant to her big sister and now expert Pancake Stall Manager, Sarah. Of course the continuation of their business skills program (the girls are responsible for everything) and extra pocket money couldn’t hurt either.

But the deeper truth as to why this was such a great learning opportunity and needed to be developed lay in the fact that ‘Mom’ loves a Market (almost, although not quite as much as she loves a Junk Shop) and was drawn to the idea of floating around, coffee in hand, perusing the love and toil on display in between hanging out with buddy Lou who runs a divine food stall just down the row…. while the ‘lil ones worked for their income and learnt more about the ‘Real World’.

Hah! How time does blur the memory…and as usual I was the one getting the lesson.

While the girls are responsible for everything, the cheap labour force I find, is still very much in demand at quite an intense level –  admittedly and thankfully this improves with each passing month as our little entrepreneurs grow into their roles.

However for the time-being even The Dad gets roped in if Market Day happens to fall on a home stint.


And so, pancake experts we are. Business skills we have, and  Saturday sees another Market at the Crossings. I will be the apron clad Mom sweating behind the pan and not the glamorous, well heeled, Suburban House Wife sipping on her take-out Cappuccino while looking down her designer nose at the make-shift Pancake Stall being run on child labour.

See you there!

Celebrating a Year of Crossings Markets and Pancake Tossing. Oct / Nov 2014