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Lemonade to Leadership: Nurturing Entrepreneurs Review by Marisa Corless

By Bonny Drew
Institute for Excellence in Writing
8799 N. 387 Rd.
Locust Grove, OK, 74352

Lemonade to Leadership: Nurturing Entrepreneurs is a two-book set consisting of the Teacher's Manual and the Student Book. According to the Institute for Excellence in Writing, it is a 12 to 25-hour curriculum geared for children in grades 3-6 or up to 8 th grade to foster entrepreneurial skills and real-world business practices. In the introduction, Lemonade to Leadership promises to "train your students to: recognize money-making opportunities, estimate start-up costs and operating expenses, write a business plan, set up a record-keeping system, design marketing materials and ads, deliver a sales presentation, become a job maker instead of a job-taker, start and operate a youth-owned business, and take charge of the future." The 12-hour curriculum would be a quick introduction to business, and the 25-hour curriculum would use all the suggested activities in the book.

This program can be used within a family or in a co-op setting. The student materials are reproducible within a family, but in a co-op situation, each child would need to purchase a separate student text. The book is broken down into eight lessons. Each lesson has a list of objectives, prerequisites, a list of materials needed, and a list of business terms, followed by the lesson. Each lesson is further broken into several sections. Each section includes discussion as well as activities for the students to complete. The lessons are not scripted, but they are guided.

This program seems to work best with a small group of students and a teacher-mentor. Many of the instructions include reference to students and small groups. Some of the brainstorming discussions might be better accomplished with a few enthusiastic youth. For example, in a lesson on writing a business plan, the teacher likens a business plan to a set of instructions and then asks the students to break into teams to see who can come up with a larger list of instructions encountered throughout the day.

I feel that this program, while it could be used with children as young as third grade with a little modification and a slower pace, is best suited for 5 th -8 th grade students. This is not a watered down business education program. It is in-depth and covers all aspects of running a true business, including legal business structures, tax laws, and researching laws on business licenses, keeping records, proper receipts for goods bought and sold, etc. This course also requires the attention of the students to come up with ideas and stick to them through building a business and discussing successes and failures experienced throughout the "past week." Ideally, the students are fairly confident writers as several activities encourage the students to "write several paragraphs" about a given topic.

I think Lemonade to Leadership is a very well thought out program with many positives. I like that it does not talk down to the students and seeks to raise them to professional levels. I also like that it goes step-by-step through setting up a business. In a small group or co-op situation, it would be a fabulous enrichment class. I don't know that I would use it for an individual child because of how much more a student would be able to absorb with the group discussions, brainstorming, and sharing, but I would definitely recommend this program as an entrepreneurial course for older elementary to middle school children.

Product review by Marisa Corless, MH, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2010