What would my life be like if I didn’t homeschool?

This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 14, 13, 10, 7, and 3.

Sometimes I dream about who I would be if I sent my kids to a traditional school. Would I be more relaxed? Put together? Would we parents have more friends? Would I be thinner? This weekend we went RV camping at the Pacific ocean, next to a playground and a three-family reunion of some sorts. They were nice people. I wondered what I looked like to them. The frazzled woman who should send her kids to school for a break? The great mom that has it all together, or the mom that doesn’t care about her kids?

Why do I have two blogs? I ask myself every day.

I was struck by this interview on NPR with the authors of Becoming Brilliant:

NPR: What led you to write this book now?

Golinkoff: We live in a crazy time, and parents are very worried about their children’s futures. They’re getting all kinds of messages about children having to score at the top level on some test. The irony is, kids could score at the top and still not succeed at finding great employment or becoming a great person.

Hirsh-Pasek: If Rip Van Winkle came back, there’s only one institution he would recognize: “Oh! That’s a school. Kids are still sitting in rows, still listening to the font of wisdom at the front of the classroom.” We’re training kids to do what computers do, which is spit back facts. And computers are always going to be better than human beings at that. But what they’re not going to be better at is being social, navigating relationships, being citizens in a community. So we need to change the whole definition of what success in school, and out of school, means.

Of course, this makes me want to write about what to teach your kids so they have a good adult life. One thing, for example, is kids need to learn to tell a story about themselves. And we can complain all we want about resumes, but writing a resume well is the process of learning to tell one’s own story.

A great place to start writing resumes is Online Resume Builder. It’s a fail-proof way to write a good story about yourself because it leads you through questions and it organizes answers in a conventional, well-written resume format. A resume is probably the most important document of adult life. Yet we spend no time teaching children how to convey their life by way of stories worthy of resumes.

Here’s a link to a post that features one of my favorite people to quote: Herminia Ibarra. She is a business school professor who bounces from one top institution to another building her career just like she tells us to build our careers – by telling good stories to be better at connecting with people.

This whole post maybe belongs on my career blog. Because increasingly I am finding that education and career are the same thing – they are the quest for an interesting life that places you in a valued role in society. This changes throughout life, but kids, athletes, parents, retirees, everyone has this goal.

So why do I have two different blogs? This tortures me. And then, Ali posted this comment, asking me why I even have two blogs, because he reads both and they seem very interrelated.

I am so grateful to Ali for making me realize that this was not my own private question, that I am linking to his site, Pig + Tiger, as a thank you. And who knows? Maybe one of you will want to remodel your kitchen in Texas and want t0 talk about homeschooling at the same time, and then you will hire him and the world will be one big blogosphere.

Yesterday I posted on my career blog about how I made my son teach himself how to be a salesperson so he’d have a backup in case cello doesn’t work out. That’s probably an unschooling post. And today’s post is, actually, about why talking about careers is talking about education. So why is this not on the career blog?

I wanted to tell you that the Gradient Puzzle (pictured) is what I feel about homeschooling — like I’m putting pieces together with no idea of what I’m aiming for. But actually, there is so much data to show what education should aim for and how it should unfold, that probably managing one’s career is more difficult because we have much less research to give us a scientific basis of what to aim for.

So the truth is that I don’t know why I still have two blogs. Is advice for careers so different than advice for education? What do you think?

Note: My editor is out of town today. So I had Melissa edit. Melissa says: “This is totally stupid. This post should just be on the big blog.” Melissa is calling it the big blog, because she says if I start calling it the big blog, and not the career blog, I’ll be more likely to merge the two blogs.


I started homeschooling right before it was too late

This is a guest post from Sarah Griffith.

This a story I’ve read many times on Penelope’s blog: How I started homeschooling. But my story feels like the white trash version. 

Sex ed curricula for homeschoolers

I have been thinking about how I want to talk to my sons about sex ed. Specifically, about women. I want them to understand rape, but I want them to understand sex done right as well.

The best careers for kids will emerge from widespread automation

My younger son asked me to help him find out if anyone breeds Pokemon for a job. So we look up breeders and yes, there are professional breeders. He uses his birthday money.

Three ways you give your kids outdated advice

We know that kids who cut corners and question the status quo are the ones who make a big difference in the career arena. 

Self-directed learning often means self-directed buying

I should have insisted my son learn French, because I’m not fluent, but I’m close. Instead he is learning Spanish and while I thought I’d be useful (it’s a romance language!) I find all I do is pronounce French words like they’re Spanish and hope they are.

Every language arts lesson in just one day (from a rape case at Stanford)

By now you have probably heard about the rape on Stanford’s campus that resulted in a very public court case:  a freshman, Brock Turner, was caught by two witnesses raping an unconscious woman. He tried to run. She did not regain consciousness for two more hours. A jury found him guilty of three felonies.

Teach passion by modeling passion

Erin Wetzel is an illustrator and portrait artist. She lives in Washington state with her young family. Connect with her on Instagram where she documents everyday motherhood.

You can tell when we’re broke, because that’s when I run my art sales. Last week, we needed gas and groceries. I set a discount for art prints and made what we needed in six hours. One time I slashed prices on commissions and made enough to pay the mortgage.

The safest path to adulthood is finding a passion

I am struck by the huge amount of research that shows that the school kids attend has no effect on whether a kid gets out of poverty.