What is up with people emailing me ideas for what I can do with my kids? I already have way too many ideas. For example, we were at the Guggenheim last month, honestly, my sons probably would have rather run around in Central Park. (They tried running in the Guggenheim, and believe me, it was a disaster.)
The hardest part of homeschooling is not figuring out what there is to do with kids. The world is full of things to do for kids who are not going to school. The hardest part is figuring out what not to do. School rules out so much—anything that cannot be taught to 30 kids at once time in a small room. That rules out almost everything.
Homeschool opens up all that stuff that was formerly out of the question. I like the idea of having the kids decide. I’m constantly telling them they have a specific amount of time that they can fill. I give them lists of ideas that I know they’ll like, and they pick. I pare down the list so that it’s not as intimidating as the real world is.
But really, I think the real world is about figuring out what you’re not doing. What do you want to give up when you decide where to live? What will you give up in terms of career possibliities in order to figure out what you are going to be great at? What are you going to give up in your personal life in order to stay home with kids?
Teaching kids to give things up is a great lesson, and it’s super-hard. I worry every day about what I’m giving up just to homeschool. So it seems like talking about that meta lesson, and how to teach it, would be much more useful than presenting list upon list of ideas for what kids can do.
The question about what can kids do is a red herring. The real question is what will kids give up.