I am so excited to read that Albert Wenger, from Union Square Ventures is going to homeschool his kids. His firm invested in Twitter, Tumblr and Kickstarter and they are known for their ability to peg trends with a stroke of genius. So I am thrilled to read that Wenger's wife, Susan Danzinger, announced that she is planning to hire guides for their kids, who are 13, 13, and 11.
The kids will leave their expensive New York City private school in order to find their passions. She is hiring three people – one for each kid – and she's calling them guides. The guide's responsibilities are:
1. Explore one or more areas of the child's interests (this includes finding and coordinating time with skilled experts)
2. Build and strengthen basic skills in reading, writing, presenting, researching, analyzing in pursuit of those interests
3. Overcome obstacles and challenge themselves
I don't think she needs to hire guides—both parents are capable of guiding the kids themselves. But both Danzinger and Wenger have big jobs in the tech startup world, so it makes sense that their approach to homeschooling would be to hire people to help.
Danzinger's announcement makes me so happy because I feel like this is how I homeschool already. I look for ways for my kids to follow their interests. It's a long process, though. There is the interest and then there's the way to investigate the interest.
My older son loves paleontology, so of course we spent a day at the Museum of Natural History last time we were in the city. But it had been a couple of years since we'd been there, and I realized that the acoustics of that museum are insane for someone with sensory integration dysfunction (very common for people with Aspergers).
So we had to pick a place we wanted to go in the museum, get the quietest route to the place, take a look, and then go back to the member's lounge to recouperate. Then we'd go out again. (Note to parents of kids with Asperger's: we got to the front of every line at the museum by explaining the problem.)
It turned out that the part of paleontology that my son liked best was sitting in the member's lounge, reading.
Danzinger's job description for guides is intentionally vague. She undertands that helping a kid to find their passion and learn most effectively is completely personal, and requires lots of adjustments along the way. A parent can do it or a guide can do it, but the one-to-one attention is so necessary for helping a kid to become their most engaged and passionate self.