Whenever someone says, “He was homeschooled.” I ask, “What are they doing now?” I need to know how homeschooled kids turn out.

Now, after asking this question about 100 times it’s clear to me that there’s no rule of thumb. The results vary widely because the types of people who homeschool vary widely. After all, what else do the far right wing and far left wing have in common besides being scared to send their kids to public school? And, famous child actors and famous chess champions have totally different types of minds, but what do they have in common? They both need to be homeschooled in order to do what they do best.

So the question, “What are they doing now?” yields useless results.

But then I realized that homeschooling is not about the end result. It’s about the process. Kids should learn what is meaningful and important for them to learn, in an environment that caters to them.

It’s scary. Sure. But it’s more scary to send them to a school that seeks outcome over process.

4 replies
  1. Lori
    Lori says:

    It really doesn’t matter how other homeschooled kids are doing now, just like you wouldn’t ask other parents “How is your public-school kid doing now?” and think it would apply to your child.

    Inside homeschooling there is *huge* variation. Inside each *faction* of homeschooling there is huge variation. Then factor in family dynamics and kid personalities and …

    Forget about it, because it’s not even important. The only thing that matters is your child and whether you think you can do a better job — or *as good a job* while making your family happier.

    The chief reason I think you want to homeschool is similar to mine — it’s less to do with academics per se and more to do with passion. You want your sons to enter adulthood knowing what they’re interested in, in touch with their talents, already having developed at least one passion, and probably a good way toward knocking down some of their 10,000 hours.

    You can do those things better than the public school, I guarantee it — because they aren’t even on the menu over there.

  2. p
    p says:

    I know, it’s just useless anecdata, but I can’t help but share the story of Owen Bridge, one of my favourite where-is-he-now homeschool tales that I keep coming back to as I make this decision. Owen is the fellow who provides me with heritage seeds for my garden. He started his seed-saving business when he was SIXTEEN. His website is here: http://www.annapolisseeds.com/

    He was unschooled, which I think is the cream-of-the-crop in terms of homeschooling approaches, especially as it relates to entrepreneurship.

    Here’s an article about him from 2008: http://www.novanewsnow.com/Food/2008-11-13/article-591343/Who-said-money-doesnt-grow-from-seeds/1

  3. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    I can leave an anecdote, too, which I think shows that homeschooling fosters a way of learning that promotes self actualization, but like in regular schooling, sometimes your teachers aren’t ready for a different way of thinking.

    After nine years of homeschooling (read: nine years of reading only what I was interested in while lying to my mom about learning everything else) I made a transition into two years of private highschool before going to a top tier private university. As a self-identified gen-y-er, I tried to make my parents proud by studying the hardest thing I could find (chemistry), realizing three quarters of the way through my degree that science is isolating, totally niche-driven, and generally kind of a bummer.

    Still trying to please myself by pleasing my parents, I graduated from college and went to a top Ivy League grad school to study more science and avoid the recession. Two weeks into my grad program, I realized I hated doing science research, I hated graduate school, and I hated the city I was living in. Out of my desperate scouring of the internet for the answer to my problems, I found Penelope Trunk and Brazen Careerist.

    After I started reading blogs (doing the same kind of learning I had always done, but now using the information in a way that suited my interests instead of my parents), I realized that I was too smart to be unhappy, too self-motivated to be stuck on a one-track road through academia, and too creative to follow “conventional” scientific careers if I didn’t feel like it. Instead of getting a 7 year Ph.D., I started job hunting and fast-tracking a path to a masters’ degree. I told my parents I wasn’t going to finish graduate school and they stopped speaking to me.

    I finished a masters’ degree in 14 months through a lot of fast tracking and independent learning (again) in time for the 2010 fall hiring season at companies I was interested in. I built my own resume for consulting (with the help of this blog, and Even as one of the least socially savvy people I know, I managed to network enough to land phone interviews, which I aced. I rehearsed stories about my career transition, explained my way around not getting my Ph.D., and was recruited by a fantastic pharmaceutical consulting firm in a different city.

    I love my job, I am challenged every day to learn something new and grow into my new interests. And this blog certainly gave me some pretty helpful nudges toward helping myself.

  4. Intrigued
    Intrigued says:

    It is painfully obvious how you are schooled as a child has a direct impact on how you live out your career and life choices. It’s a continuum. The motives are exactly the same from childhood to adulthood. As adults we say “surround yourself with good people”, yet as children we’re forced to learn around people we would never want to be around as adults.

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