My kids do almost all their TV watching on our computer, in the car, or in a hotel room TV when we travel. Which means that I hear everything they watch, and I have to say I love the shows they choose. My six-year-old’s favorite shows are iCarly and Jessie. He watches each episode ten times, which means I hear each episode ten times.

And you know what? I rarely get sick of the episodes. I’m fascinated by how much he learns about how the world works from these shows. Read more

During my last business trip I bought my son a phone. I try to say yes to what they want to buy. I try to trust that they’ll use it for something interesting. Sometimes it ends up being a waste of money, but usually not.

So the big surprise about the phone is not that he used it for pictures—I think Generation Z just assumes that every gadget they have takes photos. The surprise to me was that he started texting the photos to people.

And then he responded to the responses, and soon he was spending fifteen minutes a day figuring out how to spell. Read more

For the most part, my kids and I go through our days without seeing any homeschoolers. We wake up early, do chores and breakfast, and then the morning unfolds slowly, with video games and music practice, and me worrying about my work that I am going to try to do while I have the kids all day long. Then we do one or two activities, like horseback riding.

I imagined that we would be part of a community of homeschoolers, but the only community I have found, to be honest, is online, on this blog and other homeschooling blogs I read, like Lisa Nielsen’s and Peter Gray’s.

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One of the topics I write about most frequently on my other blog is happiness. I am sort an encyclopedia of the research people have done in the past twenty years about what makes us happy.

The most surprising thing is that happiness has to do with outlook. If you are positive and you feel that you are in control of whether or not you get what you want, then you are happier. But you can’t really change your outlook.  We are born with a happiness setpoint, which Sonja Lyubomirsky explains in her book The How of Happiness. We can control for 30% of our happiness setpoint. (Which seems, unfortunately, similar to the situation with our weight.) Read more

Here’s the update on my grand video game experiment: Unlimited video games has been great. If there is nothing my kids are supposed to be doing—feeding goats, practicing violin, taking a skateboard lesson—then they can play video games. I have not put limits on how much they play or what they play. I have even been very liberal about making purchases that they kids needed to play what they want. Here are some examples of what happened: Read more

The first few months of homeschooling were terrifying to me. I have a very social son who had no one to play with.  And I had no idea how to fix that. You guys gave me tons of suggestions. And everything you told me turned out to be true. But the best advice I got was that it’ll happen in time. He’ll make friends, just give him time.

I did not believe it. I’m not a wait-and-see kind of person. But so much of homeschooling is wait-and-see. So much is being patient while the kid learns at his own speed. So much is waiting to see what the kids want to learn. I’m a planner. I’m about hard-driving, achievement-oriented blue-ribbon lifestyles. I work very hard to not force this onto my kids. (Even though I hope hope hope that one of them chooses this for himself.) Read more

My son had a friend sleep over the other night. He would be in first-grade, like my six-year-old, who, really, I should have held back a year because all the rich little boys in New York City are being held back a year, and I want my son to be able to compete with them. But water under the bridge, right? Because we are not doing school. And I can just send him to college a year later or something.

So anyway, this boy would be in first-grade, same as my son, and I confess that I grilled the kid about what is going on in school.  I wanted to know what math he was learning. Is he typing? Does he read books with no pictures? Is there fun gym equipment? I start prying: Read more

My other blog gets so much traffic that I receive 5-10 emails every single day offering to write a guest post for my blog. The pitches are so terrible that I usually delete them without reading them.

This homeschooling blog, on the other hand, is so new to me, that the offers to write guest posts still intrigue me. I usually learn something from considering the proposed post.

Take this pitch, for example: Read more

A big part of my income comes from public speaking, and it’s speaking season. So I took my six-year-old on the road. With his cello and his skateboard. Last week we were in Illinois, Florida, and California. People often say they can’t homeschool because they have to work. Here’s a snapshot of what it looks like as a homeschooling family if you take one kid to work. On a plane. And leave the other at home with an adult who has a full-time job but works from home.

I woke up, went to the hotel gym while my son slept. Then I gave a speech at the Natural Products Expo while my son ate from an absurdly lavish breakfast buffet and watched Disney channel videos from iTunes. Afterward I took him to the floor of the trade show so he could see what it’s like. He ate tons of free samples.  Read more

I used to have a column on Yahoo Finance. I would write the basic advice that I wrote on my career blog, stuff like

Job hopping is good

There are no bad bosses

Don’t be the hardest worker

These are not controversial topics for my career blog. It has an audience of very smart, very high-performing people are who are managing their careers carefully so that they have interesting work that doesn’t ruin the rest of their life.

On Yahoo Finance, people were not so forward thinking. They would tell me that I’m an idiot. They would tell Yahoo to fire me. Sometimes I would get 1000 comments, and most of them were disparaging. In fact, someone at Yahoo had the daily task of removing the really offensive ones. Read more