You’d think I’d be writing a post about how to work full-time while you homeschool. I might write that post one day. But here’s fair warning: it’ll look like this picture. My son is trying to tell me about the Bionicle he built. I am telling him I need to write. He is telling me I always say that.

I ignore him and then he takes my phone and starts taking photos of his Bionicle and then he takes a movie of his Bionicle. He narrates the landscape of the feet, torso and body and then he says to the camera, “Don’t look at the stuff in the background. That’s my mom working. She is pissing me off.” Read more

It’s not that top universities are telling people directly to homeschool their kids. Instead, top schools are using a selection process that is hugely advantageous to those who do homeschool. Here’s why:

1. Good grades are a commodity, so they don’t help in the admissions process. 
Girls are doing so much better than boys in both standard high school courses and in standardized tests that their good grades and good scores don’t get girls into good colleges. It’s not enough anymore. White girls especially need a hook.

A hook is, ironically, something you are passionate about and engaged in that is outside of school. Top schools like Harvard and Stanford have always required a hook. Because when you’re in a room full of smart people, smart suddenly doesn’t matter—interesting is what matters. Read more

I am in Las Vegas giving a speech. And, of course, I brought my son. I think, when I was deciding to bring him, that I remembered hearing that Vegas was becoming kid friendly. Apparently, though, that was a decade ago. And it didn’t go well, probably because people don’t spend a lot of money gambling when they come to Vegas with kids.

Hotels are tearing down whole arenas devoted to kids. And the one kid place we could find, Circus Circus, looked more like a ghost town than an indoor amusement park. I told myself it didn’t matter. He is learning a lot. For example: “Mom, all girls look good in their bathing suit.”

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Our farm is magical right now. All the animals are having babies. My husband is giving the animals more and more freedom. This year he took the pigs out of farrowing crates and let them farrow in a big, open building full of sunlight and hay. He was worried that the moms would lie on the babies and crush them. This is what hog industry wisdom says will happen. But in fact, the pigs were excellent moms, better than he has ever seen them be before. And the piglets grew up faster, and disease-free when they were left alone to be a variation of free-range pigs. Read more

The demise of the college education is coming fast. It’s clear that college is largely a rip off. At this point, Generation Y is the most in-debt generation in American history largely because of the over-inflated price of a college education. To illustrate this situation, Sannah Kvist took photos of Generation Y with everything they own. One of the photos is above, and it’s a great illustration of post-college disappointment. (There are more photos from Kvist’s project here.) Read more

I am tortured by my youngest son’s need to be social. We have had a really hard time finding playmates for him. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because parents read my blog and are scared to let their kid hang out at our house. But mostly I think it’s that we live in Darlington, WI, so far away from everyone that we’re not convenient enough. I thought the farm would be a huge draw for kids, but a two-hour drive trumps kid fun for almost everyone.

I tell myself that it’s ok, because he sees kids when he goes to activities like dance class. And sometimes we meet other homeschool families in Madison for boy-time at a local gym. Read more

Before I was a homeschooler, before I even had kids, my friend, Lisa Nielsen was running literacy programs in the New York City public schools. The first time I can remember thinking that schools were really messed up was when she told me that teaching reading in school is controversial among reading specialists.

Today Nielsen’s blog, The Innovative Educator is a great resource for understanding why kids don’t need to go to school to learn to read.

I did not teach my youngest son to read. He has been picking it up himself, often from video game instructions. Here are the arguments against teaching reading that give me the confidence to let him learn to read on his own: Read more

Often, parents ask me how long my son has been skateboarding. This is parentspeak for, “I hope your kid is a lot older than he looks because I don’t want to think my own kid is slow.”

I think the core parent worry is that their child is falling behind and the parent’s job is to keep that kid out in front. We all pretend to not think that, because it’s not a healthy way to parent—as if we are in a race—but I think most of us battle against thinking that way sometimes.

I think using curriculum is caving to the wrong side of that struggle. Here’s why: Read more

The post I published yesterday was the first post in six years of blogging that generated only one comment.

I was lucky enough to start blogging when there were very few bloggers and almost none blogging with my main topic, careers. So I always had 5-10 comments, and now I almost never get less than 50 comments on a post.

This homeschool blog is harder for me. I thought it was an act of love. Or curiosity. But really, this blog, like my other one, is a way for me to explore ideas. It’s pretty much the thing that I’m best at. And really, thank goodness, because I’ve been fired from every other type of job. Read more

When I lived in New York City, hoarding was never an issue. I lived in a 500-square-foot apartment with my husband and two kids, and I want to tell you that it was really small, but for an apartment in a coveted school district New York City, it’s not that small. We had a rule that if you bring something into the apartment, you throw something out.

To give you an idea of how wide ranging the impact of lack of space is, when we moved to Wisconsin, my son said one night, “It’s so fun to have a bed. Thank you so much. I love Wisconsin!” Neither kid had a bed in NYC. In fact, if you want to know why so many babies in poor families die it’s probably because they don’t have a bed. My son slept on a pillow on the floor next to me for six months. And one night I woke up and he was gone. He had rolled over twice. Read more