I take my kids to a psychiatrist because I don’t trust myself. I had a terrible childhood and it makes me question my own judgment. He was surprised when I told him that I am not really teaching my kids any specific subject matter, but once I explained my rationale, I could see his brain moving quickly to adjust. Then he said, “The kids need projects with goals. Do they have that? A sense of accomplishment is very important to development.” Read more


This is an interview I did with Smatoos, a site that reviews educational technology for kids. 

SMATOOS: Could you give our readers a bit of background on why you decided to start homeschooling?

Penelope Trunk (PT): It was in the back of my mind even before I had kids, but my first kid was autistic and I realized I wasn’t the stay-at-home type so I put it on the back burner. But the more I wrote about careers the more it became increasingly clear that the only career problem people have is that they don’t know how to teach themselves and they don’t learn how to figure out what they like. That’s really the crux of every single career problem. Read more

The generation we are homeschooling right now is Generation Z. To understand Generation Z, you have to understand Generation Y.

One of the most notable traits of Generation Y is that they hate conflict. They are peacekeepers, rule followers, look-at-the-brightside type people. You can trust me on this. I get paid to give speeches on the topic. But for those of you who don’t trust money as a harbinger of accuracy, here’s a post with tons of links to research about why Generation Y is conservative. Read more

I do a lot of career coaching for people making the transition from college to adulthood — the transition from being told what to learn to becoming a self-learner. It’s also when people begin to notice that there is very little correlation between how well you do in school and how well you do at work. Read more

The top private k-12 schools in the U.S. charge just under $40,000 per year in tuition. They are important to watch because they are not constrained by budget or standards in public schools or even typical private schools. Instead, they are geared toward getting students into top colleges. Read more

The first news I saw of the Chicago teacher’s strike was a headline on the Chicago Tribune that said, “I’m going to lose my job.”  It was not a quote from a teacher. It was a quote from a parent, who was worried about the time she was taking off from work because she had nowhere to send her kid. Read more

When my kids went to the local school, before I started homeschooling, I made a big deal about Rosh Hashanah.

We didn’t go to synagogue. Too boring. And also, we live in rural Wisconsin so it’s a 90-minute drive to the closest synagogue. Instead, I made a big deal out of Rosh Hashanah by taking my kids out of school for the day. I announced, “It’s Rosh Hashanah! Jewish parents don’t work on Rosh Hashanah and kids don’t go to school!”  Read more

There’s a great video by Elizabeth Aquino that shows parents of special needs kids giving advice to themselves the day they got the diagnosis. The parents hold up a piece of paper with the advice written on it.

The video made me cry. I want to tell you to watch the video, but I’m not sure if it made me cry only because I’m the mom of a special needs kid. Anyway, here’s the video.

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Most of the time my ten-year-old son is reading and re-reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid. But lately he’s reading The Hunger Games. We were wondering if it’s appropriate for kids his age to read, deaths and all.

I found this site called Library Thing. It tells you the reading level of books. Including Mocking Jay, the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy, which is fifth-grade reading. Read more

This is me, holding my niece, Eva. This is the first time since I had my own babies that holding a baby did not trigger my feelings of despair.

When I had babies I had no support system. My mom has borderline personality disorder, my dad has Aspergers, and my in-laws have (admittedly undiagnosed, but textbook) Aspergers, which explains why I was pretty much completely on my own the whole time I was taking care of babies even though I was living near the grandparents. At the time I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t even realize how absurd it was that I had no support system. Once I realized it, I got sad. Very sad. I felt sorry for myself. Read more