What is up with people emailing me ideas for what I can do with my kids? I already have way too many ideas. For example, we were at the Guggenheim last month, honestly, my sons probably would have rather run around in Central Park. (They tried running in the Guggenheim, and believe me, it was a disaster.)

The hardest part of homeschooling is not figuring out what there is to do with kids. The world is full of things to do for kids who are not going to school. The hardest part is figuring out what not to do. School rules out so much—anything that cannot be taught to 30 kids at once time in a small room. That rules out almost everything. Read more

Map, by Jasper Johns

One of the biggest gripes about US students is that they have no sense of geography.

I have a six-year-old who knows every state by it’s shape, so I thought I’d tell you how he learned it: From video games.

First, he was in the car one day searching for a new app on my iPhone. He went to top ten downloads for kids, and found one about states. He didn’t really want to learn about states, but he was sick of playing Angry Birds and Battle Bears and he couldn’t find anything else. Read more

I am actually a very strong believer in public school. I believe we owe it to kids who are disadvantaged—in a whatever way that is—to help them get a good education and have a decent entry point into adulthood.

I am also a strong believer that every kid can learn and every kid is smart and creative if you teach them the right way. Whatever way that is.

So it’s crushing to me that I am taking my kids out of public school and basically giving up on making it good. Because I think it’s hopeless. There will have to be a sea change, and I am not the activist type. I’m too self-involved.

There. I said it.

I don’t want to spend my days making the world a better place. I want to spend my days making sure I don’t repeat my terrible childhood by making my kids’ lives terrible. That is no small feat. The odds are against me.

Read more

We went to visit my brother in New York City when his baby was born. My kids loved holding her. Finally.

There’s been a lot of lead-up to this. For example, the last time we visited, as we were going up to the apartment, in the elevator, my six-year-old said, “If Aunt Kristen is pregnant, does that mean she and Uncle Adam had sex?”

I said, “Yes.”

My son said, “Do you think I could ask Uncle Adam if he liked it?”

The people in the elevator nearly died laughing.

I said, “People like having sex with someone they love. But it would not be good manners to ask Uncle Adam about a specific time. That’s private.” Read more

[youtube_sc url=kl1ujzRidmU]

The New York Times has decided to take up the cause of studying English in college.

This discussion sounds similar to the discussion of whether we should legalize gay marriage. Generation Y is so overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing gay marriage that the debate is a waste of time. It’s opposed by conservative, out-of-date Baby Boomers who want to freeze society in debate sessions like they try to hold onto their delusions of agelessness with plastic surgery.

The discussion of teaching English is absolutely ridiculous. Here’s why: Read more

It’s too bad that I’ve starting reading a lot of parenting books because I get free business books in the mail every day, but I’m sick of them. I’ve been getting free business books in the mail every day for the last five years, and I shudder to think how many I’d get each day if I hadn’t spent the last five years changing addresses more often than a felon on the run.

It’s also too bad that I’ve started reading parenting books because my local library doesn’t have any. Well, who knows if they have any, because the books are shelved randomly by someone with no apparent knowledge of the Dewey decimal system. For example, Shakespeare’s Henry V is shelved in the biography section.

Read more

I have come to enjoy when people ask me, “How is the homeschooling going?”

I used to say, “Fine.”

Now I don’t. Now I say, “We are not schooling. I decided that school is unnecessary and we are doing self-directed learning.”

People say, “What is that?”

Read more

I rarely tout my teaching abilities as a reason that I am homeschooling, which is probably why I have a homeschool blog full of beach resort photos instead of teaching tips.

However I do think I’m qualified to teach writing. I’ve taught writing at Brown, Boston University, and the University of Paris. And having been a teacher of college students I feel qualified to tell you that being a writing teacher is the process of giving constant feedback about what is interesting and what is not interesting.

Read more

Much of the disappointment in adult life comes from not understanding the inherent limitations of our Myers Briggs score.

An ENFJ woman will never be okay with her work/life balance. And ISFJ man needs to marry a breadwinner. These are not things our parents warn us about.  So by the time adult life comes, 98% of the workforce has to realize that only ENTJs run companies and they’re not an ENTJ.

Read more

Mothers who homeschool (let’s be honest, it’s almost always the moms) spend a lot more time with their kids than mothers who send their kids to school. I am trying to figure out if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Certainly it could go both ways. (And certainly there are exceptions—like the mom who homeschools but is outsourcing it all, which I’m pretty sure Ree Drummond is doing, for example.)

I spend a lot of time coaching people in their 20s about their careers. Invariably these people are lost. That’s simply what life is like in one’s 20s.  And invariably parents are expecting more of the kids and the kids feel bad that they can’t live up to their parents’ expectations. I end up telling a lot of people they have to stop looking to their parents for guidance in a workforce that they’ve never had to navigate.  Read more