In Florida, an 18-year-old girl named Kaitlyn Hunt engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. The parents of the younger girl are pressing charges of statutory rape. Hunt received an offer of a plea bargain that would have made her essentially unable to be with her sisters, who are underage. So she is fighting the case, and risking a 15-year prison sentence. Read more

I didn’t grow up on a farm. And it’s striking to me how much the seasons mark the passage of time.

This makes me think about how I marked the passage of time when I lived in the city and one of the first things that comes to mind is school graduation. It’s the end of a fall-winter progression. It’s the end of a cycle. And everyone graduates. Not for doing anything great. Just because. Read more

The end of the school year is recital time for cello kids, which means that we can’t just go to Chicago twice a week for cello lessons because my younger son has all different kinds of recitals throughout the month; orchestra recital and chamber music recital and individual recitals and the list goes on.  So we ended up spending four days in a row in a hotel. Read more

My son outgrew his violin.  It’s always a bittersweet time when we move up a size in violins.  I saved his first violin.  The whole thing is the size of an adult hand.  At the time, it looked just right for him and it didn’t strike me as particularly small, but the teacher told me, “Save this one.  It will be really precious to you later.” Read more

Eric Anderman, professor at education psychology at Ohio University, has studied cheating for decades, and he says that 85 percent of students admit to cheating. (The number is probably higher since some do it but don’t admit it.) Harvard recently had to have a public discussion about campus cheating, and Stuyvesant, a New York City magnet school that’s harder to get into than Harvard, had an incredibly organized cheating system that rivals best practices for productivity types in Fortune 500 organizations.

It’s completely ridiculous that schools are so uptight about cheating because what schools call cheating is what people in the work world call effective workplace behavior.  For example:

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All forced education is bad for kids because it tells them that they’re too stupid to pick out what they’re interested in, and too dull to depend on their curiosity.

But there’s a unique problem with forcing kids to go to gym class.  It ruins kids’ self‑esteem in different ways than other types of forced education. Here are four ways: Read more

The conventional wisdom about the homeschooling community is that it’s all crazy right‑wing Christian fundamentalists. The truth is that lots of homeschool parents are just like you.  They’re smart, curious, concerned about their kids, but also concerned that they don’t want their life to go to hell while they’re focusing on their kids.

Here are five trends among homeschooling parents that tell me I’m in the right place. Read more

There are sixteen personality types. The type that thinks most out of the box is ENFP. They are very very open to new things, so new ideas hit them all the time, and ideas hit this type of person in an emotional, visceral kind of way, which makes it hard to fit the idea into another person’s mold of how to organize ideas. Read more

The mental and emotional developmental rates of teens in high school is the equivalent of the developmental rate of somebody who is put in jail, according to Joseph Allen, professor of psychology, in his book Escaping the Endless Adolescence.  Teen brains are developing at a very fast rate at that point in life, but they develop at a slower rate when the limitations of their exploration is so severe as in school. Read more

A big barrier to homeschooling is that it’s very easy to envision a major downside: no more free babysitting. But it’s harder to imagine the upside. We have more examples in media of gay couples raising kids as a normal setting than we do of homeschoolers raising kids in normal settings. So it’s hard to imagine the upsides, but there are plenty.

Here are eight ways my life got a lot easier when I started homeschooling: Read more