This is a guest post from my son. I dictate blog posts in the car, while we drive. And a few days ago, I was talking about how video games help kids succeed at work, and he told me he wanted to dictate a post. I said okay. Here’s what he wrote. 

So I was trying to tell mom that RPG is the most educational type of game. And she told me to write a blog post.

1. You learn a lot of patience because you have to grind things. Grinding means spending a long time doing stuff. For instance, beating enemies for a while in order to get money. You can also grind for experience. You have to beat an enemy to level up. The higher the level you are the harder it is to level up, which means the more experience it takes to level up. Read more

There is a seven-page article in Harper’s about why algebra is not necessary, and in fact, the author (Nicholson Baker, for all you literary minimalist afficionados) concludes that in most cases, forcing kids to learn alegebra is torture. Read more

I don’t know why I’m even writing this post because it would never occur to me that democratic schools are even worth talking about. Like, we don’t talk about sending our kids to schools in war zones. We know it’s a dumb idea. And this is how I feel about democratic schools. Read more

I took this photo when I was sitting in the audience for a weekly recital. We were waiting for the piano accompanist. I was so nervous. I wanted to walk up to my son and fuss over him. Remind him to use vibrato. Make sure his A string was in tune. Read more

This is a guest post from Judy Sarden, a homeschooling mother of two, business advisor, writer and attorney. This is a photo of her son.

After leaving my job to homeschool my children, I hit a paradox in black middle-class culture. No one is questioning my decision to homeschool. Rather, almost everyone has acknowledged the horrible state of public education and how it is failing black kids. Many people have even applauded my decision to take my kids’ education into my own hands. But then everyone questions my decision to leave my corporate law job, leaving “all that money on the table,” selling the big house and moving into a much smaller house.  The final blow is when I’m asked when I intend to return to work and how long we plan to live only on my husband’s salary. Read more

The idea of setting a pile of sticks and logs on fire appeals to every kid who visits our farm. If we asked kids to walk through the forest and pick up the sticks so we can clean things up, the kids would get distracted. They would make guns and swords, they would look at caterpillars in the grass, they might even wander out of the forest completely. But if they get to light stuff on fire, they work hard. Kids love a good bonfire.

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NPR did a segment on the book Secrets of Happy Families, by Bruce Feilier. His premise is that we should look at what happy families do and then copy that for our own families. Feilier says that happy families have shared values and spend time together expressing those values in their actions.

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I am a person who prefers to take social and political action by just earning more money and donating it to people who take social and political action more directly. I’m way more comfortable just earning money.

But as a homeschooler, I’m out of my comfort zone as an indirect activist every time I go to the grocery store. Read more

We are most likely to read emails that we receive on Wednesday. Monday we have too many, and we need to catch up. By Wednesday we are caught up and by Thursday we are already trying to get everything finished so we can leave early on Friday. Read more

I read a lot about how to give praise to children because so many child prodigies grow up to be disappointed, depressed low achievers. A lot of that sadness is a result of people telling the kid over and over again how great they are. It robs the child of incentive to do the hard work required for anything substantial, but also, it gives the kid no sense of control over their lives — they did not earn that greatness, they were born with it. So they feel that they have no ability to earn greatness, they just have to wait for it. Read more