Teaching to the test

I’m so frustrated with homeschooling now that my son wants to go to graduate school for science. Now things are serious.

He has to pass tests to show he can compete in college. His taking SAT IIs this year. He’d be taking the biology AP test if I had not messed up the process for signing him up, but that should be a separate post. But suffice to say that you need to get an early start — December — to ensure your local school will order a test for your kid to take at that school. Because as one administrator told me: “It’s a favor we do for the college board. We don’t have to give tests to homeschoolers.”

As my son gets older he cares less what I think a good version of homeschooling is. He tells me he’ll handle it from now on. He asserts his authority by insisting I used his selfies on my blog instead of photos of him that I take. I try to accommodate his budding teenage independence. And I have been keeping my negative opinions about college to myself as much as possible. Also I swore over and over again that I would not mess up a testing registration date again.

But I want to tell you:

College serves to push down any kids who almost rise out of poverty: rich kids graduate poor kids don’t. And just as rich kids are realizing they can skip school and go straight into the rich, white world of Silicon Valley, we are discovering a key reason for poor kids to go to college is to sit next to the rich kids in a classroom.

Master’s degrees are as common now as bachelor’s degrees were in the 60s. This makes sense because the marketplace for buying papers has caught up with the trend: you can buy a chapter of your master’s thesis from fastessay.com.

And if you get a master’s degree and take a job that didn’t require a master’s degree, you are at risk of depression. Which almost allows me to logically draw the intuitive conclusion that the more school you go to the more you feel incapable of dealing with adult life.

So far I’m staying clear of the data that shows that if you get a STEM PhD you are not going to be a professor. But I am sure to tell my son how great it is to take a PhD to the pharmaceutical industry or wherever else upwardly mobile STEM PhDs find themselves.

I think one of the best things that self-directed learning does is teach parents sooner than later that you cannot control how your kids turn out. School is about control. So you don’t find out who your kid really is until after college. With self-directed learning you don’t have to wait till after college to find out what your kid will choose.

How ironic, then, that my self-directed learner chooses to teach himself to the test.

42 replies
  1. malaika
    malaika says:

    ha! this post is so interesting. I have a non-white STEM friend (physics phd from MIT) who ended up at Google after graduating at age 29. A premium degree is a short-cut to Silicon Valley for all those without bright ideas or razor-sharp programming skills. For the rest, there are jobs at industrial companies where everyone is above 50.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      Added to that: there seem to be a lot of people over 25 that end up leaving their first career plan/job to get into an ivy grad school for the sole purpose of getting a position (any position) at Google.

  2. jessica
    jessica says:

    I hope it’s not until my kids are 22-24 that I find out who they really are. I have a pretty good grasp on where they might go based on who they are, but first who knows, and second, my relationship with them as a parent, support source, and role model is the one I’m most concerned with, personally. Their development within the family is my priority. I’m of the theory of get that right and for the most part the rest falls into place, and if they end up rich or poor they have character qualities to navigate the world with. My kids do have a lot of advantages, though. I recognise that, and it does allow for my focus of being a decent mother and giving them what they need, easier.
    I don’t believe school teaches a kid that control is the overarching life/work method. It’s true that school structure is ridged and promotes teach and respond. I’ve found the control/controlled issue comes from parenting, regardless of school. But this blog covers that; if your kids are going to have qualities that help them achieve more in their lives it’s going to come from their home environment support (genetic and environmental) more than the school factor. We have to learn to work with those around us, school or not, classes or not, to function in the world and navigate it.

    You grew up monetarily rich, your kids are growing up rich, so what are the odds they’d not go onto the same trajectory barring something tragic?

    Most, if not all, pharm scientists I’ve met have Ph.D’s because, in their words, it ‘paid the bills’. No fault in that.

  3. Ada
    Ada says:

    In computer science there are research positions outside of academia. PhDs are about doing research not being a professor. Professors have a lot of obligations besides doing research (e.g. having to teach undergrads and chasing grants to fund their research). While research positions in industry often come with a bit less control over the problems you’re working on, they don’t have undergrads to teach and the funding can be a lot easier.

  4. Cheryl
    Cheryl says:

    How does he know he wants to go to graduate school for science? Has he done any sort of shadowing in the type of science he is interested in? Is he interested in real science, or quasi-science and has to learn to play the game in order to push the established agenda for said science? Just asking because my husband IS a scientist – and I can tell you that there is a lot of disillusionment of the younger science types roaming the halls of “science”. You probably already know all this…..I just felt compelled to ask out loud and stimulate my own brain in an adult conversation because I have been with my kids non-stop for over 72 hours….. My one son is 13 and developmentally probably around age 9….I guess we all have our “issues” and worries as they grow older. I’m still on teaching him to tie his shoes. Love conquers all. :)

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      What great timing for this question! There are four chemists in my family. One is at a medical school because her husband is there. One teaches at an expensive private school so his kids can go there. And two are married and entering the job market now, after eight years of post-college studies. And they need jobs together. The pressure on them is insane and my son is under no illusions – well each of us deludes ourself about something. But in my son’s case it’s not about how being a chemist means being a professor.


      • jessica
        jessica says:

        ‘One teaches at an expensive private school so his kids can go there.’

        I can’t count the number of times I’ve met people implementing this scenario to either be near their kids all day, provide them with a great subsidised education, or both. A lot of teachers in NYC do this with their kids. At least, the one’s I’ve come across.

      • Cheryl
        Cheryl says:

        In regards to your comments about your family and their respective choices – This is where (I strongly) believe that when all is said and done, we all need to know our “why” – we are/are not – making the choices we do. Our choices in EVERYTHING we do. Realistically though, most of us don’t. A majority of the time, we are making choices based on old narratives told to us by others (parents, friends, family, co-workers, etc..) and we blindly follow those paths. Somewhere in the middle of life we start to question how we got to this point – and this is where that “why” doesn’t usually make sense to us OR we can’t quite articulate that gut feeling of something wrong or missing in our lives. The the things that really make us come alive and that creative energy is flowing well.

        Maybe it is because by mid-life most of us are beyond the scope of day-to-day parenting and now there is this space that gives you time to breathe a little bit. Maybe we slow down enough to realize that all the things we have been told how life “should” unfold and be for us….isn’t. Or if we have met all the “cultural criteria” we are still feeling disconnected to ourselves….our lives.

        I’m sort of straying off topic here, but stay with me. My point in saying this is that the importance of really teaching our children to understand the balance of a career choice – and maybe it shouldn’t be called a “career choice”….is that we all evolve everyday. We should never stop growing and seeking and work on being our best selves. That the foundation to a life that is full – defined and determined by our own definition of “full” – is what we should be moving towards and all for the right reasons. If you family member is enjoying his own pursuits in science and using his gift to teaching others so his own son can have the education his father/mother want – then that is AWESOME!! A great way to solve a huge dilemma that a lot of us parents face. My only reservation would be that he isn’t over-sacrificing his OWN needs and what makes him come alive so only his child benefits. I could write a dissertation on parental sacrifice and how that totally is the WRONG approach for great parenting by example.

        I also think that your son is really smart to learn the test. Seriously, he probably knows how stupid those things are any way and that they really don’t reflect the ability or intellect in the long run of who is successful or not. (I am a good example of this). But, you still have to jump through the hoops it seems…we all have to a some point. It will be exciting to see where this journey takes him, especially at this time in the world where everything is moving in exponential speed.

        I know you have struggled Penelope with right choices and practices for your children. All I can say to you is that from my own personal experience as a parent with older adult children that I had when I was very young at the ages of 17 & 22, is that you are not perfect, but you are perfectly their parent and KNOW them well. You know what works and doesn’t. You know them because they are a part of you. They will find their way and I think the hardest part of all is watching, waiting and seeing the mis-steps and total “crash-n-burns” as the parent. It becomes a lesson for us as parents to know when to let things happen organically, or when to intervene. When to speak up or remain quiet. And all of this with the world watching and perhaps passing lots of judgement on how we are responding to the situation. It is hard to parent in this culture because we have our own fears of what people think. How we maneuver through the noise and make tough choices for what we know is best at the time. I think the single most BEST lesson we teach our children is that there is room in this world for them – that they BELONG to the human race – and that they would learn to trust their OWN gut on what matters to them and what makes them thrive. When a person is thriving then the world thrives – around themselves, their community and for all of us collectively.

  5. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    Last year a friend of mine wrote up a very honest piece about how he pivoted from a toxic relationship with academia to a career in industry. It was extremely insightful, so for anyone considering this path, just read it!

    My 2 takeaways were:
    1)Academia is ultimately soul-crushing to even the brightest and biggest go-getters.
    2)It doesn’t really matter which path you take as long as you know how and when to pivot. And Penelope, congrats, looks like your son is getting first hand experience in that right now in pivoting from homeschooling to school.

  6. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    My husband’s company employs scientists and people that are extreme subject matter experts in a field who have their PhD’s (including chemistry) that make in the low 6 figures.

    Keep following his lead like you are, it’s a really good thing.

    “it’s a favor we do for the college board. We don’t have to give tests to homeschoolers. ” I guess that’s true, but why did they need to get all snarky and say that at all? Rude!

  7. Jeannie
    Jeannie says:

    “School is about control. So you don’t find out who your kid really is until after college.”
    So true! I wish I could have been reading your blogs before my children were born. I’m sure most of my decisions would have been different.

  8. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    “How ironic, then, that my self-directed learner chooses to teach himself to the test.” It’s probably just as well as that’s the environment he’ll find himself in college. He won’t have to make an adjustment/change his learning style once he gets there. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best way for him to learn the subject matter but that’s the way it will be delivered to him. Also even though he is currently teaching himself to the test, he’s in control of the sequence and rate of the material being digested. That won’t be the case once he’s in school because school is a much more controlled environment.

  9. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    I think the only type of public high school classes that really prepare low-income students for college are IB classes. If you come from a poor family (not middle class – poor), and you want to get a 4-year degree, you need to go to a school that has an IB program. Otherwise, you will flounder and probably fail once you get there.

    That’s what I’ve found anyway. You know what the biggest things college courses tend to expect from its students that public high schools rarely teach these days? And I know you rail against this constantly – but it’s reading. Being able to close-read is essential if you’re a poor kid trying to get through college. Because if you can’t do that, you can’t follow instructions. And then you don’t fulfill assignments; i.e. you do them incorrectly. And then you fail. And unlike the kids from families with more income, you don’t have time or resources to repeat years.

    Penelope, I’ve always felt, reading your blog, that the education advice in here is directed to families with middle or upper-class roots. So much of what you say for education isn’t really applicable for families coming from families of generational poverty.

    Which is fine. I mean, if that’s not your audience, that’s not your audience. I just found it interesting that you were bringing it up here.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I actually think the discussion of poverty is central to my mission here. Education has been shown again and again to be ineffective at creating class mobility.

      Also it really bugs me when people say homeschooling doesn’t work fir poor people. Of course poor kids should experience self-directed learning – because its empowering.

      I also think poor kids could close the schooling achievement gap if we treated schools like social service safety.
      nets. The should not suck public resources of schools.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Yes, most often school is a babysitting service for so many families that work 3-4 part time jobs a week. Kids get fed, a place that is heated and/or air conditioned, and supervised in exchange for a rigid learning environment. With digital learning I would hope that self-directed learning takes place at some point in their lives.

      • Wendy
        Wendy says:

        If the discussion of poverty is central to your mission, whatever it is, then the necessity of public schools as social service safety nets should also be central to it. So, your last paragraph is spot-on…but it is also the immovable obstacle to getting to all the other stuff you talk about. I agree 100% that education doesn’t create class mobility.

        But then there are questions like, how does one do self-directed learning if you live in a neighborhood that’s a food desert? That has no accessible public library? No one nearby you can rely on as a babysitter? If you don’t have a computer?

        Very few moms are ENTJs, and in poor communities, the vast majority of families are single-mom households, so they’re not going to have a partner who can pick up some of the financial slack.

        I’m not necessarily arguing with you, here. I guess I’m just trying to think through the logistics of how people who most need this type of advice could actually apply it.

    • Mark W.
      Mark W. says:

      Wendy, your second paragraph regarding being able to close-read is extremely spot-on. The ability to read with understanding what the author is trying to convey. The ability to read and realize what the author has highlighted, included, and left out and the reasons why. And vocabulary which I still work on to this day because being able to write your thoughts and ideas clearly and succinctly is being able to communicate well. All of the above is not only required to be successful in higher education but also in pursuits afterwards. Maybe it’s a course that Penelope could offer.

  10. Jennifer Burton
    Jennifer Burton says:

    I work for a company that provides software and consulting services in healthcare data analytics, and they employ many scientists with PhDs.

    I’d be more worried about the future prospects of the cellist.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      That’s why I think he should be with a high earning partner, so that he can pursue his dream of performing and playing cello. But that goes against what P advocates.

      I can’t predict how my girls will turn out, or if their minds will change. But I am confident in their ability to navigate things, and hopefully they will be happy with their choices. At this point I am fairly confident my oldest will be a high earner, and the majority of my friends who are raising boys seem to be raising them to see past social gender norms like not outearning their spouse. Relationships shouldn’t be a competition! It should be keeping score with who helped with the kids more this week, who cleans the most, who makes the most money. A shared life means growing together and learning to communicate needs and respond. I am not perfect in this, and have let many know that my husband does 80% of the domestic chores AND he’s the breadwinner. Does that mean I’m “winning”? Not really, he responds to needs faster since he is an ENFP. If he sees me doing dishes he picks me up and moves me out of the way so he can finish them. I really think he would LOVE to be a stay at home dad and have me work. Who wouldn’t??? It’s a pretty privileged position to be in.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        This doesn’t make sense. Of course most men would not like to stay home. Or they would. Of course they have the same choices women do. Women can work or stay home. Women choose to stay home, men choose to work. Not all, to be sure, but most.

        Many women who stay home act wistful about giving up a career when really they didn’t have much of one anyway. Similarly, many men say they’d love to stay home “if they could” as if they have a gun to their head to go to work. Slews of women figure out how to stay home with kids and earn money, and they do it because they REALLY want to be home with kids. Men could do it too, if they wanted to.

        • Bos
          Bos says:

          For those readers who would like to have a more accurate view of our society, most women do not stay home, not even most women who could afford to. According to the PEW Research Center (Pew Social Trends, Mothers On the Rise), the percentage of mothers who stay at home in 2012 was 29%, up from the low of 23% in 1999, including both married mothers and mothers who are single, cohabiting, or other.

          About a quarter of these women – 6% of stay at home mothers – stay at home involuntarily, because they cannot find a job. A substantial proportion of mothers (37%) see the ideal situation being to work full time outside the house.

          Currently, about 6% of fathers who are married or living with a partner do not work outside the home. As with most households with stay-at-home mothers, most households with stay-at-home fathers are the result of a deliberate choice.

          When seen over time, the roles of mothers and fathers, and views about the same, are converging. (Pew Social Trends, Modern Parenthood).

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:


            I suppose it varies by region too. In LA I saw a lot of work from home dads who were doing all the care taking. I think really that times have changed and young men want to be very involved and actively take care of raising their kids. Like I said, this could be a regional thing. I’m not living in Minneapolis and have met a few stay at home dads and a few stay at home moms. Most households where we live (I’m in the western suburbs) have two working parents. I plan to work from home soon as well.

          • Bos
            Bos says:

            YMKAS, yes this is true. Of course things will be slightly different from place to place as local economic situations differ. The biggest factor determining whether a parent stays home is the economy, not sentiment.

            Most men and most women want to work, and most men and most women say they have trouble balancing work and family. Per Pew (Modern Parenthood), most households (60%) today have two working parents, and only a third (and dropping) of families even think it’s best for young children to have a stay at home parent. That means that there are actually more parents staying at home who would rather be working than there are parents working who would rather stay at home. Almost 2/3 of women who do not work outside the home wish they did.

            The overall percentage of mothers saying they would prefer to work full time is growing rapidly, from 20% in 2007 to 32% in 2012, though among working mothers it is higher (21-37%), indicating both womens’ satisfaction with work and a greater desire for full-time work. Currently, a higher proportion of mothers than fathers think part-time work would be ideal for them, but these numbers are also converging.

            Moms’ and dads’ roles are converging in terms of who works and how much time a parent spends taking care of kids. Currently, dads work outside more and moms take care of kids more, but the numbers are steadily converging. Also, the sentiments about home life are converging: “A nearly equal share of mothers and fathers say they wish they could be at home raising their children rather than working…” The number of working parents who would prefer not to work at all is basically equal between women and men, 11% vs 10%. It is an unusual choice to make, no matter your gender.

            The Pew studies are quite fascinating, and a good source of broadly substantiated information about the changing role of women in the work force and in the home.

            The long-term takeaway from the data should be that women and men are approaching parity in the labor force and in the home. In another generation, as we our sentiments outgrow, and the economy overrules, outdated gender stereotypes, we are likely to see equal numbers of men and women in the workplace and equal numbers of men and women staying home. Support for this prediction can be provided not by a handful of personal anecdotes colored by bias and insularity, but by broad social trends: more women than men get college degrees now, and women already outearn their husbands in almost a third of families.

        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

          Penelope I really don’t want to argue with you about this. But that mindset goes hand in hand with outdated religious thinking. Maybe religious men feel this way. All the intelligent men I know don’t get all Debbie downer if their wives make more. Which is 50% of the couples I know. I suppose I have a higher opinion of men than you do since I disagree with your assessments.

          • Penelope Trunk
            Penelope Trunk says:

            The data from Pew –written out nicely by someone else here – says most women would like to be home with kids part time and most men would not.

            This is why most women don’t want to be the breadwinner.

            So let’s look at the ENTJ and INTJ women who are breadwinners, because they are the ones most likely to outearn their husbands and be content with that.

            I have never met a couple where the XNTJ woman out earns the man and both spouses are pleased with that situation. But you wouldn’t know. Because why would they tell you? They chose it and they can’t fix it. The people they complain to are other people in the same boat.

            And I think its generally true that when we make choices we regreat and we are stuck with the results — for anything in life — we don’t tell people how unhappy we are. We talk about unhappiness when we are aiming to make a change.

            So, for example. Women who are breadwinners make jokes about it – to each other. But not to people not like them.


          • jessica
            jessica says:

            Penelope, most breadwinners are smart enough to change their circumstances if they are so unhappy with their choices. Life can be flexible, as you have proven over and over again.

          • jessica
            jessica says:

            “The overall percentage of mothers saying they would prefer to work full time is growing rapidly, from 20% in 2007 to 32% in 2012, though among working mothers it is higher (21-37%), indicating both womens’ satisfaction with work and a greater desire for full-time work. Currently, a higher proportion of mothers than fathers think part-time work would be ideal for them, but these numbers are also converging.”

            I have a question, does the research quote the income levels of women and men polled? Because since 2007, incomes are down across the board. Does that not motivate women to need and want to be out earning a dual income, for the sake of keeping roofs over the head and retirement in order?

          • Bos
            Bos says:

            Hi Jessica,
            The study doesn’t segment out responders by income level. It is almost through that incomes are down across the board, but only if we exclude like five percent of the board over on one end, and we tilt the board the other direction. People who make a lot of money make a lot more money, and the hit on incomes has been much higher at the other end.

            So yes, the economy is a prime reason that women are motivated to go out and earn money: simply put, not many families can afford to keep a stay-at-home parent, and in a lot of families the women will have better opportunities for earning money.

            After I posted what I did yesterday (and made two lunches and breakfasts) the newspaper came and the top headline was “Young men slide down income ladder.” The pull stat was “College graduates in Boston area making more than $40,000 annually: 16% of males, 39% of females.” The article goes on to emphasize how poorly young men are doing in the economy, with statements like: “The share of young men making between $30,000 and $100,000 a year shrank significantly over the past four decades, despite the fact that they are better educated and working full time at the same rate.”

            It’s not just a matter of men getting fewer college degrees, but of “the jobs … growing the fastest being concentrated in female-dominated professions, such as health care.” Female college graduates have higher employment rates than male college graduates do. This is not a trend that affects that top five percent, where the men go to ivies and work in finance, but the rest of the table we were talking about.

            There is just no way to look at trends like this and imagine that the generation coming up today will be as dominated by male wage-earners as the previous ones were. It’s only a rational accommodation for a lot of families to put the woman’s career first.

  11. Virginia
    Virginia says:

    So, it sounds like school fails poor kids, but should rich kids go to school? School, college, silicon valley sounds pretty good….

  12. Guy Rademacher
    Guy Rademacher says:

    My wife and I both attended the same college and were married before I graduated. She became a manager with WAMU and I went on to teach high school and junior high. When I was 40 we were pleasantly elated to hear that my wife had become pregnant, and just as thrilled to learn that two more boys were too quickly follow (now 7,9 and 11). My wife was the first one to come home permanently after 10 months of realizing that using a nanny just didn’t fit us. It was just two months after our third little guy arrived that I took the leap and turned down my tenured contract in a very popular school district in the greater Seattle area. I was teaching history through the lens of the Social Sciences which had provided and incredible insight in to the nuts and bolts of how all societies really operate and function. The one predominant pattern that seemed to repeat through thousands of years of recorded human history was that the few at the top subjugate the masses for their interest. I realized that if I didn’t get directly involved with my sons financial future they too would fall prey to this pattern through the educational institution. The last seven years have proven to be an incredible journey. Since college I had run a residential maintenance business and was provided an opportunity to start working with tree services and collect the wood rounds and turn them into firewood. This has allowed the boys to take advantage of working within the child labor laws, work hard and have collectively already earned close to $2500. Our organic learning model is akin to taking an entertainment/sports prodigy to Hollywood or the sports field and then providing tutors. Ours, is a small business model where we have a flexible schedule to take the boys when and where the work is. I am also able to tap into retired teachers who are now tutoring our three sons. I have purchased the domain rtool.org (retire teachers offering outstanding learning) and plan on setting up a database to help bring retired teachers and parents together to collaboratively work with children. I have also created an earning matrix starting at age 12 where the boys will be out with me for one day a week earning $50 dollars a day. At age 13, its two days a week and $100 a day and so on till 16 where it is 5 days a week and $250 a day. At age 22 with 25% taxes removed and not reflecting investing, they will have earned close to $400,000. The most important part of this model is they are saving while living under our roof. They are then able to buy land as early as 18 and begin building their house; the goal being financial solvency. Along the way they will integrate their higher learning in a more relaxed mode (paying cash/classes online) and engaging in few other small business ideas that could lead to international travel. In all of it we are exposing our sons to the real world expectation of “pay your way”, all the while offering plenty of options in earning money and an exposure to learning how to value their time and the life they have been given, rather than allowing an institution to do so.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      The problem I see with this model is nothing great was ever accomplished when the goal was financial solvency.

      Your idea of being able to buy land is almost an anachronism. What does that accomplish? I mean, owning land is not an end in itself, so what is the point? I don’t get it.


      • Guy Rademacher
        Guy Rademacher says:

        In a nutshell…

        “The problem I see with this model is nothing great was ever accomplished when the goal was financial solvency.”

        -Personal financial solvency means you won’t need to borrow and be able to pay for expected and unexpected expenses.

        “Your idea of being able to buy land is almost an anachronism.”

        -Your husband is a farmer and you are questioning the value of owning land?

        “I mean, owning land is not an end in itself, so what is the point? I don’t get it.”

        When the economy takes a hit and you miss enough payments they foreclose. This was a reality for a lot of people during the 2008 financial hiccup.

        My sons are being taught to be be prepared to support and provide for a family regardless of the unforeseen financial issues. What woman wouldn’t appreciate marrying a young man who owned his land, house and was successfully running small businesses?

        So then what is your counter model?

        • Melissa
          Melissa says:

          “What woman wouldn’t appreciate marrying a young man who owned his land, house and was successfully running small businesses?”

          Have you thought about the answer to this question?
          Why would a woman, any woman, choose not to marry one of your sons?
          What makes a son who followed the life path that his father set out for him at 11 a worthy life partner for a woman?

          • Guy Rademacher
            Guy Rademacher says:

            I had eight boyhood friends whose dads had their own businesses and the sons were able to use those experiences as platforms to launch into other endeavors. These are just early opportunities to become financially solvent and business savvy, ie its not about establishing a life path (that’s what STEM seems to be doing right now if I’m not mistaken). I myself did many things and continue to do so. I think you are reading waaaaay to deep into this one. Sad that people have a hard time believing that a parent is actually helping their children navigate the early stages of life. The Torah instructs Jewish parents to guide their children through life, not enroll them in the school of hard knocks.

            I guess as they say, history will tell the story at the end of the day…

        • Victoria
          Victoria says:

          Hi Guy. There are elements of your model that intrigue me, but I’d like to comment on the marriage piece. When I think back to myself as a 20-something (I’m 37), I would totally not be into a guy who owned his own land. Then I would have to move to his land and his house (instant power imbalance) instead of us building a home together, in a geographic area we both chose and that worked for both of our professions. Perhaps I’d be in grad school and not sure where a career would take me. Maybe I’d want to have a condo in the city and then get a house later. Maybe my job was an hour commute away. Maybe I love him but really need to own horses. A guy with a house and land would make me feel trapped and wary. I’d ask him to sell so we could start a real life together (and I acknowledge the equity allowing for a profitable sale would be a bonus for him and unique for his young age).

          • Guy Rademacher
            Guy Rademacher says:

            It’s just a plan so they don’t waste ALOT of money on mortgage interest. It’s that simple…it’s not a control issue…sheesh.

        • Katarina
          Katarina says:

          What a blessing to give your family. They can do with it what they want. You are giving them so much more than financial security. You are showing them what family teamwork can produce, what creative thinking looks like, and how to provide materially for future generations. They can do what they want with what you give them, but you give them so many intangibles by what you *do*. Thanks for sharing.

          The ultimate beauty of homeschooling is that, like people, no two homeschool scenarios are alike.

  13. Cheryl
    Cheryl says:

    I think it comes down to this: We do the best with what we have, and if we want more it is up to each individual to make it happen.

    Many parents seem to really be caught up in all the “mapping out” of “education”. I think that the first step to figuring out a direction with a child should be what do YOU THINK education really is. What is the parent’s basic foundation to what education looks like to them and the WHY. Experience often defines our perspectives on anything in life – so it isn’t so much the actual “thing” in life, as much as it personal perspective.

    The truth is, is that if you want something bad enough, you are going to make it happen (within context of course). The narrative in your head is a great indicator of if you are going to achieve that “want/goal” or not. Also, this is where all the personality traits come into play, because again, it is your perspective AND your behavioral traits that are going to predict accomplishment or not.

    I’m and INFJ and so reading through all the comments is like science and art to me because they create so many different perspectives. Depending on what lens you are looking through is sort of like looking into the future with a crystal ball…..so many possibilities.

    Perhaps the more important perspective is this: We all have our hopes, dreams and experiences today. Tomorrow is never a guarantee – so learning to appreciate our lives, our children and ourselves for who we are TODAY is a better approach – taking a majority of all the worries, comparisons and striving and using that energy to invest in what really matters most to us right now.

    Just a thought….. :)

  14. May
    May says:

    In what way do INTJ fail if they sink too much time into school?
    Or do the stats show that generally INTJ are successes “despite” schooling and maybe even get a leg up from schooling, such as graduate school? Maybe they don’t mind the “pressure” and actually think the prestige of the piece of paper is good payoff!

    I think you are viewing your son too much through your own lens, ENTJ thinking they can map out everything an INTJ should do better than them lol. But maybe he understands he cannot just be spontaneous like you and wants a more steady path in life. Is Melissa a mentor to him? What does she think?

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