The biggest reason that there’s a huge gap between the education of rich kids and poor kids is the summer. The first summer I lived on the farm, Time magazine published a cover article on the topic which I studied closely.

The second summer, it’s clear to me that kids in our town do not go beyond our town of 2000 people for enrichment. This is remarkable given what the rich kids are doing. The New York TImes just published an article about the breathtaking variety and quality of summer programs that rich kids attend.

The problem with not leaving your home town for the summer is that you never get an outside perspective. You never know where you stand compared to the rest of the world. This doesn’t matter if you never intend to exist in the rest of the world. But I want my kids to be able to choose from a wide range of lives that are not necessarily possible in Wisconsin. Which means I have to expose them to that outside world very early on.

The gap is not so much about achievement at the early satge. It’s about exposure to achievement. And this summer both my boys went to camp in another state. I didn’t realize it, but doing that is equally as subversive as homeschooling my kids. It’s a rejection of my town’s way of doing things.

Melissa took my six-year-old to Texas with her. She is there for good, but he’s there for a week. I was thinking this would be a good method of homeschooling—sending my kid to go visit other people, and see how they live.

After all, it is not lost on me that last time we went to a Chicago suburb for a cello camp, my six-year-old said, “Hey, look at that truck! That’s the dirtiest truck I’ve ever seen!”

And I said, “Yeah. It’s called a garbage truck.”

I need to make sure this stuff happens when he’s six and not sixteen.

Also, I was thinking that maybe I could arrange with another homeschooling parent to send their kid to our farm and we send our kids to their city house. Like, an homeschooling exchange program or something. So I was really curious to see how things would go on this trip.

It went great because he was exposed to things I could have never shown him myself. He stayed in a boy’s house who has a movie theatre inside. He drove in someone’s truck who has a playroom in the back. He ate at a restaurant with a Confederate flag out front, and asked if that’s the flag for Texas.

When Melissa proposed the idea, I thought the scariest thing was that he had to fly back home by himself.

But now that  I see what the trip has done for him, I think the scariest thing is that he might grow up and live in Texas.