Most of us were not raised to think kids can learn on their own. But even if you were raised to think kids can teach themselves, you will be shocked to hear about the kids in Ethiopia. MIT chose a remote, illiterate community to send some first-graders a box of iPads. Unopened. One person in the community was taught how to recharge the iPads. That’s all anyone knew about the iPads. Within a month, the kids could read English and within three months, the kids had hacked the iPad to make the camera work even though someone at MIT had disabled the cameras. Read more
The kids were really excited to go with us to vote today because they have watched approximately 40 campaign ads each day for months. If you live in a swing state, all YouTube ads are campaign ads.
So the kids are conversant on a wide range of political topics. For example, “Mom, do we have gay friends?”
“Barack Obama says we need to vote because our gay friends can’t get married or serve in the military.” Read more
One of the most empowering things you can do for your kids is teach them how to run a business. Entrepreneurship used to be high-risk and expensive, but in today’s business environment, starting a company costs no money. And having the skills to do that creates a permanent safety net in an uncertain economy.
Teach your kids entrepreneurship
I’ve launched three successful companies. Not only did I start each company with no money, but also I have no business education, I learned math only up to eighth grade, and I have Asperger’s, which means, among other things, that my social skills are not any higher than a middle schooler’s.
I tell you this because I’m sure that kids can learn to run companies at a young age, and the more practice they get, the more confidence they’ll have when they are adults. They’ll be able use entrepreneurship to gain flexibility in their work and control over their life.
My kids have already launched small businesses, and it’s changed the way they think. For example: we built a rope swing last weekend and my son said, “Do you think we could sell these to other families?”
How the seminar will work
The seminar will be one week long: October 15 – October 19. I’ll do a live video each day about how to launch a business. At the end of each session I’ll take questions, and the last day will be all questions—you can ask me anything, live, and I’ll answer. If you miss any of the sessions, you can listen to the recording on your own schedule.
The cost of this seminar is $195. You can pay the fee via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you a confirmation and an introduction to the seminar which will include some fun initial reading and instructions for accessing the videos.
Most of the seminar participants will be adults who want to start their own business: people who want to be home with their kids and earn some money on the side doing something that interests them. But the seminar will also be appropriate for teenagers, and I’d be really happy to have them on the live video call as well as parents who are there to learn to help their younger kids. Read more
I made two investments in homeschooling this week.
First, I bought Rosetta Stone Hebrew. I am worried that Hebrew is too hard for me to teach the kids. I’ve had two years of college Hebrew. I’ve also had five years of get-ready-for-bar-mitzvah-Hebrew that really add up to about one month of college Hebrew. I think this means I know enough to know that I’m going to have to ship the kids off to a kibbutz for a summer if I really want them to learn Hebrew. But I have to start somewhere. And, anyway, how do kids who live 100 miles from the closest Jew learn enough Hebrew to get bar mitzvahed? Read more
After failing special ed math, I went on to launch three startups, securing funding for all three from investors.
At this point, it’s pretty clear to me that very young kids can run their own company. Certainly they can by age fourteen, but probably even younger. Did you ever read Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Money? The book is a great example of how different people think about work and money. But it also shows the two bear cubs launching five businesses in one week. Read more
It’s the start of the school year, which is when parents invariably ask me where we take music lessons. And if they should let their kid start. And what’s it like. My answer is usually, “Yes, definitely your kid should play an instrument. If you are willing to drive yourself nuts with the practicing.”
Before I tell you how great playing an instrument is, let me tell you that I have broken two violin bows by throwing them across the room. And when my son told his violin teacher, she said, “Oh, it’s not that uncommon. Moms with kids who play instruments do that sometimes.”
I have had to drink half a bottle of wine to face cello practice. I have eaten a whole cake while I was dying of boredom listening to the same song 500 times. Read more
For those of you who have not read the story of the courtship between me and my husband, it was sordid. I had just come from ten years in NYC preceeded by ten years in LA. He was still living on the far-from-everything farm he grew up on in Wisconsin. The culture clash was huge, and we pretty much broke up once a month until the kids and I moved into his house.
We are by our patch of daylilies, next to the barn. And the boys are playing with sticks, while my husband and I watch. It is a perfect moment. One of those moments when I feel like maybe, just maybe, I can stop worrying if I’m a good enough parent.
My son says, “Look! The stick is a laser and I’m killing villains!”
“Look! The stick is a ship in outer space and I’m flying!”
“Look! The stick is a pole and I’m dancing!”
I say that. I say, “What?” And he says it again. And he moves his hips in a perfectly pole-dancing way.
“Where did you learn that?”
I am receiving lots of emails about summer vacation and homeschooling. For example, the New Yorker cartoon (above) reflects how far behind school is in terms of teaching communication.
But the emails that are really nagging at me right now are the people telling me that I should write about how kids who go to school are homeschooled in the summer.
I think this is complete BS, and it stems from parents who know they should be homeschooling because it’s consistent with their values but for some reason (probably money and/or addiction to state-funded babysitting) they do not homeschool. Read more