A really difficult thing about homeschooling is that a huge swath of my professional network disappeared once I announced I was homeschooling. I thought it was because they assumed I would be useless to them. Read more

I get a lot of mail from people asking me how they can homeschool if they work full-time. Or if they have a new baby. Or if they hate being a teacher. All of these questions really boil down to the same question: how can we know if our kids are learning enough? Read more

Kids put no effort into school because at school the teachers tell kids what to think about, which forces kids to stop being creative and curious and just focus on passing tests. As this opinion becomes more and more mainstream, more and more kids will stop wanting to try hard at school. Read more

Here are a few random things I learned during the holidays:

1.You can cook on a hotel iron. Also, I really like that I got this information from a site that reviews consumer products. The photos on the site are great. Each iron has its pros and cons as a skillet. I had never imagined an egg on an iron, but it turns out it’s not that far-fetched, and people also cook with hair driers. Read more

A friend sent me a link to a really fun set of photos — it’s Barbie and Ken’s wedding day. But the professional photographer, Beatrice de Guigne who did the photoshoot did it exactly how a real wedding would unfold in photos.

What’s great is that de Guigne successfully makes fun of the absurd pretend perfection of weddings and the cliched way we document it.

Where is that ironic commentary for homeschooling? Now that I’ve been homeschooling for a grand total of two months, I think I’ve read enough homeschooling blogs to be a critic of homeschooling blogs. So much of the homeschooling community presents the equivalent of perfect wedding photos without any of the irony.

Here are three kinds of homeschool blog posts that epitomize the lack of critical, public self-examination in the homeschooing community. Read more

Here’s an article about how the lack of recess, art and music in school is making schools mind-numbing for kids.

I love this article. I read it twice. I need positive reinforcement that school is so bad that there’s no way that homeschooling the kids could be worse.

Then I let the kids rip off their clothes in the cold autumn waves of Lake Michigan.

In a moment of great math self-doubt and great faith in my ability to earn money, I called a very expensive math tutor in Washington DC to see if she could tutor my son online.

He is six and doing third-grade math, but I have no genes for math skills and neither does his dad, so I’m convinced that the only reason he’s doing third-grade math is that I inadvertently skipped things I can’t bear to teach. Like measurement. I hate that. I mean, look, I’ve gotten through my whole life not knowing metric conversions, so I don’t think we need to teach them since it’s clear that most people don’t know them and they still live happy, fulfilling lives. Or, really, even if they are not fulfilling, I have never heard anyone lament their inability to measure by the meter.

But I’m the only one who can’t measure metrically. This is what the consultant made me think. Because apparently, math is linear, and you learn step by step, and there are standards that kids need to meet before they go on.

I imagined the math corollary of putting a kid in front of a stack of Newbery Award Winners and telling him to read. But there is not that. I mean, there is no best-of for math problems.

So the tutor says my son needs to learn math according to math standards. And you know what? I’m really hopeful that maybe we do not really need rigid math standards and he could be a free-thinking math kid. But maybe the tutor couldn’t say this because she is certified to national standards.

I’m just not sure what to think, or what to do. Today, when my son asked what his math problems are, I gave him a painting by Miro and asked him to do a graph of triangles, squares and circles.

He thinks the assignment was BS. He likes multiplication drills, so I gave him a peppermint for each circle. Am I an unschooler if I use conventional bribery?

I wonder if among homeschooling parents there is a thriving black market for off-label pharmaceuticals.

Xanax is so nice, but it takes away my drive to get my making-money work done during the day. But if my sole work during the day was to make sure my kids were doing self-directed learning, well, I think I could do that on Xanax. And Xanax might make that a little more interesting.

Also, on Xanax I would not feel the draw of the Internet all day long. What do homeschooling parents do who are addicted to their blog stats? It would be so difficult to focus on long-division when I know someone big just linked to me. I like to watch the page views minute by minute. How do homeschooling parents nurse their own obsessions during the day? I think a Xanax would do the trick for me. For a bit.

I think Adderall might be good on days when we have to do stuff like soccer and violin and swimming. Because I don’t like those days, but maybe with Adderall I would. Would Percocet make swimming as relaxing for me as it is for the kids?

Please, do not tell me I’m selfish and unable to focus on my kids long enough to homeschool them. I am trying. I’m just wondering: How do other people handle these issues?

Whenever someone says, “He was homeschooled.” I ask, “What are they doing now?” I need to know how homeschooled kids turn out.

Now, after asking this question about 100 times it’s clear to me that there’s no rule of thumb. The results vary widely because the types of people who homeschool vary widely. After all, what else do the far right wing and far left wing have in common besides being scared to send their kids to public school? And, famous child actors and famous chess champions have totally different types of minds, but what do they have in common? They both need to be homeschooled in order to do what they do best.

So the question, “What are they doing now?” yields useless results.

But then I realized that homeschooling is not about the end result. It’s about the process. Kids should learn what is meaningful and important for them to learn, in an environment that caters to them.

It’s scary. Sure. But it’s more scary to send them to a school that seeks outcome over process.

Before Gen Y was old news,  I earned $15, 000 per speech to tell companies how Generation Y would change the workplace.  Now we don’t need any predictions. We can all see for ourselves.

But now people ask me about Generation Z. “How will they change work?” I’ve been investigating this question for about four years, and at this point I’m pretty certain that Generation Z will make their imprint at work by being incredibly prepared for work.

Gen Z will have an education that is practical. College is widely seen as worth far less than its price tag in most cases.  Graduate school is an anachronism, now seen by many (including the Chronicle of Higher Education) as a babysitting service for adults.

So I started thinking, if Gen X ers – the parents of Gen Z – are not buying into the education system, then what will happen?

The answer is that Gen Z will be homeschooled much more frequently than any generation before them, and Generation Z will understand how to synthesize data, self-direct learning, and ask the kinds of questions that make or break companies.

The portion of Generation Z that gets the old-fashioned, classroom-based education, will end up being unprepared to compete.

I looked around me to check this conclusion and I was shocked by three people in my life.

Lisa Nielsen. She is head of NYC public school teaching training and technology.  She is at the forefront of public school reform yet she is a huge, huge supporter of the homeschool movement. And she has been sending me data points, and research for the last three years trying to get me to homeschool my kids. Her blog is The Innovative Educator and I can’t recommend it enough.

Brad Hoffman. I met him at Time Inc, when he was in charge of the education programs and I was educating people on how to deal with Gen Y. We became friends and I’ve watched him launch his own education company, My Learning Springboard.

As soon as I heard him talking about the courses they offer, and the parents who were buying them, I panicked. Education was becoming more innovative, customized, and intensive than anything I had ever imagined. Kids were taking Japanese after school and Spanish in school. (You can hire Brad’s company to do the whole Japanese program, in your house. Or Hebrew. Or Russian. Or Arabic.)

Anything you can imagine, Brad can get someone who is amazing to teach it. But here’s what really got me: All the stuff I couldn’t imagine. He offers a class to teach ten-year-olds math through investing. He offers architecture history by wandering around New York City. I want that kind of education for my kids.

Kate Fridkis. She writes a blog called Eat the Damn Cake, and she was homeschooled. I have asked her a million questions about her mom. Because I like Kate. She is fun and quirky and she is doing well navigating the transition to adulthood. I ask her how her mom did it, and what was it like?

Kate told me her mom was fantastic as a homeschooling mom, but Kate wishes her mom had had more self-confidence. Kate saw that her mom was worried the whole time – worried she wasn’t doing everything right.

So this blog is about me, figuring out what to do with my kids’ schooling. I want to be brave and homeschool. But I’m afraid I’m like Kate’s mom. Probably very confident but totally terrified.

And maybe I’m not like Kate’s mom. Because I’m not sure I’m going to take the leap. I’m scared it’s the wrong decision. I thought we could discuss it as a community, though. Because if you have kids, you should be as worried as I am. And if you don’t have kids, you should realize that Generation Z is the next group to be biting at your heels – all of our heels – at work.