This post originally ran on April 4, 2011.
I read with great interest Penelope Trunk’s recent blog post about generational trends and the rise of homeschooling. Homeschooling is going mainstream, she says, and it’s largely because parents of today’s school kids don’t want their kids in a broken public school system and don’t have $20,000 per child to shell out annually for private school tuition.
I have kids: I hear what she’s saying. We chose private school for our firstborn for a few years, but the prospect of putting multiple children through twelve years of private school was terrifying–so here we are, beginning our third year of homeschooling. Ten years ago I could not have imagined myself as a homeschooling mom–but here I am.
Penelope Trunk says our family is typical. My husband and I straddle Generation X and Generation Y; I definitely see myself in Trunk’s description of women (roughly) my age: “Gen X women are fine quitting their jobs to take care of their kids—they have no feminist ax to grind in the workplace.” We want to do the right thing for our kids and our families, we’re fine working outside the system–which means droves of us are choosing homeschooling.
Trunk’s area of expertise is career advice, and she thinks the homeschooling trend is a great thing for the workforce. These homeschooled kids–the ones born between 1995 and 2010–will be self-disciplined, self-directed learners. They will thrive in the workplace largely because their education is equipping them with the skills to find out what they need to know, when they need to know it. These kids–Trunk calls them Generation Z–know that “unschooling is not a movement for kids, but a way to live a life, and it doesn’t stop when you start getting a paycheck.”
Regardless of the (fascinating) generational issues, lifelong learning is a good thing. Are you a lifelong learner? What do you do to keep yourself growing and learning new things?