Generational Trends and Unschooling for Grown-Ups

Generational Trends and Unschooling for Grown-Ups

Generational trends and unschooling for grown-ups: teaching our kids--by teaching ourselves

I read with great interest Penelope Trunk’s recent blog post about generational trends and the rise of homeschoolingHomeschooling 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?

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    • Anne says:

      I haven’t read that book for a few years but have been thinking of picking it up again. I’m a big SWB fan–I had her in college, she is the real deal!

      Love your “Self-Ed Project” page on your blog!

      • Thank you for the encouragement!
        I adore SWB’s work, but I confess she is a bit of an enigma. How has she managed to home school four children, maintain such an esteemed career, fulfill the typical duties of a minister’s wife and crank out such timeless, intelligent books? I’m glad to know she is real! She seems superhuman.

  1. Mrs. Zwieg says:

    I love being a life long learner! I have too many things on my plate that I am learning about at the moment…currently there are about 4 books I am working on and have decided to tackle html on my own (former homeschooler).

    I homeschool our kids (also our first year…former single working mother) and am trying to show them that learning is FUN and a beautiful thing, it is HARD getting the public school indoctrination out of them. My greatest challenge is teaching them to think on their own after being spoonfed for several years.

    I GLADLY gave up the office for home and am not looking back. There are things I do at home to generate income without having to leave my family. I only wish there had been someone to shed the light on that fact years ago!

    This is an interesting journey and I would not change it for the world! 🙂

  2. Lorie says:

    Very interesting post. I am also a gen X/Y and the description is spot on. We have homeschooled (mostly unschooled) our children since birth. They are now 15 & 17.

    This year my oldest began a two year dual enrollment course through the PS system. He is in the top of his class. His instructor told him the homeschooled students are always in the top.

    I am constantly learning and trying new things. Sometimes I stick with them, sometimes it is just a phase and I move on.

    It took me years to get the PS indoctrination out of my own system. When I began homeschooling the boys I started to understand what “real” learning is and my passion for it has kept growing.

    I think my next project will involve taking a pottery class.

  3. I’ve heard a lot about unschooling, but haven’t looked into it too deeply. This family I follow {via blog} in Colorado does unschooling. It seems like such a neat idea.

    I have a 30 before 30 list of goals that I want to accomplish by March 2012. In it are learning type things {crocheting, baking, sewing, etc} that I think helps keep my mind fresh and give me a new perspective on things.

  4. Lacey says:

    I have a feeling this is going to be us in a few years too. The plan has been private school, but I can see us doing homeschooling instead. We will see!

  5. Dianna says:

    We will be officially homeschooling this fall, and I’m scared out of my mind — a headstrong daughter, twin three year old tornadoes, and my penchant for getting very easily has me feeling like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff.


    I completely subscribe to the life long learning plan — for me, it ranges from blogging, learning more about my faith, and recently, reading all I can about running and homeschooling. I could be a professional student, no doubt!

  6. Mandi says:

    Our first child hasn’t even been born yet, so I may be jumping a little ahead right now, but I am a planner, so I’m already thinking of homeschooling. I think homeschooling is really great, but I personally got so much out of my public school system (I was in advanced classes that really cultivated independent thinking, self directed education, and a lot of the other things that are so great about homeschooling) that I’m not quite sure what we’ll do. We’d like to have a large family and I can’t imagine being able to afford to send all our kids to private school if God does bless us with a lot, plus I think a lot of private schools have limited programs. I went to school to be a teacher, so I definitely have high expectations of my children’s education but I’m not sure exactly what that will entail…

  7. Kimberly says:

    I love to learn new things! I am constantly reading and trying all sorts of things. I have learned so much these last four years in particular. My problem these days is remembering what I have already learned!

  8. I would have to say Penelope’s reason is the reason we homeschool. Both my husband and I were home schooled. I like to say that we do most of the same things our parents did, though for somewhat different reasons. For our parents it was a much bigger protest against society. It isn’t that so much for us. I just want to make sure my kids get a quality education, and our school system is not good.

  9. Angela says:

    I’ve always loved learning, but didn’t really get self-directed in that area until I was around 14 years old, thanks to my hatred of ‘school’. Homeschooling as a mom now, I’m falling in love with subjects I just never had the time or grades to get to in public school, especially chemistry and math.

  10. I am a lifelong learner. I do a lot of reading, in a wide variety of topics. I’ve also taken some classes (outside of any formal programs, although I’ve done those too.) Bible correspondence courses, online programming courses, and general self-directed efforts to figure out how to do some things.

    In my last job before becoming a stay-at-home mom I worked at a museum in their collections department (collections as in artifacts). Just about every day there I was learning more about new-to-me artifacts. I loved that about that job!

  11. Caris Adel says:

    I am so jealous you had SWB as a teacher. That must’ve been fun and hard. Today started our 7th year of homeschooling, and my goal is a neo-classical type of method, but that’s a lot harder to work out in practicality than in theory. My oldest is not a self-learner, and as someone who loves to learn, that has been probably the most frustrating part for me.

  12. Sheri Y. says:

    Call me a Gen Xer! Love it! Raising a few Gen Z’s here myself. A homeschooler myself growing up (classical) I am now homeschooling my sweeties with my public school educated husband (who brings lots of wisdom to the cookie cutter world around me)! I would say, free thinker. Thinker not follower and is what I am looking forward to instilling in my sweeties.
    Love your blog! Today, I am a part-time online Professor in Finance after quitting my job as a VP of Finance for MGM studios to be home and care for my family. Can I say I never want to go back to the office and consider the couch a great desk!
    You spend one day in any corporate setting and realize that no one can think, problem solve or have fresh creative juices. Homeschooling is a way of life for me and needs to be for our children for advances in technology, ideas, politics, and caring for our world around us. March forward Gen Xers!
    When people tell me they can’t do it I tell them, hire a science, latin, and/or math tutor. Get some housekeeping help. A few hours a week is all you need! The rest is fun!

    • Anne says:

      Sheri, I’m with you: I really enjoy the homeschooling way of life–not just the part we usually think of as “schooling.”

      “When people tell me they can’t do it I tell them, hire a science, latin, and/or math tutor. Get some housekeeping help. A few hours a week is all you need!”


  13. Kimberly says:

    I didn’t really become a life long learner until after I quit being a classroom teacher.
    Sad, really. I dedicated my life to trying to teach kids to be LLL, but only continued to teach myself as it related to classroom teaching like continuing ed classes for licensing.
    Once I quit teacher and became a mother, that all changed.
    I began to teach myself all the skills and things I never was taught. I took the initiative to learn on my own. I know longer feel bad when I discover there is something I just never learned. Now I just look for the ways to figure it out on my own. I am amazed at all I had learned and how much bigger my world has become.
    Homeschooling is now as natural as breathing in our family. At any given time we are all exploring new interests, reading books, teaching one another something, reading books, watching a lecture or a video to learn, reading books, finding mentors, reading books, reading books, and reading more books. 🙂

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