My kids are Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010. And I wonder: what can we see in those kids now that can tell us what they’ll be like later, at work?

As a history student in college (history of political thought, for all you fans of the Republic) and still an obsessive researcher of generational demographic trends (everyone should start with Strauss & Howe) I understand that to study history (contemporary or ancient), you must study generational shifts in thinking, because the way the generation thinks helps us to understand and explain historical action. And maybe predict future action.

So I think a lot about what Generation Z will be like. I have written before about what Generation Z will be like at work , but I’ve been thinking, recently, that the way Gen Z is educated will change the workplace when they enter it.

Baby boomers changed politics, Gen X changed family, Gen Y changed work, and Gen Z will change education. Here’s how the education of Gen Z will affect us at work.

1. A huge wave of homeschooling will create a more self-directed workforce.
Homeschooling is going mainstream. We have known for a while that public education in the United States is largely terrible. Yes, there are pockets that are exceptional, but for the most part, we have an education crisis on our hands. But Baby Boomers were too scared to solve the crisis with homeschooling. If you homeschool your kids, you take them out of the typical ways to measure how well kids are doing in the competition. Baby Boomers couldn’t handle that, and they also wanted to work full-time, so instead of homeschooling, Baby Boomers got kids tons of tutoring and extra help after school.

Gen X is more comfortable working outside the system than Baby Boomers. Gen X women are fine quitting their jobs to take care of their kids—they have no feminist ax to grind in the workplace. And Gen X parents don’t feel a need to have their kid compete because Gen X is so noncompetitive. So homeschooling among Gen X parents is becoming mainstream. It’s no longer just for religious radicals and problem children. Homeschooling is for parents who know public schools are broken and don’t have $20,000 a year for private school.

This means we will have a generation of kids who grew up with largely a self-learning, self-directed model. They are more accustomed to figuring out what they like to do, and doing it on their own. The crisis to figure out what to do with one’s life will not last so long because Gen X will raise more independent and self-directed kids.

2. Homeschooling as kids will become unschooling as adults.
We have established that school does not prepare people for work. In fact, Gen Y has been very vocal about this problem because a) they did everything they were told to do and it didn’t help them get a job and b) we have a national crisis because gen y has huge debt from college and little ability to pay it back.

With alternative schooling and an emphasis on independent investigation, Generation Z will be the first group of knowledge workers who were trained to do their job before they started working. For example, Generation Z will be great at synthesizing information because they will have been doing that—rather than memorizing—the whole time they were in school.

The workplace ramification of this shift in learning is that Generation Z will have no problem directing their careers. They will know how to figure out what skill to learn next, and they will have more self-discipline to do it on their own.

When Gen Z enters the workforce, the older people, Gen X and Gen Y, will work to live, not live to work. This will be something Gen X and Gen Y fought hard for. To Gen Z it will be easy to do and self-learning will take center stage in their work day. So, as qualifications for the workplace will rapidly change and older people who don’t keep up will be outdated, it will be Generation Z that is best at keeping up. Not because they are young, but because they understand 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.

3. The college degree will return to its bourgeois roots; entrepreneurship will rule.
The homeschooling movement will prepare Generation Y to skip college, and Gen X is out-of-the-box enough in their parenting to support that.

One of the books that really changed the way I think is Zac Bissonnette’s book, Debt-Free U. He explains why no one should go into debt for college. It’s just not worth it. He says, even if your parents have the money to pay for college, use it for something better—like buying yourself a franchise and learning something that’ll really help you establish yourself in the adult world.

Baby Boomers are too competitive to risk pulling the college rug out from under their kids. And Gen Y are rule followers—if adults tell them to go to college, they will go. Gen X is very practical and is also the first generation in American history to have less money than their parents. So it makes sense that Gen X would be the generation to tell their kids to forget about college.

Ninety percent of Gen Y say they want to be entrepreneurs, but only a very small percent of them will ever launch a full-fledged business, because Generation Y are not really risk takers. However I am guessing (based on links like this one) that most members of Gen X have, at some point, worked for themselves. The entrepreneurship bug will be in full force when Gen Z comes along. They will feel they have no choice but to do that or weather an unstable workplace with huge college debt. People will trade in a college degree for on-the-job learning. The result will be a smarter workforce and the end of universities as a patronage system for philosophers.

 

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  1. monika hardy
    monika hardy says:

    brilliant post. thanks to Lisa Nielsen for directing me here.

    i see public ed becoming school of choice, which in my mind means, everyone gets the free option to learn like authentic unschoolers – key being purely self-directed leaners. not just doing school as we know it on their own.

    nothing is for everyone. public school can now offer everything. that’s what we need. that’s where we’re headed.
    the town is the school… separate buildings (schools as we now know them) are simply resource centers and meet up places. also available – a town art hall, a town engineering hall, etc. sharing spaces are wikipedia, youtube, wherever the crowd is. wherever sharing is most useful/accessible.

    the 1-1 movement is spot on.. but it’s one to one, face to face, mentors.. the declaration of interdependence.

    so i see your unschooling wave for sure, facilitating that in public ed provides the equity we all seek. setting the culture of trust for that to happen, that’s the pickle. but it’s coming.

  2. Jeff Branzburg
    Jeff Branzburg says:

    I read that 1.5 to 2.7% of k12 students are currently home schooled; even if its growth rate is high (which it is) statistically it will take an extremely long time to become mainstream. I also wonder about the demographics of homeschooling families. the south Bronx families in the school where I have been consulting are extremely busy earning a living. Homeschooling would not be a option.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      That’s an interesting question — what does that statistic mean. I think the issue is 1% of what. if it’s 1% of all students in the US, but that 1% is all people who are in the upper 10% of the income bracket, then it’s going to have a big affect on the pool of candidates who enter Yale. It’s going to have a big affect on who works at the next generation’s equivalent of Facebook.

      I know we are talking about privledge here. But I’m assuming that to even read this blog you are privledged — you have time to think about the higher Maslovian issues of what is good work, what is a meaningful life, etc. So to think about higher issues in terms of schooling seems in keeping with this community.

      Penelope

      • Mark Erickson
        Mark Erickson says:

        “then it’s going to have a big affect on the pool of candidates who enter Yale.” Even granting “that 1% is all people who are in the upper 10% of the income bracket” (which isn’t remotely true – most homeschool families are either driven by religious concerns or are hippie-types, both of which aren’t very likely to be in the top 10% of income), what makes you think any more than 1% of the 1% would apply to Yale? (Again, that’s very generous, but will credit your upper 10% assumption will cause these homeschoolers to be over-represented in Yale’s applicant pool). And taking the thought further (as your Facebook comment does), why do you think whether some homeschoolers who have got in to Yale will have anything to do at all with the next one-in-a-million company? Oh, and don’t forget about legacy applicants. And it’s “effect”. Get a clue.

  3. Erin
    Erin says:

    I think education is mostly what you make of it. There are certainly factors that are out of the student’s control that affect the quality of his or her education (the range of subjects offered or the viewpoint endorsed by the teacher), but what a student gets out of home school, public school, or private school is ultimately based on how much he or she wants out of what is being offered. I know home school kids who are well-rounded, well-socialized people with a lifetime commitment to learning. I also know private school students who expect everything to be spoon fed to them and can’t get along with anyone. And I know people of many varieties in between. Ultimately, it’s not the school the child goes to but the drive the child has to succeed that determines the outcome.

    I also think that parenting style plays an important role. My parents sent my brother and I to public schools but were very involved in our education. They took us to the library, encouraged our interests in the arts and athletics, kept a close eye on our progress, and made sure we had the help we needed when we struggled. That attention and effort is what makes the difference in my opinion, regardless of where you send your kids.

  4. RandyS
    RandyS says:

    Like a lot of other posters, I wonder about the socioeconomic forces at work here. It sees obvious that not all parents will be equally able — whether due to their workload or their own lack of education — to direct their own child’s learning in a predictably productive way. (These are human beings, and children at that…I’d find it shockingly irresponsible for someone to “experiment” with their kid’s life without being somewhat sure it’d turn out OK.) So what then? Do children of generational poverty just get told, “Sorry, the tax base went away so we defunded your schools…too bad you didn’t have a parent who could or would homeschool you!”? All of these stories of homeschool success are impressive, and I’m a little jealous that I went to class while others got to stroll through museums and choose their own topics to research. But I fear that too often it comes coupled to an anti-government worldview that says, “We’re not sending our kids to your schools, so we shouldn’t have to pay for them anymore.” Leaving the poor and undereducated to fend for themselves seems morally questionable. I totally support enlightened homeschoolers, as long as they don’t jettison the idea of community when they start down that path. There are lots of reasons to continue to do the obviously terribly difficult work of figuring out how to improve free public education. Selfishness here is not going to pay off down the road.

    And I worry a bit that all the stories of homeschool and unschooling success (happy to learn that term today!) might result in some folks committing a logical error. It may be that homeschoolers do better on tests or even have measurably better lives than those folks who attended public schools. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the method is a magic bullet. It seems obvious to me that the people who go in for homeschooling (and I’m leaving out for a moment those who are doing it not to broaden their kids’ horizons but to shelter them from “outside influences”) are measurably better off (as we discussed above) and probably above average in ability. Is it possible that all these Mandarin-learning 7 year old wunderkind are so successful because they come from great, supportive homes? In other words, might those same kids have benefited from that great, involved parenting had they attended public school? Not to say they didn’t do even better with the non-traditional method…just saying that the parents might be far more influential than any particular of educational *process*. As someone who tried and failed to make a difference as a high school teacher, I can tell you that most parents were NOT that involved and I think that made a huge impact on their kids’ education. Many worked too much to be able to. Many didn’t grow up themselves with a ton of education, and came from communities that did not value education highly (a path too many of the rest of us seem to be headed down!). Many were just not great parents and couldn’t be bothered. In any case, the solution is not to pull the plug and give up on free public education. These are kids! They can’t help themselves — well, not fully — yet! If we consign them to the dustbin because of their poverty or their bad parents, I think we commit a terrible crime. I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m sure it’s not “every man for himself.”

  5. Kim Anami
    Kim Anami says:

    Public schools are designed to create good worker bees and followers. Private schools create society’s leaders. Home schools and alternative schools, like de-schooling and un-schooling, focus on fostering independent and creative thought, with the idea that each being has innate intelligence and that we only need to provide a wide berth for it to emerge unfettered.

    My son attended a de-schooling environment for his first eight years. When he transferred to a regular public school for eighth grade, his teachers all remarked to me how incredible it was to them that he was so well-mannered, compassionate and that he would actually thank them for the class as he left the room.

    He is remarkably self-possessed, as are the other children at his former school, and highly independent. He was in a classroom in public school recently where the class was being shown a graphically violent video depicting children permanently injuring themselves through reckless behaviour. He stood up and walked out of the class, based on a discussion we’d had on why not to watch over and over again images of people hurting themselves: because it programs your brain to do the same. The teacher flipped on him, threatening to call me and ordering him to return. He kept going and called me as soon as he got out of the class. I spoke with him and her, supporting his decision to leave the class, and more importantly, his ability to think for himself and not just take orders. He is perpetually stunned as he watches the other students in his classes do without questioning. He understands that he has a choice. They don’t.

    I agree with the other posters that home and alternative schooling isn’t just a luxury for those who can afford it. I saw and experienced all walks of life in that environment and it comes down to prioritizing how you spend your time and money. Granted, extremes of poverty probably fall outside of this scale though.

    • RandyS
      RandyS says:

      And for those kids, what’s the answer? Gutting free public education amounts to abandoning them. Can we get some of these products of other educational “systems” (homeschooling, etc.) to apply their experiences to find ways to improve the public schools? I know that’s insanely difficult, but if the alternative is abandoning kids to crime and poverty because they didn’t get educated is akin to creating a true, sanctioned underclass. I think that’s poor policy, since we share our country with those people, and I think it’s difficult to defend morally.

      Again, to be clear, I’m thrilled (and, like I said, a little jealous) when I hear all these success stories. Frankly, hearing alternative education parents who don’t sound like religious extremists is refreshing and forces me to reconsider the whole topic. I just want to make sure that, if in fact it’s not practical or possible for ALL parents to do it (and I doubt it’s possible), then I want to be sure that our society remains committed to free public education in whatever form can be made to work best.

      • Kim Anami
        Kim Anami says:

        @Randy S I’m not suggesting we cut public education. Frankly, I don’t know what the answer is for “those kids.” I stopped trying to change the world a long time ago and create my own reality instead. I had an interest in alternative education, so I studied, I researched and I found other methods that resonated with me. I chose them.

        In some ways, I feel like the answer to your question goes deep. People have choices all the time–even people in unfavourable circumstances. I believe we all get opportunities to improve our lives that we either accept or decline. No one exists in a total vacuum. The interesting question to me, is what makes one person choose a path of growth, and another, stagnation? You hear stories about people who come from equally horrendous environments and one rises up and overcomes the past and another is squashed by it. Why? What separates them?

        To me, the answer is courage. Courage to try something new and strike out against the majority that might be opposed to your different viewpoint. Courage to follow the road less travelled.

        @ Emily. You are seriously boring me now. I’ll pass you off to Ken Robinson and his TED talks about how education kills creativity. http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html

        @ Lyssa. Thank you!

    • Emily
      Emily says:

      @ Kim –
      For lack of better word, your son is brain-washed by your schooling. That’s all.
      And really, only public school create worker bees and followers? It’s just the law of big numbers. I’d like to see what are doing the most of the de-schooling/home-schooling kids once they graduate.

      Montessori is a education system commonly seen in my native country. It’s very follow-your-bliss type of thing, and guess what? Not many kids flourish in that environment. That same happens to public school. Same with home-schooling. Although home-schooling sounds more like a fad, like giving birth at home, and growing your own vegetables.

      • Tracy
        Tracy says:

        Growing your own vegetables is a fad? Birthing at home is a fad? If you look further back in time than your parents or grandparents, you’ll see that mega grocery stores and c-section rates of 1 in 3 are the historical anomalies.

        I’m just going to shake my head in awe and disbelief as I read the rest of this comment section.

    • Sam
      Sam says:

      There isn’t anything creative about repeating the tired trope about public schools producing “worker bees,” as if you’re actually qualified to conclude that the long list of leaders and innovators who did in fact go to public school succeeded in spite, not because, of their education.

      This alone shows that you’re spectacularly full of yourself. The bragging about your kid is just icing on that rather disgusting cake.

  6. Kim Anami
    Kim Anami says:

    @ Emily. Fair enough, that may not have been the best example. Here are a few more.

    I always resonated with what Rudolph Steiner had to say about not forcing academics too early on children. His belief was that by doing so, one would curtail right-brain development and creativity. In the pure Steiner teachings, a child wouldn’t be taught to read until age nine, though they might pick it up on their own. In the school my son attended, which was similar to the Sudbury Valley School model, he chose which classes he attended and didn’t attend. It was entirely self and student directed. What this typically meant, is that boys chose to play for most of their first 12 years. My son was no exception. By Steiner’s philosophy, this would have been okay. By the non-coercive philosophy of his school, this was okay. For most modern parents, this would have been terrifying. I was keen to see what happened, having had the guidance of the other teachers and the school founder who had been doing this for 33 years.

    What happened is this: by age 11/12, my son could barely read. He had the writing skills of a seven-year-old. But he had obtained sponsorship by a skateboarding company (his first love) and was winning contests and money and given free gear and tons of support and mentoring. When I put him into a regular public school for eighth grade (our current school didn’t offer high school), that first year was hell-ish. My son had never done homework before. He never had to ask to use the washroom (that’s an experience that will run you over $200-/hr in the hands of an experienced dominatrix). By grade nine, my son had an A grade in nearly all his academic classes. His highest mark was 98% in science, where, in his own words, he hardly did anything. He can read and write, has a fabulous vocabulary, though admittedly his written skills aren’t strong; his typing is. What’s going to be more useful for him?

    His elective subjects for which he could see no use, he’d cut class to go skateboarding. Of his own accord, he prioritized his energy, understanding that his academic classes might be important and learning how to bake cookies wasn’t useful to him. “If they’d teach me how to make myself a dinner, I’d go,” he said. I think his marks in those classes were in the low double digits. I was fine with it, personally. We’d discussed that getting higher marks in the classes he deemed useless would be an issue in the upper grades for his overall average and he got that.

    The woman who ran the school my son went to could take a student who had never done formal math at age 12 and in 20 hours, teach them everything up to sixth grade math. She did it time and time again. The key was that the child had to want to do it. They couldn’t be forced to.

    To be clear, I said that public schools are “designed” to create worker bees. The fact that brilliant (albeit often scarred) people still come out of them shows that somewhere along the way, those kids and people received mentorship or guidance or something that encouraged them to think outside the box and listen to their own internal guidance systems. Because the public schools are not set up to do that. They are set up to create a hierarchy. The most important thing my son received out of his experiences at a democratic school, was learning how to listen to his own innate wisdom and follow that. Priceless. Or, to put a price on it if one didn’t get it, thousands and thousands in therapy down the road.

    • Emily
      Emily says:

      @ Kim
      Thanks for the entertaining story, and again, you are cherry-picking.
      You are going to find exceptional cases in all educational systems; you are going to find also really bad examples (Steiner with that New Agey thing has plenty of those, too).

      I’d guess ‘democratic’ education systems help some children to follow their inner wisdom, and ‘hierarchical’ ones help others to become LEADERS; won’t you agree?

      PS Really, often ‘scarred’ people are coming from public schools? Thousands of dollars in therapy? Then those guys need to grow a backbone, for real.

  7. Emily
    Emily says:

    @Kim –
    Cute. I was personally introduced to Ken Robinson last May when he was here in Florida; so you’re showing me nothing new there.

    We are definitely not talking the same language here, so yes; agree that while your comments are entertaining, this exchange is not productive.

  8. Lance
    Lance says:

    Great post, tons of good links here. I followed the Inside Higher Ed link and loved that article, also watched some Dougald Hine video this morning and thought that was a great find.

  9. justamouse
    justamouse says:

    I’m a Classical honmeschooler Gen X mom who is fully setting her kids up to be entrepreneurs and take over the family business if they want. One wants to be an organic farmer, the other a diner owner, two can run the family business, and I have no idea where #6 will end up, probabaly on safari. But I’m teaching them Latin anyway. :-p

    It’s not just a luxury. We’ve sacrificed a lot to be able to homeschool all of them. I would rather do without than send them to a horrid public school and I can’t afford to send them to private school. Not a luxury-a necessity.

  10. RickF
    RickF says:

    Homeschooling may be becoming “mainstream” in terms of social acceptance, it is not becoming “mainstream” in the sense of “done by the majority”. In 2007, about 2.9% of school-aged children were home-schooled. It’s tough to argue that something 3% of a generation is doing is going to shape the entire generation.

    • Tracy
      Tracy says:

      The %age stat representative of all homeschoolers can’t be accurate. In states like Texas, parents are not required to register their children. I’m pretty sure Texas has an enormous number of homeschooling families who wouldn’t be listed in that statistic.

  11. Dereks
    Dereks says:

    There are two things which are clear to me:
    1) the author is a mother, whose kids are yet too young and she has an idealized image of what they are and what their future is.
    2) for some reason the author/mother became obsessed with homeschooling.
    The post basically ignores all the potential challenges and risk, which this Generation Z is already facing or may be facing. Essentially, they have been pointed out in the comments already.
    Secondly, everybody has a right to his/her own opinion, but arguments on advantages of homeschooling are so one-sided, so unbalanced, that they create image of some unhealthy maniacal obsession.
    If you have a kid studying at home you leave him out of a whole range of social situations, besides the mechanical process of learning.
    How those kids are going to learn to communicate and act maturely in random social situation, which basically define adult life?
    In pre-public-education times kids where simply playing in the streets. But they won’t do this today, they will play video-games and surf Internet.
    My immediate idea is that homeschooling today will create some sort of an autist, not a self-driven professional.

    • TheShan
      TheShan says:

      My knee-jerk reaction is to argue against your flagrant use of hyperbole, but I’ll ignore that and stick with the crux of your argument.

      Two things. First, you said:

      // … arguments on advantages of homeschooling are so one-sided, so unbalanced, that they create image of some unhealthy maniacal obsession. //

      On what are you basing this? My wife and I have researched homeschooling — the good AND the bad — exhaustively and we have found arguments on both sides of the line. Something tells me you haven’t really looked into this and you’re just following popular misconceptions.

      Second, you said:

      // If you have a kid studying at home you leave him out of a whole range of social situations, besides the mechanical process of learning.
      How those kids are going to learn to communicate and act maturely in random social situation, which basically define adult life? //

      If you think exposure to the artificial social strata of the typical public school classroom will teach a child to, “act maturely in random social situations,” then you haven’t been in a public school classroom before. As a matter of fact, homeschooled children tend to be exposed to vast array of adults (read: not a conglomerate of children with one adult); much more so than their public schooled peers. And if you think I’m way off base, track down a home school grad and see how well they communicate, then you can really decide for yourself.

      • Dereks
        Dereks says:

        //On what are you basing this? My wife and I have researched homeschooling – the good AND the bad – exhaustively and we have found arguments on both sides of the line. Something tells me you haven’t really looked into this and you’re just following popular misconceptions.

        Exactly, I posses next to nothing expert knowledge on the subject and I wasn’t really arguing with the conclusions. Just saying that they aren’t strong enough. As an example why, I simply used one of the ‘popular misconceptions’, which crossed my mind.
        Because if there are popular misconceptions about some idea/subject you’re almost obliged to address them.
        You’ve said it yourself: you’ve studied both good and the bad. The post, on the other hand, makes it look like it’s only good out there. There is not a single word about potential (fictional or whatever) downside.
        It may well be true that homeschooling is actually better than public education, but you don’t prove the statement to be true simply by saying “because it is so”.

    • Sam
      Sam says:

      #1 is a direct hit. Fortunately Penelope is a high-level thinker as well as a mother, so even if she overstates her case a bit, there’s a lot of great stuff to take from it. I can’t say the same of other (mostly female) commenters on here, who base entire arguments on the motherly feeling that “my child is the most special child in the world, way too special to go to school.”

  12. Lyssa
    Lyssa says:

    Dereks, I write about the misconceptions of homeschooling in my blog. Please feel free to read the entries there; I am a teacher, and I have been studying various systems of education for several years.

    • Dereks
      Dereks says:

      I didn’t actually mean to compare or evaluate particular “systems of education”. I also have many issues with public system of education (I am not from US actually, and I know for sure, that there is a great deal of difference between public schools in my country and in the US), but my concern was mainly about general school experience, about what happens “in between”. And I do think that this experience is very important, maybe even more important, than the formalities with classes, home assignments and grades. And can’t really imagine how can it be replaced with parent patronizing, which homeschooling is by definition. I just see public school attendance as a sort of “wildlife experience”, where a kid is exposed to the wide range of possible unpredictable events, opposed to the ‘artificial’ cultivation in a botanical garden, set up by homeschooling parents.

  13. Missy
    Missy says:

    I find it interesting that so many people are commenting that homeschooling is expensive. We are homeschoolers and it costs a FRACTION of what it cost to send my kid to school – yes, PUBLIC education – buying materials and clothing and paying sports and activities fees, field trip fees, lunch money for food that isn’t even healthy – all of these things are costly. This way, we are able to buy things when we can afford them, go on trips after we’ve saved money. I quit my job when we realized that me working = my entire paycheck going to daycare. I’m saving my family money by staying home and spending the time it takes to be frugal.

    • RickF
      RickF says:

      The “cost” of homeschooling is going to vary significantly by family. The bulk of the cost is in lost income from the stay-at-home parent with some savings from not having to pay for daycare – but for most families that lost income is going to be more than 0.

      Frankly, the savings in clothes, food and school-supplies are going to be minimal compared to public school. After all, the kids still need to be clothed and fed, right? They haven’t outlawed the bag lunch have they? It may feel cheaper because you are deciding what to buy and when, but it probably comes out pretty darn close.

      • Anonymous
        Anonymous says:

        You haven’t looked at an average woman’s wages in this country lately, have you?  Absent a professional degree, the average mom cannot make enough in wages to cover her work expenses, especially if the household carries debt.  With the professional degree, it depends on the profession and even then she’s not paid as much as a man in the equivalent position.  (There’s a reason gay households tend to be high-earning, even if they adopt a child.)  And some of us don’t have kids only to pay someone else to raise them.  Does no one ever do their own work anymore in this country?  What’s next, do we outsource breathing?

  14. Missy
    Missy says:

    PS – I also find it HILARIOUS when people bring up the “socialization” thing to me. Making friends during class gets you in trouble at school. You aren’t supposed to be talking and cultivating relationships during class if you’re “learning” – so lunch and after school activities are where kids are cultivating relationships. My kids still do all those activities – swim team, cub scouts, play groups, church, Sunday School, hiking with friends, art classes at the local museum… the list goes on.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      Socialization doesn’t mean going out and making friends.  It means training children in the social mores of your culture.  Basically it means teaching them how to behave properly in their social group.  Children are incapable of socializing children, for this reason.  If a woman were capable of having thirty children in one pregnancy and decided to do so, we’d all call her insane, and with good reason.  Yet we don’t bat an eyelash at a teacher being responsible for the socialization of thirty children close to the same age for six to eight hours a day.  These kids are not getting enough reinforcement from parents to understand right and wrong in any sense (not just or only Biblical).  They’re being raised by adult strangers, both in the classroom and on TV.

  15. santiago
    santiago says:

    Academia is an elitist entity. Always has been. There is a trend of more entrepreneurship. That is the wave of the future. Also, have you noticed that the cost of university continues to rise and never falls? Is that really sustainable? Anyone that knows anything about real economics knows that it isn’t.

  16. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    I think there is still value in a University education for specialized vocations. For example, I do not view the degree I am seeking, and the money I am spending on it as worthless because without doing this I would not be able to do my future job. I want to teach music in public school. This requires a degree in music education. Also, I feel like my degree program has prepared me well for teaching. At my university many of the classes are lab type environment. Not only do we discuss learning theories, but we actually write lesson plans and teach each other. I also spend much type in my classes running rehearsals and being graded on my performance. I also have gained a thorough knowledge of music including instrument performance, theory, private lessons, history, technology, and more. These are not things I would have learned necessarily “on the job.” I also feel that several of my other friends who are engineers, nurses, doctors, web designers, social workers, and other types of teachers find their degrees and the education they received while getting them to be extremely valuable.

    Now, let me tell you about my husband. He is getting a Bachelor’s of general studies in film. I don’t think he has found his degree to very valuable. I know for fact, he wishes he had gotten a degree in something else. This also applies to my sister-in-law who got her bachelor’s in sociology. They both have the general skills that one acquires from getting a college degree. They are generally knowledgeable (we kill at trivia), organized, know how to do research, have strong communications skills, and they posses highly developed critical thinking skills. I think these are skills that are applicable to many jobs, but I fear they both will be stuck doing jobs that are not fulfilling for them.

    The problem with my generation (I think it is generation Y. I was born in 87) is that we are not always seeking practical degrees. I remember being told to study what I love, and what interest me. College is valuable when you have a career plan in mind after graduation. College should not be a time filler after high school. It should be a means to an end.

  17. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    Note to self: proof-read comments before posting next time. Sorry for typos and grammatical errors in my first comment.

  18. Lyssa
    Lyssa says:

    I agree, getting a degree that will help further one’s future career in a practical way is advisable. But college is not for everyone, as Ashley said, so if someone does not have very specific goals in mind that a degree will accomplish, then I would say it is better to not go to college. Instead, pursue another form of career training, save up some money by working an “in-between” job, or maybe even become an entrepreneur. With the costs of higher education going through the roof today it is better to not waste your time and money if you have no purpose for attending college yet.

  19. Darius
    Darius says:

    As marketing is getting more direct and measured, these Gen Z up and comers are going to know what they want and when they want it. They’ll be looking for entertainment value just as much if not more than product value.

  20. Popbubbleburst
    Popbubbleburst says:

    Sorry to burst the bubble on this one, but I disagree with the underlying premise.

    The notion of self-directed learning in a home-school environment in my mind is even more threatened by the very fact that the accessibility to certain types of technology make it near impossible to teach the one skill that is most important to Entrepreneurship – Perseverance.

    Here is my premise- Today’s technology which is setup to handle the least number of steps to get to a point of instant gratification is easily accessible to young people. Having said that, their entire modality of thinking and solving problems is “oh its broken, lets throw it away”. This notion of disposability carries over into work, personal lives, and ultimately also has a huge impact on how the country itself operates. This is clearly evident in how we have shipped off jobs that our own work force is incapable of handling or solving.

    The interactions with other students in a classroom setting, the ability for a teacher to recognize and challenge students to take the three extra steps to get to answer– aren’t even considerations for many parents looking to self-educate their children.

    There are important factors here that I believe are seriously overlooked per the article, and its desperate need to figure out how to educate a child given these daunting circumstances.

    Let’s even take Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook or Bill Gates of Microsoft as examples…They both dropped out of college, but BOTH have recently challenged the notion that students are woefully behind in skills acquisition, and have short attention spans.

    I dont see homeschooling suddenly fixing this larger endemic and serious problem.

  21. Bob Duniway
    Bob Duniway says:

    Generational generalizations only get you so far, as the distribution of interests, talents, and drive within generations produce widely disparate individual outcomes. Just as most baby boomers aren’t as self-obsessed as the caricature, most Gen X parents are more economically convensional than you suggest, and the vast majority still send their kids to public schools. While the rate of home schooling increases, and that could lead to the rate of intentional college skipping increasing when these kids hit college age, these are marginal effects. Hopefully these marginal effects will worry those of us running colleges enough that we will continue to work hard to improve student learning and post-graduation outcomes for our students, including increasing the flexibility with which students can pursue college and graduate education. But we are hardly going to see a dramatic decline in the proportion of high school graduates aspiring to a college degree over the next 20 years.

  22. Doug Harvey
    Doug Harvey says:

    I think where this goes off-track is the assumption/premise that public schools are largely terrible. I think this is a common belief based on speculation generated without evidence by politicians. If the education system is so irrevocably broken, why are we still a thriving nation? While we may be in an economic downtime, none of this is due to the education system. Students are coming out of schools well prepared at as high a rate as ever.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      I attended public school in two countries and four school districts (five if you count a few weeks right after we moved to a new state, to finish out the school year).  Yes, public schools ARE terrible.  And they’re worse since I graduated.  If you don’t understand what you are missing, you would think everything was OK.  I need only examine the response of this nation to the events of 9/11 to see that we are ill-equipped to be leaders of the free world or whatever nonsense we’ve styled ourselves after now.  We think we can solve every problem with a dollar bill in one hand and an M16 in the other.  Real education would have shown us otherwise.

    • Laura Lawson
      Laura Lawson says:

      I don’t think it’s just public schools, but private schools as well. My experience came being in math, science, and computer classes in college(various levels) and seeing how even the “best” US students were so far behind the foreign students. Also, by seeing that the majority of professors were also foreign born. It forced me to conclude that either a)Americans are genetically less capable of learning(which I reject) or b) That Americans are less prepared for college-level quantitative fields, largely due to an obsolete curriculum that is behind other nations(which, after learning what some classmates had done in high school, I accepted).

  23. Dawn Varner
    Dawn Varner says:

    I would like to say a word in defense of us “baby boomers.” For the most part, we did not homeschool because we did not even know it was an option. Homeschooling was still in its infancy and was not generally acknowledged. We sent our kids to public schools (even when we knew they were awful) because we thought we HAD to. It wasn’t until I went back to college at the age of 35 that I discovered that I could have been homeschooling my children all along. Back then, most of us still believed that the government was trustworthy and was interested in our own good. We were not stupid or “scared.” We were simply uninformed.

    • Katherine Anderson
      Katherine Anderson says:

      Yes that was definitely true of my “baby boomer” sister and absolutely was true of my “war babies” parents. They didn’t think of homeschooling at all because they hadn’t heard of the possibility. And for a long long while, homeschooling was considered to be illegal even though it wasn’t.

    • Jana
      Jana says:

      What he said…I barely found out that I could homeschool my kids. I’m at the end of the boomer generation and I’m thankful to that 2 of my friends looked into homeschooling before I did.
      Jana

    • Laura Lawson
      Laura Lawson says:

      “then, most of us still believed that the government was trustworthy and was interested in our own good.”

      Not just for schools, but in general, HUH????????????? Government provides many incredibly valuable services, but I think to trust is very naive, just as naive as trusting businesses to put ethics first.

  24. Barbara Frank
    Barbara Frank says:

    Thought-provoking post.

    It’s clear that we’re headed into a future where those who can think independently and are willing to tackle entrepreneurship will have more security, if there is any such thing in this world, than sheeple. Homeschooling gives our kids the best chance to develop an independent mindset. (John Taylor Gatto has written extensively on this topic, btw.)

    Yes, I’m biased; I homeschooled my four kids through high school. They’re now 18-27 and doing just fine. (If they’re not socialized, they’re doing a pretty good imitation of it.)

  25. Sean
    Sean says:

    While I can certainly hope that most of your assumptions come true, I can’t help but think you’re looking through rose-colored glasses. There’s not one mention of how Gen Z might turn out for the worse. I’m sure when I was growing up, there were plenty of articles like this stating how wonderful Gen Y will be and how we will become societies leaders… blah, blah blah. Each generation has its strengths and weaknesses, and I’m sure Gen Z will be no different. In addition, I’ve always wondered about the external factors that affect the development of a generation, such as our current recession. How would Gen Y be viewed if the economy hadn’t tanked? I’m sure people would be telling us how smart we were for going to college and getting a degree. You can’t separate Gen Y from the recession than you can the Boomers from Vietnam or the “Greatest Generation” from the Depression or WWII. I wonder what Gen Z has to look forward to.

  26. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    I am a Gen Xer. I’m married, have 4 kids, and am self employed. My wife stays home with the kids, and the 2 oldest (8 and 6) go to our district’s charter school, which provides a superior education, and is publicly funded, though at a reduced rate. Parents must provide a little extra to the school to help defray costs. Right now my yearly income is around $30,000 – $35,000. We rent a home, and we get by. I only completed some college, but have no school debt to pay for. I intend to make much more in the coming years, and in this country, there is no reason not to. We have been thinking about homeschooling for some time now, not because our kids are not getting a great education; they are. But we want the flexibility and the more hands on learning that home schooling provides. With today’s supplemental programs for home schooled kids, they are socially integrated and will not have the typical social skill problems that many home school kids have or used to have.

    My point is, I am not rich…yet. I have no formal education, but that will not stop me from making something of myself, and providing for my family. Racial boundaries in small business exist only in the minds of those who will allow them to. I’m a carpenter by trade, and have learned as I worked. Being black, Hispanic or Asian would not have altered that in any way. The working poor exist in many areas, but it is by choice. Get on a bus and move. It’s a free country, and no one can tell you what you can or cannot earn. If you have a racist boss, leave. Grow flowers in your backyard and sell them. Start a catering business. Re-upholster furniture. Detail cars. Anything is possible, but only if you believe in yourself. The Man can only keep you down if you don’t walk away. You can do it, and if your kids are that important to you, then you WILL find a way. Stop letting everyone else control your kids’ destinies. YOU are the parent. Act like it!

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      The only way no one can tell you what you can and cannot earn is if you’re going out and stealing the money.  If you’re employed, the buck stops with your boss;  if you’re self-employed, you are at the mercy of the marketplace.

      It’s true that people can choose how to respond to life’s circumstances but you’re still blaming the victim (in the sense of “victim” as “target of harmful action taken”).  I’m just a little weirded out that you think yelling at a person who’s been injured in some way is going to make their injury hurt less for them.  Why does no one choose to yell at the injurER instead?  Occupy Wall Street’s doing it now and people like you think they’re crazy.  Do we worship bullies in this country or something?  I’m thinking maybe yes.  What does that say about us?  We shouldn’t be in a recession or have any working poor (or any other kind) if all it took was beating up the disadvantaged.

  27. Mommy Entrepreneur
    Mommy Entrepreneur says:

    Big missing piece of this essay:  homeschooled kids think they are smarter than they are and that they know more than they do and are surprised when they are wrong.  (After all, their teachers were their doting parents who thought they really were “the best” instead of more objective professionals, teachers, who could put their work in perspective.)  Also, kids who don’t go to college and kids who go to community college just don’t have the critical thinking skills and writing ability of college students.  This will hurt the workplace and the economy.  Finally, homeschooled kids can’t just skip entire areas that don’t interest them when they are faced with the ordinary, boring drudgery parts of every job, even entrepreneurship.

    • MMM
      MMM says:

      Wow, I hope you don’t include yourself as one of these “objective professionals”.  So from reading your comment are you trying to say that you don’t think “your smarter” or that your children are “smarter” than homeschooled children?  I was homeschooled myself by one of these “doting” parents.  He was every bit as qualified to teach me as any teacher.  Why?  He was a teacher.  Fully certified with twenty years of teaching Junior High School to High School in science, electronics, and mathematics.  He worked in several public schools, rich and poor, and knew well their limits.  I have gone through University graduating with a a degree in Biochemistry.  Guess I’ll always be one of those “homeschooled” failures you speak of cause I didn’t have information beat into my school.  The reality is there are fantastic teachers out there who do a lot for their students but they are very few and very far between.  With their parents running the education show in Public School those teachers are being driven out of education adding to its dismal state.  So I blame parents most of all for its current state, not teachers.  

    • MMM
      MMM says:

      Wow, I hope you don’t include yourself as one of these “objective professionals”.  So from reading your comment are you trying to say that you don’t think “your smarter” or that your children are “smarter” than homeschooled children?  I was homeschooled myself by one of these “doting” parents.  He was every bit as qualified to teach me as any teacher.  Why?  He was a teacher.  Fully certified with twenty years of teaching Junior High School to High School in science, electronics, and mathematics.  He worked in several public schools, rich and poor, and knew well their limits.  I have gone through University graduating with a a degree in Biochemistry.  Guess I’ll always be one of those “homeschooled” failures you speak of cause I didn’t have information beat into my school.  The reality is there are fantastic teachers out there who do a lot for their students but they are very few and very far between.  With their parents running the education show in Public School those teachers are being driven out of education adding to its dismal state.  So I blame parents most of all for its current state, not teachers.  

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      What about when you are terribly interested in a topic but you never get to learn about it in school because it’s not in the curriculum for the year, and your parents can’t afford to buy a lot of books and you live too far from the public library, so you can’t tackle it at home either?

      When people are forced to rely solely upon schools for education, this sort of thing happens.

      • Gretchen
        Gretchen says:

        If the parents can’t afford books and don’t live near a library, sounds like their best bet would be to “rely on the school.”

      • Barbara Frank
        Barbara Frank says:

        No one needs to be near a library to homeschool thanks to the Internet. There are so many good classical books available, many for free, and sites like KhanAcademy.org offer free instructional videos. Then there are the free college courses online…..anyone with an Internet connection can homeschool.

  28. Douglas Cline
    Douglas Cline says:

    Many of the comments, though thought provoking, are missing the big picture.  I am a public school teacher. I love my job and enjoy helping every child every day.  

    I welcome parents who are home schooling their children.  It takes courage and time to properly meet state and federal guidelines when undertaking the process of educating one’s child at home.  My position is that I will be available to assist  parents as they are instructing their child.  

    I only ask that we all understand that educating children is not a competition.  It is not “me” verses “you”, or I am better at this than you.  Rather, we must work together to provide the best authentic education possible for EVERY child.  I am in the public schools because I know there are many who can not afford to stay home to teach their child.  I want to make sure that I am providing the best of everything for their child, just as I would for my own children.

    Teacher and school bashing are not the solution.  Teamwork and providing whatever it takes for our children, our future leaders, is the bottom line on which we should be focusing.  

    This needs to be done.  As Wilford Brimley says, “It’s the right thing to do.”

    Feel free to comment.  This tells me that education is not dead.  It is heating up, and our comments and commitment are just making it hotter.  No, education is not dead, it is just changing into something bigger and better.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      We’re more bad-school-bashing than school-bashing.  Not that I think in the end any school can ever be completely “good.”  The teachers, sure, but the institution itself seems almost to be designed to do anything *but* educate children.

      I agree this isn’t about competition though.  I cringe when I see people bragging about homeschoolers being four grades ahead of their age-peers in school.  What about the kids who are slower in learning certain skills?  What about the kids who retain information just long enough to take the finals but then forget everything they “learned”?  (That happens a LOT in schools.)  There are so many variables here.

  29. Ourclassroomfamily
    Ourclassroomfamily says:

    What makes you think that everyone who homeschools their kids does a good job? Most homeschooled kids I’ve encountered  are pathetically ignorant, learn only their parent’s point of view, and can’t pass any college entrance exam, so it’s a good thing they aren’t interested in college. Public education is in deep trouble, but people like you who just complain about it and spread the media hype aren’t helping to correct the situation.

    • Themstar2011
      Themstar2011 says:

      Good Lord, talk about a slanted view.  I was homeschooled 11-16 and I passed all of my entrance exams with ease.  Most of my friends are shocked to learn I was ever homeschooled as I act “normal”.  I’ve met many other homeschoolers and unschoolers who are some of the most well-adjusted adults I know.  They don’t live in fear of not fitting in unlike a lot of “public school” educated of my age.  In my opinion, the main difference between public school educated and homeschooled (or unschooled) is that one sets its highest priority on “fitting in and being popular” while the other wants to succeed to the best of their abilities.  Of course, perhaps I’m biased as well, but at least I’ll admit to that.  

    • Themstar2011
      Themstar2011 says:

      Good Lord, talk about a slanted view.  I was homeschooled 11-16 and I passed all of my entrance exams with ease.  Most of my friends are shocked to learn I was ever homeschooled as I act “normal”.  I’ve met many other homeschoolers and unschoolers who are some of the most well-adjusted adults I know.  They don’t live in fear of not fitting in unlike a lot of “public school” educated of my age.  In my opinion, the main difference between public school educated and homeschooled (or unschooled) is that one sets its highest priority on “fitting in and being popular” while the other wants to succeed to the best of their abilities.  Of course, perhaps I’m biased as well, but at least I’ll admit to that.  

    • Themstar2011
      Themstar2011 says:

      Good Lord, talk about a slanted view.  I was homeschooled 11-16 and I passed all of my entrance exams with ease.  Most of my friends are shocked to learn I was ever homeschooled as I act “normal”.  I’ve met many other homeschoolers and unschoolers who are some of the most well-adjusted adults I know.  They don’t live in fear of not fitting in unlike a lot of “public school” educated of my age.  In my opinion, the main difference between public school educated and homeschooled (or unschooled) is that one sets its highest priority on “fitting in and being popular” while the other wants to succeed to the best of their abilities.  Of course, perhaps I’m biased as well, but at least I’ll admit to that.  

    • a name is a name
      a name is a name says:

      Actually, if you’ll do some statistical research about homeschoolers you’ll find that on average, homeschoolers test 4 years ahead of public schools by the eighth grade! In addition, homeschools get an amazing point of view because they are allowed access to many different types of situations and people. If the POV you’re speaking of is based on religion, that is a wonderful aspect of homeschooling as well. Raising well educated, morally sound, kids who have a strong sense of self is an awesome edeavour that I would whole-heartedly encourage parents to look into.
      As with any school there are going to be good and bad. Don’t base your entire outlook of homeschooling on one or two homeschoolers “gone wrong”.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      I used to spend a lot of time on a LiveJournal community for my town that was populated heavily with Ohio State students.  The level of intellect I saw displayed in that community was shockingly substandard.  I attended school myself in 2003-2004 (dropped back out for personal reasons) and it was just like being back in high school–and high school didn’t exactly exercise our intellects either.  This isn’t education.  This is answering the right questions in just the right way in order to acquire a piece of paper.  It’s a lab rat moving a lever to get the cheese.  Which is wonderful if all you want to be in life is a white rodent doing tricks for food.  Some of us want more than that out of life.

      The public schools are the ones claiming that we can’t possibly do without them and that education happens nowhere else but within their own walls.  If you’re going to hold someone to account for poor quality of education, start there.  Especially since your taxes are going to fund those places.

      Even when someone is poorly educated, too, once you reach the age of majority it’s incumbent upon you to guide your own education from that point on–because you never stop learning your whole life, at least not if you know what’s good for you.

      I have easily learned several times what I learned in public school, *outside* of public school.  And I mean both during my K-12 “career” and ever since.

  30. Ela Locke
    Ela Locke says:

    I myself am part of Generation Y and I am currently struggling, like many others, with this new juxtaposition of graduate school research and post-undergrad life. While I see the truth in your comment that Gen Y are “rule followers”, I have to wonder if trading in a college degree for on-the-job training will eventually become the norm. I work with a group of artists and researchers who, among other things, are trying to investigate the way society drives culture. In light of this goal, we interviewed a current college student grappling with the unsettling unknown after graduation ( http://whoweam.com/portraits/elise-danielson/ ). Her parent and, I argue, society encouraged her to take on a more demanding course load to finish her degree in order to ultimately be successful. Also, if employers are largely looking to hire a qualified employee, how can Gen Y recent graduates NOT attend college? Are employment and capital the only variables of success? Since when did we have to write off our wants and passions in order to put food on the table?

  31. GC
    GC says:

    Okay, I think you are a bit off on home-school and baby boomers.  The pioneers of home schooling or re-discovering home school were the baby boomers.  They did home school before it was cool. I happen to be one of them.  It is disingenuous to categorize so cut and dry in your categories.  History is not this generation did this in a vacuum, history is actually beliefs in action.  A return to personal responsibility would not be one generation’s accomplishment, but an acknowledgement of past thought processes of right and wrong. 

  32. Lak
    Lak says:

    I certainly don’t expect my children to go to college. Big waste of money that is for sure, besides I won’t even have my student loans paid off by then.

  33. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Oh, I still have a feminist ax to grind for the workplace.  When you have courts ruling that women can be forced to wear makeup and heels to work while men cannot, and my feet are too wide and heels just kill me and I hate having makeup melting on my face all day, well, let’s just say it gets real old.  That and I’m at the age where no one wants to hire me without a PhD, because I’m not young and cute enough.  All of this is why I’m not in the workplace.  To borrow from a famous comedian, I don’t want to be a member of any club that won’t have me.

    Also, there is a place for memorization in education.  I’m not saying it’s the only thing that should be taught, but if we are talking about a set of facts that pretty much don’t ever change, and having these facts committed to memory means you spend less time trying to remember them later in an argument or in an act of intellectual synthesis, let’s just say it’s faster to remember something than to look it up on Google.  And brains don’t tend to lose Internet connections or drop cell phone signals.  The one thing I remember memorizing in public school was the times tables and just that has helped me immensely in life.

    I wish my Boomer parents had been competitive.  All they seemed to want to do was yell at me.  I got some dysfunctional Boomers, me.

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  36. Danny
    Danny says:

    Amazing article. Some profound revelations (for me anyway). Particularly enjoyed your succinct summary of each generations revolution. Politics, family, work, education. I love reading your stuff. Thankyou.

  37. Gretchen
    Gretchen says:

    I know this is now an old post, but when you say “The homeschooling movement will prepare Generation Y to skip college, and Gen X is out-of-the-box enough in their parenting to support that” don’t you mean the movement will prepare Gen *Z* and Gen *Y* is going to support that?

  38. Justice Lynn Erikson
    Justice Lynn Erikson says:

    From my Facebook:
    Justice Lynn Erikson So my thoughts: Yes, exactly my point, thank you. As a real, live unschooler (and Gen Z teen) I can say that I have a pretty good idea of what I want out of life and how to get there. I know how to get the skills I will need to create my life how I want it, and I think this will make me a happier person overall. I agree that nobody should pay for college – it’s just not worth it these days. Personally, lucky duck me get’s to go to a great alternative college for free, so I’m going for the sake of having the experience and really forming myself as a person, but in the strange event that I don’t get in, I’m just going to get on with my life and work towards my dreams.
    I also think that the North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens model is something that can really facilitate the need for Gen Z homeschooling/unschooling. So Ken Danford, Sarah Reid, Catherine Gobron, and Ellen Morbyrne, get more North Starsout there, would you? I’ll help. :)

    I suggest that anyone interested in unschooling check out northstarteens.org and the AERO organization. I’ve been involved with the start-up of a few North Star model learning centers, and I think they’re the way to go. This is how they work:
    The learning center provides open resources (homework-free non-mandatory classes, personal tutors, field trips, community engagement, community college connections, etc.) to kids coming out of the school system or out of that antisocial homeschool void. The kids are checked-in with, and encouraged, but never made to do anything other than be respectful to each other and the staff. The learning center has places to be social, places to study/read/be alone, places to have tutorials, places to be rowdy, and places to have classes in the building ideally. The staff (college interns, retired professors, parents, random community members) are around to share the talents that they possess and to give some guidance. The check in staff check in with members about what they need support with, how they’re doing, what their goals are, what they’re doing, etc.
    That’s the basics, check out the website for more info. Also feel free to email me @ jlynnquaker@gmail.com if you want to ask me anything.

  39. Janet
    Janet says:

    LOVE this article! I am homeschooling my 10-year-old son and I see all of these points manifesting themselves in him. He is already very focused on his future career as an architect and specifically asked that we add “business acumen” to our weekly studies as he wants to be an entrepreneur. And YES, the educational system needs an overhaul – this generation with our help and leadership (as their parents), can be the ones to make it happen.

  40. Kim
    Kim says:

    I am a homeschooling mom with a Gen Z kid. I agree with most of the article. Home schoolers are self-starters and can be very independent. I believe with technology, my Gen Z kid will have many new options on how to go to college without running up a huge tab. The emphasis will be on convenience. Huge institutions will become extinct dinosaurs, replaced by modern “testing only” centers. Professors will become “computer-aids” only. Their impact will be diminished, they will explain the syllabus and hand out final grades. Everything needed will be on-line and at the disposal of the Gen X’er at their convenience. It will be hard for the “Baby Boomers & GEN X’s” too let go of the traditional universities they love so much. But future Gener’s won’t care because they live in a society that is more than just the city or state they live in. They will think nothing of moving to another state or country if needed. They think in terms of stream lining the process and the old way of “traditional university” doesn’t fit into the new way of thinking. A majority of the public school kids will be playing catch-up most of their lives. Living on the back end of the business curve – not out in front with the independent self-starter home schoolers.

    On another note, I started reading all the comments and somehow the topic changed from home schooling to apprenticeship vs degree’d. I have to comment on this. My husband has three degrees. One BS and two MS (Math and Physics w/emphasis in Semi-conductor Eng). He works for a leading company in his field. Over the years he has seen many engineers with PHD’s be hired as hands on engineers only to only leave within a year or two. This is because they were used to a class room or lab setting and couldn’t handle the relentless hours and high demands. Not only that, they are very book smart but not hands on smart. They have a lot of trouble applying the knowledge in a real way.

    On the other hand, some not all tech’s (apprenticeship if you want to label it) have learned the system by working hard and have done well therefore, moving up, but only so far. It works both ways, you need some advanced education to understand the reasoning behind the process but you have to be able to apply it in a real way for it to matter. IMO, in today’s workforce a degree will get your resume a second look and possible hire. A PHD will get you more money than a MS and certainly more than someone with only a high school degree.

    Just look at what is happening with the job market today. We have a huge number of unemployed. Let just say 25% are recent college grads, 25% have only a high school degree, 25% have less than ten years experience, and 25% have more than 15 years experience. For the good jobs available today, most employer’s are going to eliminate the high school and under ten year resume’s right away because either they don’t have a degree or needing too high a salary (too much student loan debt). That leaves the RCG’s and the over 15 years experience left. These people are hungry for their first or last job. They realize they can’t be picky and can’t expect to make a huge salary. Will the employer hire someone they want to take the time to train or someone who already has the training and needs less supervision? Neither, they hire from within and promote a co-worker to help them earn more money. Sounds like a bad joke, but it’s true.

    Until we get the economy going again, none of this discussion about degree’s or not will matter. However, the original discussion is very relevant. Home schooled Gen Z kid’s will have a huge impact in the next few decades. Their impact will be like moving away from the horse and buggy to automobiles. Keep up Gen X & Yer’s.

  41. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Hello,
    There is a boy on my street who plays with my son. they are both 12 and my son goes to public school and this boy is homeschooled. This boy is being schooled when he feels like it. If he does not feel like doing any work he does not. So, this child reads at a first grade level, can barely do single digit multiplication, has no idea the months of the year, does not know when his birthday is, has no idea what the equator is. He is very curious, and bright. I work in mental health and I see no signs of impairment there, but who knows. I cannot figure out if this is okay or not? He plays computer games all day long, he is not allowed outside during sun hours because his mother wont let him put chemicals on his body. He does not use soap for the same reason. My son is very kind to him, but this poor kid is very odd, and most kids call him weird and do not want him around. I wonder if this kind of teaching will work. What do you think? My son is always asking me why this kid doesnt know this or that of a normal 6th grader. I do not have an answer.

    • Melinda
      Melinda says:

      In my humble opinion as a homeschooling mom, that is not the norm for homeschooling and I would say it borders on abuse. Very sad.

    • Laurie
      Laurie says:

      How closely did you evaluate this kid and his skill set? You say you are a mental health professional; did you follow some kind of systematic evaluation, or are you just gathering anecdotal evidence? My 4-year-old knows his birthday, but someone he doesn’t know well could make the assumption that he doesn’t.

  42. Melinda
    Melinda says:

    I just want to say as a homeschooling mom who was college educated, that going to college is about SO MUCH MORE than getting a job. If you just want to land a job after college, go to vocational or trade school of some kind. Going to college is about becoming an educated person. Attaining greater understanding about the world, ideas, culture, history. Absorbing the knowledge of skilled professors, being able to think critically about the ideas you are presented with there, and articulate your own ideas clearly. You can be very skilled and get a job that provides food for your table and a roof over your head. You can even become so specialized that your skill is highly sought after and you have great material wealth. But is that the only definition of success? Lucrative job and money? If you have no education beyond your chosen trade, you are handicapped. Having a broad understanding of arts, literature, science, history, the beauty of math, cultures, politics is what makes a person truly well-rounded and able to contribute to the world. God forbid our homeschooling efforts produce a generation of kids that think success is only doing their own thing however they want to do it. I want my children to be life-long lovers of learning, eager to receive from the world as well as give back to it. Able to make their own opportunities if necessary, but equally able to enjoy, participate and lead in the world at large as it already exists.

  43. Laurie
    Laurie says:

    You really had me until you equated entrepreneurship with rejecting a university degree. Life can change, and while it’s great to on your own business and create your own work, there are many benefits to attending college that have little or nothing to do with honing a craft. I fully agree that if it’s financially out of reach it makes no sense to take on enormous debt in order to obtain that degree. I love the perspective on the generational effects on politics, family & education. Great article.

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