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. penelope trunk
At the moment my homeschooled 11 year old is exploring his workshop, tools and projects. He has built me a lap-joined soil screen – two tries, scrap wood, now solid – his own work platform, some shelves and a tool box. He buys his tools from Craigslist, Used Victoria, garage sales and thrift stores. Total investment roughly $150 much of which is money recycled from the great Playmobile sale.
When he wants to find out how to make a lap joint he goes to Google. When he wants to see how it is done, You-Tube. Done right? Fine Woodworking. He has cut himself exactly once with a chisel.
At the moment, math work is all about calculating shelf deflection and maximum use of particular bits of scrap wood. Word problems are wood problems, ratios are board lengths.
I suspect this will all change in a year but, for the moment, Sam looks forward to math.
Writing, and we do a lot of writing, is focused on Bill Bryson. At the moment we are looking at all the things Bryson is terrified of and why this might be the case. There is a good deal of art to Bryson’s fear of snakes, bears, dogs, spiders and such like. Of course, Sam does not notice that he is reading books aimed entirely at the adult market.
Our younger boy, who is significantly more focused, has discovered that he can read Calvin and Hobbes all on his own and write about the kids books he used to have read to him but now reads himself. For Max investigation is more about how deep you can go in a video game than building a shelf. But, the advent of an Airsoft gun and some targets has pulled him out of the basement and into figuring out trajectories in the real rather than digital world. Wind makes a heck of a difference when you are shooting plastic BBs.
I am pretty certain that one or both of my younger sons will work at a job which does not currently exist. What they need to learn now is a habit of mind and a set of work habits as well as becoming fluent writers and good arithmeticians. And these are skills which can be taught if you take the time and are willing to repeat things until they are ingrained.
Learn the basics, be exposed to the world, learn to investigate, research, think critically and question results and the essentials of education are done. You have created a learning person and that lasts a lot longer than whatever it was we studied in Grade 7 Socials.