Last week’s description of our friends’ homeschooling adventure in Europe was a bit of a dog whistle. The idea of “worldschooling” or homeschooling has crossed several of your minds. Especially just to try it for a year. I’ve been poking around homeschooling websites the way the curious might browse Ashley Madison. Kinda naughty. But, unlike swipe right or whatever you do on AM, the promise of homeschooling is constructive.

Its advocates will say it’s a better match for a modern world where information is free and conformity is increasingly expensive. Its detractors will scream “socialization” as soon as the word “home” is followed by the “sc” syllable.

If the idea strikes a nerve, perhaps the pang feels something like:

  • You have a vague sense that school hasn’t evolved as much as the world around us.
  • It feels like a compromise between cost and scale that ends up serving none of its students especially well.
  • The default option’s tyrannical grip on the education menu is out of proportion to its proven merit.
It’s like being dropped off at JFK with the mythical around-the-world ticket only to find all flights lead to Orlando. All the interesting flights depart from Terminal 4 but everyone else is robotically boarding for Florida. Oh screw it, I’m sure Disneyworld will be nice in August.
Well, you and I know it’s gonna be muggy, with long lines and overpriced rooms. Welcome to the education system. You chose It’s A Small World over the real thing.

When I wonder aloud about homeschooling, someone always seems to pull the “you went to regular school and turned out great”. Thanks for the vote of confidence, but

a) I might be the way I am in spite of my schooling


b) Your observation of my external circumstances is nothing but a projection of your own values. That is a validation of my school experience for you, not me. And again see “a”. I’m a size seller of the cause-effect relationship.

Personally, school assassinated my will to learn. Maybe if I spend $300 an hour talking about it on a leather couch I can discover why. And I’m not even suggesting homeschooling would have been a better outcome, whatever that means. But we know kids are born learners. To murder that is an unreported crime. I’d hate to spend more time thinking about what car to lease than what the default meaning of education is where I live.

When I was young, I thought it was about getting As. Let’s be blunt. That’s a low bar for being educated. Perhaps necessary, definitely insufficient.


With all that in mind, I’ll share Bryne Hobart’s essay which struck a nerve by putting words to my feelings better than I can. It also reminds you that the reversibility of the choices means the risks are controlled. Important when you can’t shake the feeling that you are gambling with beloved young lives.

Of interest to finance folks or quant-inclined might be the fact that Byrne is an investor at SAC Capital, didn’t graduate from college, and has a cool essay framing a “barbell approach” to education using portfolio theory to value alt-degrees and substitutes for credentials. Check it here.

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