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Homeschool Fiction

Follow homeschoolers Nadia and Aidan as they travel the USA! Each book in this series explores a new state and a new research topic. Along with their parents and pet turtle, they find adventure and learning everywhere.

...and just what is that mysterious device of theirs?

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March 2008
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Topics: education,empowerment,finances,homeschooling,investing,money,Unschooling

Do you want the piece of paper, or the knowledge?

Too many people today want to get a college degree (or even a high school diploma) in order to have that piece of paper. They’ve thought very little about actually receiving knowledge from the experience. They just need the paper for their resume.

Information and knowledge can be found anywhere; it isn’t monopolized in school buildings.

Many individuals continue their educational career because they don’t know what else to do with their lives. This is sad. What these people really need is a year or two of working in various jobs in order to propel them on to discovering their individual passions.

As an Out-of-School adult, I’ve continued learning. I’ve learned enough on my own, on my own time table, that I’m certain it’s the equivalent of many college degrees. However, since none of my personal “programs of study” were on a curriculum list, I haven’t been awarded these additional degrees. Does this mean the knowledge isn’t real? Am I resentful?

No to both. Actually, the knowledge that I’ve gained on my own has become part of who I am. I’ve forgotten very little of it. OTOH, I’ve forgotten the vast majority of the school work I’ve been assigned (and did very well on, I should add). While sometimes interesting, it wasn’t compelling to me and most importantly, it wasn’t part of who I was as a person.

While most businesses have not caught on to the fact that Ph.D. holders aren’t necessarily the ones that have the most knowledge on a topic, many universities are understanding this. They are offering their classes online and for free. They are also making it very easy for Unschoolers, like my daughters, to enroll. They realize that the potential students that are there because they want to learn about a particular topic, make much better students than the ones that are there just to get a piece of paper.

I was going to make up a list of various colleges and universities that are offering classes online for free, but I found the following site that has already compiled this useful information. I’m particularly interested in MIT’s offerings. Don’t let this list be your end-all-be-all. I’ve also included a site for learning MBA knowledge on your own.

As an employer/owner of a software company, my fellow managers and I have quickly realized that potential employees that have learned how to program on their own are much better at programming than those that only learned through school. They are more experimental and have more creative ideas. They learn how to solve real problems and how to find the information they need on their own. Those that have gone through school and received doctorate degrees are more interested in the “whys” than the “hows” and seldom are able to write code that actually works. They frequently don’t know how to deal with something that wasn’t in their textbook. We’ll take the 16 year old hacker any day. Contact me through my form on the right if you happen to be one of these wonderful and rare individuals.

Learning comes from everything and everywhere — the whole wide Universe! You don’t have to take a class (or even necessarily read a book) in order to learn about a topic. Interested in astronomy? Go find an observatory. Interested in art? Buy some supplies and dabble. Some of the best learning you can do will be on your own. You might not even understand the concepts that a teacher/mentor talks about until you’ve tried a few things on your own first.