Elon Musk has founded several innovative tech companies including Tesla, SpaceX, and PayPal. He’s also decided to homeschool his 5 children, sort of. He’s started an innovative private school for his 5 kids and 15 others. There are no grades and they take an unschooling approach to education.
His approach to education is much like his approach to business. These basic principles can apply to any homeschool.
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How to Homeschool Like Elon Musk
Take Calculated Risks
Many homeschoolers I know are risk-averse. When you’re raising a family on one middle-class income finances can get a little tight. You don’t want to take any unnecessary risks that may hurt the checking account.
That may mean buying the same curriculum every year even if your kids hate it. This way, at least you know they’re “learning what they’re supposed to learn”. When an enrichment opportunity arises that may stretch the budget you avoid it. You don’t want to waste money on something your kids won’t like.
Don’t be afraid to take a calculated risk. If your child wants to study swamp rats all year, find a way to incorporate swamp rats into your schooling. It may mean throwing out your curriculum but it also means that your kid will love learning all year long.
Have a vision for the future
Some homeschool parents are great at setting goals. Others, take homeschooling on a day-by-day basis. Goals are great. Plans are great. What you need is a vision of the future.
Having a checklist of things you want to do this school year is not a vision. A vision is long-term and may not have any measurable goals. Vision is long-term and your plans and checklists are what help you to do your vision.
It’s a good idea to sit down with your spouse every year and talk about the vision for your homeschool. Do you want to produce mad scientists or artists that follow their muse? Talk about it and keep that vision in mind when planning to homeschool.
Use setbacks as an opportunity to learn
We all have setbacks. Every great inventor, successful business owner or star athlete has setbacks. Things like this are unavoidable. Sometimes you have a setback as a parent or your kids have setbacks.
Don’t let those setbacks stop you from homeschooling. If health issues arise, take a year off and only teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. If you or your spouse are having employment problems shift the schooling to the evening. Roll with it.
Use those setbacks to reassess and come up with a plan to deal with problems in the future. Your kids will learn from the situation. They’ll be watching you see how you deal with the situation.
Take your kids to work with you
This is one area where I’ve missed the mark. If you work at home this is easy to do but if you work in an office this isn’t so easy. Employers don’t want kids running around the office. People who work in a trade have it far easier (I could be wrong). The environment lends itself to having a “helper” tag along.
April 28th, 2022 is National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Start planning now to bring your children to work. Check with your employer to see if they are participating or have any activities planned. If they don’t have anything formal in place ask your manager or supervisor if it would be OK to have a kid or two tag along.
Start Your Own School
As homeschoolers, we have started our own school. Many homeschoolers want a curriculum to follow. There’s nothing dynamic or exciting about their homeschooling. It’s school at home.
Do something fun, innovative, and uncommon in your homeschool! Don’t say things like, “We haven’t finished our lessons today,” when your kids get invited to go fishing. Let them go! Try to avoid the day-in, day-out pattern of “getting school done” and blaze your own trails.
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Music for the podcast is “Loopster” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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