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Unplugging to Reconnect: Homesteading and the Kids' Higher Education, Part 1

| 11/17/2015 9:04:00 AM


Homeschooling field trip to a live volcano.

Many folks, upon learning of our efforts to move into a homesteading lifestyle - including a shift toward homeschooling and plans for kids' higher education close to home - have asked us about what lies ahead for the four younglings in terms of college. (It is clear that many anticipate an unconventional response and fear that our brood are going to end up running hippy communes with degrees in yoga postures or in survivalist camps teaching the next generation how to gut and skin rabbits while dodging bullets from federal agents — not that there is anything wrong with that.) It is safe to say that we are probably some of the most misunderstood people we know.

Well...I am here to try to help put minds at ease, especially for any of you readers out there who may be toying with the idea of leaving a more conventional lifestyle while your kids are still at home. Even so, I'll have to begin by saying that our thinking and plans on college are certainly considered unconventional in today's typical fast paced "hyper parenting" urban and suburban environments, and they would have been looked at askance when we graduated from high school some 26 years ago in the affluent Northern Virginia area.

It turns out, however, that--even back when we were students — there were many folks out there in various parts of the country, and from very different socio-economic backgrounds, who were successfully approaching college (and education more broadly) from a much more pragmatic, economical, and — frankly — objective angle. (It would seem that, contrary to thinking in some socialite circles, you do not need to send your child to a high cost, invitation only pre-school with live classical music quartets during math instruction and afternoon meditation sessions to produce a person that can succeed in life.)

That slowly-evolved realization, coupled with a good deal of reading of modern literature on the issues surrounding higher learning in our country over the past decade, convinced us to take a different tack than the so-called mainstream and throw out many of the "standards" you hear parents cite. "Kids should be able to study where ever they want." "Kids should try to go the 'very best' (most expensive) schools in order to succeed." "High school graduation immediately followed by entry to college immediately followed by grad school or a job is the surest path."

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