School’s Out

This morning we woke up to the message:

Mon Jan 08 2007 06:08 AM: ALL schools in District 2 will be closed today due to weather conditions.

For me, it’s a regular work day, though I’ll try to get a bike ride in between first light and the first snow flake. My wife’s workshop is in the house, so it’s a regular day for her too. If we were home-schooling (an option we’re considering), it would be a regular day all over. No cancellation or re-arranging of schedules would be necessary. We would be two free-agent parents with two free-agent learners. In 2001, Dan Pink, author of “A Whole New Mind” and “Free Agent Nation”, wrote:

“Home schooling,” though, is a bit of a misnomer. Parents don’t re-create the classroom in the living room any more than free agents re-create the cubicle in their basement offices. Instead, home schooling makes it easier for children to pursue their own interests in their own way — a My Size Fits Me approach to learning. In part for this reason, some adherents — particularly those who have opted out of traditional schools for reasons other than religion — prefer the term “unschooling.”

The similarities to free agency — having an “unjob” — are many. Free agents are independent workers; home-schoolers are independent learners. Free agents maintain robust networks and tight connections through informal groups and professional associations; home-schoolers have assembled powerful groups — like the 3,000-family Family Unschoolers Network — to share teaching strategies and materials and to offer advice and support. Free agents often challenge the idea of separating work and family; home-schoolers take the same approach to the boundary between school and family.

The number of free-agents has increased in this country, especially with corporate outsourcing and ubiquitous access to the Internet. We’re still the minority, but this continuing economic/demographic shift is bound to have its effects on school, work, taxation, leisure time and everything else. I believe that the magic number is 20%. Once 20% of people are doing something, it seems that everyone is doing it, and then the pace quickens.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)