Hannah Frankman of Rebel Educator joins me to talk about homeschooling and the problems of Public School:

  • Failures of public schooling vs homeschooling
  • Infantilization of people nowadays
  • Homeschooling vs unschooling
  • Social skills of homeschooled kids 
  • Single income trade offs
  • Results of homeschooling



Stephan Livera links:

Podcast Transcripts:  

Stephan Livera 00:01:48 

Hannah, I’ve seen a lot of your interesting work with what you’re doing as the founder of Rebel Educator, and welcome to the show.  

Hannah Frankman 00:01:55 

Thank you so much for having me. I was so excited when I got your message, I’m happy to be here. 

Stephan Livera 00:02:00 

Yeah so, I am obviously I’m a Libertarian I’m also into the idea of homeschooling and I had a son recently as well so obviously, I have some skin in the game here as well myself, and I was thinking about hey what am I going to do about my own kid now I think obviously you have a lot of interesting things to share on this and I believe part of your stories you were homeschooled yourself correct. 

Hannah Frankman 00:02:24 

Yeah, I was homeschooled first grade all the way through 12th grade so almost my whole childhood experience was at home doing very homeschoolery things 

Stephan Livera 00:02:34 

Fantastic, and so look let’s start with something explosive I know I’ve seen you tweet this out you said “public school is the root of social or societal evils” why? 

Hannah Frankman 00:02:47 

Well, first of all when you think about just in very simple terms most people in our culture go to public school it is the foundation of most people’s educations and most people’s life stories so just in like very simple terms it’s the root of a lot of things both good and bad it’s the core Foundation that we all have but public school does a lot of damage to Children it does a lot of psychological damage to children I would argue it puts children in a position where they’re in sort of a combative relationship with authority figures often to get what they want they have to argue and break the rules and they’re in this sort of coercive environment where they’re being pushed to do things that they don’t necessarily want to do and that can be really damaging to a child’s self-esteem a child’s psychological development their sense of Independence school is a very nasty social environment in a lot of ways we have all these tropes about the high school bullies who are or the elementary school bullies like they’re all these different movies Mean Girls and something a I’m blanking on the name but like everybody’s seen all these movies that are about people who are really mean to each other in high school and then that carries over into adulthood too that’s how you learn how to socialize that’s how you’re going to socialize as an adult too because it’s all you know and we I get a lot of pushback when I talk about this on Twitter actually it’s kind of funny I write threads about socialization sometimes because the whole homeschoolers need to be socialized thing is ridiculous it’s such a myth that they need to be socialized properly by going to school but I’ll get people in my comments who are saying things like no kids need to be bullied because the real world’s like that too and it’s like I’m sorry what first of all like kids are getting scarred in ways that they’re going to carry with them for the rest of their lives like scars that are very hard to shed but also as an adult you’re not subjecting yourself to being bullied if someone’s being nasty to you choose to not engage with them because they’re not being kind to you and that’s not the position you want to put yourself in because you have some self-esteem but in school you don’t have that option because you’re stuck in the same coercive rooms for seven eight hours a day so there are lots of ways on a very sort of like psychological development level that I think school does a lot of damage that then carries over into adulthood and leads to a lot of the ways that we you know hurt ourselves and each other but also you know schools do not do a very good job educating people and they actually do an abysmal job educating people at least public schools in America that’s primarily my area of expertise and so like for example over half of American citizens cannot read at a sixth grade level which is a shocking statistic when you first see it you’re like I’m sorry that that can’t be right and then you go look and in fact it is right it says so right on the department of education’s website which is a weird thing for them to be advertising but we have we have terrible literacy rates in our country in America specifically and that carries over into all kinds of problems in the adult world where people are not very literate and can’t read very well and can’t process information very well and therefore are making poor decisions both personally and economically and politically that then bleed over into everything else culturally so there is there’s a lot of harm that public school is doing and I would argue it’s a very bold stance but I would argue that it does more harm than good most of the time for most people most people would be better off without it 

Stephan Livera 00:06:36 

Yeah, and I read the book dumbing us down by John Taylor Gatto and I’m sure you’ve read that and that’s probably a classic in the homeschooling and unschooling world and this was coming from a man who was a leading award-winning teacher in the New York system and he was the one coming out and saying the same these same kinds of arguments that unfortunately government schooling is failing a lot of the kids and in some cases, they were well in many cases they were literally better just not receiving any government schooling whatsoever and I guess that’s part of the whole homeschooling and unschooling argument so do you mind just defining some of the terms for us what is homeschooling and what’s unschooling  

Hannah Frankman 00:07:19 

Totally so to the uninitiated they kind of look like the same thing but they’re not so homeschooling is I’d kind of say like the 1.0 version of pulling your kids out of public school and not putting them in some other institution so a lot of people pull their kids out of public school they send them to like a private school or a micro school or an online school or something but homeschooling is when Mom’s the teacher or Dad’s the teacher and you’re educating your kids at home and there are a lot of different ways that this can look because it’s highly individualized to the family so some people buy curricula that they walk their kids through and they have pre-made lesson plans that they’re purchasing and working with their kids on some people pull together resources off of the internet and pull those together into a curriculum some people are designing the curriculum themselves and like that truly playing teacher on a daily basis homeschooling there’s a really broad spectrum I kind of think of it on a Continuum from like sort of authoritarian to Super Libertarian or the more authoritarian side is we have a very set schedule it’s very much like replicating school but at home where it’s like okay at 9 o’clock we do math at 10:30 we do English I’m less of a fan of that kind of homeschooling because I think the whole point of homeschooling is to not subject your kids to the things that the system is promoting and forcing kids into so if you’re just replicating that at home like what’s the point and then all the way on the Libertarian side it’s much more of a like yeah we maybe do school for a couple hours a day and it’s a lot less structured and it’s more organic and we’re kind of following the kids interests and when you get to that side of homeschooling you’re starting to air more towards the unschooling side so basically the philosophy of unschooling this is like pulling your kids out of school 2.0 the unschooling idea is that you don’t have to have a curriculum at all and that coercive learning should not be a part of your child’s development and so most unschooling families don’t have a curriculum at all they don’t have structured school time the kid is in charge and it’s often a very Cooperative relationship between parent and child where the parent is playing an encouraging role they’re sort of a facilitator they’re helping their kids. 

Hannah Frankman 00:09:37 

Figure out what they want to learn about and what’s useful and what questions to be asking and what resources to be looking at but it’s very child LED and so in unschooling family will often like the kid will get up in the morning and there’s no set schedule for what they’re doing that day unless they’re you know have a class that they’ve already committed to taking that they’re going to go to or some activity or some plans it’s not like they sit up and they have you know a curriculum that they’re working through for the year and they need to sit down and work on it it’s very child-centric so this does not necessarily mean that it’s a chaotic free-for-all where kids are just playing video games all day I think a lot of people think that’s what it is and sometimes it is and sometimes the kids learn a lot from playing video games they can learn math skills and business skills and strategy skills and all different types of things depending on what they’re doing but you know some unschooled kids are running businesses some unschooled kids are writing novels some unschooled kids are going down YouTube rabbit holes where they’re watching every YouTube video by say Warren Buffett there was an unschooler that I knew who when he was six he started watching every Warren Buffett video he could find on YouTube because he wanted to understand how money worked and when you set your kids up with an environment where they can pursue what they’re interested in sometimes kids will really surprise you with what they’re interested in and what they’re capable of consuming so and processing and understanding and utilizing not just learning about but then putting into practice so that’s the difference between homeschooling unschooling I grew up kind of somewhere between the two like I was on the more Libertarian side of the homeschooling Spectrum I wasn’t full on unschooled but there definitely were some unschooling elements in my education but I’m a really big fan of both I’m a big fan of pretty much everything except full-on authoritarian homeschooling again because I think it’s just like too much replication of the public school environment and it’s kind of getting some of the same things wrong that we’re trying to exit the system to avoid but generally speaking I’m a huge fan of all of it and there are a ridiculous amount of success stories of kids who’ve gone through homeschooling and unschooling and absolutely thrived and you know the mainstream media really likes to bash it one of the alphabet agencies always forget which one it might have been the Department of Homeland Security said that people who liked homeschooling a couple years ago you might remember this they said people who homeschool our domestic terrorists people like have really come after the homeschooling movement for a really long time but it’s still gaining momentum it’s still gaining traction the kids coming out of it are thriving and honestly I think a lot of the pushback is just sort of panic that’s like oh no this is working we might we might lose our foothold of the system we’ve built  

Stephan Livera 00:12:27 

Gotcha, yeah of course and I think part of it is a lot of public schooling they want to retain the control because they want to retain the ability to indoctrinate the kids at an age when they’re very impressionable and so that’s definitely a big part of it I think another big argument is this idea that Public School conditioning and some of the downsides of it are that it kind of Beats the creativity out of the kids I’m curious if that’s something you have seen in terms of your work in this area 

Hannah Frankman 00:12:58  

Oh absolutely, so I had always heard people say this when I was growing up and I was very homeschooled so I kind of missed a lot of what happens in public schools and I sort of thought it was hyperbole or an exaggeration to say that public school was ruining kids creativity and then the year after I graduated from high school one of my first entrepreneurial gigs was I started teaching writing classes to my old home school group and then one of the moms in that Homeschool Group loved my class so much that she asked me if I would be interested in teaching writing classes at the after school program that she worked at and so I went and started teaching writing classes to this after school program in this small town close to where I’d grown up and basically what she wanted me to do was teach creative writing to they should we set it up as like kind of age bracket classes so I was doing I think three of them there I was working with kids one through first through third grade four through sixth and then the middle schoolers and high schoolers and basically the woman who contracted me there was this writing competition that she really wanted these kids to enter Because she wanted them to experience like taking the agency and ownership of choosing a thing that they’re going to sign up for and then following through on it creating the collateral to submit and then if one of them happened to one or win or placed somewhere in in the rankings that would just be like an experience that would build a lot of self-confidence and self-efficacy for them and she really wanted to encourage them to have that experience so she contracted me to teach writing classes to these kids so I started with the first through third graders and they were awesome it was so easy to get them like come sit down and say like Hey, we’re gonna write a story and everybody’s like oh that sounds great and I kind of would like outline the prompt and I’d get them all excited about thinking through maybe some character ideas or different situational stories that might be fun to explore and very quickly they’re just like heads down have the paper in front of them are writing crazy stories most of them weren’t you know that like it was clearly a new exercise for a lot of them like they weren’t practiced writers so they were you know like kind of figuring it out as they went on the page how to how to construct a narrative 

Hannah Frankman 00:15:18 

But they were so on board with having this experience they were so excited about it and then I started working with the fourth through sixth graders and they were a little more they were they weren’t apathetic but they were a lot less excited about the experience so they were more they were quieter they were less enthusiastic they were it kind of felt like they were doing this thing because I had told them to do it not because they felt any innate excitement about the experience that they were prepped to have and that was tough for me because I really like my goal I didn’t care if they won anything or not I didn’t care if they wrote a good story or not like my objective coming in was to make this fun I wanted them to know that writing could be a fun experience and so it was a lot harder to work with these because I still got them all to write stories but it was they weren’t enthusiastic about any of it and I had a really hard time bringing that out of them because they had a really hard time breaking out of the mindset that oh teacher authority figure is telling me to do this therefore that’s why I’m supposed to do it not like hey this could be innately a fun experience for me as an individual I’m gonna have fun with us then the last group of kids I worked with in Middle School into high school age kids I could barely get them to write anything they just sat there and listened to me and then they’d sit there with their head in their hands at the table and I would have to go and talk to each one individually and say Hey you know here’s the prompt like are you gonna write something and they just sit there like they were having this battle of wills with the page of who could stand off longer like I’m just gonna sit here and stare at it and eventually this will all go away was kind of the feeling and I could barely get them to write anything and that was again really frustrating to me and I remember talking to the woman who contracted me and saying you know like this this is going terribly and she’s like it’s really not like you don’t have a lot of context for this but you’re actually doing great you’re getting them to listen to you like that’s a win in and of itself I was like there’s that’s there’s no way that’s a win there’s no they’re writing anything but it was really shocking to me because I felt like I was going in real time the process of kids learning their desire they’re losing their desire to be creative their desire to learn their desire to be curious the young kids who hadn’t been so conditioned by school yet to realize it’s just sort of this endless monotony of coercion and have to do’s and things that are unpleasant they hadn’t lost the spark yet of childhood wonder and so I could tap back into that and draw out their curiosity but as they got older their desire to be creative just absolutely went away because they just associated creativity with okay here’s your coloring page for the day and you have to do it this way and you have to color inside the lines and these are the colors you’re supposed to use and we’re going to write an essay today but here’s the prompt you have to use and here’s the structure it has to be in like creating things was work to them because they’d only ever experience it for years in that context and that made me incredibly sad I was actually rather offended by it I was like I can’t believe the school system’s doing this again this is terrible this should be criminal this is like you’re destroying an integral part of what makes a child wonderful and what creates their potential to do great things in their life or just like routinely crushing it as just part of our process of turning them into you know competent adults or whatever the school system’s trying to create automatons I don’t know and that was kind of the place where I first started to have some really strong feelings about this whole education thing I was like this is not right we have to stop doing this to kids  

Stephan Livera 00:19:18 

Yeah, it seems not very much like a prison mindset right that you go there for this amount of time, and you clock in your time and then you go home and even then, I mean the teachers are giving them homework and things like this, so the job isn’t even really done once they go home and so, I think it functions and maybe there was no like deep dark people trying to engineer it this way or evil people in the boardroom but maybe the result ended up being this kind of outcome where it ends up being kind of like a prison or a sort of social engineering experiment 

Hannah Frankman 00:19:50 

Well, it’s kind of both actually I think I’m gonna read you a quote that I was I was shocked when I read this is from Johann Gottlieb Fichte who was a German philosopher who was one of the influence chances of the American education system which was built off of for those who don’t know it was built off of depression education system which was a an education system that had been developed to subdue populations that the Prussian Army had recently invaded it was designed to make everyone in these newly conquered territories into good loyal oppressions who would be fit for military service when they grew up it was kind of like a conquered to military service pipeline basically and the Americans were very impressed by that because they had this highly non-homogenized continent full of immigrants that weren’t getting along and they’re like well we have to turn everybody into Americans we have to figure out how to do this so Fichte was a German philosopher who was very influential in the thought process of the people who are building this education system and he wrote “education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school Masters would have wished when the technique has been perfected every government that has been in charge of education for more than one generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen” 

Stephan Livera 00:21:36 

Yeah, pretty incredible to hear right and I think there’s another element where I mean at least for me going through the at least the Australian schooling system it seemed that you know there was six periods a day and it’s 60 minutes and each you know each one you’ve got to stop and it’s sort of by the time the teacher has settled the class and got them into something and got them working on something and it’s almost time to break the focus and ah off to the next class now and then half the time you’re in classes that you don’t really want to be there because you didn’t choose it and so I think that element of it also the fact that you don’t choose it you know like another example I’ve heard is people talk about at University right people always joke about how the mature age students are so hardcore about coming because they’re so prepared for it versus the young cool 18 to 21 years old are kind of blasé and don’t care as much about it and part of that is because one of those people chose to be there and the other one felt that they were there because they had to be there 

Hannah Frankman 00:22:43 

Yeah, I think there’s a huge inefficiency to the way the school model runs too and you see people trying to work around this where they’ll do like the Traditional School Days like six or seven periods and it’s each one is a different subject a different class like you said you kind of you get into it and then it’s almost as soon as you’re settled in it’s the bell rings and it’s time to go on to the next thing incredibly inefficient and so people will innovate on that model and they’ll say well we’ll do like two semesters where each semester you’re only doing four classes or three classes so you’re like really more you’re more focused throughout the day you have more space like people try to do these different incremental Innovations on the model but I really think it’s just sort of like you know changing the like it’s like changing the color of the thing that you’re making not creating a whole new model like it’s not really changing anything about how it works it’s just changing the trappings a little bit I think it needs to address these issues that the school system is Rife with you have to go much deeper than just readjusting the small sort of cosmetic problems of the thing because all of the coercion is still there all of the unpleasantness of the nature of the exercises and the activities is still there, I think there are a lot of sort of emergent symptoms that that sort of arise that don’t it’s like you know someone has like some physiological symptom like they have a headache or something and you just treat the headache instead of saying well like you’re actually like kind of malnourished today which is why you’re having a headache and we have to address this like deeper issue in order to get to the root of the symptoms I think we have to think about education the same way and I think most people only see the surface level problems not the deeper roots of it  

Stephan Livera 00:24:36 

Yeah, and actually one other question on this area as a Libertarian and many obviously this is a bit primarily a Bitcoin podcast but a lot of listeners are kind of also into Liberty and probably open-minded to the idea of homeschooling but then I think the question people might be thinking is well hang on what’s wrong with just private schooling is it that you know the state sort of gets its tentacles even into even the so-called quote-unquote private schools and then it kind of has this regulation and impacts on the curriculum and the way schooling is done such that the quote-unquote private schools still aren’t really as good as homeschooling and unschooling is that how you would see it or what do you think 

Hannah Frankman 00:25:13 

Kind of, I think a lot of private schools so take like Christian schools for example are Catholic schools which are very like they’re very prevalent they’re one of the more common types of private schools basically what they’re saying this is an oversee implication but for the for the sake of example basically they’re saying we don’t like the way that you teach science because you’re teaching evolution instead of creationism and we don’t like that you don’t pray before lunch and we don’t like that you’re you know teaching secular Works in English class instead of more religious texts so we’re gonna go make our own school where we can teach these specific things that we like instead of the things that you’re teaching but in most other respects it’s the same thing the model is the same it’s still we have this class and then this class and then this class we have periods we have coercive learning styles we have the same types of assignments where you’re writing essays and you’re memorizing for tests and for quizzes and it’s not in any way shape or form or rethinking of the model it’s just a rethinking of the content that’s been infused into the model so I see those as sometimes the quality is better of the education sometimes the student-to-teacher ratio is lower there’s more room for you know personalized attention and maybe customization because it’s a smaller school and it’s a private school so they have to care more about the happiness of their customers because it’s a little bit more of a pure capitalist relationship so there are you know there may be incremental improvements as well on the model but it’s not something that is you know it’s not different enough to address some of these more fundamental issues so for some people it’s a great choice I don’t see these schools going anywhere and I don’t want them to I think for people that they’re a good fit for I think that’s great but I think for a lot of students it’s not the best option because again it’s not addressing these deeper fundamental problems around we’re not 

Hannah Frankman 00:27:36 

Teaching kids how to have agency in self-direction we’re not teaching kids how to identify their passions and then build an education around that which is a very fundamental skill that you need as an adult especially in the 21st century you have to be able to say I’m really curious about this thing I want to learn how to do it and I know I now know how to go find the resources that I need and have the discipline that I need to learn all the pieces to be able to accomplish this skill that I want to go out in the world and try my hand at they’re not putting kids in a position where they’re having like real world cause and effect consequences they’re just having these sort of contrived authority figure consequences where if you don’t do what we say then you’re in trouble not hey I’m gonna go try building this thing and if my customer doesn’t like it that’s a real world consequence that I have to adapt against but it’s not any authority figure telling me you’ve been bad it’s a real world situation that I have to learn how to navigate which again is how the real world as an adult ought to work it’s much less you’re very bad because you didn’t do your homework last night it’s like hey why isn’t this presentation done if you don’t finish the presentation again you’re not going to have a job here anymore like it’s a much more give and take type of environment than kids learn about in school and so there’s this huge disconnect too between these sort of preparation environments we put kids in and then the real world that we’re preparing them for and I don’t think most the average private school does a very good job addressing any of that 

Stephan Livera 00:31:09 

Yeah, okay, and so as you were addressing that I was curious if you had any thoughts on homeschooling maximalism right is it for everybody or are there certain people who it’s not for like can you explain a little bit on who is homeschooling a good fit for and who is it not a good fit for 

Hannah Frankman 00:31:26 

Totally, I’m very biased towards homeschooling because I had a great experience with it and I do think that for a lot of people it can be fantastic but it’s definitely not for everyone it’s not for people who have kids who are highly socially motivated some kids just really love being around their peers and really don’t like the isolation of being homeschooled and I will say as a caveat to everything that I’m about to say that homeschooling is incredibly Dynamic and so you can make adjustments for every one of these issues that I’m mentioning so for example if your kids very socially motivated they might not want to be in a you know traditional homeschooling environment where they’re just sitting at home all day but they might thrive in like a homeschooling pod where it’s three or four families who are all working together to build up a like a communal homeschooling environment where you’re still being homeschooled you’re not in a school but you get to hang out with your friends all day so there may be work arounds for this but in general kids who are really socially motivated tend to do better in some type of classroom there are some families where the parents and the kids just butt heads a lot and they just it’s like hard to think they might get along in other areas but the nature of you know trying to get your kid to do school work is very challenging for both of you and sometimes that’s not a great environment for a kid sometimes there are families where the parents just like can’t afford to be at home all day with their kids or they’re just like not interested in being home all day with their kids or maybe they can afford it but they have a career that they’re really invested in and again they can’t they don’t want to take the time away to be home with their kids again there are work arounds to this if you’re working from home and you have maybe an older child who doesn’t require as much one-on-one attention and they can be working on the internet they can find a lot of the resources they need they don’t need a full-time teacher sometimes that’s the thing that can be worked around but generally speaking that can be a little bit tougher  so those can all be scenarios where homeschooling isn’t a great fit again it’s there are a lot of different ways to homeschool it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing so there may be workarounds to all of these but in general sometimes those types of families are better served in a private school or a micro school or something and some family just flat out aren’t interested in homeschooling and that’s also totally fine there are tons of different types of schools that are way better than public school is that are also on the table and I’m very much like I’m not really an advocate for any one type of education I’m an advocate for a very large umbrella of types of Education that are distinctly different from public school but there’s like a really broad spectrum and I’m a fan of all of it I just want people to find the thing that’s the best fit for them 

Stephan Livera 00:34:34 

And one other thing that may be coming to some parents in their mind is that is there a trust Factor here do I have to sort of trust that my kid is actually going to go and learn instead of playing computer games or video games all day or that they’re gonna just do useless things instead of actually learning English and math and actually marketable skills that are going to help them or maybe not even marketable useful life skills 

Hannah Frankman 00:35:03 

Yeah, for parents who are asking that question I have a couple book recommendations first of all I have three so the first one is called “don’t tell me I can’t” by Cole Summers who was a real life unschooler who wrote an autobiography when he was 14 about his unschooling experience it’s an amazing book it’s a quick read but it’s extraordinarily enlightening on what an unschooling experience can look like and I think I recommend this all the time I give copies away all the time I think it’s a book that every parent should read and it pretty radically will shift your perception of what’s possible when a child’s given the right inputs the second book I would recommend is called “Unschooled” by my friend Carrie McDonald who’s also a great education commentator she’s got a podcast she’s doing amazing work she’s promoting more micro schools now which is like kind of think like a one-room schoolhouse for the 21st century but her original area of expertise was unschooling she wrote a great book about it would highly recommend and then the third book I would recommend is called “Free to Learn” by Peter Gray who’s a child psychologist who specializes in  the role of play in childhood development and he wrote this book about the importance of play for kids and why that’s such an important thing for them to be doing and why in a lot of ways it’s vastly more important than like formal academic time especially for younger kids so the way I would think about it unschooling Yes, you absolutely can have your kids playing games all day and not doing any school work. One in a lot of contexts that’s not really a bad thing like when I think back to my own homeschooling experience obviously learning how to read was super important to me I spent a lot of time reading when I was a kid I really loved fiction so I read lots and lots and lots of novels I learned you know math skills and stuff I learned English and Science and History I learned all kinds of cool things but the things that were most fundamentally important to the person I became was the time that I spent playing because my play would often lead to projects that then led to integrating things that turned out to be really fundamental life skills into my play like I wanted to learn how to knit so I could learn how to make things that I could play with in my own games and then that turned into making things that I could sell to other people and I realized I could be entrepreneurial and make some money and what kid doesn’t like discovering that they can make some money so all of a sudden I had to learn math skills so I could learn how to run a little business and that was first of all I remembered the math skills I learned doing that far more than I remembered the math skills I learned on a worksheet because it was interesting to me it was useful it was relevant but I also learned how to think about mathematics in a business context which like I run a business now that’s a super helpful thing for me to have learned I learned a lot of soft skills around  self-efficacy and confidence and problem solving and the art of becoming interesting and in an idea and following it to its logical completion through play not through schoolwork so I think we sometimes overestimate the importance of formal school work especially for younger kids really until a kid hits like sixth grade I don’t think you have to worry that much about academics at all I do think you know you want to be exposing your kid to ideas you want to be reading lots of books to them you want to be teaching them to read and instilling a love of reading you want to be teaching them basic math in the context of the 

Hannah Frankman 00:39:14 

Real world things that they’re running into but I also think that you know when you start looking at studies of how kids who are sort of early adopters of say reading or mathematics perform over time it really kind of balances out over time like a kid who is really quick to learn how to read in level they’re like four and a kid who doesn’t really take an interest in Reading until they’re eight or nine by the time they exit Elementary School those kids can catch up to each other very quickly because as you get older the things you learn in elementary school really aren’t that complicated anymore so anything that gets missed in elementary school is very easy to catch up on if your child ever needs to catch up on it later so I don’t think that there is necessarily a bad thing about kids not doing a ton of formal academic work I also think a lot of being a good unschooler or homeschooler but especially unschooler is really about environment construction so if you’re putting your kid in a room that has two Xboxes and tons of video games and like Pop-Tarts on every shelf like of course they’re going to develop terrible habits and they’re going to do things that aren’t terribly useful to their own development but if you put your child in a space that has lots of books and maybe no TV at all and outside access for them to go play in the woods and it has toys that are designed to help them think about interacting with the real world to like a toy cash register or a toy like the prompts to like Play Store or school or whatever when children are smaller and then as they get older maybe crafting supplies or like lots of paper and pens for them to draw with or write with things that are encouraging the types of behaviors that you want them to adopt and then at the same time you’re modeling those things for them so like you’re reading a lot you’re reading to them you’re showing them like I have this idea to make this thing and then I’m going to follow through on making it I’m gonna let you see me go through this process and so that just kind of becomes the normal way that your child thinks about engaging with the world if you construct an environment that encourages the types of behaviors that you want your child to have your like you really don’t have to control how they engage with that environment you can let them follow their natural Curiosities and allow them to develop in a way that’s very organic to them but is happening within the guard rails that you’ve set up around like what you think is virtuous behavior for your child so like show them how to like look up questions on YouTube or something show them how to find like fill your space with cool old like guidebooks or resource books about like birds or mammals or rocks or like whatever you think is cool and just let them learn how to explore their world and find answers to their questions and if that’s the environment that they’re being allowed to run free in they’re probably going to get up to really cool things 

Stephan Livera 00:42:27 

Yeah, interesting and I mean I’m with you I think it’s just maybe that’s like a common thing where maybe there’s a quote-unquote leap of faith that a first-time home school or unschooling parent has to take that leap and maybe another question people might have is they might say look maybe this works if you know you’re very high IQ or your kid is very has a self-driver self-starter mindset what about the kids who aren’t like that maybe you don’t really know what kind of capacity your child has and maybe it’s not suitable for them 

Hannah Frankman 00:43:02 

Yeah, So again it’s to your question earlier about whether or not homeschooling’s a fit for everyone some kids are you know they’re not self-starters and they’re they have a harder time with this and sometimes those kids do better in a more formal environment or a group environment sometimes they just respond better to someone who’s not Mom or Dad too again like this that’s a very real Dynamic that’s totally okay but generally speaking so a lot of kids not every kid but a lot of kids do have the capacity to be self-starters and I talk about this a lot online when kids exit the system they often have to go through a de-schooling process think of it just kind of like a detox where they just kind of like have to get all of the bad habits and bad paradigms of school out of their system before they can tap back into their innate curiosity again and I mean there are there are private schools that have this built into the model that when they take on a new student who is coming out of the public school model sometimes they’ll give that kid as much as a semester to just detox from school it’s like you can do whatever you want until you’re you become curious and ready to start engaging with the things that we have the rest of our students doing and because these kids are in an environment where they see other kids doing these things and they look pretty cool once they start to lose the sort of apathy and resistance to doing work that school can instill in you then they start to get curious and they start to work on projects because it looks like fun what everybody else is doing so I think for kids that are exiting Traditional School there can be your institutional school there can be a bit of a process for them to be ready to take on some of these things but for younger kids I think it’s easier because younger kids already are pretty innately curious and if you start them at an early age having some agency and some self-direction like you give them the space to answer their own questions or figure things out for themselves they’re like hey, can you help me make this paper airplane and it’s like instead of just doing it for them if you say well like I’ll show you where the folds need to be but like you can fold it you can fold paper you’re totally capable of that if you encourage in them a sense of self-agency and self-direction from an early age it makes it a lot easier for them to be more self-directed as they get older too again obviously it’s it very there’s a nature component to this too and it varies from Kid to Kid and not all kids are well suited for this but for a lot of kids there’s definitely a heavy nurture component too where if you can put them in environments and construct environments for them where they’re able to take ownership and feel a sense of responsibility and feel a sense of curiosity about the world and a sense of freedom to go pursue those Curiosities I think that helps really facilitate a habit of being self-directed and self-starting from an early age  

Stephan Livera 00:46:17 

And I think that’s a really important Point like something I’ve noticed as you said around encouraging people to be a self-starter to have a bit of creativity I think this is one of my critiques of the modern world today is that everyone’s so infantilized people just never grow up and they feel like even at in their mid-20s they’re still growing up and haven’t really learned how to be an adult yet and that’s why we see these memes as I’m sure you and listeners have seen this kind of meme of quote-unquote adulting right like it’s a big deal to somehow be an adult and let’s say pay your bills and buy groceries and things like this when really I think it’s the schooling system and statism and this kind of mindset that’s infantilizing people unnecessarily it’s just keeping them artificially unready for the real world and that’s a big shame 

Hannah Frankman 00:47:05 

Yeah, now you’re really speaking my language we wouldn’t have this adulting meme if we didn’t have the system making adulting feel so hard and obviously like the government system has a lot of things that makes being an adult complicated like figuring out your taxes and figuring out how to navigate we live in a very complex World there are a lot of different pieces that one has to navigate as an adult it is complicated I get why people don’t love it but we also spend the first 18 years of Our Lives having very few responsibilities and the responsibilities that we do have are highly coercive and we’re sort of we’re in this very artificially constructed environment that’s highly divorced from The Real World like we’re in classrooms with people only born the same year as us and with the only adult we’re interacting with as in a very authoritative context like they’re the authority figure they can get us in trouble if we don’t do what they want us to do and then we get dumped out at the end of that we turn 18 and it’s like okay congratulations like we open the door on the cage you’re free now go figure it out and have fun a lot of kids haven’t even worked a real job yet like they’ve never had to engage with adults as peers they’ve just engaged with them as people who could get them in trouble and tell them what to do and all of a sudden they’re out in the real world and they’re like oh my goodness I have to learn how to deal with the IRS and pay my taxes and pay my bills on time and I have to figure out how to like apply for a lease or how to apply for a loan or how to you know manage a budget or save money so I can invest that money but I have to figure out where to invest like it’s all incredibly complicated and nothing they did in school it’s like okay well I know the state capital state capital of all 50 states in the country or something but I don’t know I don’t know anything about how Taxes works like of course we think adult thing is hard but if you grow up where you’re you know start your first business when you’re a kid or you start working when you’re younger you do an apprenticeship in high school or something the real world doesn’t really feel like that scary of a place and the whole adulting meme just kind of feels funny because they’re like yeah I’m an adult but it’s not that hard so I think to go back to your question earlier about things that the public school system is the root of I definitely think it’s the root of the adulting meme 

Stephan Livera 00:49:40 

Yeah, for sure and I think what happens as well is some of this plays into University as well and how much I think University is overpriced and kind of scam-ish depending on what you’re doing because what a lot of these people and I’m sure people do this is they come out of this environment schooling environment and they think well I’m not ready to go in the real world yet let me just go into another artificial environment and so then they go to university and maybe some of those University students end up delaying it even further and in the American context I know it’s a very high debt that they come out of the University system with that and so it’s kind of at the worst time where they have the least skills to understand whether I should be taking on this very large debt at the age of 17,18,19 they’re having to make that decision and then they end up getting put on the treadmill of life and you know whether University was the right call for them or not they end up getting put into that so I think it’s a very unfortunate situation there  

Hannah Frankman 00:50:41 

Yeah, I agree completely and what you’re kind of describing the thought process that I went through when I was in high school because I never went to college and a big reason why I didn’t is because it was very expensive and I couldn’t think of a good reason why I needed to spend that much money in order to prepare myself for adulthood there was nothing that I wanted to do that legally required having a degree so I didn’t really see the point and I thought it seemed like a very dumb thing to do to start my adult life by spending a ton of money that I don’t have on a thing I don’t need and I think to me that felt very intuitive because I was divorced enough from this system that I could see it for what it was which was you know I’m being everyone’s trying to talk me into doing this thing because that’s what I’m supposed to do but I’m not so in meshed in the conveyor belt that it’s just like The Logical Next Step it’s a thing I have to make a choice about it’s not a given that I’m going to go do this and when it’s not a given it really didn’t make sense but when you’re in the system that’s a really hard thing to see I think because it’s just what I’ve always been preparing for this my whole life and this is what you’re supposed to do and that’s what everyone’s telling me so it’s just like the next stage in the process right it doesn’t even necessarily feel entirely voluntary it’s not like a decision you’re making it’s just what you do 

Stephan Livera 00:52:10 

We get put on this Fiat status treadmill and you know I think a lot of parents today probably think and this seems to be changing at least but I think a lot of parents today seem like yeah maybe it’s not the best value for money but it’s still the quote unquote safe play for my child you know and I think that by the time my kid becomes you know 18 I think it’ll be that will have changed so much yeah but maybe historically you sort of had to or you know but nowadays in the internet age the e-commerce age people can do things online and make money online and you know that they don’t need that one other area I wanted to get into with you is the cost question because I guess a lot of people may see it like well look homeschooling is going to require a stay-at-home parent often a stay-at-home mom and are there any thoughts you have on the reduced income the trade-offs around this or would you make an argument that it’s worth it in terms of having to live on a single income so that child or children if you have multiple children can get you know a homeschooling or unschooling experience instead of their typical double income one kid is at school or daycare or you know all the time 

Hannah Frankman 00:53:22 

Yeah, I have I have strong thoughts on this one and they’re not always popular, but I think they’re important to look at head on. the first one is and this annoys me too when people have this conversation even around having children in the first place where they’re like I don’t know if I can afford to have kids it’s like you guys drive two cars and live in a four bedroom house like you can afford to have children people who make almost no money have children it’s not about the cost of the kids themselves it’s about the quality of life that you’re willing to give up in order to raise a human and so I think the way people think about this is often very skewed around well we have all of these Comforts that we don’t necessarily want to give up because we’ve gotten used to them but I think it’s really important to think about the significance of the human that you’re raising over everything else like in 20 years do you want to look back and say I drove a really nice BMW while my kid went to government school or do you want to say I raised a happy healthy competent self-directed creative human who is equipped to Take On The World and become whatever they want to be and they’re not carrying all this psychological baggage and damage that the school system and could have inflicted on them like are you really saying that you’re a nice car or your fancy vacation is more important than the education of your child because I find that to be a very hard thing to compare like they’re not even the same category to me like we’re talking about a whole person here like that’s way more important but I also think you know we I think we live in a in a world that’s not very conducive to long-term thinking like we’re not really encouraged to do it so, I think the problem starts far before far before people are actually they have a child who’s old enough to enroll in school and they’re trying to decide what to do with them like I when I was in high school I was a very academic kid so even though I was homeschooled I was still kind of being shuffled by The World At Large towards the college track and there was a lot of pressure around well what are you going to major in and what career do you think you want to have and what school do you want to go to and no one ever said to me you know you’re going to take on a lot of debt here and how is that going to relate to the lifestyle that you want to be living in five years and 10 years what type of career do you want to have and how does that make that answer maybe change if you want to have children someday like nobody was talking to me about long-term planning like that and I while I think it’s unfair to ask kids in high school and fresh out of high school what they want to do with their whole lives like there’s no way you’re gonna know I think it’s unfair to even try to voice them into a major track if they’re not very clearly interested in something because if you don’t know yet what you want to do don’t make a kid pick a major like that’s not it’s ridiculous to say well just like you know figure it out and then you have all this debt and sunk costs so I guess you’re going to be working in this career forever now even though you hate it but I do think it’s important to contextualize like you know you’re you can if you think that you want to have kids someday if you think you might want to you know educate them in a certain way you should probably be thinking about the Life Choices you’re making in the context of that so you can kind of like plan to be in a position where you can you can raise them the way that you want to but for people who already have kids I think a lot of the homeschooling families that I grew up with and that I know made choices that allowed them to homeschool that was never like you know we’re maintaining the perfect standard of life that we had before and we’re homeschooling our kids at the same time like one parent wasn’t working or one parent was working part-time or a couple families would band together so that the moms could arrange their schedule so they were working at opposite times so that one mom could be home with both families kids while the other mom was at work like sometimes families would have Grandma help a couple days a week so that Mom could be working there are lots of different ways that people make it work to homeschool their kids but I don’t ever remember hearing any of those families saying like oh man I wish I had a nicer car I wish like of course they’d be like yeah like my car is falling apart it kind of sucks but there was never like you know if I just put my kids in school I could have all these nice things like it was never a question of well if we just give up the homeschooling thing then we’ll be okay because everyone had this conviction that raising their kids on their terms in a way that was setting their kids up for Success was way more important than anything else and I think to me that’s always what I want to stop and like ask people and they’re like I don’t know if I can afford homeschooling it’s like really well can you afford to send your kid to public school and can you afford all of the things that come along with that like do you really want to be paying that price it’s like non-monetary but it’s expensive and I think that’s important way. 

Stephan Livera 00:58:38 

Yeah, that’s fantastic and so yeah look at the end of the day I think it’s worth it one other I guess one big question people are going to have is results right and maybe some of that’s you know maybe for some people that’s like monetary does your kid like actually earn more whatever but some of it obviously is not monetary it’s are they a well-rounded individual are they a good person I’m curious if you have anything you can share for people in terms of obviously you’re promoting homeschooling do you have anything you can compare or show people like homeschooling kids outcomes versus non-home schooling kids 

Hannah Frankman 00:59:09 

Yeah, so the data on this is a bit patchy it’s not something that’s been deeply studied I’m hoping that changes over the next few years because the volume of homeschoolers has increased quite a bit you know in like the 70s or the 80s or even the 90s homeschooling was a really Fringe position and now there are in the United States alone there are millions of homeschoolers and I know I have friends in other countries who have relocated countries so they can homeschool their children it’s a thing that is you know it’s a movement that’s growing and it’s a thing that I think as more people are being homeschooled more people are going to start studying the difference in outcomes and I fully expect the results to be quite Stark I do have some anecdotal things to share though to answer this question so first of all my story like I grew up homeschooled I never went to college very unorthodox education by the age of like 21 I was working my dream job at a startup that I thought was super cool helping other people figure out how to skip College like I was doing just fine without a degree now I’m running a business I have people working for me I have you know I’m building a brand on the internet didn’t require a college degree for any of that fully self-functioning adult and I know many homeschool graduates who are in similar positions I’m also I’ve been very pleasantly surprised as I’ve engaged in the real world to discover that a lot of people see the fact that I was homeschooled as an asset not a detriment like I’ve landed jobs because I was homeschooled and I’ve landed opportunities because I was homeschool I’ve talked to so many people who’ve been like oh you were homeschooled we love homeschoolers like it’s sort of this poorly kept secret that homeschoolers tend to be really great to work with actually I’ve talked to numerous College professors who have told me that they love homeschooled students because they tend to be better in a college environment that requires things like self-direction and some self-efficacy and personal responsibility and ability to you know do work on your own and follow rabbit Trails on your own without having somebody holding your hand in low and behold the homeschoolers are actually better prepared to do that than the public schoolers are because the public schoolers have always been spoon fed whereas the homeschoolers know how to do things on their own because they’ve been doing it for years so they tend to actually do better in a college environment so there are a number of college that colleges that actually prefer homeschooled applicants if your child wants to go in that direction 

Hannah Frankman 01:02:15 

I have had so many people tell me oh you were homeschooled that explains it in a positive way not a negative way over the years because homeschoolers tend to have a really good reputation and that reputation is only growing as they as you know just more homeschooled kids enter the workforce and enter different environments but I think the outcomes thing is the traditional path is a is a low bar to beat because most kids go through school they I mean again over half of the population can’t even read at a sixth grade level so like the bar is very low academically but also most kids are going through public school and their often don’t work at all when they’re in high school and then like we want to think to talk purely financially they don’t work at all in high school then they go to college and they go into debt so a lot of these kids have a negative net worth through all of their 20s and maybe even Beyond because of the debt they’re carrying from college and then like they get a car or something and then that debt increases even further whereas the average homeschooler like most homeschoolers work in high school because they can and so they’re getting a head start on Career skills because they have resume experience that makes them more employable and they’re graduated from high school with a positive net worth like they actually have some money because they’ve been working and like that alone like how is that not a better outcome you know people argue well you know college students have higher earning potential over the course of their careers like well there’s a lot of other factors that play there too like the types of people inclined to go to college in the first place versus the people who are not inclined to work at all you know like the data is a little it’s not a very clean data set but also you know like I think the world we live in is really changing and it’s a world that more and more is a world that’s designed for people with the skills homeschoolers have to thrive like you know the career landscape is changing at an ever increasing pace is quite rapid a lot of things like what we’re doing right now you couldn’t have 20 years ago been like yeah I want to be a podcaster when I grow up it didn’t exist like I couldn’t have gone to school for that and yet here we are doing this really cool thing on the internet like halfway around the world they’re going to be all types of careers 10 years from now five years from now with the explosion of AI that we can’t predict and we can’t prepare our kids for but if kids are learning skills around again self-direction but also adaptivity they’re going to be able to adapt to the world that they’re living in and homeschooling caters to that so I think we’re gonna see even more positive outcomes from homeschoolers versus Public schoolers over the next decade or so because of that like I think we’re living in a world that’s very well suited to homeschoolers and I think they’re going to thrive because of it  

Stephan Livera 01:05:28 

Yeah, I mean I’m totally with you I’ve obviously long been thinking about the idea of homeschooling but it became more real once I had my own kid so certainly, I’ll be homeschooling and I would encourage listeners and Bitcoiners out there don’t send your kids to the state to be educated educate them and so let’s finally let’s chat a little bit about what you’re doing with Rebel Educator what is it what you know what should people know about Rebel Educator  

Hannah Frankman 01:05:55 

Yeah, were we exist to help parents find alternatives to public school so we’re pro everything that’s not what I call institutional school so public school and private school models that are basically replicating the public school format so we’re very Pro like micro schools which again is I think one room Schoolhouse for the 21st century were very Pro there are a lot of really cool online schools that are being built we’re very Pro things like Montessori schools and Waldorf schools things like you know different types of in-person alternative schooling models like actin Academy for example there’s so many cool things that are being built and were huge fans of all of it and we want to help parents find first of all feel empowered to take their children’s education into their own hands and to trust their intuitions that something is wrong with the education system and we’re going to do something about that with our own children and then helping them feel empowered to actually choose a school that’s a good fit for their kid whether it’s homeschooling or sending them somewhere else and so we have a publication where we’ve published a bunch of resources on how to take action with this how to think about everything from the history of the education system and like where it comes from in the first place to how to choose a school for your kids like you know what metrics actually matter in the education of your kid we spend a ton of time on Twitter so you can find a lot of resources there I’m super active there all the time so you can ask me any questions that you have and then I personally also have a podcast called the Hannah Frankman Podcast where I have a lot of conversations about these types of things I’m also very Libertarian so some of the conversations skew more towards like Career Development and entrepreneurial way like entrepreneurship Freedom a lot of conversations with different educational experts coming in with you know talking about different elements of Education people coming in who are not education experts but talking about education in the context of the thing that they’re interested in like Finance or Bitcoin or something for example and then we have a newsletter as well that people can sign up for at Rebel Educator if you want depending on like what format you find most useful but and we’ll be building out more resources over the next like 12 to 18 months to make it less content-centric exclusively and more like an actual resource Hub parents can use to find to find options for their kids right 

Stephan Livera 01:08:37 

Well yeah that all sounds great and like I said I’m a fan of what you’re doing and I hope you keep going strong out there promoting it so listeners make sure you check out Hannah online rebeleducator.co The Twitter accounts are @rebelEducator and @HannahFrankman links will be in the show notes Hannah it’s been a great chat with you and thanks for joining me 

 Hannah Frankman 01:08:59 

Thank you so much for having me good luck on your homeschooling Journey let me know what I can do to help  

Stephan Livera 01:09:05 

Thank you, I hope you found the show interesting especially for those of you coming from a more Libertarian mindset you might be more open-minded to the idea of homeschooling I’m certainly exploring it more myself and I’m interested to hear any feedback you have so please leave a comment or email me and of course, you can find the show notes at stephanlivera.com as always if you enjoyed the show please help me out by pressing like on YouTube retweeting on Twitter reposting on Nostra and sharing it with family and friends thanks and I’ll see you in the Citadels. 

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