“If you don’t learn to stick to a schedule, you’ll never keep a job and you’ll never amount to anything!”

Those words, yelled at me by a teacher, still ring in my ears. He was frustrated, perhaps justifiably, because I’d become distracted from an assigned task by something that fascinated me. Were his words true?

I believe it’s important to answer that question because it touches on the #2 question asked by new homeschoolers: “Will homeschooling help or hurt my child’s future?”

Before we can answer, we need to understand the presumption that schools train children for future employment.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We want kids to grow up to be self-supporting, right?

Well, yes…but I think it’s entirely possible that the way we do school is training a generation of clock watchers.

I vividly remember the agony of those last minutes of class in public school. Bored out of my mind, I stacked my books, laid my head on my hands, and watched the second hand on the clock on the classroom wall as it slowly ticked toward 3:00. Then the bell would ring, and I’d be free to do what I wanted. And what was it I wanted to do so badly? I don’t know…but it sure wasn’t school!

If I’m honest, I felt similarly about my first few jobs. I showed up when I was told to. I did what I was supposed to. I was agreeable and dutiful…but I couldn’t wait for 5:00. I know I’m not alone. There are enough people who feel like I did that folk musicians sing hit songs about it being “Five O’Clock Somewhere.”

Is that our objective? To train our kids to be hourly-wage employees who feel imprisoned by their jobs until 5:00, surviving from weekend to weekend?

Let’s look at the questions again. Is it true that sticking to a schedule determines future success and that a public school is a necessary part of that training?

Sticking to a schedule is important, but I do not believe it is a necessary indicator of success. There are hourly workers who love what they do while others merely show up and draw a paycheck.

Think, instead, of hands-on homeschoolers as being like self-employed entrepreneurs. Sticking to a schedule is rarely a problem for those of us who work doing what we love! We’re always eager to develop new ideas and understand full well that if we don’t do it, it won’t get done. Far from being lazy, we’re more likely to have to “schedule” our time off! Our minds never really rest.

My experience with my homeschooled children has been the same. They worked on what they loved. Sure, there were parts of their studies that weren’t their favorite thing to do, but they saw pretty early on how all the skills they were learning related to their passions in some way, and so they took them in stride. Now as adults both have eager entrepreneurial spirits, and because they “learned how to learn” they are applying those self-taught, self-scheduling skills (which we call self-discipline) to their chosen fields.

Why would we rigorously train children to watch the clock when we can inspire them through delight-directed hands-on learning to something so much higher? Click To Tweet