Monday, February 21, 2011

20 Ideas for Parents Sick of Waiting for Superman and Tired of Having Their Children Race to Nowhere

What disturbed me most about the much-lauded educational documentary RACE TO NOWHERE was not the outcry of adolescents who explained how school led them to develop anorexia, cut themselves, consider suicide, or require hospitalization for severe anxiety. I knew all that.  What disturbed me was the disempowerment of even the most passionate and devoted parents who have resigned themselves to believing that schools, not parents, have ownership over their children’s education.  

I hear all the time from parents that this is just the way things are so they try to figure out ways to help their children fit into the system.  This is not true.  There are things parents can do.  To follow are 20 ideas for parents who are sick of waiting for superman and tired of having their children race to nowhere.  You can read more about each idea at this booklet which I wrote as a free download to anyone who wants ideas to take back ownership of their children’s learning and lives. 

Idea 1 - Don’t subject your children to the standardized tests.
Idea 2 - Take ownership of your child’s learning
Idea 3 - Kids and Parents Can Design Their Own Learning
Idea 4 - Demand The Ability to Pursue Passion Driven Learning
Idea 5 - Learn without place or time restrictions
Idea 6 - Forget the Pressure of AP or IB. Let Your Kids Take College Courses
Idea 7 - Create Your Own Apprenticeship Program for Credit
Idea 8 - Demand You Child Be Able to Use the Tools They Need to Learn in School
Idea 9 - Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep. Skip first period.
Idea 10 - Find a School That is Right for Your Child
Idea 11 - Start a School
Idea 12 - Pursue a GED
Idea 13 - Learning Online
Idea 14- Homeschooling
Idea 15 - Unschooling / Natural Learning
Idea 16 - Co-oping and Caregivers
Idea 17 - You Don’t Have to Go to School to Get Into College
Idea 18 - Prepare for College Admission
Idea 19 - The Military
Idea 20 - You Don’t Have to Go to College or the Military to Be Successful

You can read the entire guide with a description of all twenty ideas here.


  1. This is fantastic! We are starting a teen entreprenuer workshop in our area, & will keep these thoughts in mind.

  2. Thanks Angela. Please also consider sharing the booklet that explains each idea further at

  3. I've wondered for the past few years what would happen if I refused to have my own children take the state mandated tests...As a parent am I required to follow state/federal law in this area???
    My son's elementary school was selected this year for NAEP testing, we received the form letter informing us of its importance, and I opted him out from testing after we discussed it. He was the only student in his 4th grade class who didn't take it.

  4. This is great. I wish all parents would open their minds to the alternatives out there, instead of feeling trapped in a system that is tolerable at best, life-ruining at worst, for their children. It's amazing how many people think homeschooling is illegal, for example. But even if taking the kids out of school completely is not an option for everyone, at least parents should know they can opt-out of standardized tests, and advocate for their children in many other ways. The more options people know about, the better off our children will be!

  5. Great thoughts, as usual. You had me at #1. I think this is where the big change is going to come from. It's not the teachers. I don't know any teachers that relish a standardized test. It's the parents. They have to get fed up!

    - @newfirewithin