Sunday, July 22, 2012

On Pointing Kids in the Right Direction

James Altucher has some great ideas on what he calls "unschoolong". I like to think of what he writes about as pointing children in the right direction, as opposed to a "formal" education.

At one point he writes:
Only one requirement: read one book a week. It doesn’t matter what book. I will pay them 10 cents a page. WHAT!? How can you pay your kids to learn? Well, I want my kids to get used to being paid for doing things they enjoy. Later in life (just a few years really) they will have to do it anyway. Why not get used to being paid for something they enjoy right now? This way they will know easily to avoid getting paid for things they don’t enjoy. (this is hopefully a way to avoid them going into a life of prostitution).
Interestingly, when my son was younger, I paid him 10 cents a word to write movie reviews of movies we attended, reviews of baseball games we went to and reports on other events.

I now have essays from him about everything from the Boston Red Sox to his view after a trip to Dallas (when he was probably nine) on who killed JFK?

Some parents pay their kids to take out the trash, I paid him to write.  In the future, you will probably see more of his writing.

Schools, especially with the heavy government influence, are suffocators of real learninh. Children are naturally curious and eager to learn, pointing them in the right direction is all that is generally needed.

There's  more ideas from Altucher on unschooling, including a great graphic on the differences between schools and prisons, here.


  1. I think this is great advice. My dad used to pay me to read, write, and work out of these "textbooks" he used to buy at Costco. But, I'd also suggest getting your child into as intellectual topics as possible, because what happened to me is that I shut out topics I didn't like. I would learn on my own the things I loved, but never ventured into what I perceived to be uninteresting. It's a kind of tunnel vision, and now at an older age it's more difficult for me to branch out.

  2. Bob,
    from our correspondence and my presence in the comment section of EPJ you've seen that we see eye to eye on most things, I'm sure. I have a lot of respect for you, and for Lew Rockwell, however, I have never understood what both you and Rockwell see in the self-styled shaman Altucher. I actually have been taking time out of my day to contemplate this, and have come out more puzzled than before. I stopped reading his "I lost $15 million in cash / cried on the floor with my daughters crawling around me" drivel a long time ago. The fact that he lost the $15 mil due to poor investing decisions should alert him (and you) that he made the $15 mil as a result riding the tech bubble, rather than as a result of entrepreneurial prowess. He picked himself up: good for him! It's a great story to read... once or twice, after that it gets a bit stale.
    This nonsense Altucher blabbers on about paying your kids to learn is exactly what governments do now. What you did with your kid is worlds apart from Altucher's idea. You paid Wenzel Jr. for a product. Your son had to acquire the skills and material for it on his own (even if you paid for the tickets to the game, he had to give up his time to watch the game, and had to PAY ATTENTION while there). Altucher's idea of paying your kid to read anything smacks of the same stench a Macedonian "pro-capitalist" blogger wrote about a couple of years ago. The Macedonian blogger is Secret Police stooge playing the assigned role of a pro-capitalist. His job is to produce "Shit Pies" intended to misinform and cloud ideas.

    (I hate posting extremely long comments. For that reason, I've posted the rest of this comment here: