When unshackled from an *institutional education*, children and parents enjoy complete freedom – freedom to study, pursue, dabble, socialize, experiment, ponder, etc. whatever it is they decide upon.

Of course, the choices they make and the discipline, energy, and savvy they employ are CRITICAL in determining long-term outcomes. And without any authority to answer to, it’s up to the parents to manage this process.

Here’s a rough daily checklist I try to stick to as my ideal standard. I almost never get it all done, but articulating definite priorities and ambitions really, really helps – any endeavor at that.

  1. Did we Google something *new* today?
  2. Did I *play* with my kids today?
  3. Did we talk about something serious or important?
  4. Did we read aloud to each other?
  5. Did each kid read at least 100 pages of a book?
  6. Did we do some math?
  7. Did they write something?
  8. Did they practice musical instruments, singing, and/or dancing?
  9. Did the kids do something artistic?
  10. Did the kids get vigorous exercise?
  11. Did they chip away at a long-term project today?
  12. Did we work on a progressive skill (e.g. piano, chess, juggling, foreign language…)?
  13. Did each kid teach, help, or explain something to someone (ideally another child)?
  14. Did the kids help out around the house?

Oh, I forgot to mention atop the wondrous *freedom to travel*.

Right now, instead of wallowing in 25 degree weather up north, this month we are basking in the tropical climate of Naples, Florida.

Our *school* and checklist came along for the trip.  In fact, they travel very well.

The kids are all but wearing out the Yamaha keyboard in the condo, we are hitting the library every other day, the beach and parks, of course, but they are also getting tons of academic work done here too.  In fact, in many respects they are getting MORE done on account of being away from those dreaded *organized activities* and other distractions back in New York.

Parent-directed education is not only a superior way to strengthen a family and prepare youngsters for bright futures….it’s also an exercise in *lifestyle design*.