Updated on 06.30.09

Review: The New Global Student

Trent Hamm

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or other book of interest.

the new global studentThe New Global Student by Maya Frost is one of those books that takes what you think you know about a subject and flips it on its ear. This time around, it’s the standard route that most high schoolers take towards their education: take lots of AP classes, sweat about the ACT and SAT, apply to hyper-competitive colleges and hope you get in, apply for piles of scholarships, sweat out the FAFSA, then go on to college, where you’ll likely be buried in mountains of student loans.

This process is seen as so standard that many people don’t even question whether or not it makes sense to start pushing our fourteen and fifteen year olds through this woodchipper. The New Global Student argues that this path is not the only path – in fact, Frost argues that there is a much better way to help your children transition into the latter stages of their education. Hence the eye-catching subtitle: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly International Education.

I fully expect that many people will immediately reject the central premise of this book – that the “traditional hypercompetitive SAT/AP/GPA path” can be easily dumped and a new path to educational success can be found. All I can say is this: time and time again, throughout my college career, the people that seemed to have the best grasp of what they needed to do to succeed and the value they could get out of college were people who came in from outside that treadmill.

Ready to dig in? Here are my impressions of and thoughts on The New Global Student.

One: Creative, Not Crazy – Our Family’s Story
In the summer of 2005, the Frost family sold everything and moved to Mexico for a year, then to Argentina. The family had four teenage daughters, including a high school freshman, a junior, and a senior, and they were unable to speak Spanish when they left. Not only that, the girls also spent years in other countries on yearlong exchanges. They did not worry too much about the perfect GPA and they also didn’t take the SAT. You might think that this would blow up all of the girls’ chances of getting into a good school, but instead it did the opposite – it painted very compelling pictures of young women who were experiencing the world, not just pumping up their numbers. Compelling enough to get them piles of scholarships and admissions to good schools.

Two: Beyond Math and Mandarin
Frost’s argument about why all of this works really boils down to two big factors. First, the diversity of experiences forced the children to learn how to be collaborative. They were constantly being put into cultural and intellectual situations where they had to learn to work well with others in order to get through it. In contrast, high school in America – with the SAT/GPA/AP milestones – are highly competitive without much focus on collaboration. The collaborative nature of their high school experience, in other words, was a huge advantage.

Second, the children were heavily ingrained throughout their lives with five key principles: flexibility (independent thinking, eagerness to explore new ideas and places), awareness (ability to intelligently discuss a wide variety of topics, compassion and respect for others), curiosity (an interest in a variety of areas and the ability to ask questions and investigate those areas), trustworthiness (realization of the vitality of being dependable, strong communication skills, complete things on time), and self-direction (establish and move towards goals, internalized work ethic and motivation).

These aspects combine together to make young people who are ready to tackle anything. In my eyes, it’s a great recipe for parenting in the modern world – I strive for all of these things with my own children, even at their young age.

Three: Fego: You’re Soaking in It!
What keeps our children from having these attributes? Frost points at two huge factors.

First, fear. We fear letting go of our kids. We fear not doing enough. We fear taking charge. We fear slowing down. We fear unstructured time and unstructured activities. We fear falling behind. These fears all lead us towards pushing our children hard down that typical path. Instead, we’re better off hammering in the big principles of independent thought and self-responsibility when they’re young and letting go as much as we can when they’re older.

Second, ego. We want to believe that we’re vital to the process of our children’s final steps towards adulthood. We’re not. Once puberty hits, we’re a support staff – we’re no longer absolutely vital to the process. Similarly, we tie our own sense of self-worth to the accomplishments of our children – if our kids get a high score on the SAT or get an A in an AP class, that’s proof that we’re great and something we can brag about to others, right? Wrong. It’s just ego fuel that actually hurts our kids.

Another interesting argument: our children have huge advantages with the advent of computers, the internet age, and the easy access to information. Shouldn’t this mean that they blow us away in terms of intellectual growth at a young age? The problem is that instead of focusing on actually raising intellectually curious and self-reliant kids, we focus on them getting A’s in classes that likely aren’t pushing them very hard at all. So why should they grow if all that matters is that A? Instead, the book suggests using local community colleges to put your child in genuinely challenging classes that really push them – a “B” in a class that really pushes their work ethic and intellect is much more valuable than a cruise-control “A” in every aspect other than the almighty GPA.

Four: AP, IB, & SAT – OMG!
So many students today stress themselves out over taking tons of AP classes and getting a great SAT score. Frost argues that both of these have less value in terms of getting into college than you might think.

First of all, she argues that so many students are taking AP courses that they’re becoming watered down. With B- students taking the courses and sometimes passing, the material may be at a somewhat lower level than before. On top of that, students are now taking three or four AP courses at once. As a result, many colleges are eliminating the credits they offer in exchange for AP courses. In the end, the value of an AP course is lower than it once was, both in terms of what’s learned and in terms of how colleges value it.

A similar phenomenon is happening with the SAT and ACT. High schools are now beginning to require the exams; meanwhile, community colleges don’t require the test at all and most colleges and universities are de-emphasizing the test in terms of admission criteria. In other words, instead of becoming a useful prep tool for college, it’s become so universalized that it no longer matters as much as it once did.

What does matter, then? How can a student stand out? Frost points towards the IB, which provides a rigorous plan of study available in many different nations that, upon completion, is accepted (and often considered quite valuable) for college admission. Plus, the IB de-emphasizes the pressure of AP classes and the SAT, instead focusing on teaching how to learn and how to collaborate, skills invaluable in a person’s career. Another approach: taking the GED as early as possible, skipping the high school “experience,” and moving on to college early.

Five: Meet the New A Student: Artful, Advanced, Atypical, and Adventurous
Frost argues (quite well, with a pile of anecdotes) that a well-balanced student is incredibly well served by spending time abroad during their high school experience. Such an experience provides a huge deal of personal growth, vastly improves personal awareness, and demonstrates on college applications that a student is committed to outside-the-box exploration.

Here’s the thing: people at this age are passionate and that passion floods in surprising directions. If you stifle that passion and attempt to channel it in a way you see fit, you’re likely to see the dam break and see passion flow in a terrible direction. Instead, offer your child as many positive channels as possible and see where their passion takes them. Putting a study abroad experience on the table certainly does that.

Six: The Boldest Advantage: A Yearlong High School Exchange
Almost all parents feel some strong reticence at the idea of sending their child abroad for a year to study. That’s the “fear and ego” mentioned earlier raising its head.

Instead, a study abroad program – if done with thought and planning – is probably the best move you could make for your child. It’ll help you deal with the “empty nest” problem in a cold turkey way, keeping you from being a helicopter parent when your child moves on. It’ll show your child in the clearest way possible that you respect their independence. Most importantly, though, it’ll give your child a huge dose of personal and intellectual growth as they learn about a different culture and different way of life while also continuing their education. Few things set up a student better for college than such an adventure.

How can you make the most of this? Go early (sophomore year is a good target), go long (a full year instead of a semester), and go challenging (a place with a different language and a different culture).

Seven: How to Save Thousands on College: Study Abroad
A similar philosophy applies in college – go early (sophomore year is a good target), go long (a full year instead of a semester), and go challenging (a place with a different language and a different culture). A study abroad program while in college also has an additional benefit: it’s cheap.

Many people scoff at this, pointing toward expensive study abroad packages offered by schools. The truth, though, is that those packages are often glorified travel packages – instead of immersing the student in another culture, it actually isolates them in a vacation-like bubble, housing them with other native English speakers and providing every possible accommodation. Very little actual value is gained.

Instead, consider applying directly to the university you desire to attend as an independent international student. You’ll live in the same housing as students there and will be fully immersed in the culture instead of isolated in a “submarine” of your own culture. Plus, the price is reasonable – often very reasonable. In many cases, it’s far less expensive than the price you’re paying for university at home.

Eight: The Full Family Deal: Sabbatical or Sell-It-All?
A third option – one that works well if you have multiple high-schoolers at once – is to simply spend a year abroad, enrolling your kids in school in that country for a year. This will be something we consider circa 2019, for example, when we have two children in early high school.

Obviously, this doesn’t work for everyone, but it does have certain advantages. If you can find a job in your career in another country, it’s a huge resume booster. If you’re engaged in a creative career, immersing yourself in a different culture can pay real dividends.

This is something that’s at least on the radar for us in several years. If my wife can get a job teaching English in another country for a year, we would be quite interested in pursuing this. I can in theory write from anywhere, too, so that also helps.

One good compromise – a summer-long sabbatical. Rent an apartment in a foreign nation for three months and see how things go. Engage in every activity you can while there – not tourist stops, but the way of life that people have there. Shop at their stores. Eat their food. Learn their language.

Nine: The Get-Real Guide for Bold Parents
The final chapter is something of a clean-up of the many issues brought up by this book. How do you handle the criticism from others who say you’re sinking your child’s chances because you’re not following the “normal” path? What about their safety?

Each of these questions has a very reasonable answer. As for the criticism, such study abroad programs actually vastly improve chances of college acceptance and of growing a student to the point where they can really take advantage of college. With the safety issue, high school students are often more safe abroad than at home – no drivers under the age of eighteen, students are protected from anti-American sentiments by their youth, and students are naturally more cautious because they’re in unfamiliar territory.

Is The New Global Student Worth Reading?
I’ll be honest with you: I’ve been questioning the absoluteness of the high school/SAT/college application/expensive college pipeline for a long time. I’m actually in favor of delaying college for a year or two after high school, allowing other life experiences to fill in the gap. Why not let a student spend a year working hard at a job or for a non-profit in between high school and college, learning what it actually means to earn a paycheck and make ends meet and what the value of a college education actually is. I know I certainly would have benefited from such a sojourn. I’ve also been thinking a lot about traveling abroad for an extended period when my children are older, perhaps spending a year in another country and allowing them to attend school there (Great Britain, perhaps, or maybe a nation where we don’t speak the language natively).

Reading The New Global Student actually knocked down the idea of the standard pipeline even more. It’s loaded with food for thought for any person with children school-aged or younger. Even if you consider the general idea to be nonsensical, there’s enough material in here about how to set the path for your child to excel in their educational and professional career and save money along the way that it’s at least worth a read for specific tips.

For us, it’s opened the door to a lot of discussion about what we can do as parents to prepare our children for this ever-shrinking world.

If you have kids, you owe it to yourself to read this one. It’ll really make you think about their education and how simply connecting the dots might not be the best route.

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  1. Mr. Roberts says:

    Nicely written, good tone. I’m a believer because I’ve lived that life: forced to go it alone when young and gained a unique perspective. This drove me to get the most out of college when I went and out of life. Employers saw this and it’s made me stand out from the rest. As a teacher, I would encourage this. The pipeline is where everyone is headed, and many shouldn’t even be going down that way because life is not like that. Great review.

  2. Matt says:

    Trent, it’s kind of sad that you let confirmation bias so easily push your ideas in this manner. While studying abroad is a great way to help education, it’s not “reasonable” pricing even if you apply as an independent international student, especially after figuring in room and board. If you did research in the area (I’ve done a lot) you would realize that for most people it’s simply not an option. To argue that high school students are safer abroad than here is also another ridiculous, poorly researched idea. Petty theft is rampant for international travelers both in South America and European countries.

    Also, SATs and GPAs are the best way to get into the elite colleges, if you look at the data from the schools and try to find Stanford students that did not take the SAT, you would be hardpressed.

    This book is a poorly researched idealistic view of the way the education system works, and although the cultural benefits of this type of education are numerous… if you are trying to simply get the best education, you won’t be getting into any really competitive colleges.

  3. Michael says:

    That was an interesting review!

    Trent, you should homeschool your children if you value these alternative perspectives so much. Homeschooling doesn’t necessarily mean spending time in foreign countries, although my friends who were homeschooled have immersed themselves more often in foreign cultures than my other friends. Homeschooling does offer the wide sampling of challenges and responsibilities you obviously desire. Homeschooling does not offer “socialization,” which you have been taught to think important through socialization. :) As you have learned from reading this book, much more valuable “socialization” happens outside of traditional school.

  4. Tim says:

    I might have to read that book… sounds pretty interesting.

    I’m heading off to college this fall after having lived close to half my life in three other countries, 2 in Latin America and 1 in Africa, besides the US.

    While I would agree completely that these experiences are very valuable and irreplaceable by anything domestically, I must say that the whole academic angle – APs, SAT, ACT, IB, etc – is still very important. Scholarships and acceptances at good colleges don’t just fall into your lap for having lived in other countries. You certainly need the academics as well. I can attest to that both personally and from the experiences of many people I know who have similar backgrounds. I would imagine that the girls in this book had relatively strong academics, or something else interesting, besides their countries of residence.

    If anyone has any questions about this sort of thing, I would be happy to give you my angle, based on what I’ve experienced.

  5. Alexandra says:

    I am just out of college and I have to agree! I have friends who were “problem teens” and did a year abroad, which got their act together. They had to grow up to make it, they were away from their group of friends and could break free from bad habits, they learned a new language, met new people and realized it really *wasn’t* all about them. It’s challenging in SO many ways.

    I also have friends who were in my school for a year from different countries (there was a guy from Columbia, a girl from Germany, and one from the US – I live in France) All of them made friends, learned the language and really just had a great experience.

  6. sara says:

    I have to say I really wish I had done this in high school or college but I couldn’t because of lack of funds. This is really an option for the financially elite or those with simply very generous parents. The student paying their own way would have a tough time pulling this off.

  7. Bri says:

    I’m 18 and I never took the SATs and I don’t ever plan on going to college.

  8. dangermom says:

    I spent my junior year abroad, and I’m pretty sure that’s what got me into Berkeley. My grades and scores weren’t *that* great. It was a great experience for me–the hardest thing I’d ever done up to that point (and thus quite the confidence-booster–I learned that I could accomplish what I wanted to if I set my mind to it).

    Now I homeschool my kids, and I see a lot of advantages to jumping off the public school treadmill. I’d love to live abroad as a family for a year or so, but that’s not looking all that likely right now. Certainly I hope to support my kids in having a lot of broadening experiences that aren’t part of the usual PS deal.

  9. Carrie says:

    Schools are only going to offer either the AP program or the IB program. I went to an out of district public school to do an IB program and it was much, much more rigorous than the AP program my younger siblings did. It did emphasize writing much more than the AP program did and I think that is an extremely valuable skill.

  10. T says:

    I did the IB program back 10 years ago (err… make that 15…) and loved it. It laid the foundation for a very successful academic career. I would highly recommend it.

  11. palm says:

    I agree that going overseas with kids is a great plan, and because I’m an academic it’s certainly feasible for us once our kids are old enough (right now the youngest is five months and it’s just too overwhelming to imagine). My colleagues who have gone on sabbaticals overseas have had enormous success with this (kids ranging from K-8, roughly)–their kids LOVED it, especially having the chance to play soccer on school teams in countries where it’s considered a real sport. They picked up the language very quickly as well. When they’re high school age they’ll probably do solo exchanges.

    I admit I’m puzzled by the suggestion above that homeschooling would be an advantage here. Our friends’ kids most enjoyed being in school overseas because it made them part of the culture there. Our friends who went most recently kept their kids out of school for a few weeks hoping it would help them adjust but the kids were miserable and nervous until school started, even with parents who spoke the language and are experienced teachers. Almost everywhere outside the US that I’ve lived or visited, the opportunity to attend schools is viewed as either integral to society or an enormous privilege. Skipping it would be extremely isolating.

    At this point the decision for us is how adventurous we want to be. We’re most interested in former French colonies in Africa (where many of my colleagues have existing research contacts) or China, but I’m tempted to make our first trip an easy European one given that our kids are so young, which would postpone the shots/anti-malarial drugs issue for a few years.

  12. Chad says:

    Interesting article. I spent two years in Spain after my freshman year in college as a Mormon missionary. The AP classes and GPA (and Air Force ROTC scholarship) were vital to my admission to BYU (an LDS owned private University) but my life experience as a missionary were vital to my success as a college student. I gained a better perspective on my future course of study (international relations after I failed out of engineering!). I wouldn’t have traded my public high school education for anything though; but then again I wasn’t trying to get into Harvard or Yale!

  13. Robin says:

    I don’t see how this has anything to do with frugality. In fact it seems quite the opposite – it costs a lot of money to do all the moving around. And despite what is said about how to apply to international schools and it is cheaper, etc, that doesn’t mean that those credits will be accepted by your home university when you return. I mean perhaps you can save money on the experience, but you’re still spending money on the whole.

    I don’t mean to be rude, really, but this all seems like a way for rich kids to reinvent themselves, and I’m not sure the world needs more of those. Nor do we need any more college acceptance “norms” that will be unachievable for students of lower incomes.

  14. Jenna says:

    Hi Trent,

    Interesting review. I went to Tokyo and studied abroad in the summer of 2005 during my college years. It was probably one of the best things I did in college and was an experience that I would label as priceless.

    I would highly encourage people to study abroad whenever they can. Even though my philosophy is to go to a place of your own personal interest, I would also encourage people to look outside the box on places to go. Something I didn’t get to do in high school was learn Japanese because they never offered it. Studying abroad is a great way to remedy this issue as well as use the language in a real-world scenario.

  15. Kay says:

    I think that international experience can be very useful and educational for kids. But there are some cons that aren’t really discussed, as well. One possible problem of spending too much time abroad or in very different school systems is not having a coherent education. My sister-in-law attended German speaking school in Switzerland, British boarding and local schools, Singapore international school, and both Japanese speaking local schools and English international schools in Japan (she is Japanese). This has created a very incoherent education for her and has really caused problems in her educational skills and completing college.

    Also, it is very easy to say that kids just pick up the language so easily, but I know it was an extremely isolating experience for him as a 4th grader to be dropped into a English speaking school not knowing a word of the language in the middle of the school year. Every time he transitioned between schools (back and forth from Japan and Switzerland), it was very difficult.

    I also don’t think the only reason parents are reluctant to send kids away for a year is not ego that they need to supervise their education. I think the teen years are very crucial morally where kids make a lot of decisions that affect their future – sex, drugs, friends, etc. I would be very reluctant to send my kids off for a year to a foreign country on their own and miss out on additional (and crucial) year to parent my children morally and help them make good decisions.

  16. Johanna says:

    It seems to me that the “two huge factors” detailed in chapter three are both problems with the parents, not necessarily with the school system or with the children. Parents who exhibit these tendencies toward fear and ego need to get over themselves and realize that their children’s education is about their children, not themselves. It seems to me that it should be possible to do this within the “standard” educational system.

    Curiously, even though the author realizes these points (which I think are spot on), I don’t see much mention in the rest of the review about asking the children what they want. Instead it’s “have them take community college classes,” “have them do an IB program,” “have them spend time abroad.” What happened to the idea of teenagers’ autonomy? Maybe it’s there in the book, but Trent just skipped over it.

    I’m not sure I agree with the suggestion of community college classes – if a high school student is really so gifted that she’s advanced beyond the most challenging classes the high school has to offer, the next logical step would be classes at an at least moderately selective four-year college. If this isn’t an option where you live (or even if it is), another alternative is academic summer programs, which also have the advantages that the students get experience living independently of Mom and Dad, and they get to meet other talented young people with similar interests. When I was in high school (circa 15 years ago), there were plenty of opportunities for subsidized summer programs, meaning that the cost to the participants was either very small or zero. But again, if you pursue this option, make sure that it’s something the student really wants to do.

    On studying abroad: I think that anything that gives Americans more exposure to what life is like in other countries – even relatively unchallenging ones like Canada and the UK – is good. There are lots of ways to get that exposure, including and in addition to the ones mentioned in the book. Even a week-long vacation to another country is better than nothing – *if* you really make an effort to venture away from the touristy spots and really see the place. But if a year spent studying or working abroad is something that appeals to you, by all means, do it.

    Trent: If you’re already thinking about spending a year living abroad when your children are older, I’d really recommend doing some planning now by looking into different countries’ educational systems and how well they would mesh with both the US system and with what you want for your kids. In the UK, for example, it seems to me that their version of high school is more competitive and much more test-score oriented than anything in the US. It’s also much more specialized: beyond a certain age, students only take classes in perhaps three different subjects. If you go to the UK, then, it may be better to do it before your children get to be teenagers. Same goes for non-English-speaking countries: I don’t know so much about their school systems, but it’s been found, I think, that children learn languages best before they hit puberty.

    Also, spending time abroad when the children are younger has the benefit that you’ll be spending time abroad when you’re younger, so you’ll have more years to benefit from the experience in your own life.

  17. Ty Brown says:

    Sounds like a good review. Our high school system here in the states is such a joke that it’s nice to see a different perspective.

    I’d like to see a similar book about the college experience as it needs some major restructuring.

  18. Michelle says:

    I think this is a wonderful idea. In fact, I think as a culture, we need to be rethinking the need for college at all. Self-motivated learners can learn from many sources, and too many college jobs can be outsourced these days. The trades are looking better and better!

  19. dangermom says:

    Palm, #7, wrote: “I admit I’m puzzled by the suggestion above that homeschooling would be an advantage here. Our friends’ kids most enjoyed being in school overseas because it made them part of the culture there.”

    I’m not sure that people are suggesting moving overseas and homeschooling at the same time. Rather, homeschooling right here, right now is another great way to get out of the rat race of public schools and gives you a lot of opportunity to learn and grow in unique ways. Many colleges recruit homeschoolers. And you can do it on a very tight budget if that’s what you want to do.

    If we were to move abroad, I would certainly consider putting my kids into the school system, but it wouldn’t be a given. It would depend on the local schools and how many day-trips to local historical sites I would want to visit per week. ;) Homeschooling happens in many other countries and I think we could still find friends through other venues than public schools.

    To Robin #8: exchange trips don’t have to be incredibly expensive. Many ordinary middle-class kids go abroad too–I’m one of them. My parents said that if that was what I really wanted to do, they would find a way. (I’m not sure that they bargained for 3 of my younger siblings doing it too, but we all managed.)

    I suspect that living in Mexico or another country with less cost of living wouldn’t be terribly costly. At any rate, I would say that such experiences are so valuable that they are worth a lot of investment.

  20. Johanna says:

    @Robin: If money is a really big issue, why not consider a destination where the cost of living is low, like Asia, South America, or even Central or Eastern Europe? It still costs money to get there and back, but once you get there, everything is so much cheaper that you may end up spending less money for the year than you would in your ordinary life at home.

  21. guinness416 says:

    Interesting review. I come from Ireland, where most schools have a year called “transition year” when one is 16. It varies school to school but rather than book-learnin’ it’s spent on work experience (I worked in an architects’ office and with bookbinding apprentices), travel (we all went to Amsterdam, camped in Ireland, etc) and various volunteer and creative projects. It’s a shame USian schools don’t offer this.

    The downside is that it’s not offered everywhere, and those that don’t offer it tend (or did 15 yrs ago anyway) as Robin says to be in the more needy neighbourhoods.

  22. Lauren says:

    @Robin – these options are not necessarily only confined to kids from well off families. Living abroad while before graduation may not be the most feasible option, unless you are an academic perhaps, but certainly year or semester abroad programs are very accessible. I won a scholarship (joint Congressional, German parliament funded) to go to Germany for a year, and that was only one of the many scholarships available for study abroad programs. While a good amount of scholarship money may be drying up currently, I believe once things get better economically, a lot of those scholarships will return.

    Trent, while this isn’t directly related to the topic of frugality, I can see where a good number of your readers would potentially be interested in this book. Excellent review.

  23. Michael says:

    Palm, dangermom explained exactly what I meant. Thanks, dangermom.

  24. A.M.B.A. says:

    Thanks for the review. I heard the author on NPR (I think On Point) recently and am very interested in her book. In 2007, my spouse and I took our two kids (ages 4 and 5 at the time) for one year to southwest China. It was an amazing experience. The kids were enrolled in a full Chinese kindergarten. Our kids were the first foreign (i.e. non-speaking Chinese) students to ever attend this school. It was an extremely positive experience for everyone involved. The kids ended up w/Chinese skills equal to their Chinese same age classmates. We are now planning a move to Chile in 2010/2011. This is my spouse’s native country and all of us are fluent in Spanish.

    It is very doable for a family or teenagers to have an extended stay abroad. It does take A LOT of planning – a minimum of two years to set things up abroad and to wind down things in the US.

    I did a lot of traveling and stays (ranging from 2 weeks to 2 years) in various countries when I was single. Most people are too afraid to get out of their comfort zone to make this a reality for themselves or for their family.

    The people who do go abroad, then enroll their children in English speaking International/American schools are the ones I don’t understand. If your child is going to learn in English all-day, why not just stay home??! Language and culture are intertwined.


  25. AK says:

    Apologies if this has already been said (haven’t gone through all the comments), but:

    Wouldn’t it be best to find a middle ground? I think there is a lot to be said for an international education, looking outside the box, etc… for financial reasons I have done very little traveling abroad and it’s something I regret (I just graduated from college so I’m thinking from a student not a parent perspective).

    At the same time, I’m forever grateful for my entirely conventional private, liberal arts, $8-zillion education and the APs, SATs, SAT IIs, etc. etc. that led up to it. In the work force, and in society in general, these things will give me the credibility I need to at least get in the door. From there I can draw on my personal & unconventional experiences and creativity to make an impact. I am however on a (somewhat) conventional career path so this probably has a lot to do with it. But I’m glad my parents’ decisions gave me the option to be conventional.

  26. haapai says:

    Palm, I wouldn’t sweat the antimalarials too much. The word from my folks is that most prophylactic antimalarial regimes are ineffective in the more interesting corners of the world. They’ve switched to using arteminisin-containing products after the fact.

    Trent, I think a valuable addition to the year-off/gap-year discussion that you’ve got going is the role of student loans. I didn’t notice how limiting they were the first time that I went to school (in the 80s) but the second time that I was attending school, the gap between kids whose parents were paying for school and those who were borrowing had grown immensely. The kids who were borrowing were on a real treadmill. The requirement that they had to maintain a certain number of credits meant that they could not drop a course that they were struggling with or else their loans would enter repayment. Similarly, they had to graduate on time or they’d have to take out private loans to finish their last semester or partial semester. A lot of the kids who were borrowing were absolutely terrified of graduation because of the loan payments. (This was back in the days when it was quite possible to complete an instate undergraduate education with only Stafford loans. Things have probably gotten much worse since.)

    I’d like to know more about how a student with loans could swing a gap year or a year abroad. Perhaps there are deferments available that I am not aware of. I’m also trying to point out that when our parents pushed us to go to college, taking a year off to work or travel or just scare our parents was an option. I suspect that for anyone going to school on loans, getting off that treadmill prior to graduation is really, really hard.

    We should think twice about pushing another generation down the same track that worked out pretty well for most of us. For us, flunking out or dropping out were embarassing but not disasterous. For a young person who has taken out sizable student loans, leaving school without a degree has much greater consequences.

  27. Undisclosed says:

    A fantastic review Trent. Thanks for the nudge.

    Six years ago I graduated from an IB program abroad. I traveled extensively in high school and everything seemed to energize me.

    Back “home”, I did the “sensible” thing and just graduated from law school. Compared to my IB experience, university has been the most mind numbing years of my life. I’m about to embark in a flashy career – with exorbitant enabling costs – which has me feeling more like a sheep than anything. I miss the sizzle. I feel like I’ve been going backwards.

  28. bob smith says:


    You should check out John Taylor Gatto’s

    A different kind of teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling.


    Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling


    Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling

  29. @haapai – As someone who moved abroad with not insignificant student loans, I can say it’s not too hard to pay for them. I’m not an English teacher, but even they make enough to put some money every month towards student loans. It would be harder in some countries, easier in others. Because the absolute salary is often lower than it would be in the US – and because foreign income is excluded from salary – I think that it would not be too hard to get a deferment (that’s what lenders do for Peace Corps).
    @ Robin – if people can’t afford to study a year abroad, they can get scholarships – or just work. Living in Turkey, I meet all sorts of people in all stages of their studies, and they are definitely not all rich.
    @ Trent – As for your wife getting a job teaching abroad – it’s not difficult to get a job teaching in a non-Western European country, but England might be harder. If you don’t know where to start to get a job in a target country or area, try talking to people via couchsurfing or craigslist.

  30. artparent says:

    we’re doing this right now, living in england, homeschooling, following my partner’s work sometimes all over europe. there are lots of homeschoolers to meet, and lots of people to meet, all over the place. we live in communities, we take courses like music, dance, sports, and meet schoolkids there if we want to. we’ve found different friends in the community to do projects with – knitting, quilting, gardening; we learn from them. we do field trips to the museums in london with homeschoolers all over london. mostly, they learn through play. then we go back to canada for a long visit. my children are young, 8 and 3, and we don’t plan to stop traveling, living in different places, and following their interests. if/when they want to apply for further study, they will be amazing students, because they have always learned without coercion, without stress.

    when i was studying in post-secondary there were many opportunities to go on exchange for a year, i studied in germany and became fluent.


  31. artparent says:

    trent, you might like to look into john holt, as well. ttp://tinyurl.com/books-john-holt


  32. cwalmonds says:

    I agree with #1,#13, & #20!

    Homeschool now! You will never want to go back.
    We’ve been doing it for 10+ years. I now have
    two teens that are balancing online classes, local comm college courses, and an indep study class from a local private high school.

    There are so many ways to construct your high school transcript and portfolio.

    Begin with the end in mind. Homeschooling gives
    you the time to not only ‘do school’ but volunteer in the community or with a mentor in
    an interesting industry.

    Follow and support their gifts and strengths.

    Don’t wait another year….start now… you
    will thank all of us…that strongly suggested it!

    Remember there are as many ‘homeschool’ methods as their are homeschool families. Each family finds their own equilibrium after some trial and error.

    …start now….

    Cheryl in CA

  33. Michael C says:


    I have a point that I don’t believe was covered by any other comments. The issue with the AP/IB (to reference Carrie above schools can, in fact, do both, mine did.) and SATs is one faced by a fraction of students competing for the top spots in upper tier universities. In my high school, one of the top in Southern California, at most around 100 kids take multiple AP classes. I took every single one offered, but I was unique not the norm.

    Further, the reason for stressing college so intensely is simple: it yields strong results. Perhaps the living abroad approach will benefit students greatly; I love Friedman and it seems like this is a very globalization-centric book. I just don’t know that if you compare the students who study abroad to those who studied intensely and joined student groups on campus, who would make the better engineer. I just know the company hiring will probably look at grades first.

  34. International experiences are possible for families on a budget, but you will have to do research as to what’s available in your community.

    One option for families on a budget is to get involved with your community’s sister city program. Many cities across the U.S. have these programs, which involve short-term visits for students or professionals. We’ve hosted students twice with our sister city in Japan, and the daughter also went to Japan in 2006 under that program. Sister city clubs rely a lot on grants / fundraisers and volunteers, so the out-of-pocket expenses are very reasonable for international travel opportunities.

    Another option is to become a host family through your high school or college. If you’re thinking about doing that for this school year, the international agencies are looking to place students now. It takes time to do home visits and get the travel arrangements made for placing those students. If you are interested, check on this now. Call your school offices for their contacts, or look up information on the web.

  35. Now as far as college students on student loans and other financial aid studying abroad, contact your college’s international studies office. You may find programs in which that logistic has already been worked out.

  36. getagrip says:


    First I’m a crappy parent because I didn’t drop everything and devote my life to homeschooling my children to protect them from the “evil” and “archaic” school system.

    Now I’m a crappy parent because I’m stunting their development because I don’t sell off everything, uproot the family and find a job in a third world country or put a minor on a plane and send them off for a year to another country.

    Wonderful, another assault on parents not sold as an alternative, or nice to have, but sold as a “need”. Like there isn’t enough on our plates already.

    Most of the kids I saw in college who did really well were on the traditional path. The difference is they knew what they wanted to be/do. That’s what it really came down to regardless of background.

  37. Johanna says:

    @getagrip: What’s wrong with putting a minor on a plane? Are airplane trips more dangerous for teenagers than they are for adults? Ditto for other countries – exactly what hazards do you think are lurking in these other countries that make them worse than the US? You sound like a xenophobe.

    I do agree with you that the traditional path works very well for some people. It worked well for me. But even for students who thrive in the traditional system, maybe there are other paths that would allow them to thrive even more. Obviously, the ideas presented in this book are just one person’s opinion, whether that opinion is sold as an alternative or as a “need.” If you can’t recognize that, maybe you should re-read your screen name.

  38. Trina says:

    Homeschooling right here in the US allows all the freedoms, creativity, real world socialization & exploration, developing a passion, etc. described in this book. It also promotes strong family relationships and offers many other benefits beyond academics. And yes, homeschoolers go on to pursue many avenues as young adults, including college. More doors are opened than closed due to homeschooling.

    Our family “unschools”, meaning we let the kids follow their own interests, design their own lives, and set their own pace, with much interest and guidance (not formal lessons, though) from parents. Our oldest is now a senior in college, the next one begins college in the fall, and I know the younger two will find their way also. My kids approach the world with a passion and fervor unknown to my husband and me (we were raised in the traditional school system) until we began homeschooling our kids, and in the process discovered a whole new world ourselves.

  39. JonFrance says:

    I don’t know…I went on exchanges to Russia and France in high school, and after college ended up living in France again, but I’m not convinced that international experiences are really a ‘recipe for success’.

    It has its own rewards for someone like me who enjoys travelling the world and learning new cultures and languages, sure. But for succeeding in a career, I think strong academic skills coupled with good people skills matter more. And the path to that is probably more about solid academics (made fun and self-directed in as many ways as possible), and participating in team sports (which, however much it may irk a bookworm like me, is probably the best way to learn how to function socially in the real world). Which is a lot more traditional than a lot of what is being talked about here.

  40. Bill in Houston says:

    I can’t see how studying a year abroad can be less expensive than going to an “in state” college or university?

    My hope is that my future kids don’t want to go to Harvard and instead choose someplace like Rice or Texas A&M.

    My niece just graduated high school. I had the chance to visit her last winter and saw her AP Physics course work (I took AP Physics back in 1977-78). It read like General Science from the 8th grade. She took the Physics B exam and got a 5. I was very proud of her (even if I only got a 4 back in the disco era).

    Finally, a child’s education is about the child, not the parent. I see too many folks (including one of my sisters) living their lives vicariously through their kids’ education, a la, “Well I never had Mandarin in junior high, so Taylor should take it,” yadda yadda yadda. Help them develop their interests and their strengths and get them interested in THEIR goals.

    I asked my sister last year, “What would you do if either of your kids wanted to be a mechanic or a chef” after hearing all the college resume
    “augmenting” they were doing. She just looked at me a bit crosseyed. I don’t believe the thought ever crossed her mind. This is not Lake Woebegon, and not all children are above average, folks. If your child’s strength is to be a life guard or a landscaper, physicist or general practitioner, then encourage that.

  41. Maya Frost says:

    Thanks, Trent, for this review of my book and thank you everyone for your comments. Interesting stuff.

    I just want to clarify a few points:

    **I totally agree that if you’re going to go abroad, you should enroll your kids in the local school there (and not the American version). However, it’s also true that you need to be flexible and recognize that things might not fit neatly into a box. We did a combination of things with our daughters abroad: enrolling them in a local high school, enrolling them in a local college, and best of all, finding interesting and passionate tutors who were more than happy to help them in certain subjects. The point is not to assume that one path will fill your student’s needs but to keep your eyes open and look for great combinations of experiences.

    **A lot of people assume that a “global” education is only for rich kids, but my whole intention in writing the book is to suggest that this is not the case and in fact, there are some great options for kids from families that don’t have a lot of money. My husband and I had an annual household income in the mid-five figures for several years prior to selling everything and leaving the US. And while we lived abroad, we saved thousands of dollars per month (with the same income) because our cost of living was so much lower than it had been in the US (and we were frugal all the way through). I know many families who are living abroad with the same income (from working virtually, writing, etc.) as they had in the US but saving a lot for college and their retirement while having a much happier and more enjoyable lifestyle.

    **I’m not suggesting that community college is the best option for high school kids–just that it can be great for some, as can four-year colleges, volunteering abroad, studying abroad, etc. The point is to be aware of the options so that they can be put on the table for kids to choose. (And yes, this isn’t about choosing for your kids once they are about 15–it’s about making sure they aren’t stuck on a track that isn’t right for them and helping them understand the alternatives.)

    **It’s not that my kids got tons of scholarships to great schools–that’s not the track we were on at all. We cared more about what they were LEARNING than where they went. They didn’t go to elite schools–they went to the ones that gave them good financial aid, accepted their credits from around the world, and didn’t make them jump through ridiculous hoops to get in. AND they graduated from college by 19 or so, meaning they saved a lot of money because they were motivated, built momentum in what they were learning, and really had a chance to dive into the education that they found most exhilarating. Despite this economy, they are financially independent and absolutely thriving in their chosen locations and positions. I think that’s what most parents would hope for their young adult kids!

    **I am not suggesting that every family should sell everything and move abroad with their kids, nor am I saying that all kids must spend a year abroad–just that it’s a great option, far more affordable than most people know, and probably the best choice to prepare kids for their own most thrilling and fulfilling opportunities in the future. But it does depend on the kids and the parents have to be on board, obviously. In fact, I’d say that the biggest obstacle is parents who are fearful, lacking in information and lacking in imagination about the wonderful options available to their kids. By sharing our family’s story and those of many students, I hope to give readers a chance to see what’s possible and encourage them to design their own exhilarating educational experiences.

    It’s a tragedy to put kids in any educational situation which dulls their enthusiasm for learning and diminishes rather than amplifies their talents. We simply felt we could give our kids more chances to learn about themselves and the world–and so we proactively selected/created better options for them. ANY parent can do that in a way that fits their comfort level, budget, and values.

  42. academic says:

    i was raised around the world, had a gap year between high school and college, speak several languages, and can vouch for the fact that unless your experience is *really* extraordinary, this path does a lot less for a college resumé or life opportunities than the author of this book would like to think it does. Plain and simple, it’s alternative, it’s interesting, and it’s the easy way out.

    The expat community- and admissions officers, more importantly, are well aware of the fact that an american abroad having an experience is just resumé building by some other name. Study abroad programs- and even a year of residence abroad- are really just not that interesting. For the most part, americans abroad don’t learn the language or make any other significant advances in cultural learning. What is more, a year is scarcely enough time in which to do that.

    It sounds like this path is being touted as a magic bullet, an easy way off the GPA/SAT / Designer college treadmill. The bottom line (and I can tell you this as an academic) is that it’s simply not true. You might end up with a more interesting kid, but not necessarily a more successful one.

    Bottom line, the American university system will give points to the first kid that did a year in Botswana. The next twenty year-in-Botswana kids are significantly less interesting, and then the equation reverts to GPA/SAT/caliber of school once again. The system rewards parents with lots of money to pour into prep courses, prep schools, and extracurriculars, and the kids who are disciplined enough to just suck it up and stay on the treadmill. While this alternative might seem so interesting that it’s viable, it’s really not.

    Just a perspective from the inside of the machine.

  43. Griffin says:

    I agree that AP courses and IB courses are only useful if there is a personal interest in the material. I had lots of classmates take AP classes (and pass with a 4-5), but hate it. Then a lot of local colleges wouldn’t accept them for college credit.

    The funny thing was, that when they took the equivalent college courses, they were easier!

    When I took the ACT, I got a terrible score. I didn’t really sweat it, because I was able to see that it didn’t really matter with the schools I was going to go to anyway. I wound up dropping out of high school and going to college. I come from a very disadvantaged background and had no support for going to college. I had to make it on my own.

    Six weeks ago, I was notified that I’ve been granted admission to an Ivy League school’s graduate program. I don’t have a 4.0 GPA, I didn’t kill myself going after thirty extracurriculars and I don’t have any relatives that attended. Instead I volunteered a bit, I worked a bit in a few jobs, and I busted my hump in my classes. I’m not perfect. The key is that they want someone well-rounded, and it doesn’t hurt that graduate programs are less competitive than their undergrad counterparts. The vast majority of students will never attend grad school (no matter what their major or undergrad degree was).

    If you want to give your kids a head start on college, ask them if they’d like to take a college course while in high school. Lots of teens do this now, and it makes them way more competitive for scholarships because they already have proven they can handle the time investment of college. CLEP is also a great investment if they know the material (or want to learn it).

    The key is to let your kids focus on what it is that they want to do. If they want to be an artist, send them to a college course in their medium (painting, figure drawing etc). If they want to be a scientist, then ask if they want to try a beginning science course.

    Final words: Support your kids in what they do. CLEP CLEP CLEP! Also, no one ever died going to a community college and/or public college. In fact, the savings are tremendous.

  44. Frankacy says:

    I spent a year abroad in Japan while in high school and it was easily the best experience of my life. Living with host families is particularly rewarding.

    I’m currently doing my first work term and my bosses told me when I started that they specifically picked me over other candidates because they thought the year abroad showed maturity and autonomy. During my midterm review, they said they were impressed beyond their expectations. Considering I’m just a normal kid, I’m positive I can attribute all this to going abroad.

  45. Johanna says:

    @Griffin: “I had lots of classmates take AP classes (and pass with a 4-5), but hate it. Then a lot of local colleges wouldn’t accept them for college credit.”

    It’s worth noting that there’s a difference between college credit (meaning that the AP class counts toward the number of credits you need for graduation, so you can potentially graduate one or two or three semesters early) and college placement (meaning that you can skip the introductory classes in that subject and go straight to the more advanced ones). Colleges often offer one but not the other, and the policy usually varies from department to department.

    “The funny thing was, that when they took the equivalent college courses, they were easier!”

    Are you sure they didn’t just find the college classes easier because they’d seen most (but not all) of the material already? If the college is really making them retake easier versions of classes they’ve already taken (i.e., not offering placement), then that college has a very stupid policy.

    “Six weeks ago, I was notified that I’ve been granted admission to an Ivy League school’s graduate program. I don’t have a 4.0 GPA, I didn’t kill myself going after thirty extracurriculars and I don’t have any relatives that attended. Instead I volunteered a bit, I worked a bit in a few jobs, and I busted my hump in my classes.”

    Congratulations on your acceptance. In my experience, though – and I don’t mean this to diminish your accomplishment in any way – when it comes to grad school admissions, grades in classes unrelated to your major, extracurricular activities unrelated to your major, and legacies all count for exactly squat. In other words, they don’t really look for well-roundedness – they look for someone who’s skilled in and passionate about that one particular subject, because you’ll be living, breathing, eating, sleeping, and dreaming that one particular subject for the next two to ten years of your life.

  46. Gail Starr says:

    Re: #8’s comment on this not being a frugal alternative. Actually, I had the privilege of studying in France for both my sophmore year of high school, and then later on, my junior year of college. It was entirely paid for via merit scholarships based on various competitions and interviews. If you begin researching scholarship opportunities early enough and ensure that you have the needed grades and expertise, finances may not be as big a barrier as you think.

    I truly feel that my year abroad at age 15, totally immersed in a language I had not studied previously was the best experience I have ever had. I think it was one of the factors that set me apart from the crowd and allowed me to win a fully-paid academic scholarship to a top university. Later on in my business career having fluency in more than 1 foreign language allowed me to manage operations in many countries.

    We plan to offer the same opportunities to our son once he is old enough.

  47. Griffin says:


    I didn’t take AP classes or exams, and still found much of the material easier to handle than at the high school level. For me, it had a lot to do with schedule. In HS, I had 4 classes without any real break. In college, that is not the case.

    Calculus, Chemistry and English are the AP classes in my HS that stand out. I know people who passed those exams with a 4 or 5 and still had to take “Intro to …” when they got there. One of my closest friends had to take Intermediate Algebra (Math 098) despite passing Calculus with a 5 — the accuplacer ended when he couldn’t do a certain kind of problem. He wound up CLEP-ing out of a bunch of classes so he could finally take Calculus.

    At the graduate level, legacies (etc) don’t count for a lot — but most people seem to believe that they do. That’s why I mentioned it. I’ve been asked probably fifty times how many extracurriculars I had in my undergrad career. So I mentioned it in my comment. I’m not going to say it’s worthless, but lots of people feel like they have to be superheroes or something to get into grad school. They don’t.

  48. Liza says:

    I was so happy to read this review and look forward to reading the book for myself. A close friend of mine and I have been discussing for weeks what we felt made a person “well educated”. We both felt that there was much more to education than academics and that learning should come from various activities and experiences as well as the classroom. You don’t have to be rich to have great experiences. I don’t think my family will be able to ever afford to go out of the country, but it doesn’t mean we can’t experience different cultures. Spend a couple of days on a Navajo reservation, a small town in the south, or a Jewish neighborhood in New York City. You will be amazed at how differently people view the world and what they consider as ‘normal”. If you can’t afford to travel out of your area, try something you’ve never done before. Go to a BMX bike race and talk with the people involved, walk through a neighborhood you’ve never been in before and notice the ‘culture’ of the neighborhood, volunteer sometime working with special needs children and learn what their parents go through on a daily basis. Children who experience different things and understand that not everyone sees the world as they do gain an enormous amount of knowledge that will help them academically, professionally and socially.

  49. Rebeckola says:

    I just finished reading this book at the library and found lots of food for thought in it, as well. Sadly, I was a pampered student who didn’t really appreciate school until I spent my junior year in China and saw what work really was. Some kids are born with the seriousness and focus to get a lot out of the traditional route- I wasn’t one of them. I will definitely be looking into sending my children (now 9 and 7) abroad for different stints in high school, as well as hosting exchange students in our home. If you pick up the book, you will see that the questions of costs and credits are covered extensively. The author’s daughters have learned to deal with all the hoops on their own and all graduated college early and without any debt with very little financial contributions from their parents. They are all now doing work they really enjoy and the parents love living in Buenos Ares. It is definitely worth a read.

  50. GeorgiaS says:

    I’m not sure about the advice to apply directly to a foreign college for a semester abroad rather than going through your home college’s study abroad program. My college (and most others I know of) were very strict about what credits from a study abroad experiences would apply back at the home college. In the end, you might have to spend MORE at your home college in order to make up credits. All that being said, I highly recommend studying abroad.

  51. Hope D says:

    I’m going to borrow this book from the library. It looks very interesting.

    I am a homeschooler. I homeschool because I want to give my children the best education I can. I pick great curriculum. I tailor my lesson to the needs of my children. They are doing great. If I chose to live overseas, I would still homeschool. I would take my children to historical sites and immerse them in the culture. I would not enroll them in the foreign school. I just don’t see that as a great cultural experience. “Come on kids let’s immerse ourselves in the public school of this country”.

  52. Bridget says:

    Great review! I’m actually in the *really* early stages of almost-parenthood (4 months pregnant) but I’m starting early with the international experiences- my partner and I are American expats in China and will be having our baby here in Beijing.
    We have already discussed staying in China for a few years and then moving other places internationally (He is really interested in choosing a Spanish-speaking country for our next move if we can both find/make work there- we’re both in creative industries.)
    We are both strong supporters of the idea that international experience gives children and teens a background that prepares them for success in whatever path they may choose. Many of our friends had these kinds of childhoods and we’ve been really impressed with the long-lasting effects into adulthood.

    With regard to the cost of college in another country being far less- its absolutely true. We have been taking Chinese language courses here for something around $15-20 US per class. There are other students here who have been taking courses in law, science, business and cultural studies for far cheaper than at home- many of which are taught in English (and for classes not in English- translators are available for international students.) The cost of living is low here also, far lower than the cost of dorms and apartments in the US, which is another thing to factor in.
    Of course, if someone is going to do a study abroad in London or Paris, the costs would likely be higher. But Asia has some phenomenally inexpensive options that I would recommend to anyone considering a high school or college international experience.
    Most colleges in the US, by the way, also have options to test out of required courses, even if they don’t directly accept the credits from another school. Older students who work in a field for years before getting a degree in their area often use these to avoid having to take basic 101 and 201 level courses in subjects they are well versed in already.

  53. Mel says:

    I’m a 20 year old Australian student who graduated from the IB at 17 (many Australians finish school quite young, especially in my state). I have also completed a 6-month program in Brussels. I speak French fluently, studied Japanese for five years, have some working knowledge of Spanish and am starting a German course. Neither of my parents finished high school and both are monolingual (English).
    I think the IB program is excellent so I’m a huge advocate – just one thing – it’s MENTALLY tough. In the last few years I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression and I’m on a low-dose medication to deal with it. I would suggest less academic prep and more time management and thought management (I liked David Allen’s description of allocating your pesky thoughts to different categories then turning them into actions). I also worked between 6-10 hours a week while doing this program and attended a public school. I was simply very lucky to have the opportunity (private school providers of the IB program outweigh those of public schools) but I worked hard to get as far as I did.
    I’m not sure how practical the idea that the book presents is, as far as that the parents have to be as flexible as the kids with work opportunities. It also costs money to be constantly uprooting yourself. I do, however, strongly believe in bringing up your kids in a diverse environment and encouraging independent thought.

  54. Mel says:

    I should also point out that my sister is 14, doesn’t have an interest in reading or languages and is adamant that she wont do the IB. However, she is one of the most caring young people you will ever meet, can interact with sign language in a heartbeat and has great artistic abiltity. She wants to be a special-ed teacher or teacher for 3-8 year olds. In relation to what I pointed out about fostering independent thought and what a lot of other commentators have said about giving teenagers more ‘free reign’, you really can’t push a particular program or decision on your children. You can only point out directions and be supportive.

  55. carlosmessi says:

    Personally I like original stuff. I do think that the more intelligent people in the world are the one who went through special situations in life and learn from these situations. Maybe if we can create the situation for our kids they will be more intelligent if we let them do the normal things.

  56. Jaime says:

    Interesting book, I love it when someone does something unconventional. I wasn’t one of those kids who wanted to go to college but I’m in one now, my perspective on college has changed.

    Sometimes college reminds me of a mini version of the rat race, “I gotta get a good SAT,ACT score, high GPA, gotta get into the elite college,gotta get hired at Wall Street, gotta be a CEO, etc.”

    Honestly I don’t care where I go to college, I care in the sense that its accredited and that I learn, but I don’t care about the Ivy colleges. I know my parents were disappointed but the truth is that I really wish they had been less of helicopter parents and more of letting me find my own path.

    After awhile kids get tired of doing things for their parents and want to find their own path. That’s why I didn’t want to go to college. I believe in knowledge and in education, but that doesn’t mean you must go to college for those things.

    Thanks for this book, I appreciate that you are willing to give different pov at your blog. =)

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