medical problems that kept him in the
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for his first
month of life and on a heart and apnea
monitor for two years. He required many
medical and therapy appointments, especially that first year, which made our home
life pretty hectic for a time. I really feel for
those parents who are homeschooling
special needs children, because now I
understand that we’re under even more
pressure than other homeschooling parents.
TOS: Do you have a newsletter? Tell us
Barbara: The Imperfect Homeschooler is
a free monthly E-Newsletter intended to
encourage parents wherever they are on
their homeschooling journeys. They can
subscribe at my new website, www.bar
barafrankonline.com or at www.carda
TOS: I have a passion for teaching our
kids life skills (even wrote my own book
on the subject, Life Skills for Kids). What
prompted you to write Life Prep for
Barbara: Two words: Sarah Frank. My
daughter is a very independent person.
Starting when she was 18 months old, I’d
find her in her room, struggling to remove
the clothes I’d put on her so she could
choose her own. By her early teens, she
had rearranged her bedroom to look like an
apartment. When she told me she would be
moving out on her own as soon as she was
done homeschooling, I believed her!
Since she didn’t want to go to college,
we decided it was useless for her to study
college prep courses as she finished high
school. So I designed projects for her that
would teach her what I felt she needed to
know for living on her own, and they
prepared her. She moved to Chicago
shortly before she turned 20. After a year
of living with two roommates, she moved
to her own apartment. She has lived on her
own ever since.
TOS: Would you tell us what projects are
covered in that book?
Barbara: How to research and rent an
apartment, how to understand taxes, insurance and mortgages, how to research, find
and pay for a car and car insurance . . . all
the useful subjects we should have been
taught in high school but weren’t. I wanted
to make sure Sarah would be prepared for
life on her own.
Not long ago, we published a second,
expanded edition of Life Prep for
Homeschooled Teenagers with two new
sections for parents (about part-time work
and credit cards). There’s also a new project
for teens called “The Financial Freedom
Project,” which illustrates how the decisions young adults make affect their financial freedom while they’re young as well as
later on in their lives.
TOS: What are you working on these days?
Barbara: I’m nearly finished writing my
new book, Thriving in the 21st Century:
Preparing Our Children for the New
Economic Reality. The world our children
will live in as adults will differ tremendously from the one we were prepared for
when we were their age. We were told that
if we earned a college degree, we’d always
find good jobs with benefits, and a pension
for our old age. But that world is gone.
Some people without degrees are making
millions. Some people with degrees are
making lattes at Starbucks. As for
employer-paid benefits and pensions,
they’re quickly evaporating.
Our children are likely to have several
different careers over their lifetimes.
They’ll occasionally find themselves
between jobs and will sometimes need to
obtain retraining or other forms of education. With pensions disappearing and
Social Security’s future in jeopardy, it’s
likely our children will have to finance
their own retirements.
I’m fascinated by the question of how to
prepare our children for this new economic
reality. I’ve spent the last several years
researching this issue while writing the
book, and I’ve got a lot of specific recommendations for today’s parents, along with
some very good news: the things we need
to be doing with our children lend themselves to homeschooling so completely
that choosing to homeschool is becoming
almost a necessity, if you want your child
to be prepared for what’s coming.
TOS: Tell our readers how they can learn
more about your writing and get in touch
Barbara: They can learn more at
barbarafrankonline.com, and at my blog,
TOS: Barb, thanks so much for your
wisdom and work. You have helped many
homeschoolers look to the future with