Albert Wenger is a top investor at Union Square Ventures, which has invested in radical companies like Twitter, Tumblr, and Kickstarter. Wenger's next idea is nothing if not radical: he and his wife want to homeschool their kids with the help of regular idiots like you and me. The Future Is Now.
Our kids (ages 13, 13 and 11) are about to embark on an exciting year outside of traditional private school to pursue (or figure out) their passions.
Brave. "In order to get ready," Wenger continues, "we are looking for three awesome individuals we are calling guides, who will each have primary responsibility for the growth of one of our children."
As a guide, your job will be to help the child
1. Explore one or more areas of their interest (this includes finding and coordinating time with skilled experts)
2. Build and strengthen basic skills in reading, writing, presenting, researching, analyzing in pursuit of those interests
3. Overcome obstacles and challenge themselves
This is all good stuff to do with a kid! Good, normal, helpful, edifying stuff. The sort of things people go to college for, so that they're qualified to guide the growth of a tiny, vulnerable mind. But this ain't your ol' School 1.0:
We’ve purposely left the profile of the guides open as we’re not sure who exactly we’re looking for. What we do know they should be entrepreneurial in spirit, self-motivated, creative, energetic, and excited to learn alongside the kids.
Well surely the couple is looking for "guides" that are ready for the massive responsibility of teaching three kids, right?
1. Your are great with kids and ideally have recent experience with teenagers (e.g., as a tutor, camp counselor, teacher, music instructor)
2. You are technology savvy and actively seek out technology to assist you with tasks. Ideally you either already have some basic programming knowledge or want to acquire it.
3. You are intellectually curious and want to understand how things work and how different areas of knowledge are connected to each other.
4. You are personally pursuing “mastery" in some field. This could be anything, eg, a sport, a language, an instrument, cooking, acting, writing, public speaking. You understand the concept of deliberate practice and engage in it yourself.
So, basically, another 13-year-old child would be qualified for this job. And of course even the fucking interview process can't be normal, either: it will use "Ziggeo, a video service co-founded by my wife Susan," says Wenger.
Will soliciting amateur teachers through the internet prove to be Uber for knowledge? Etsy for life experience? Avego for facts? Foursquare for learning how to share? Dodgeball for dodgeball? Is it legal to have your kids learn via untrained guides instead of going to school? These are the sort of exciting questions we can all look forward to facing in the new world of disruptive education—except those of us who were educated by internet guides, and might not know how to read this post.
Update: Wenger wrote in to elaborate on the plan:
Guides will be the primaries, but not really "instructors" in the classical sense — get the kids to watch Khan Academy, EdX etc videos and instruction and then work with them on solving problems. Primary reason is that school is (a) inefficient and (b) largely kills initiative and interest as opposed to stimulating it and (c) is totally behind the times as to what kids should learn. I will definitely blog more about the motivation for doing this and also happy to talk to you about it.