I’ve been planning to create a blog post as an introduction to Economics in the same vein as my post on Philosophy. Unfortunately, all I’ve been finding are exceptionally bad books on economics.
… and, of course, those two books reminded me of homeschooling.
Let me explain. Both the books mentioned dealt with something that has not come into existence yet. Both books argued not just for possibilities but against the loss of that elusive opportunity cost.
How often – the two books argued – do we spend time thinking “what if?” How many times do we consider possibilities?
As regards homeschooling, how often do we plan curricula, play dates, reading material, field trips? So often it boggles the mind! I mean, homeschooling sometimes seems like nothing if not an endless succession of planning.
And yet, how many times do we stop to think about opportunity cost?
How often do we stop and consider the possibilities we might be giving up if we don’t (or do!) follow this specific path, go on this field trip, pick this curriculum, this class, this way of teaching?
In Economics in One Lesson, Hazlitt says that people only see what’s in front of their eyes. Bad monetary policies are implemented because people see the immediate effects of said implementation. What is much harder to gauge are the ripple effects of these laws. What is even harder to perceive is the possibility that same money would have had if it had not been funneled in a certain direction. The effect of an entire community getting poorer is not always obvious.
“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” – Hazlitt
Why Haven’t You Read This Book also takes the reader on a similar trajectory when it comes to considering possibilities. The book has multiple authors who have argued “Why not?” and written their experiences with conquering that question. Why not travel the world? one asks. Why not audition for American Idol? asks another. And why not drop out of school?
The opportunities we are presented with when homeschooling are our biggest strengths. But we have to be willing to look at them critically in the light of all they represent.
When we shift to auto-pilot, we lose the freedom we so desperately craved before we became homeschoolers.
We have to be willing to trace the consequences of what we undertake, see the opportunity costs and the possibilities as well as what’s staring us in the face.