I wrote this in 2006:
Our professor friend invited us to a lecture on economics at a downtown Seattle public policy Think Tank. He said that Alex would love the lecture given by one of the architects of Reagonomics. "I don't know why I never thought of it before, but Alex would just love Discovery Institute. I guess I just didn't think of it until I saw the lecture on economics." My husband took Alex to the event, and we didn't know what to expect. When he came home, the first thing he said was, "They offered Alex a job!"
Apparently, Alex was enraptured during the lecture, and when it was time for questions he spoke right up. He asked something about how Reagonomics was derived from the teachings of Jean Baptiste Say, or something like that. The President of the company was so impressed with just the question that Alex asked, that he invited him to come and work as an intern there. Shocked, my husband informed him, "He's only fourteen!"
The President responded, "We don't discriminate based on age."
I wondered what this organization was all about. Alex informed me that a lobbyist tries to influence public policy by convincing politicians. A think tank tries to influence public policy by convincing the public. They publish books and write articles for magazines and newspapers, to influence public opinion. I asked my husband what sort of crowd is attracted to a lecture at a "think tank" and he replied that he and his son were the youngest two people in the crowd. My husband is a professional engineer, and a manager at Boeing, but he told me he felt like the "least smart" person in the room!
For the last month of summer, we worked to prepare Alex for his new job. I was completely unprepared for putting my 14year old into the work force. We had to buy him a cell phone, and professional attire. He started working in September, his first week of 9th grade. At first they had him doing office work: filing, mailing, checking the website, and answering the phone. Later they gave him writing assignments. After working there for just 6 months, he had his article on Social Security published in the Seattle newspaper.
Alex worked for one day a week in an office building in downtown Seattle. He wore a suit, carried a brief case, and was treated like a peer by the other employees. It would have been completely impossible for him to have that experience if we had not homeschooled. Public schools simply don't let students "skip school" every Wednesday, you know? Instead of sitting behind a desk, he was doing real work. And homeschooling gave us the freedom to do it!
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