Bryan Caplan is homeschooling his twin sons, and some of that involves bringing them into Carow Hall and GMU to hang around the rest of us. They are perhaps the only twelve year olds taking an advanced undergraduate class in labor economics; I think they can handle it.
Bryan asked if I would give them a lecture of sorts, of course I sad yes, and, oddly or not, he chose the topic of Art History for me (others around know some economics too, so perhaps that is indeed my comparative advantage). I found it an interesting exercise to ponder what I would start telling them about, given they have virtually no background in the area, and perhaps I’ll get back to that in a future post.
In the meantime, I have two general points. First, introducing your children to additional role models and sources of inspiration — your friends and co-workers, or so one should hope — is one of the best things you can do for them. Most wealthy, famous, and well-educated parents under-invest in this activity. The bottom line is that after some margin you stop influencing them, but they don’t stop looking around for sources of influence.
Second, if you are well-known, or have lots of well-known and/or talented friends, or maybe even if not, you should consider homeschooling your children for a while in this manner, if only for a month or two over the summer. Your friends will be willing to give some form of instruction to your children, and they will be way, way better than normal teachers.
My next lecture for Bryan’s children will be History of American Popular Song, complemented with musical tracks of course, though no singing.
Addendum: Here are comments from Stationary Waves.