Imagine No Empty NestImagine a World Without an Empty Nest?

There’s a big change brewing that could really wreak havoc on our empty nesting cycle.  We’re talking about a change toward on-line learning- imagine: your kid does not GO to college- He does college from the comfort of your home!

Google away- you can find plenty of stats supporting the trend away from brick and mortar schools and movement toward on-line learning.  And this is not the future- this is now.  2013 is predicted to be the year that on-line learning becomes the preferred method of getting a higher education degree.

“The public’s interest in taking online classes has skyrocketed…With an apparent shift towards online education away from traditional classroom instruction predicted to shape the educational environment of 2013, the demise of “brick and mortar” schools will inevitably be a decisive factor shaping the future of online schools and the students who attend them.”

Ok, so given the rise in on-line education (an increase of 100% in the past year), it is in fact possible that very soon kids will not be leaving the nest for college.

You weren’t ready to let them go anyway, right?  You were sad, and fantasized about keeping them around forever.  Want to think that through again?  With kids able to do college from their bedroom computers, parents may be looking at a very, very, very long four more years.

What would the new nest look like?

I can only imagine:

  1. Social Life: Hang on parents, partying is coming back into your home. Better increase your liability insurance. Don’t plan on leaving the house EVER – it’s a few years until they hit 21, and even after they do, if they are living with you, you might be fully responsible if there are accidents in your home or if their friends bounce off trees when they leave drunk.
  2. Food: If you liked your family cooking routine before, that is good news- because you’ll be doing a whole lot more of it!   Adult children are hungry critters and their feeding cycle can be 24/7. Unless you get your kid to start watching the Food Network and signing on for dinner duty – embrace your inner cook.
  3. Cleaning House. How about a chore chart – NOT! Just because your kids are going on-line at home doesn’t mean they will readily adapt to your vacuuming, garbage removal and yard work routines. More likely, they won’t have a clue that there’s routine cleaning involved unless you put on your “outside voice” and read them the riot act.
  4. Privacy: Your child will demand theirs (of course) but you’ll have none – need I say more?  Romance for you and your partner is last on the list.
  5. Re-connecting with your spouse: Get a room!  You may have a tough time finding your spot on the couch between your kids, the dog and your beloved.
  6. What time is breakfast? 2pm? It doesn’t really matter for the kids – they make their own hours on-line so forget any structure. Have you ever experienced kids sleeping in late on a gorgeous day?  Can you say “TORTURE”?
  7. Xtreme Sleep Overs?    Date night has no time limits; it can go on for days…or months. Just because their “natural cycle” of leaving the nest has been tampered with — A kid’s gotta do what a kid’s gotta —– You may not want a long term guest, but you can be sure that your offspring will be asking.

You get the picture…and it ain’t pretty!  In this new age of learning, I say that parents should be careful what they wish for.

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