I am publishing below the full and unedited version of an article written by my 14-year-old daughter, Mindie. She wrote this entirely voluntarily and in fact without my knowledge until after the fact. The thoughts are her own.
Home-schooling and Un-schooling: What They’ve Done for Me
Recently, my parents decided to pull my sister and me out of my eight year life at public school to home-school/un-school us. This was, of course, a big change for us. Many things would have to be different about our lifestyle from now on.
First, there was the issue of socializing. My sister isn’t as social as I am, but she has friends she enjoys spending time with as much as I do. We had friends that were also home-schoolers, and they invited us to many group activities and field trips they took as a home-schooling group. We still had friends that went to public school, and we wanted to keep in contact with them. For some friends, we could simply email or text message when we wanted to hang out. They didn’t live that far away, and as long as they were free, we could meet up. We do spend time with friends from our area, but we also have friends that it isn’t possible to just meet up. We have friends that live in other states, and we can’t just meet somewhere and spend time together. For these friends, we usually use online messaging programs, like Skype, and social sites, such as Facebook, to chat. We can’t see each other in person, but we are still good friends. Socializing hasn’t been that big of a problem for us.
There’s also the issue that not all of our family and friends were completely on board with us home-schooling at first. Since we started, they’ve mostly gotten used to it, but at there’s still many questions every time they see us. They are, of course, still unsure of how everything works for us, since even our schedules have changed drastically. We manage to make everything work, and we answer questions as best we can. I’m glad to see that they can support our decision in full.
I really feel like home-schooling/un-schooling has helped our family a lot. We no longer deal with abuse and bullying that happened in public school. We don’t have to adjust our schedules to the school’s anymore. And, for my parents, no more taking that drive twice everyday, or more.
Mainly, I think that home-schooling/un-schooling has helped my sister and me socially, mentally, and emotionally. We both no longer feel forced to be social, since we aren’t around a crowd of people 24/7 anymore. My sister had more problems with bullying than I did, and she’s gotten so much better. I think she feels she can express herself now without fear of ridicule. She states her mind, and gives opinions much more now. She’s been more free to explore her likes and interests, and has done so.
I think that home-schooling/un-schooling has helped me in several ways. For example:
I get what sleep I need, and I generally feel much more rested and happy most of the time.
I feel like I can actually like what I like now, and I’ve discovered more of what I like.
I’ve learned more about the world around me than I did in school. I’m slightly more involved with my community now.
I don’t feel like I have to live up to everyone’s expectations all the time, so I do it more.
I have more time to spend with friends and family, and to myself.
You can even ask my friends on this one, I am more social, and less shy around new people now. I talk more and make friends quicker, and easier.
I’m not having knowledge I don’t feel I need shoved into my brain, and therefore, I’m even more eager to learn.
I’m not spending 4 hours pouring over schoolwork now. I don’t get headaches as much, as I often did while doing homework.
I feel like I’m allowed to take more chances. Even if they don’t always go well, I’m experiencing even more now, I think.
I don’t think that college, or my future will be a problem. I think of it as, as long as I’m eager and trying, I’ll be able to do what I want with my life. I’ve already looked a little into what I want to do later in life, and colleges I might want to go to, but I’m also taking things at my pace. I like that I don’t feel rushed to do something with my life.
I would recommend home-schooling/un-schooling to anyone who is seeking a change in they’re child’s school life, or they’re own. I honestly think it helps everyone at least a little. I would love to see more people looking as happy as I feel now.