“Mom, I don’t know why you don’t just homeschool me,” said my son. I thought he was joking. My connotations of homeschool included me and him sitting at the dinner table, staring at a computer, and fighting because lord knows, I could barely support his homework without a great debate and immediate frustration.
Here are the Top 5 Catalysts for my decision to Unschool my Son:
1. I’ve never seen a child fail high school so miserably. And I am a highschool teacher, thought I’d seen it all.
2. My son has never been a “traditional” student. He started out in Waldorf, went to Odyssey (expeditionary learning) and then went to Denver School of the Arts for videography. It wasn’t until high school that we thought we’d give a “traditional” school a shot!
3. Three high schools in two years.
- He started out at the school I was working at, but it was a bit too off the hook that freshman year; he got taken in by all the older kids and it was just too stressful for me to parent and maintain the esteem that I worked so hard to create for myself in my professional world.
- *Transfer to Northfield High School–the new Stapleton High School. I thought it was perfect, it was kind of far away, no where to go (to ditch, ha ha) and he made the basketball team. Turns out–it sucked! There was one amazing person there–Micah Porter, he had his back. The rest was garbage with high teacher turnover and a struggle to find its voice.
- *Transfer to South High School–yay! He could be with one of my favorite colleagues in the universe, Jen Hanson, recently appointed principal and still be in a bigger school that was similar to East but much more global and not so easy to get lost in the numbers. Best support I’ve ever had as a parent with a school. We tried everything–hand picked teachers, 504 plan, even freaking medication (my worst nightmare) Nothing was working.
4. He HATED school. Everyday, I’d drop him off and his energy was depleted and he was definitely depressed. I was always worried about how many alerts I’d get about him that day for missing classes. He would barely attend school.
5. I finally listened to him. Like really, really, really listened to him. He hated school and he already knew what he needed–homeschool. I could not bare my child’s misery and his declining self-esteem.
One day, I came home at my wits end, threw my hands up into the air and asked the Universe–“What am I supposed to do?”
I fervently began researching alternative school options. Ended up finding out about democracy schools, loved the self-directed education emphasis and then…I found out about this unschooling business, which completely sounded like just the type of education my son could thrive in; read a bunch of books about it, and here we are now!
I’m thinking this may have been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life, because now we get to live the dream I always had as a mother and that was to live abroad for a good solid year!
*These are completely my personal opinions and I trust that each school has something to offer somebody! Much love to all the educators trying to get these kids ahead in the world!