Have you every worried about unschooling your teen? As a parent of a unschooling teen, many questions and concerns can sometimes swirl around in one’s mind. Parents sometimes worry that their child will not be equipped to face the outside world and it’s challenges. But what many parents sometimes forget is that their unschooled teen has already been living in the real world and experiencing real life!
The confinement of an institution is not learning, it is schooling and does not cater to the needs of a teen, but to the requirements of a system. Unschooling with your teen can be fun, rewarding and stress free!
What about socialization? It’s ironic that our society tends to equate a social life with the public school system. When in actuality a social life is one that is achieved by socializing in the real world. Have we not figured out yet that our children gain such a better understanding of the real life by living in it and not peering out at it from a school window? A parents involvement with their teen is very important for this experience to take place. Either by joining local homeschool groups, science clubs, the local YMCA or by volunteering in community services, your teen has many outlets to acquire a true social life.
Unschooling a teenager requires love, a huge amount of nurturing, and a lot of patience and trust. You, as the parent are there to listen and be a good role model. Through reliable resources, either through your local library or book store, Netflix or other DVD rental place, every topic your teen wants to learn about can be acquired either locally, online, and experienced at home.
Having a friendship and mature relationship with my teen and unschooled daughter Autumn has been one of the most important aspects of living an unschooling life. As a family we have learned to live together with a level of respect for one another. We have an open mouth policy and by this I mean that we can talk about everything and say anything that we feel necessary and know that we are not going to be judged. And yes, I mean anything!
Unschooling teenagers should not be something that stresses a parent or teen to the point of arguing. There are many support groups, homeschooling books, forums and blogs, like this one, that are out there to answer any questions or concerns that you may have regarding your teenager and the unschooling choice. By allowing your teen some personal space, along with a level of trust, the learning experience with your teen can be one filled with good times and great memories. I believe that your teen will one day be thankful for your peaceful guidance, your constant support and your unending love and trust.
Written by Kimberly Sharpe Slage
Photo: Kimberly & Autumn