Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Teens

Unschooling teens is a blog I created to write about the unschooling experience with my teen boys. I have not had a lot of luck in locating others who are unschooling teens as well. Because of that I decided to create this blog for parent's who are looking for information like I was.

Some History..........

My boys, Jesse 14 and William 16. They were not always unschooled or even homeschooled. It all started with my youngest Jesse.

Jesse was never a social child and hated school from his first day of preschool. The photo I took of him waiting for the bus should have been my first clue. (If I can locate the photo I will post it.) From that day forward school became a nightmare. He was bored and didn't understand why he had to keep doing the same things over and over again, after he had already learned something. We struggled with his school and teachers constantly, he did not fit into their mold of what a child should be doing or how they should be acting.

Fast forward to 3rd grade Jesse was diagnosed as being ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) and a possible mood disorder. We tried Adderall, Concerta, and Strattera with no real changes other then they seemed to make him loopy.

About half way through the third grade I had had enough of battling with the school and teachers about Jesse. I yanked him out and enrolled him in an online home school program. I then found myself stressed out all the time in trying to get him to do his assignments. We finished up the third grade with the online home school program.

4th grade I sent him back to public school because it was in a different building then the elementary school, so a whole new set of administration and teachers, I was hoping things would change. Made it through the 4th grade barely, started 5th grade and I was then getting calls about Jesse not doing assignments again. I actually received a call from the principal who said to me Jesse is in my office crying I am trying to talk to him about his assignments that he is not doing, and he will not respond to me at all. She then says to me "In my 20+ years of being in the education system I have never dealt with a child like Jesse and I have no idea how to deal with him"  I said to her "welcome to my world".

Yanked him out of school again. Started the online homeschool program again with similar results as previously. We then moved to another school district and there was about a month of school left, so I decided to go ahead and enroll him back in school to see how things went at this new school. Things seemed to be going well. He finished up the 5th grade and then started the 6th grade at the middle school where he had teachers who were great with him, and understood the problems we had previously with the other school district. The new school went out of there way to help Jesse every way they could.

Fast forward to 7th grade we had to move back into the old school district. I thought well since he is in middle school now maybe things will be different I enrolled him back into the old school district. He attended about 2 weeks and I was getting calls again the same kind of stuff from before. I then realized Jesse is not the problem the school district is, we had no issues like this at the other school he had just left. I yanked him out again and put him into a different online home school program.

I then realized that Jesse was not bothering with any if his assignments through the homeschool program. I started looking over the curriculum, I discovered it was all repetitive stuff and busy work. He's bored. He would spend all of his time playing video games, and pursuing things he was interested in.

I then started looking more into real homeschooling and not an online homeschooling program. That was when I discovered unschooling and it was like a light bulb lighting up for me. Here was the solution for my child who is extremely intelligent and very bored with busy work and being forced to learn about things he has no interest in. I researched everything I could on unschooling. I then gathered up all the documents I would need to submit to the board of education to homeschool my children.

In the process of doing all this research, I started talking to my 16 year old about it who was attending public school. He too was growing very bored with school and not learning anything new. He liked the idea of being able to pursue his own interests and not being forced to learn about things he had no interest in.

I withdrew them both from school, and we started our journey of unschooling.


 Jesse loves watching The History Channel and Animal Planet and always has some new info to share with us on what he has learned. He has also taught himself how to code and is currently coding plug ins for minecraft.

William is currently pursuing his musical interests. He has taught himself how to play both lead and bass guitar. He is also singing and writing his own lyrics. He is also very active in politics, and loves a good debate.

None of these things would be possible, if they were still attending traditional schools. There would be no time for them to pursue their interests because they would be to busy, doing busy work.