Benefits of Unschooling when the Teen Years Arrive

Sandra Dodd when not otherwise specified

Among other unforeseen benefits of unschooling, I've found as my kids got older that their demeanor and understanding are beyond anything I could've imagined. It's hard to describe, but once in a while a mention is made by the parent of a teen that helps shed light on the big "it" I'm seeing.

Partly it's the relationship between parents and long-unschooled kids, but partly it's just their calm wholeness and their belonging in the real world that makes them so alert and balanced and generous with their attention. There's no guarantee, but I've seen it dozens of times now and there's absolutely something to it.

Ann Carlson wrote on the Unschooling Discussion list, October 2008:

Thanks in part to this list and others, I really changed the way I interacted with my kids a few years ago. Now they're teens. I, too, am so grateful and we have real relationships; different than I ever imagined, kind, communicative, close, "huggy" . . . people told us all the time when we adopted three babies— just wait til they're teen agers, implying our lives would be hell with three teens. I can't tell you how many people said that, over and over, some still say it. Mostly now, people ask how it is we avoided all the rebellion.

Best U turn I ever took—putting relationships first and unschooling.

Sandra Dodd wrote:
If our home is unsafe and unwelcoming, any guy who wants her to move away with him might seem appealing. If our home is safe and happy, guys will need to compete with us to make her feel loved and secure.
Wendy responded:
What an *awesome* statement!! I was raised in the safe and happy house...and my hubby did have to compete. :-) I wasn't out looking for someone to love me because I got total love and acceptance at home. I had to meet someone that was worth leaving home for! And he was/is worth it....but my parents live next door to us. So I didn't go far. LOL My mom is even joining us at [the Live and Learn Conference] this year.

Wendy S. in GA
Mom to Shelby, age 7

Joanna Murphy wrote:

Thanks to this list and the encouragement to seek out the fun and interesting, my son and I have been searching out comedy. Right now, t.v. is on our daily "curriculum" (our comedy curriculum—LOL!) and we are having a blast! Whereas several other parents I know have been complaining to me about their teenage sons turning away from them and not sharing their lives with them anymore, my son and I spend quality time together everyday—looking forward to what's on the agenda.

I can't even tell you all the conversation that has been stimulated—we make liberal use of the pause button—I mean all the comparing, analyzing, dissection and belly laughing we have shared, the connections that have been made—I wouldn't trade our time for a million bucks! And then there's the planning, discussing shows, comedians, actors, politics, etc.

I feel sorry, now, for parents that hold on to their biases against modern media (t.v., computer, video games, etc.) for all that they are missing out on. I used to be in the "fear t.v. because it is evil" camp, until I decided to trust my children to be drawn to what is stimulating for them whether I understand it or not. Until someone has made that shift, it is hard to really describe it—except to say that in my opinion, it is the place where the relationship exists that everyone fantasizes that they will have with their children before they are born, but then you don't because you are caught up in power struggles!

So after an entire day of LARPing and winter gardening, we settled down to a few episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's been a good day.

in this post to the AlwaysLearning list in November 2008.

Beth in MD wrote:

Andrew has been making live movies for a little while. His love of the art started with claymation several years ago.

He and some home school and public school buds have been having a blast making all kinds of shorts. They just couldn't resist giving this topic a try.

Andrew is the clapper guy, the black jacketed biker and the one beside the trampoline. But mostly he did the storyboard and was behind the camera.