Convincing my dad to unschool?

Anyone have any tips for convincing my dad to unschool me? Traditional school is not working well for me but my dad seems to think that I need it to prepare me for the “real world”. The fact that school isn’t considered the real world probably isn’t a good sign…

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6 responses to “Convincing my dad to unschool?”

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    I would tell him to read the Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewelyn. It’s meant for both parents and teens, and would recommend that you read it as well.

    My mom has homeschooled/unschooled my brother and me for 10 years, and she first learned about it through a book called Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto. It really changed her perspective on school. That might be another one to suggest that he read.

    Good luck!

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    We un-school in our family. I also recommend the Teenage Liberation Handbook as suggested above. For the first couple of years I had a couple of coaching calls with Dayna Martin author of Radical Unschooling. That could be helpful for him. My daughter (15) just said “un-schooling IS the real world, that’s the point!”
    I completely agree with that! He is also welcome to have a conversation with me via email if he wants to converse with a family that chooses this lifestyle. Best to you!

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    A few things…

    1) – I posted this on Reddit and got this response from someone: “Why don’t you just try regular homeschooling first. Unschooling is maybe too much of a leap. Do some kind of traditional-ish school at home. Most of us, when we see learning happening, start to get a bit more relaxed about it after a while.” Here is a link to that post: https://www.reddit.com/r/homeschool/comments/9sfi3n/convincing_my_dad_to_unschool/

    2) I posted on Facebook and had two unschooling parents reply who are willing to speak to your dad…. let me know if you want me to connect them. Here is a link to that post: https://www.facebook.com/mrjimflannery/posts/2164389750480376

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    Another great comment from a grown unschooler via Facebook: “I did this! One note…I think the question could use some reframing. It’s not about convincing a parent to unschool you, it’s about convincing them that YOU can be the one primarily responsible for your education. I think putting it the other way can make it seem like a responsibility/chore for the parent.”

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    If your dad is anything like my parents, he needs facts. My advice is to gather as much research as possible, using professional comments and studies on the benefits of unschooling and how it’s positively affected many people in the long run. Showing him your compiled research can also demonstrate that you have the self-motivation required to keep yourself on track without the “help” of a formal education system.

    He might say that to do something like unschooling, the kid needs to be raised with it since birth, or that it’s too late for you to start something like that. It’s not true. For example, I grew up in the traditional school system. I’ve only just started unschooling for my junior year of HS, yet that doesn’t mean that I do any worse that anyone else. I’m not going to lie; it’s challenging, and sometimes I have absolutely no idea of where to go. But that’s okay. I’ve taken this whole thing on faith and so far I haven’t run into any real problems. I’m still doing a lot more now than I ever did sitting in at a desk (another thing to look into – sitting all day is absolutely unhealthy, yet that’s what’s required, and with the amount of homework and studying school requires, physical exercising regularly can be a challenge – especially if you’re not fit for a sports team). Since this is only my opinion, though, I’d still do research on this, too.

    For his doubts that you’ll get “real life” skills through unschooling, you basically have to hand him the definition. Unschooling is the practice of learning through life experiences. Example: does school teach you how to ride the metro? No. Does school teach you how to love reading? No. Does school teach you how to navigate your way to a set point? No. Does school teach you how to stick to something without the “help” of punishment-or-praise motivation? No. I could go on and on about the real-world skills that sitting at a desk just doesn’t cover. Sure, real-life may require you to sit down and work, but it’s also about self-reliance, independence, self-motivation, and planning. All things that the education system seems to think you’re fine not knowing about.

    So, in a nutshell, use facts and basic logic. Numerous education experts agree with unschooling, you don’t have to be raised for it, and succeeding in life does not require knowing how to find the area of the parameter of a spherical circular geometrical thingy (sorry math).

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