The Perhaps Delicate Parental Issue
Most unschooled people have, in the past, been out of school because of their parents' beliefs. Lovely, you say, but that means I have to convince my parents that un-schooling is a good thing for me and for them. Yes. Fortunately, with a little care and planning, you will probably be able to help them see the light. Ideally, it will go well enough that your parents support and encourage you without too much entangling themselves in your hair, and become so inspired by you that their own lives become richer and braver. First, though, let's confront some fears you might have about un-schooling and parents.
What if I don't get along with my parents? Won't un-schooling just make it worse?
I have some comfort to offer you. Un-schooling generally seems to make parents into allies and friends rather than disciplinarians and authority figures. At least, dozens of un-schooling parents and teenagers have told me so. Stacey Reynolds, sixteen, gave a typical comment: "I must have missed something in Junior High, because there was a turning point somewhere where my peers have stopped loving and started hating their parents. I'm glad I missed it." Joel Williams, thirteen: "My mom likes me better than when I was in school." Tabitha McCullum, fourteen: "My parents and I have a really good relationship with each other. I think that being home educated helps and I love having them around."
A mother: "Most of our friends with teenagers seem to either not know their kids very well, or else to not like them very much. They seem to think of the teenage years as something to endure, or survive. I'm very thankful to both know and like my son." Have other parents noticed a very easy adolescence with unschooled kids? I think that my fifteen-year-old son's early acquaintance with responsibility for his own actions has made it unnecessary for him to rebel and fight for independence. He is willing to accept my judgment at times because it is offered as one adult to another and not as a restriction on a kid who doesn't know anything.
If you still have doubts, think of activities you would enjoy away from home-volunteering, apprenticing, babysitting while you read or do math. My parents have always hounded me about my schoolwork. I'm afraid if I quit school they'll be even worse, since they won't have any teachers to help "control" me. Make sure when you discuss un-schooling with them that they understand your need for independence. Make a point of talking with them often about your activities. Show them what you accomplish, or keep a daily log that they are welcome to read. If you admit your concerns as well as your joys, they will see that you are in touch with reality, and won't need to preach constantly.