At this writing, Alyssa was 15 and had been radically unschooled her entire life. She began to doubt if she was on the right path, wondering about friends and her own knowledge base. She only stayed in high school for 1 1/2 years (from Sophomore year to half of Junior year) but when she started, these were here experiences…
Alyssa’s choice to go to school has brought about a new set of questions and quandries.
She comes in with a slight disadvantage. She never really developed any study skills. For instance, she was sick and needed to go to the doctor. She decided to bring her homework along and do it in the waiting room. She wanted to go to a friend’s volleyball game and be online to talk to friends when she got home, so it seemed like a good idea. She even continued to do the work – basically filling in the blanks from the history chapters – as she sat on the examination table. At one point, she burst into tears – tired and completely overwhelmed. I’ve already told her that her grades don’t really matter to me. But she wants to do well. And she really doesn’t want me to tell her that she’ll have to study to do well.
So, she completed the work but didn’t really read the chapters. And so when the test rolled around, she considered that she *had* studied. She recognized the words, but she didn’t KNOW them….as evidenced by the 49 she got on the test.
This has a huge impact on her self esteem. She starts talking about not being ABLE to do this work. But the truth is simply that she doesn’t have any study skills.
So, she agreed that she needed a study plan. Something specific for each of the subjects. She had a lot of resentment when she told me that she knows of people who DON’T have to study, and still make good grades. I tried to explain that there will ALWAYS be people like that. And some subjects will come easier to her than others.
But this idea of studying things she isn’t interested in, is VERY foreign-looking life for us. And if her self-esteem wasn’t so tied into her test results, we’d opt for something way more relaxed. But for now, this is where we’re heading.
More coming about what she really learned in high school, as well as her exit and return to her unschooled life.