New to this board.
I just want to imagine that a child is forced into a relatively large cage every day, from 8am-3pm. With her in this cage come other people her age and authority figures that threaten her and coerce them all into submission. This child is taught incessantly and perpetually that this cage is good for her. She befriends many of her peers, most of whom are made to believe the propaganda. She has to do Cage-Work, even when she goes home at night to her family. It is tireless. She is promised a life of success if she obeys the Cage Masters. She is told that parroting droning information is the only way for her to feel good about herself. The cage is wrought with adultism, classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, and abuse of privilege. She is told that every "right" she has, from urinating to engaging in conversation, is a privilege granted to her based on her ability to submit. She and her peers are manipulated into truly believing that this is all for their own good !!! Under this stress, her peers in the cage begin practicing unhealthy social behaviors, making clique-y alliances and competing with each other for Cage Master approval. They even compete for the approval of each other, singling out the "weakest" of the bunch and making them scapegoats for their pain. This habit carries over into family life and, then, life itself. Cage alumni never quite get over the things they learned in the cage, and, in a pro-cage environment, they never learn to read these behaviors as unhealthy. Their caged ways follow them everywhere forever, unless they are by chance exposed to a new way.
Now, the child's parents are somehow exposed to a new way. They begin to think harder about the effects that the cage is having upon their child. They begin educating themselves, against the odds, and become aware that she and her peers are being coerced, threatened and unwillingly forced to do things because of pro-cage culture (and, ultimately, money). They begin to understand this as unhealthy and traumatic. They find the strength, even in the face of their own pro-cage peers (many of them proud cage-alumni themselves), to tell their dear child that she can leave the cage forever.
So, what to do when life outside the cage is not all roses? What to do when freedom is a big responsibility and the child feels guilt that she is not doing the work that was forced upon her in the cage? What to do when your parents, unlike other kids' parents, are suspiciously trusting of you, when you're not entirely sure that you can trust yourself. What to do when conditioned peers speak comfortably of the warped sense of conditional self-value and accomplishment... What happens when cage culture is so ingrained in her that she feels insignificant and unable to learn outside of the cage? What if she attributes her very worth to the conditions of the cage???
Surely, you wouldn't send her back to the cage ?!?
Perhaps some will feel this example is on the extreme side. I certainly don't want to insult mindful parents who allow their children to go back to school. I'm not proposing that unschooled kids who eventually choose to try school are being subjected to torture by their parents, but I do want to suggest that child-led education is not, in my eyes, a well-conceived reason to send a detoxing child back to an oppressive institution, because of which they have already suffered.
At 13, even though school could have eventually killed me (literally), I may have attended even if given the choice. I may have wanted to avoid being stigmatized. I may still have been craving the approval of my teachers. I may have been afraid to leave "the cage". But the stress of school still gave me suicidal thoughts. It led me to get prescriptions to medicate for these thoughts, which were influenced by a series of core beliefs that are perpetuated even beyond school walls. I am not the only one. Prison inmates who were abused within the prison industrial complex for a huge chunk of time, feel uncomfortable out from behind bars for *years* - often forever. What does this say about the power of an oppressive environment? I have PTSD from my school days, truly. It will affect me for the rest of my life. I think it must be understood that whether you personally adapted well to an oppressive environment, it is a war zone.
BUT, of course, this whole point is moot, because the OP doesn't even state that the child wishes to go back to school or has asked to do so. It only states that she says she feels she "isn't learning anything", which isn't the same thing. Feeling like you're not learning anything is easy. Being self-conscious is a breeze. Feeling inadequate is only natural, when after seven years of having your "learning" measured out for you and used as a carrot, you are finally behooved to be self-motivated. She's lost out on 7 years of self-motivation experience. Give the girl a break!
In short, no. She's not too old or conditioned to transition healthfully into life learning, especially with understanding support. My thoughts are to just work on your relationship with her, and her mental health. She's 13 and her body is going through crazy changes, which may make it harder for her to focus, as well as amp up her self-consciousness. This particular time in our lives is always going to be hard. But, if she feels like she's vegging out too much, it also might be helpful if she is doing some kind of super-cool enjoyable project based on her interests. You could gently suggest "cool" things that might connect with where she's at.
Some suggestions, based only on what you said about her being into fashion magazines.!: Perhaps she'd like a pattern-making/fashion/fashion drawing/fashion photography/sewing class? She also might be interested in looking up fiber arts or textile design. There are magazines about those, too! Or just get a sewing machine and have her do some looking online to try it out herself? There are books on beginner pattern-making. Learning to screen print images onto tee shirts, etc. Intern with a local dressmaker? If she's into magazines, could you look for a graphic design/layout program for her and see if she wants to make her own? There are free, open-source programs that you can download for that. I have one. Start or join a local fashion club or meetup? Or publish a DIY fashion zine and distro it online? Or a fashion blog? Does she frequent fashion blogs? I have a lot of neat suggestions for blogs if she'd like some. She might be interested in jewelry making? She could find a fashion correspondent or mentor. There's actually a lot of academic work in fashion - Fashion theory, historical fashion, world fashions, etc.
If you'd like more resources for any of these things, just PM me.