My 12yo recently let us know that she really, really wants to go to public school. We've been helping her pursue her own interests and learn whatever she wants to learn to the extent that she wants to learn it, so she, her dad, and I agreed that we will spend this coming year helping her get to the place where she'll need to be to start 8th grade in the fall of 2013.
My reasons for wanting her to spend this year in preparation are so that she'll feel confident among her peers, and also so that, should she realize a few days or weeks or months into it that this is not for her, we can easily withdraw her without raising any red flags among school employees.
I realize that some people might see the path that we are now taking as an indication that unschooling is no longer working for our child -- or that dh and I have somehow been doing it all wrong -- but dd's recent behavior has actually been proving to me how perfect unschooling always was and still is for her. Not because I think she won't be going to school next fall, because she probably will still decide to do so, but because, after a week of wanting me to give her assignments, she has quickly moved back into the driver's seat and begun setting her own goals and figuring out how she wants to work toward them.
I realize that we'll need to provide her with some guidlines as to what exactly is expected of an 8th grader in our state -- but once we help her get to the resources she needs in order to learn the required information and/or work on the required skills, she'll be in the driver's seat and we'll simply be available as additional resources that she can draw on.
Some people might say that I should regret not having her start on all this earlier -- but what I'm seeing is that she's got a motivation now, and even if it's a motivation to catch up with her schooled peers, it's still a motivation and it makes it all very exciting for her.
The way I see it, we'll still be unschooling when/if she goes to school because she'll be pursuing her dreams as an empowered young woman who knows that she can use the vehicle of school for as long as it's working for her, and can return to home education if and when she decides to. The world is and will always be her oyster.
Thanks for listening and I'd love to hear your own ideas and stories!
Edited by mammal_mama - 8/13/12 at 1:32pm