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I am struggling right now with the question of what my 12 yr. old unschooled dd needs, what exactly is my "job" here and how I can facilitate what she needs...<br><br>
DD has always been unschooled and is the kind of kid who never said "I'm bored"... We've been able to manage a good balance of busy stuff and down time, and she's always enjoyed having her time for drawing, reading, playing etc. Unschooling has worked for us all these years.<br><br>
Suddenly I am feeling like dd's life is not stimulating enough. I see her doing things to occupy her time that she has been doing for years, drawing and playing with pets and fooling around in her room, and I know that it's great that we have a relaxed life where she has the time to do these things, but it seems like she needs new stimulation. It seems like she is more "killing time" with her activities. I KNOW she needs lots of down time, but my gut tells me something is missing.<br><br>
She says she is happy but "a little" bored with our life. I don't see this as the same as "boredom is a good thing, kids need to be bored" because she has PLENTY of daydream, fool around and be-creative time. I feel like at almost 13, she needs new experiences, and I am not providing enough.<br><br>
We sat down as a family and talked about goals for the next few months, and hers are seeing her friends and going swimming. I feel like that's the extent of her desires because she doesn't know what else is out there.<br><br>
At a younger age I would have just brought home a fresh stack of library books, or taken her to a museum or added a class to her week. Not that I can't still do those things with her. But now it seems like something MORE is missing and I can't put my finger on it.<br><br>
I feel like I KNOW how to unschool with a child, and I don't know how to unschool with an almost-teen.<br><br>
Looking for some help and guidance!!!
 

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I think that's a great point. Teenagers work differently, their brains are changing and their expectations are changing too.<br><br>
One thing I do with my kids, teens and younger, is to take them to new activities. I usually just present it as something I want to do, and they usually want to tag along. It can be something as simple as visiting a new store they've never been to, like a comic book store, or new craft store, or a coffee shop you've never been to, or it can be something more planned like driving two hours to visit a museum that has little classes on native arts like weaving or arrow fletching (which is what we're doing next week!)<br><br>
It's so important to provide hands-on opportunity to try new things. It's been different going from all younger kids to having teens, but it's so much fun!
 

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I wonder if there is any kind of service/volunteer work available for her age that she might find of interest. I'm just thinking, at age 12, doing some kind of work that she feels makes a difference might be satisfying. Maybe promoting some cause of interest (I can see ds doing some kind of environmental awareness or park clean up sort of thing when he's older because he gets so indignant when he sees trash in the creek). Or maybe something more entrepreneurial...<br><br>
It's a nice age, imo (not that I've parented through it, lol) but awkward because it's such a big step closer to adulthood. I suspect for some kids that there is a greater need for activities to be meaningful in a greater context. But they are still young/inexperienced enough they don't know what they could do.
 

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I second maybe volunteering somewhere. I started volunteering around that age, and my the time I was 15 it had turned into full time work that I loved and did all through high school. If she's going to want to get a job as a teen, having volunteering on a work application can really help. I was homeschooled and/or sometimes did alternative schools and always having a job kept me busy, taught me a lot, gave me money, and made me feel very grown up.<br><br>
I started taking classes at the community college in my early teens. Only fun stuff like astronomy, feng shui, yoga, etc.<br><br>
I also loved dance classes. They meant the world to me, but my parents wouldn't let me do them very often. To this day I still love to take random classes and learn all kinds of new things. Maybe there's something she wants to try if she thinks about it? Music, dance, art, foreign language, martial arts, etc. There's so much to choose from and if something ends up not being so great/fun, you can always stop taking the classes.
 

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We sat down as a family and talked about goals for the next few months, and hers are seeing her friends and going swimming. I feel like that's the extent of her desires because she doesn't know what else is out there.<br></div>
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It's hard to recommend things without knowing the kind of area you're in. Around here, the science center has workshops for teens, there is an arts program where teens can get very cheap seats at major shows, and there are classes at museums.<br><br>
We've formed groups for things like book clubs and film clubs and philosophy discussion groups with other teens.<br><br>
I also think volunteering is great--it's <b>real</b> work which is what I find a lot of teens are craving. My kids have done volunteer work that requires a regular commitment as well as things like one day park clean-ups and the like.<br><br>
Would your dd be interested in working? Could she babysit, dog-walk, check on neighbors' houses while they're away?<br><br>
If community college is an option (here you need to be 14 to start) then that's a great resources as well. Actually, our cc has a "college for kids" program in the summer where they offer one week, no-pressure classes.
 

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my kids are much littler, but something I've heard in other unschooling communities is that this is pretty normal. The preteen/early teen years are a time of transitioning from play to more adult activities, and this can be confusing to kids, too...your daughter may benefit from the down time and eventually come out on the other side with a renewed sense of what activities <i>she</i> wants to pursue. Not that you shouldn't offer new things, but just another factor that may be at play there...<br><br>
I also think that many kids around that age start to enjoy spending tons of time with friends. Is that something you're able to do as much as your daughter would like?
 
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