A call from the high school came into our office for several years. Do you want to help her, she asked? She was a smart, strong employee and serious about her education and future. Her problem was that her classroom, public school, did not help her meet her goals anymore. Actually, it did not last for some time. This was her senior year, and now she stopped and wanted to go to school after all these years.
For many people, her decision was just not sensible. They were thinking: "You've been here for eleven years and now you're only three quarters from being introduced by the desirable school certificate." She did not do enough to continue to attend six hours of classes a day with students who had seriously "checked out". In her words, it was a "party atmosphere" most of the time.
She was not angry. She did not describe her position in "us" versus "them" language. She was simply ready to keep quiet, not bitterly. She still wanted some recognition for the work she had finished, the class she had won. She wanted some directions in what final education she should take to complete her education at this stage. Her parents supported her decision.
I think what I saw in her was someone who, at the beginning of adulthood, had found that school, education and education are not always a package deal. School is a very artificial environment, where learning sometimes takes place and sometimes it is not.
- Mark Twain said: "Do not let school prevent your education."
- Shakespeare, through the mouth of Hamlet, said: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, but dream of your philosophy."
In November I met her and her family. We discussed her goals and where she saw herself in the next few years. I helped them think about the pros and cons of the decision she was going to make. I explained what it would do to meet the requirements for our graduation and what books and other ways she could use to complete this course in her education. Even though our plan was still a structure, it was one with much more freedom and meaning.
After the meeting, she took out her books and got the right to work. She did not need anything. I met her and her family several times that school year to review their work and make the necessary permissions. It was in June, when her parents were with her, she introduced her diploma.
Some say she's not really a "home school". I would say to answer: "No matter what you call what she was doing." The most important thing was that she was not afraid to seek professional help and make a decision that would change the course, to "home school" after all these years!
Thanks for reading!
Curt Bumcrot, MRE