Collecting Articles About College, Unschooling, and Success

I currently have two adult children, by society’s standards and their age identification process. My oldest recently turned 21, and my next will be 19 at the beginning of summer. Both have been unschooled all their lives. Both have found their passions. Both are working out their purpose.

Abbey, my only daughter, and the person who will be 19 this summer, is a fantasy writer. She has been dedicating full time hours to this pursuit for several years or more now. When college came up, at first, she considered it, but quickly thereafter, upon looking at the process of pursuing it and the sacrifices involved for the product promised, she immediately stated ‘you’ve raised us to question the status of learning traditionally, why should I embrace it now? I’m going to look into my alternatives’. She is doing just that.

Interestingly, the only reason she keeps the possibility of college on her consideration plate is because that’s where all her peers are, and she wants the opportunity to date and be married. She figures she may have to go where she can find lots of people in the same pursuit. Lately, she’s questioning the reasoning again. Just like the 3-18 age range, it DOES take more creativity to find one’s social outlet when the choice is to not engage in the institution that segregates these ages away from real life.

My oldest, Eric, just turned 21, is trying to decide which of his many interests and talents would be best to pursue in lieu of his recent realization that college is not for him. He stumbled on a site that was searching for voice actors for a fan-made radio drama that he auditioned for and received the part. This is an area he’s considered off and on for some years now. He’s also considering writing manga. He figures he will find other employment to support himself until his pursuits are realized in a way that he can independently exist. He originally had liked the idea of Japanese history, but figured it can be incorporated into these other areas as well as simply enjoying it for its own benefit.

It makes full sense that always unschooled people would continue that path as adults. I was able to listen to a panel of grown unschoolers at the Rethinking Education conference last September, and most had foregone college. All were finding their way based on what was important to them. That’s what I’m seeing in my children. They don’t know any other way than to exhibit silent resolve that they will make their way.

So, I find myself needing to gather articles for my own continued deconditioning during this phase of life. Boy, I thought the kindergarten transition was tough; the adulthood transition is tougher out there with all the expectations for this stage in our society and all the underlying definitions of success. So, I revisit my original goals for unschooling: Encourage my children to find work they love so they don’t have to work a day in their lives. And, so the journey continues. And, they DO love their lives . . . today. They have loved their childhoods. And they expect to love their adulthoods. How many can say that?

The article I found by Alfie Kohn at the blog of LIFE with Granola *Girl* fits this well. It’s found here. Of course, the outspoken John Taylor Gatto is always a go-to guy when it comes to these matters, and Life Learning Magazine recently published his “A Letter To My Granddaughter” about “Don’t Worry About College”. And, while I was reading over at Life Learning Magazine, I found Sarabeth Matilsky’s article “Redefining Success” that I felt would resonate with my children.

I’m just beginning my journey in my search for inspirational articles and like-minded people in the same stage, so I’m open to hearing other recommendations from any of you who have found some good ones! Of course, my own journey started some years ago, when my oldest led me to unschooling in the first place. He hinted at unschooling continuing into adulthood when I wrote this, and this, so it is simply time for me to fully embrace what it all means and offers in our continued joyful living path!

3 responses to “Collecting Articles About College, Unschooling, and Success

  1. tribeofautodidacts

    I love Abby’s and Eric’s open, creative approach to their futures. And I think Abby is wise to consider all her goals and options. Perhaps she would enjoy taking college courses on a part-time basis. Particularly at a college or university that has a strong writing program. That would give her a chance to experience college social life (including dating and maybe finding a partner for life) without giving up her untraditional way of learning. So many choices!

  2. I still have a few years to go before we reach the stage you are at (M is almost 16) but my sister went through it a few years ago when her always-homeschooled son finished his formal homeschooling and moved into the world of job applications, what do I want to do next?, and can I support myself doing it. They’ve all adjusted to this new stage though and are happy and doing well. It seems to be a tough stage, at least for my sister and her son… I wish you all the best as your kids work through these big decisions!

  3. This post was very reassuring for me. My unschooled daughter is almost 16 and I have a lot of trouble finding resources that support our educational choices. (I found you through “Life Without School”, so I shall keep perusing that site.)

    Anyhow, I just wanted you to know how helpful this is and thanks for sharing your experiences and perspective. 🙂