Sue Patterson answers the questions that come in through the Texas Unschoolers‘ website or our Facebook Group or Page. Do you have something you want to ask for the next issue of our TexUns Newsletter? Your questions will remain anonymous.
What is the best way to go about preparing a transcript for my child if he decides to go to college? How should we be preparing for this?
Transcript preparations are a big fear for a lot of people. But there’s no reason to worry about it. Unschooling parents can easily look back at their child’s life experiences and translate those into educational language/subjects. If you have collected photos for a scapbook or blog, these will be really helpful with jogging your memory.
With the Texas community college system, admissions staff are primarily looking for a graduation date and a signature. No one is looking at how elaborate your recordkeeping was or the depth of study your child did in any particular area. Many many unschooling teens opt to enter the college path by starting at the community college level and then transferring to a university as a sophomore. For those who want to go straight to a university, filling the teen years with interesting “real life” adventures will help set your child apart – and for paperwork purposes, you can translate those into subjects if you need to.
Here are some links for more info:
- Unschooling Mom2Mom: Recordkeeping
- Diplomas/Transcripts/Getting into College
- Sue’s Periscope about Transcripts and Diplomas
What if my teen isn’t showing any interest in working, driving or preparing for adulthood? Should I be strongly encouraging her to begin thinking about these things? Or should I continue to allow her to just hang out on the computer with her friends and see if she decides to pursue these things on her own eventually?
Lots of times, we parents project about our own lives onto our kids. We may have been SOO ready to be independent and GET AWAY from school/parents/etc. That we assume that our kids want that same thing. Chances are, living within an unschooling family feels a lot different. There may not be the same rush that we experienced.
“Strongly encouraging” sounds good, but it often backfires. From the sound of your question, I think you may already know that. Continue with your unschooling thinking, if you can.
Having a real need is what spurs changes in behavior.
When they want something they need to buy, and don’t have the money, they’ll move toward getting a job.
When they need to get somewhere and you cannot take them, they’ll consider getting their license.
It’s helpful to have conversations to make sure they’re not creating a story out of some fear they have. This is tricky to do if you’ve made it clear what you want. Give them room to choose something different from what you want/expect – and withhold any criticism you have. Think of yourself as their best supporter. Help them look at what they want to do, see it for what it really is, and remove your own judgements. If the goal is truly to transition into young adulthood, practicing making your own decisions is a step in the right direction.
If you would like to discuss these questions or have more questions, please visit our Alternative Living and Learning Forums here.
Sue Patterson, wife and mother of three grown unschoolers, lives in Pflugerville, just north of Austin. She has been an active homeschooling advocate at the local, state and national level for nearly two decades.
Sue’s book Homeschooled Teens: 75 Young Adults Speak About Their Lives Without School, is an awesome resource for anyone embarking on the teen years!
Sue is a Coach/Consultant and Unschooling Mentor helping families who are new to unschooling or homeschooling find a way to create more joy and adventure in their lives. She has a private coaching practice with a variety of options for helping families on a 1:1 basis, create an educational environment that looks nothing like school.
Sue is the Managing Editor of The Homeschooler Post – an online journal focusing on learning for home educators. She manages Unschooling Mom2Mom, blogs at her website, and speaks at various conferences around the country.
Find out more at SuePatterson.com.