When did you unschool?
Where did you "graduate"?
Describe your childhood education (through age 12).
I started off homeschooled, but that structure didn’t work for me. I was unschooled through the rest of my childhood and teen years.
Describe how you interacted with other kids around your age in your childhood.
I was in a “homeschooling school” for second grade. It was a free school that included kids of all ages and everyone got along well. Later my family joined some homeschool groups here and there. In general, I stuck to one or two friends that I made, rather than trying to meet a lot of people.
Who made the decision to unschool you?
My parents decided together.
Describe how you interacted with other people around your age in your teen years.
I didn’t do much during my early teen years because I played a lot of video games. I had lots of online friends and long distance friends that I would visit. I was extremely shy and had some anxiety around people until I was about 17.
Describe how you interacted with people much older or younger than you during your teen years.
I’ve always gotten along better with friends who are older than me, but mostly I can get along with everyone! I’ve worked with both older and younger people in the course of my jobs.
Did you receive a high school diploma or equivalent?
During your teen years, what did you end up focusing on, working on, or learning?
Lots and lots of random things… baking, photography, guitar lessons, nutrition and exercise, paleontological work.
How did you make the decision not to go to college?
I didn’t know what to do with my life.
What did you do after high school?
I tried to become a yoga instructor, I traveled a lot, I tried to get into photographing events, and I started aviation lessons to be a helicopter pilot. Most recently, I moved to Seattle to climb mountains and hike.
How did you meet people after high school?
Getting out there and doing what I love!
Did you feel pressure to attend college? Did that pressure come from within your family or from outside of your family?
I did and still do. I feel pressure because everyone else is doing it, and they’ll all have a degree and an experience that I won’t have. I also feel some jealousy because it seems like everyone is more motivated than I am to do something hard.
Describe the kinds of jobs you’ve had in life so far.
I’ve made sandwiches in a restaurant, decorated desserts at the Cheesecake Factory, been a waitress/bartender, and I’ve done a couple photoshoots.
What is your current job?
I work at REI in Washington!
Why did you choose your current job?
This job involves pretty much everything I love so it’s a great learning opportunity. I also get to meet others with my same interests!
Did your unconventional upbringing make it easier or more difficult to find paid work?
At first, it made it more difficult. I didn’t know how to talk to anybody or be social. But after pushing through some boundaries I feel much better. I still have moments of anxiety but it’s become extremely rare. So far getting a job hasn’t been a problem.
What advice would you give to someone beginning their unschooling/alternative schooling journey?
Enjoy the time you have and use it well. Enjoy the freedom you have to explore and try out what interests you.
What advice would you give to their parents?
You should support them in whatever they choose to do, no matter how ridiculous it may seem!
If you choose to have children, what school/unschool experience would you want for them?
I don’t really want children, but if I had them, I would unschool them. I would travel with them, offer them lots of activities, and help them explore whatever interests they had!
Published: August 2019