What happens when a young person stops attending school? Uncertainty. Panic. Teens and their parents wonder: are we doing the right thing? can this really work? what will everyone think? are we risking future success and happiness? For those of us who have had a traditional education, the idea that learning and growth can happen in any other way than traditional school is hard to imagine.
It is not an easy process to get out of this school mindset—for teens, parents or even staff members at PLC. This article makes the case, and we have found from experience, that a period of “deschooling” is necessary and productive—even if it seems like nothing is happening. PLC is not a school and we do not attempt to recreate school outside of school so we can offer the time, space and support to have a deschooling period if a teen needs it. If traditional school isn’t working for a young person, just putting them into another school-like situation is unlikely to help and will usually get in the way of the real work that needs to happen—figuring out what a young person wants in life and working to make it happen.
Helping young people and their families through this critical transition is some of the most rewarding (and challenging) work that we do.