To All Bored, Depressed, Struggling, and/or Bullied Teens…

Me at 16 shortly before I started at Pasadena City College

A 16-year-old me before I started at Pasadena City College

Lately I have been spending a good deal of time trying to plan out Tru and Autry’s high school years. In doing this I have thought back to my own school years, specifically my high school years, and how it led me to this point in my life. I wonder if I had experienced the typical high school experience and enjoyed it would I even want to homeschool the twins for high school?

I didn’t enjoy high school though, which was very typical for me. I also did not enjoy middle school, elementary school, and I even remember being quite upset at nursery school. School and I were not a good fit at all, and obviously there was nothing that I could do about it.

A seven-year-old me

A seven-year-old me

Why was school such a bad fit? Lets just say I was an unusual kid from the get go. I had my own ideas, and I felt quite out-of-place in the public school mold. I was often bored at school, I had a great deal of anxiety, and I was shy (and it didn’t help that I blushed whenever any teacher called on me). It was not a great combination.

When I was a teenager my school career changed, for I moved from Indiana to California. I had to start a new high school, and it could not have been any more different from my old high school. My new high school was a small, private Catholic school in California. My old high school was a giant public school in Indiana. I was fascinated by how different everything was in my new high school world. From the lockers (only half a size and some outdoors?) to the cafeteria (small and such different food) to the kids and teachers (diverse and laid-back) it was all so different.

And for a while the differences were great, and I felt a little more at ease at this school. I liked being in a small school, I liked being in Southern California, and I liked hanging out with all my new friends. Then I got bored, so very bored. I also felt different. I was into old movies and music while most of my friends were not (although they all supported my love of all things old). I found myself skipping more and more days of school (for I finally had my license and a car) to go to the beach, to museums, to state parks, to Hollywood. I was craving a different education, one that no school could provide me with.

I had never heard of homeschooling when I was in school. I had no idea that anything like that existed, but I did know that I had to get out of school. It was not for me, and I had already mentally checked out. I missed numerous days of school, and my grades suddenly dropped due to my disinterest.

But what was I to do? I would never just drop out of school with no degree. I wasn’t that brave or stupid. But I was determined, and in the days before internet, I headed to my public library and did research. It took me a while, but I found out about a little test that all high school kids in California could take. It was called the California High School Proficiency Exam, and if I passed it, I could leave high school with an equivalency degree and start college immediately.

So I signed up for it, I took it, and I passed. This was halfway into my junior year. By next August I was a full-time student at Pasadena City College. I was young, and I needed a little time to adjust to this new experience, but I loved it. I loved that I could take classes when I wanted to, I loved that I could take classes on such different topics (anthropology? film studies? philosophy? I was in heaven!), I loved how knowledgeable all the professors were. I thrived in this new environment, and I had absolutely no regrets about leaving high school. None at all.

The College Me

The College Me

So I write this blog post today to all the teens out there right now who are struggling in school for whatever reason. There may be a way for you to get out of your situation and into a better one. In California the proficiency test is still an option. Homeschooling is another option. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, and there is so much support out there for anyone who decides to do it. There are also numerous charter schools (where essentially you are still a public school student working at home) and online private and public schools for homeschooling. In short homeschooling is quite easy to do if you are a determined, self-directed student, and it may be worth looking into. Who knows, it may just be the best decision you ever made.

Links that may help:

Lets Homeschool High School

High School Board at the Well Trained Mind

High School Graduation Requirements

K12

Connections Academy

The California High School Proficiency Exam

6 thoughts on “To All Bored, Depressed, Struggling, and/or Bullied Teens…

  1. Love everything about this post. Thank you for writing it! And hugs to the younger you who didn’t feel like she fit in, who was anxious and shy. Perhaps if I’d lived here when I was younger I wouldn’t have been so lonely in school too. My library was my only friend for a long time as well.

  2. You were such an ambitious kid! I know I could have easily tested out of high school early, but I was never motivated enough (or brave enough) to research it as an option. Good for you!

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