I'm currently a High School senior, but I've been homeschooled my whole life. Being the oldest of four kids, I'm the guinea pig of the family. That means that nearly every type of homeschooling you can imagine has been "tested" on me. Online homeschooling? Check. Co-op everyday? Yep. What about only using textbooks? Been there, done that. Yes I've heard of Teaching Textbooks, Glencoe, Khan Academy, and yes I did that one curriculum that sends you a nice box of school supplies and books every month. I know what it's like to meet up monthly with an Education Specialist and turn in my "samples" so they know I'm actually working. I've done it all, you get the point.
Let me tell you a secret... You will never truly learn something, until you teach yourself. It's true. You're your best teacher. I don't care what your "ES" has to say about it, and I especially don't give a rip about what society says.
Only you can teach you. That's the secret to homeschooling and that's the secret to education. If you want to learn something, learn it. Learning is the greatest skill that you can obtain.
I was recently watching the movie "School of Rock". There's surprisingly a lot to learn from this film and I'm not even sure the writers are totally aware of that. In one scene, Jack Black is sitting behind the teacher's desk and the whole classroom is in total awkward silence. Finally, one student says, "Are you gonna teach us something, or are we just gonna sit here?" That line caught my attention because many fail to see the issue with it, rather, they just go along with it. "Yeah! Is he gonna teach, or will they just sit there?" As if there's really no other option. The line's meant to reflect a flaw in Jack Black's character, but I think it's reflective of a societal problem. Everybody's used to education looking one specific way.
Let me tell you another secret... Education is a lifestyle, it's not compulsory.
This was really difficult for me to understand at first - it took years, actually. Once my parents decided to switch me to unschooling, it was extremely difficult. Suddenly education now fell on my shoulders. I was now responsible for everything I learned. I needed to know what to learn, how to learn it, and when to learn it. I was the principal, the student, and the teacher. It's easy to wait for someone to tell you what to do. That's school. It's totally different to figure it out for yourself. That's education.
Unschooling, to put it simply, is about action. Fall in love with learning, find out who you are, and master your skills. A simple formula, but in no way easy.
It's been a long journey for me, but there's no doubt I wouldn't be the person I am today if I didn't end up unschooling. It gave me the opportunity to take action and grow as someone who loves to learn.
If you're unschooled or thinking about unschooling, I recommend a book called "A Thomas Jefferson Education" by Oliver DeMille. It covers everything you need to know and it will help you see education in a whole new light.
So go ahead, get out there and try new things. Learn stuff. You'll start to view life a whole different way.