Convincing your parents or legal guardian to consider alternative schooling (or no schooling at all for that matter) is tricky, but if done efficiently it may be one of the prime factors that decides your fate and whether or not your parents will back you on any decisions you make yourself.
1. Make two lists before proposing any ideas to your parents. Organization is the key.
- One list, should be of all the reasons you are unhappy with your current schooling situation. Be reasonable, mature, and insightful. Do not simply write “School is stupid.” or any other meaningless phrase that does not pertain to something that is an actual problem. Take your time on this list and cover all flaws of the traditional school experience. Maybe large class sizes and ignorant classmates waste valuable time for the whole class, thus ruining that subject for the day. Maybe the work is too difficult, the teachers are unhelpful and overwhelmed (with the large class sizes), or you prefer to work alone.
- The next list is harder. Write down everything you would personally like to pursue if you were ever allowed to quit your current way of schooling, but do not use the word “quit” when speaking with your parents, they tend to be rather sensitive to it. This will probably take even more time than the last list because some do not know what they like to do. Maybe you are a fan of music and instead of staring at books all day you would want to experiment with instruments or writing your own music. Perhaps you like art and reading and writing and want to pen a one person play, then star in it. Then again, maybe you cannot stand the arts and want to be a computer programmer, or you want to turn completely nocturnal to study astronomy. You will not get away with sitting around all day, you have to be productive, or at least be very good at giving the appearance of such.
- Determine what alternative exactly you would like to take part in. Charter schools are somewhat similar to traditional schools, but require you to be there less often. You still have to do the work they assign you, and if you refuse to they can technically kick you out, because it is considered a privilege to be there. On the brights side, only having to be there a few days a week will give you more free time, and most charter schools have student caps - a limit on how many students they are allowed to take in at one time. Homeschools are another, much more relaxed alternative. Most homeschooling laws for the United States (they differ depending on the actual state) are very lax and no special preparation is required. They usually require an affidavit to be filed with the state registering your home as a private school, and certain codes to be followed. Homeschooling, especially with older students, allows much more freedom because the students have the independence and potential to create their own curriculum.
- No schooling…? Sometimes the only way a lot of kids feel they can save any creativity they have left in their heads is to get out of the system, otherwise quitting school. Tell your parents that it isn't as bad as it sounds once you make your options clear. You can technically stop going once you hit 16 in most states. You can just flat out stop going (be aware you are running a risk of getting nabbed by the truant officer), you can take your high school equivalency exam when you are 16 (a test that says you have the equivalent to a high school education), or you can try to graduate early by earning credits over the summer. Keep in mind once you turn 18 you can also take your GED.
The last thing to do is to simply bring it up and explain where exactly you stand and why. One parent tends to be easier than two, so first discuss the subject with whichever one is easier to speak with. Before you really get going, tell them to just listen without interrupting until you are ready to answer their questions.
Think of the things you listed, and construct a way on how to fit them all in. Maybe tell of a problem with the school, and how you would be able to fix it with the freedom of homeschooling or a different form of education. Be clear with your point and do not lose your temper. The first way to lose respect is to lose your head.
If nothing else works. Then tell your parents that if they do not allow you to go to an Alternative School then you will fail all your courses on purpose.
See details below.
This section is a collection of people's experiences in how they got their parents to let them leave school and try other alternatives.
liq3 (from Australia):
I'll tell you my story then.
It all started in the last few weeks of 2006(I was in year 9). I waged the last two weeks of school since it wasn't compulsory. I didn't know it at the time but I was getting bored then. 2006 was also the year I did the most homework ever in one year. I guess doing all that homework made me want a break.
Anyway, sometime in December my grandpa was diagnosed with cancer. My and my family (mum and sister) ended up moving in with my grandparents…for 5 weeks. The holidays are 6 weeks. My grandpa died in early January. Sad times.
Anyway, we didn't move back home till about the last week of holidays. Now, this wouldn't normally be a problem, except my grandparents had and have no internet. Or even a PC. So i was bored shitless. I was more or less bored, 24/7, while I was awake. I ended up sleeping longer and going to bed early I was just that bored. The last week I was there I got given a free new PC (3 years old…). So I played this for a week before coming home. Didn't matter tho, my holidays had basically been ruined. I didn't get time to relax from last year.
When I got home, and had the internet again, I literally became obsessed with it. I don't know why, but I did. I started staying up till like 3 - 5am playing Diablo 2. Record for me.
Also, in 2005 I started heavily working on self growth. By 2007 I was quite…confident. I'd gotten to the point where I started to not care what other people think. See before 2005 I was obsessed with others opinions of me…I never took action on my thoughts if it'd mean pushing others out of the way. I was very quiet.
Now come the start of school 2007. I'd just had the worst holidays ever. I went, rather normal. Not much happened first week. Then I started sleeping in. I'm rather passive by nature, covert kinda. I was sleeping in till about 11am. This was enough to convince my mum to let me stay home. After about 2 weeks, I was skipping 2 days of school a week. Sometimes 3. I'd spend all day playing computer. My mum naively thought I'd eventually stop and go to school. I didn't.
After about 3 weeks I found this site. 2 weeks after finding this site I researched alternative schooling. I told my mum. By the last week of term one, I was no longer going to my previous school. I was attending a program called AYCE, which is organized homeschooling. Too bad the problem was the work, not the kids or staff or hours. AYCE fell through as well, and I managed to get them to give a “private tutor” for second semester. I did about 2000 words of work the whole second semester. :mwahaha:
Late 2007 I applied for a TAFE course. These are university courses and at the uni I was applying at, I didn't need a VCE entry score. I got in. So now I'm study Computer Science at uni, and due to the way things work, I'm more or less skipping 2 years of school :D
Anyway, now that you got my backstory, my 'technique' was more or less to passively force my mum to help me. She couldn't send me to school if I was asleep, and she isn't evil enough to send me to juvi or boot camp.
I also must point out that I didn't really do anything. It was a deep super strong desire from my subconscious to leave school. My subc basically decided for me enough was enough, and forced even me to leave. My body was keeping me awake at night, sleeping in late, and it just happened to be extremely convenient for me.
SuperDeath (from Canada):
My story is quick.
My parents are evil Asians.
They didn't want me to go to Unschool.
I tried everything.
So I decided to go to Summer School one class (english).
Parents freaked out.
Me: Let me go to unschool or I will fail all of my courses.
Them: Ok, you go to unschool. But please pass this course, our reputation is on the line.
Final Mark: 50%.
Me: Hey I passed it, never said I'll do good.
They kept their word and now I go to an unschool.
Later, I learned the teacher upgraded my mark my one percent.
Honestly, if nothing else works, use the Ultimatum of, if you do not let me go to Alternative ___, then I will fail all my courses.