RIP School Survival Forums
August 2001 - June 2017

The School Survival Forums are permanently retired. If you need help with quitting school, unsupportive parents or anything else, there is a list of resources on the Help Page.

If you want to write about your experiences in school, you can write on our blog.

To everyone who joined these forums at some point, and got discouraged by the negativity and left after a while (or even got literally scared off): I'm sorry.

I wasn't good enough at encouraging people to be kinder, and removing people who refuse to be kind. Encouraging people is hard, and removing people creates conflict, and I hate conflict... so that's why I wasn't better at it.

I was a very, very sensitive teen. The atmosphere of this forum as it is now, if it had existed in 1996, would probably have upset me far more than it would have helped.

I can handle quite a lot of negativity and even abuse now, but that isn't the point. I want to help people. I want to help the people who need it the most, and I want to help people like the 1996 version of me.

I'm still figuring out the best way to do that, but as it is now, these forums are doing more harm than good, and I can't keep running them.

Thank you to the few people who have tried to understand my point of view so far. I really, really appreciate you guys. You are beautiful people.

Everyone else: If after everything I've said so far, you still don't understand my motivations, I think it's unlikely that you will. We're just too different. Maybe someday in the future it might make sense, but until then, there's no point in arguing about it. I don't have the time or the energy for arguing anymore. I will focus my time and energy on people who support me, and those who need help.


The forums are mostly read-only and are in a maintenance/testing phase, before being permanently archived. Please use this time to get the contact details of people you'd like to keep in touch with. My contact details are here.

Please do not make a mirror copy of the forums in their current state - things will still change, and some people have requested to be able to edit or delete some of their personal info.

Post Reply 
Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
A Survey of Grown Unschoolers
Author Message
SoulRiser Offline
Site Founder

Posts: 18,240
Joined: Aug 2001
Thanks: 2673
Given 1978 thank(s) in 1208 post(s)
Post: #1
A Survey of Grown Unschoolers


Quote:Question 5 of the survey read, “Please describe briefly any formal higher education you have experienced, such as community college/college/graduate school. How did you get into college without having a high school diploma? How did you adjust from being unschooled to being enrolled in a more formal type of educational experience? Please list any degrees you have obtained or degrees you are currently working toward.”

I’ll describe their responses to this question much more fully in the next article in this series, where I’ll make ample use of the participants’ own words. Here I’ll simply summarize some of the statistical findings that came from our coding of the responses.

Overall, 62 (83%) of the participants reported that they had pursued some form of higher education. This included vocational training (such as culinary school) and community college courses as well as conventional bachelor’s degree programs and graduate programs beyond that. As can be seen in data row 4 of the table, this percentage was rather similar across the three groups.

Overall, 33 (44%) of the participants had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher or were currently fulltime students in a bachelor’s program. As shown in data row 5 of the table, the likelihood of pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher was inversely related to the amount of previous schooling. Those in the always-unschooled group were the most likely to go on to a bachelor’s program, and those in the group that had some schooling past 6th grade were least likely to. This difference, though substantial, did not reach the conventional level of statistical significance (a chi square test revealed a p = .126).

Of the 33 who went on to a bachelor’s degree programs, 7 reported that they had previously received a general education diploma (GED) by taking the appropriate test, and 3 reported that they had gained a diploma through an online procedure. The others had gained admission to a bachelor’s program with no high-school diploma except, in a few cases, a self-made diploma that, we assume, had no official standing. Only 7 of the 33 reported taking the SAT or ACT tests as a route to college admission. By far the most common stepping-stone to a four-year college for these young people was community college. Twenty-one of the 33 took community college courses before applying to a four-year college and used their community college transcript as a basis for admission. Some began to take such courses at a relatively young age (age 13 in one case, age 16 in typical cases) and in that way gained a headstart on their college career. By transferring their credits, some reduced the number of semesters (and the tuition cost) required to complete a bachelor’s degree. Several also mentioned interviews and portfolios as means to gain college admission.

The colleges they attended were quite varied. They ranged from state universities (e.g. the University of South Carolina and UCLA) to an Ivy League university (Cornell) to a variety of small liberal-arts colleges (e.g. Mt. Holyoke, Bennington, and Earlham).

The participants reported remarkably little difficulty academically in college. Students who had never previously been in a classroom or read a textbook found themselves getting straight A’s and earning honors, both in community college courses and in bachelor’s programs. Apparently, the lack of an imposed curriculum had not deprived them of information or skills needed for college success. Most reported themselves to be at an academic advantage compared with their classmates, because they were not burned out by previous schooling, had learned as unschoolers to be self-directed and self-responsible, perceived it as their own choice to go to college, and were intent on making the most of what the college had to offer. A number of them reported disappointment with the college social scene. They had gone to college hoping to be immersed in an intellectually stimulating environment and, instead, found their fellow students to be more interested in frat parties and drinking. I will describe all this more fully in the next article in this series.


"If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them." - Dalai Lama
Help & Support - Get help with leaving school, unsupportive parents, and more.
Click here if school makes you depressed or suicidal

Support School Survival on Patreon or Donate Bitcoin Here: 1Q5WCcxWjayniaL92b8GfXBiGdfjmnUNa2
"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it." - André Paul Guillaume Gide
"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." - Albert Einstein
"I'm pretty sure there's a lot of beauty that can only be found in the mind of a lunatic." - TheCancer
EIPD - Emotionally Incompetent Parent Disorder

Push Button for Collection of Useful Links:
Hidden stuff:
06-09-2014 12:04 AM
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
no Offline
True Scotsman

Posts: 1,238
Joined: Nov 2012
Thanks: 919
Given 474 thank(s) in 299 post(s)
Post: #2
RE: A Survey of Grown Unschoolers

And the last time pro-schoolers listened to Peter Gray was...?

Hidden stuff:
I don't actually know for sure whether they have. So hopefully, if I'm wrong, the urge to make me look like a total idiot will give someone a reason to link to an article of some kind that will restore some of my faith in humanity. If I'm right, at least my snark is valid.

Hello, traveler.

This is an ancient account I have not used in a long time. My views have changed much in the intervening months and years.

Nonetheless, I refuse to clean it up. Pretending that I've held my current views since the beginning of time is what we in the industry call a lie. Asking people to do so contributes to moralistic self-loathing. "See, those people have nothing damning! I do! I'm truly vile!"

Because you can never be a good person with a single blemish on the moral record, I thought that simply entertaining some thoughts made me irredeemable. Though I don't care for his writing style, William Faulkner presents a good counterexample. He went from being a typical Southern racist to supporting the civil rights movement. These days we'd yell at him for that, probably.

People are allowed to change their views.

Nevertheless, this period of my life has informed some of how I am today. In good ways and bad ways. To purge it would be to do a disservice to history. Perhaps it will not make anyone sympathetic, but it may help someone understand.

If, after reading all this, you still decide to use the post above as evidence that I am evil today, ask yourself if you have never disagreed with the moral code you now follow. In all likelihood you did, at some point. If some questions are verboten, and the answer is "how dare you ask that," don't expect your ideological opponents to ever change their minds.
06-09-2014 01:09 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
xcriteria Offline

Posts: 3,090
Joined: Oct 2005
Thanks: 814
Given 930 thank(s) in 612 post(s)
Post: #3
A Survey of Grown Unschoolers

(06-09-2014 01:09 AM)no Wrote:  And the last time pro-schoolers listened to Peter Gray was...?

Hidden stuff:
I don't actually know for sure whether they have. So hopefully, if I'm wrong, the urge to make me look like a total idiot will give someone a reason to link to an article of some kind that will restore some of my faith in humanity. If I'm right, at least my snark is valid.

I for one am not motivated by trying to make people look like idiots...

You raise a good question: since when do pro-schoolers listen to Peter Gray, or others who have been questioning school for many, many years?

However, I think things are changing and that the line between pro- and anti- school is blurring. If you want a wall-of-text based on restoring your faith in humanity, or at least transforming education (and family situations) for those who can't stand it, I can do that. Even though a lot depends on what we can help make happen.

In short, there are more allies than ever. A few people like Peter Gray aren't going to add up to credibility, but the much larger numbers of people who are starting to question things will.

Among other things, all the high-pressure standardized testing is leading quite a few families and educators to ask questions that ultimately involve questioning the foundations of factory-model education. The question is how to help more people make those connections.

And hence, Summer of Connected Learning. At least it's an attempt to move beyond the echo chambers people are often stuck in (including SS itself, the schools people work in and attend, home situations, etc.)

In short, the question of who and what people will listen to and find credible and relevant is key... so let's figure it out, eh? Smile

Peter Gray & allies launching the Alliance for Self-directed Education

ASDE Newsletters: #1 Announcement | #2 History of ASDE | #6 Education Liberation

School Survival & Catalyst Learning Network featured on AlternativestoSchool's blog
“Mom, Dad, can I stop going to school?”

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High

Hidden stuff:
(This post was last modified: 06-09-2014 02:22 AM by xcriteria.)
06-09-2014 02:21 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
 Thanks given by: SoulRiser , (´・ω・`)
magikarp Offline
Valerie Solanas

Posts: 1,146
Joined: Jan 2007
Thanks: 4
Given 68 thank(s) in 47 post(s)
Post: #4
RE: A Survey of Grown Unschoolers

Like, it's good to know it's possible/probable to be unschooled and get into college, but it's pretty much a meaningless statistic without more demographic information (because college completion, especially in the US, is hugely hugely correlated with parents' income).

"Do we treat straight public sex differently than we do gay public sex? Of course. Straight people are so proud of their public sex that they named a cocktail after it."
06-09-2014 03:04 AM
Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
 Thanks given by: (´・ω・`)
Post Reply 

Forum Jump:

User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Contact Us | School Survival | Return to Top | Return to Content | Mobile Version | RSS Syndication