Monday, May 16, 2011

Free Guide Empowers Teens to Leave School and Reclaim Their Learning

co-authored by Lisa Nielsen and Laurette Lynn

In the test obsessed, data (not passion) driven environment of school today educators, parents, and students are all coming to the realization that schools have lost sight of what is important. Instead of personal success plans that are tied to students passions, talents, and interests, and ePortfolios that demonstrate authentic mastery and success, students have been reduced to high-stakes numbers which are tied to dollars that can result in students being left behind and schools being left unfunded and having their doors slammed shut. Students have become statistics instead of young humans.  They are measured by their ability to fill in the correct bubble rather than their talents. Their usefulness to society is determined by how taxable their potential incomes will be.  Decades of this deterioration of individual human identity has resulted in a damaged sociopolitical state of affairs in the world at large.  Ironically, the sought after ‘real world’ is being shielded from students for the sake of keeping the wheels turning efficiently. It has become about the process and not about person.  

There’s got to be a better way you say?  
There is!

Parents and their children are learning there are options and that unplugging from the status quo may be the best choice if students and parents want to claim their right to own their learning. Teenagers like Leah Miller have done just that. As a high school sophomore she opted out of school and she’s developed a presentation to share with others that outlines why she’s made the decision to take back her learning. In fact, more and more young people and their parents are realizing that they don’t need to subject themselves or their children to a compulsory system of education that has seriously gone off course.  Instead they are choosing to opt out of school and opt in to a learner-centered life where children can pursue their passions and outline goals for personalized (not standardized) success.  Due to the remarkable success realized in those who have pulled out of the system, this is starting to catch on and the paradigm is changing.  We are on the brink of an education transformation and awakening in learning.  

The Teenager’s Guide to Opting Out (Not Dropping Out) of School from Lisa Nielsen, veteran educator and author of The Innovative Educator blog has been created to provide directions and encouragement for teens who are ready to direct their own education and get started in a happy and successful life without school. The guide has an introduction from author, blogger, and radio host Laurette Lynn, The Unplugged Mom who advocates for and supports parents who are ready to unplug from the compulsory government system of education.  The guide covers important topics like: Why opt out?, Successful People Who Opted Out of School, the Law in Your State, Others who have opted out, Alternative education options, Attending a good college without going to high school, Exploring, discovering, and pursuing your passions, Building your personal learning network, Creating a Personal Success Plan, and Developing an Authentic ePortfolio.  

Perhaps the most exciting piece of the guide is advice from 16-year-old Leah Miller who shares her experience with opting out and explains how she convinced her parents that this was the right choice for her (listen to her interview on the topic here).  Amanda Enclade and her husband Erick Brownstein also contributed to the guide.  They have three children who have opted out of school and they support other parents and teens interested in doing the same.  Two time high school drop out and college drop out Deven Black shares his experience of how he left school so he could engage in real learning outside the classroom and in New York City. After opting out of school he moved on to several successful careers including the surprising career he ended up in today.

Nielsen was inspired to create the Teenager’s Guide to Opting Out (Not Dropping Out) of School  as a follow up to her free parenting booklet, “Fix the Schools, Not the Child” in an effort to provide something directly to teens who don’t fit the standardized mold and are desperate for a life customized to their personal goals for learning and plans for success.

If you are a teen or know a teen who is ready to take back the learning, just click caption on the cover below to visit the guide.  If you are a parent who has come to realize that school is failing your child, explore the information presented in this guide and share it with your teen!

Click here to view the free guide

Laurette Lynn is the founder of© and host of UnpluggedMomRadio©. Through her work and radio show she advocates for independent learning and helps to encourage parents and families who are ready to embrace home-based, life learning by unplugging from the compulsory, conventional system.  Learn more about Laurette by visiting  

1 comment:

  1. A quick first gut reaction after reading the guide Lisa & Laurette was, those kids who follow this course of action could probably use help on promoting and selling themselves.

    I love Leah's six sections of education along with the use of a mentor in each.

    One concern I have is for the student to get good direction in career exploration. I think every student should own the books What Color is Your Parachute for Teens? and Getting Real.

    I also think a good understanding of design thinking and the design process, at the earliest age possible, would totally enhance the entire effort.

    Although taking control of one's destiny courses through my DNA, unschooling is new to me and I am really fired up to learn more!