notes from an unschooled world wanderer

This is a guest post. I met Twyla a couple months ago, when she came to NYC. And then, last month, we both happened to be in London at the same time, so we hung out there, too. I would hang out with this girl anywhere in the world. And I might have to, if I want to see her, because she is always somewhere new. When I think of everything right about unschooling, I think about Twyla.

I asked her for a bio and here is what she wrote: I am a 19-year-old nomad. I left my home town three months ago, where I used to teach partner dance with my dad, study what interested me and live life. After Istanbul I plan to go to Beirut to continue learning Arabic. As I travel I like to focus on language, dance and food. My blog is

I asked her to tell us a little bit about her life, as a traveler and an unschooler. This is her guest post:

My first night in Istanbul was a little overwhelming. I had committed to renting a room there for the next two months. But of course I explored the rest of the house.

The living room – converted into an art studio for my land lady – smelled of old cigarettes. The warped white walls were laden with paintings in all stages of completion. The floor was splattered with paint, and tubes of acrylic rested peacefully on . . . → Read More: notes from an unschooled world wanderer

I am too negative about homeschooling

I just got a really funny rejection letter.

An editor from a little homeschooling magazine had asked me for article pitches. The circulation was small. She wanted something basic and general. Something about what I’ve learned from homeschooling. Some challenges. Some triumphs. Something encouraging for parents who are doing this now.

I sent her a pitch. I proposed an article called “How homeschooling made me different.” It’d mostly be about how homeschooling taught me to be comfortable being myself. And it would also discuss some challenges, like how some of my relentless ambition stems from wanting to prove myself, as a homeschooler. I was not, for the record, looking forward to writing the article. But I try not to turn down homeschooling publications. I reminded myself that this is the stuff I write because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s going to advance my career.

And then she sent me a rejection letter. The piece was not a good fit for her publication.

I was so surprised that I laughed aloud. Wait. What?

Here I was, pretty sure she would take whatever I proposed. Wondering if I should just say no, since the magazine wasn’t going to be able to help me out.

I wrote her back. I never do that. A rejection is a rejection. That’s the business. Believe me, I’ve gotten plenty of them. You don’t talk back. You move on.

I asked her what was going on.

And then she explained why she’d rejected . . . → Read More: I am too negative about homeschooling

Ack! I don’t have a social template! I might be anything!

These days, I’ve been hanging out with some seriously cool girls. Girls who have clearly always been really pretty. Girls who have probably always had a lot of friends. Girls who may or may not have been mean. OK, a few of them have admitted it: they were mean girls. And then a few of them have that classic dork —> cool girl story, and they’re sticking to it.

I did not grow up around a lot of girls my own age. I grew up around plenty of people. I feel like I always need a disclaimer. Like, “I WAS SOCIAL, DON’T WORRY.” I was social, don’t worry. I mean, I liked people, I was fine around them. Sometimes I liked them less or wanted to be by myself more and so I did that, but in general, being around people was fine. It was fun. They were not all same-aged girls. None of them were particularly mean. It wasn’t at all clear who was the prettiest, or who was trend-setting. We all looked different in some ways and similar in others. We all liked different kinds of clothes, but sometimes we wore similar ones.

I don’t have a conveniently simple narrative about my social past. Sometimes I can’t remember who I was. And then it makes me a little uncertain about who I’m supposed to be now.

My history doesn’t have a template. It’s all over the place. Is “crazy weird homeschooler” a template yet? Yeah, maybe.

. . . → Read More: Ack! I don’t have a social template! I might be anything!


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