Recommended local resources for starting un-schooling for middle schooler?

Long story short- Our middle schooler has reached the point at which we are seriously considering home schooling or un-schooling options. Hates school but is bright and an awesome kid, and I feel the typical school system is killing his love of learning. (FYI- our other 2 children are in public school and thriving, and we are big supporters of public education- but all methods don't work for all kids). With both of us parents working full time (my schedule is flexible, but still 35+ hours each week) make me wonder if this is do-able and I feel overwhlemed by the process. Can you point me in the direction of local resources? If you work, how have you made a schedule for your family that works for your child's needs? We are also taking a look at the Diablo valley school in concord if anyone has recent feedback about that school, or other local private schools with low tuition that may be similar. Thank you BPN. 

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We were in much the same position, and made the switch to homeschooling this year for one of our 3 kids. I was able to cut back on my work hours, but it's certainly doable, depending on your kid. My kid is much happier and definitely learning more. There are so many resources in the Bay Area, you could sign him up for things several days per week if you want, and it would not be like school. Check out Trackers, Curiosity Hacked (CHILL program), Quantum Camp, and Sienna Ranch. If you enroll through a public charter like Connecting Waters or Valley View, you will get funds to pay for these activities. Many activities fill up (lots of homeschoolers in the Bay Area), but you could start with one and add more when space opens up. Good luck! It's easier than you think.

I recommend you contact your local homeschool group  ie the Oakland Alameda Homeschool Group is good. Go to a park day and start talking to a few of the parents. 

There are plenty of online info about homeschooling and unschooling and great blogs.

I have homeschooled for many years. My oldest is 23 yrs and my youngest is 3.5 yrs with 8 kids total and homeschool my step daughters too. 

If you are first pulling your child out of school your child will need some general down time to decompress. That amount of time varies for each kid in my opinion. Some need a month and some need more. I've read a month per years in school but I don't agree with some a tight amount. That's unschooling right there. Many people wait til end of school year and just let the summer months be the unschooling months. 

Some kids and parents are done unschooling after a few months and want more structure in their daily lives. Unschooling is not easy and doesn't come too naturally for many parents and kids. 

You can join a charter school such as Connecting Waters or Valley View. They are independent study charter schools and they offer you finances to buy curriculum and supplies, classes either at their learning center or online or through a vendor, and someone who comes once a month or so to collect samples, attendance, and deliver the supplies to you. In exchange your child would take an annual state test. It's pretty low key and my kids like it. 

Regarding scheduling: some families are spontaneous everyday and their daily outings provide them the structure. Such as field trips and park days and lessons . When they are at home they can spend the day playing video games or tv or reading books, drawing, painting, crafting, writing, jumping on the trampoline, pet care, household chores, gardening , cooking or baking etc

Other families may have a little more structure with specific wake up and bedtime and meal times, quiet time ,project time 

Personally my eyes start crossing if my kids were on tv or video games all day and I go buggy. Other parents it's fine. I could never be an unschooler.

Some parents are more eclectic blending some unschooling with a few lessons here and there. 

There is a yahoo group called SF Bay Unschooling (SFBUN) that is a great start to learn about the resources that are out there. They organize (I think annually) information sessions that are very good and will give you an idea of the struggles and rewards of the unschooling life. I think some unschooling families are in your situation, where one parent is flexible and can work around their kid's needs. 

My daughter (who is in Kindergarten) recently did a visit week at Diablo Valley School. She decided to stay at our local public school, mostly for social reasons, but I was able to see first hand the amazing difference of a Sudbury education and the way that DVS is implementing it. I'm happy to respond in more detail privately and connect you with a current DVS parent. But my experience is relatively limited, I mostly would recommend attending open houses and just talking to the staff and current parents, I have found them to be very open and honest about the challenges and benefits of the school. We still plan to encourage my daughter to consider DVS, although I think it may be more appealing to her when she is older. The hardest part on us would definitely be the commute, we live in Oakland. There area a number of cafes and co-working spaces not too far from the school. If we didn't have family nearby the school, participating in one of those would probably be the only way it would be feasible for us.

There is also a group trying to start another Sudbury School:

I am planning on checking out Nea, which seems to share some philosophy as Sudbury Schools, but it is all in the implementation and I don't know enough to recommend it:

Feel free to contact me via my BPN user name.

I'd be happy to talk with you about DVS or homeschooling if you have questions. My children were homeschooled for 2 years (after doing 2 years of public school) and now attend DVS.

Join SFBUN on yahoo groups to start--a great resource loaded with helpful people.