I get this question a lot from other parents of teens.
To be honest, we didn’t really give them much of a choice.
We are also lucky. Asher had just wrapped up 8th grade at Yu Ming Charter School, and his classmates were going to a dozen different high schools anyway, so he was at a natural social transition point. Corbin would have been a junior at Stanford Online High School, an excellent academic experience that happens to create weaker ties to a specific cohort of students (“the Class of 2024”) since most classes and activities are organized by mastery or interest, not age. Neither of our boys is involved in organized sports. And they are both introverted and fortunately still seem to enjoy and/or tolerate our company most of the time.
Of course we made our case, for how much there is to see in the world and how important it is to broaden one’s perspective.
And here is what they say about why they went along with our plan:
Corbin: “I went along with this family travel year because I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more and experience different aspects of the world.”
Asher: “I went along with this because I thought it would be a good experience. I also thought it would teach me in a new interesting way rather than just sitting in a classroom staring at the teacher and/or whiteboard. Another reason was because I thought it sounded interesting and exciting. (Also… No school for a year!!!! Or so I thought….)”
And now, we are helped by the many people we meet who, upon hearing our plans, say to our children, “Wow, you are so lucky that you have parents who are willing to do this!”