From Unschooling to University and Work (Part 1)

Ten Minutes on Thursday

“I can do that interview for you this afternoon,” said my
son Callum. “I just need to get my hair cut first.” He ran his fingers through
his floppy locks and grinned. “I have to look respectable for the video, make a
good impression, otherwise what will everyone think?”
“It doesn’t matter what everyone thinks, Callum. Your hair’s
not important.” And although my words are true, I was still glad he went to get his hair cut. His appointment
with the barber was long overdue.
So Callum drove to town and when he returned, he looked very
handsome. He was ready to be interviewed. I found the page of questions I was going to ask him:
Do you think unschooling prepared you for life as an adult?
What skills did it give you?
Tell me about your university experience.
Did you have any trouble getting onto the course of your choice?
How did your interests and passions help you with your application?
How did you cope with uni work?
What were the positives and negatives of attending university?
When we change our minds about what we want to study, should
we persevere anyway, finish what we started?
Tell me about your work.
Can we talk about your current passions? And what about the
future? What are your dreams?
Is family still important to you?
Having been homeschooled, do you feel different from everyone else? Is this a
If you could, would you change anything about the way you
were homeschooled?
Then we began the
I must say I really enjoyed chatting with Callum. The time
flew by as we discussed the above questions which led onto other things. Later, when I came to
edit the video, I realised it lasted for much longer than ten minutes. What should I cut out? After thinking about it for a while, I decided to make
Callum’s interview into a two parter, and keep it all. I hope that’s okay.
Callum relaxed more and more as we talked. He ended up bellowing
with laughter a few times, and he said a few things that touched my heart. But
that’s in Part 2, which I’ll post next Thursday.
Today is Part 1 of …

From Unschooling to University and Work: an Interview

You can also find me on my Sue Elvis Writes Facebook page. I post links to resources and other posts and stories, photos and news… You’ll also find an awful poem, on my page, written in iambic pentameter. Sophie and I are trying to work out how to write poetry! Please come and visit!
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    • Amy
    • June 26, 2014

    Love it, love it, love it! You have the most amazing kids! Can't wait for part 2!!

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much Amy! You write the most beautiful comments! They are very much appreciated.

  1. Reply

    Wow! Callum is articulate, obviously intelligent and well-educated (!), and he's even handsomer on video than in photos. He strikes me as a kind, thoughtful sort of young man…. I'll bet I'm right about that! I look forward to part two.

    1. Reply


      It's just as well Callum had his hair cut and put on a clean shirt! He IS kind and thoughtful. Messy too but then again no one's perfect! It was kind of you to watch our video. Thank you!

  2. Reply

    Thank you everyone for your kind comments. I will reply individually as soon as I can. Time seems to have disappeared today. I have spent this afternoon adjusting the sound on Callum's video. Thank you Lynne for your feedback! I hope the new version is better. I'm uploading the video to Youtube right at the moment and will replace the link as soon as it's published. If this works, I will also redo Charlotte's and Sophie's videos when I get some more free time.

    • Hwee
    • June 26, 2014

    I love this interview! It really shows Callum as an intelligent young man with an independent mind of his own. That's brilliant. Much better than the thousands of drones churned out by mass schooling who just go from high school to college to university because that's the path has has been set out for them, or because that's what everyone else around them is doing. To take charge of our own lives and be responsible for our decisions are two major life skills that some people never acquire in their lives. To these people, it's much easier (less hard thinking to do) to follow the crowd! You've successfully raised an independent thinker, Sue. How wonderful is that?!

    I look forward to part two!

    1. Reply


      We are so privileged to be able to homeschool our children, aren't we? I remember going to university because it was the next expected step of my life. (I didn't know what else to do.) I'm glad my kids are able to make better decisions than me. Callum hasn't made it to when he wants to go yet, but he has plans and I'm sure he'll get there. He's going to talk more about that in part 2.

      "You've successfully raised an independent thinker, Sue. How wonderful is that?!" Thank you so much for these encouraging words, Hwee. I really appreciate them.

  3. Reply

    Thank you, Callum, for being willing and open to discuss your experiences. I was blown away by how articulate and thoughtful you obviously are. Helps to confirm for me the decisions our family has made to unschool. All the best for the future.

    1. Reply


      I read all these comments out to Callum and he was a little embarrassed but happy at the same time. Thank you for your kind words. Yes, unschooling is good! I hope your family feels the same joy as ours from choosing this way of life.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such an encouraging comment!

  4. Reply

    I enjoy your series of interview with your children, who are so well-spoken and "adult". My only wish is that I could hear them a little better. You come across perfectly, while I need to strain my ears to catch what they say. Please commend them all on their excellent TV-interview skills. They should go on with Oprah. : )

    1. Reply


      Thank you for the feedback about the videos. After reading your comment, I did a little research and worked out how to adjust the sound in my video. I have uploaded a new version to Youtube. It should be ready to publish in a few minutes' time. I hope it is better than the original one. An external mic for my camera would be ideal. I might have to save up for one. In the meantime I might try sitting at an equal distance from the camera as the person I am interviewing. Our voices should then record at the same volume. Anyway, I will try that next time!

      Thank you so much for your kind comment!

  5. With a son about to enter his last year in high school, I found this very reassuring 🙂 Looking forward to watching back through some of your other interviews with my girls.

    1. Reply

      An Almost Unschooling Mom,

      I wonder how you feel as your son approaches the end of homeschooling. When my first child was close to finishing, I felt a bit sad. But these days I realise that the next stage is exciting too. I love having young adults in the family. They are a real delight. They have continued learning and they still want to be part of the family. It's good!

      Thank you so much for watching my video. It was lovely to see your comment. I don't know if you remember but we've swapped a few comments in the past on my other blog. btw, I love your blog! So many interesting posts.

      So kind of you to stop by, and thank you for following my blog!!

  6. Reply

    Finally getting around to watching this.. Well worth it! Handsome, handsome… And nice haircut 😉

    I heard him just fine. Not sure if this is a new video???

    Nice to hear his thoughts and experiencing. Sue, you did good with this boy!! 😉

    1. Reply


      I bet Callum's glad he had his hair cut before I recorded this video!

      This is the improved version of the video. I'm glad you could hear Callum okay. By increasing the volume of his voice, I also had to increase the background noise a little. Never mind. I am learning lots about video making and editing as I go along. I did some searching online and found a lamp I can add to my camera which will give me the extra light I need for my videos, as well as for taking photos. It will be much better than using Callum's halogen lamp! I think I will invest in one as soon as I can afford it.

      Callum would be the first person to admit he isn't perfect but he is a good person. He's very loving and kind. He'll do okay I think. Thank you so much for your kind words. Part 2 on Thursday. I like part 2!

  7. Reply

    This was really neat, I enjoyed the interview very much. I thought Callum came across as very well grounded and thoughtful. I found his reasons for stopping the nursing track very interesting, I think we have similar problems in our health system here.

    It was funny, you were raising questions (which I am sure you've heard from other people) about whether unschoolers have will power, and yet Callum had the guts both to follow his passion and then to look at the career he was training for and recognize that it wasn't going to work for him. I know so many people that got swept along in their university education because they weren't sure what they wanted to do, couldn't recognize what day to day life would be like, or were just too afraid to back out.

    Great interview, can't wait for part 2!

    1. Reply


      I was wondering if everyone would think Callum failed because he dropped out of uni, but the responses have been very understanding and encouraging. Yes, we can get afraid to admit we've made a mistake. It might seem easier just to continue on the wrong pathway.

      Thank you so much for watching our video. I had a problem with part 2 but I hope it's all fixed. I uploaded a new version to Youtube, this morning. Love to hear your thoughts when you have time!

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