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by Jeanette Wilburn, North Star parent

Our son began at North Star after trying two weeks of ninth grade at the public school. He had been miserable in seventh and eighth grade, but we were hoping things would be better at the high school. Middle school sapped him. I don’t know how else to put it. He would come home and often cry; he was emotionally exhausted and depressed. And this was a child who had always been so happy and full of life, and loved learning.  He was okay during vacations and summer, but as school approached his anxiety grew, and along with that came panic attacks. 

Aidan visited North Star in eighth grade for a day. When I picked him up he had a grin a mile wide, he was so happy. I could tell it was just what he needed. I really wanted him to enroll in North Star. We didn’t start him at that time because my husband had concerns about finances and about not being in “regular school.”  We decided together we would see how ninth grade would go. 

At the end of summer before ninth grade, the usual anxiety and panic attacks increased. I was dreading school as much as he was. Every day after I picked him up in those first two weeks he was like a limp rag, the life was such getting squeezed out of him. When I asked him why he was so sad/depressed/stressed, he would answer “I don’t know, Mom. The lights, the buzzers, all the people.” The routine of school was utterly draining him. Our daughter, who is two years older, did fine in “regular school,” but our son wasn’t only not thriving, he was withering. 

I finally convinced my husband to let him try North Star to see how he did. I could no longer stand to see our son so depressed and anxious. After the first day we had our son back! The anxiety and panic attacks ceased immediately, and his love of learning flourished once again. 

Aidan loves learning languages; he calls himself a “polyglot in training.” North Star supports our son’s love of and excitement for learning. Even my once-skeptical husband couldn’t believe the difference in our son, and now would never think of sending him back to public school. 

If you are a parent and wondering, would my child thrive in an un-school situation? I say, give it a go… you will never look back. My only regret is that we didn’t try it sooner.