After years of unschooling Delilah and her brother joined PLC in hopes of expanding their education and social circle. Delilah is a lovely, easygoing girl who fit in to the PLC community quite readily. Prior to joining PLC, Delilah’s learning was largely unstructured, and she found the opportunity at PLC for classes and learning in lots of different topics exciting. She was very open to mentoring and was able to incorporate more math and other specific interests with the help of her mentor, Alison. To start, Delilah jumped into a full schedule, and over time has learned to organize her days to the degree and in the way that suits her. She gets a bit of both worlds—flexibility and planned learning experiences. Delilah especially enjoys the ASL (American Sign Language) class, and after two years as a class participant, she has taken over as the teacher!

Although Delilah was concerned about finding a group of friends, this didn’t prove as difficult as imagined. She’s a kind person and others gravitate to her. However, the experience of suddenly being in a whole group of peers became somewhat overwhelming. She found herself emotionally taking on quite a lot as her friends went through their own problems and had challenges with one another. This proved difficult to navigate for some time. However, the experience proved really fruitful because in the long run, Delilah has been able to balance community and her individuality. As someone who was nervous about making new friends, she has become the person who is renowned in our center for welcoming newcomers and bridging friendships among the other teens. She is a friend to everyone and therefore, everybody’s friend.

A letter from Delilah’s mom, Barbara:

Delilah comes from a “child-led learning” or “unschooling” atmosphere. What this means is that we support and feed our child’s interests, and also, we integrate opportunities for learning into our everyday life. When the child is ready, we feed the fire. Learning happens.

When we found PLC and visited, we knew that this would be a good fit. The mentors all understood about where she came from. I did not have to explain to them that the most important thing to me as her mother was her confidence and solid spirit. I wanted Delilah to always “know that she could know” anything she set her mind to.

I was happy to hear that for certain subjects, like math and writing, children get their own one-on-one tutoring. Delilah has thrived with this undivided attention and is fast hungering for more math. She admits that “although it is not easy, I want to unravel math’s mysteries and see how it connects to the world.” As a person who had only bad experiences with learning math, I have always been careful not to poison this subject with my demons when teaching her what I could. My heart sings as I write this because I know that PLC did not let me down and that they will continue to help her thrive.

What is exciting is that PLC can actually keep up with Delilah’s wide interests. She has been able to explore more things, in depth, and within relationships, which has been immensely beneficial. The greatest adult relationship has been with her mentor–who is very experienced with getting kids where they want to go. The most striking to me has been that Delilah has enjoyed setting and keeping her own goals for herself and her learning. This was never my strong point, as I have no problem moving around the goalposts.

I am pleased to see Delilah growing exponentially in her social interactions, so much so that she has taken on leadership roles within the school. She is excited to stretch her wings! I am proud that she stepped up this year and offered to teach beginning ASL (American Sign Language) to her peers when the teacher was unable to teach this year. She learned ASL at PLC!

Getting out of our home more has allowed Delilah to form her own relationships, practice keeping her own commitments, and also practice solving her own problems. This has helped me see who she really is outside in the world and trust that she can handle people on her own. Her friendships with staff and students have widened her world view.

I want to add that there is never a day when Delilah does not want to “go to school”. She has come from a lifestyle of no schedules and late mornings to a fully responsible morning person. I never have to drag her out.

I am immensely grateful to PLC for maintaining this amazing place for my children to grow within. I highly recommend this school, in fact, I wish I could attend.

Barbara Rivera
Summer 2019