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my son who is a junior has lost his drive..

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and now he says he doesn't want to go to college. sigh. he's smart and he usually gets things right away (when he doesn't, it sets him off--like right now with apologia chemistry).


moving in the middle of his freshmen year really disrupted his mojo and he hasn't gotten it back. he was attending public school (for the first time) that year and excelled in florida, but here in pennsylvania things were sooo different (boring, not challenging, etc.) that now he thinks that version of education is okay (they hardly read any books--excerpts only, never a whole book. did no research papers, counted biology as a lab science without ever doing any labs, that kind of thing).


he has no plan for his life. i'm not against him not going to college (if he had a skill and a plan/opportunity), but he has no. idea. what to do. he has almost all of his credits for graduation already, but doesn't even know where to begin choosing electives to fill his senior year.


he's dragged his feet to get his license, so that now he's cramming driving hours in to get the requirement finished before his test on 2/18. he made the public school basketball team last year but they wouldn't let him try out this year because he spent his summer in new mexico on a mission trip.


so,...how do i motivate him? i think he needs a male prompting in his life, but his father is unable to fill that role for him right now...



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Might you propose a gap year as an option? If he feels like he doesn't have to decide about college right away, maybe he'll be able to sort out his ambitions.


Perhaps he could still sit exams like the SAT or ACT, even if he thinks a gap year is for him. That way, if he changes his mind and opts to go to college on the traditional schedule, he won't have to scramble to make up tests, which would add all manner of pressure. And if he chooses to take a year off, his scores will still be there.

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Would CC be a possibility for some or all of his courses for next year? Since he liked the classroom setting in FL, maybe he will do better in a classroom setting again. Perhaps he didn't like the high school in PA because it was unfamiliar to him and he was still adjusting to the move.


If CC classes are an option, I'd suggest having him take a variety of subjects to see if you can spark an interest somewhere. Also possibly get some general ed requirements done that he might transfer to another college later.


I just found out yesterday that some hs friends of ours will be moving soon. Her 15 yo ds has been depressed since they decided to move a month ago. He was just beginning to find extra curricular things he liked and to really enjoy getting out of the house for group activities, and now they have to move. sigh... It seems so daunting to a teen, I think, to have to begin that whole process again.


Prayers that you can help your ds find his way,


(and that stinks that they wouldn't let him on the BB team because he was away on a mission trip.)

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I have similar concerns for my 17 year old son who is a junior in public high school and my 14 year old daughter who is homeschooled. Yet my husband challenges me to let our children discover their own dreams and find their own motivation, supporting them whether they choose to go to college or not. I am so invested in higher education that this is a difficult challenge for me to embrace.


I talk with our son about both options suggested in previous replies: a possible gap year and community college. Meanwhile, I encourage him to think about subjects he enjoys, as well as the future lifestyle he hopes to enjoy. I think a teen needs to consider whether or not his or her desired future lifestyle will be achievable without a college degree. Meanwhile, I need to let go of the erroneous belief that my children will be doomed without college degrees. I also need to let go of the corollary which equates college degrees with occupational satisfaction. As a former actuary (a profession high on the best jobs list) with an MA in mathematics, letting go is hard!


My thoughts and prayers are with you,


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How about a part-time job. For many teens there is nothing so motivational as flipping burgers. Make him use his money to pay for a car, insurance and gas as well as anything else he asks you to buy. Finding out how much money he will make and how little it will buy could at least help him know that isn't what he wants to do!


I burned out in high school. I was in all honors classes and doing great and my last year I just stopped. I took easy classes and didn't want to go to college. Working both the summer before and the summer after that did help me decide that I would at least try college even if I didn't want to, just to have more possibilities in life.

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