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Homeschool Highschool - Fork in the Road - Bright, Unmotivated 14 y.o. boy


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Dear Friends,

 

We always have homeschooled. I have "sort of" followed TWTM, but overall have a somewhat relaxed approach (to life, and to homeschooling). My 14 y.o. son is very bright and has thrived with some structure (math, spelling, handwriting, composition, grammar) and lots of delight-centered learning (history). He pursues his own interests with zeal - reading every book on the library shelf (now the adult shelves) on topics such as the Titanic, Baseball, and currently - NASA, Aerospace and WWII Bombers.

 

My husband and I are in the valley of decision - though I never thought I would be. We are considering sending him to high school. Please point me to resources, encourage, or advise.

 

He is a 14 y.o. boy and "pushing back" from me. Whatever I suggest, that is the kiss of death ;-). Yet, he is unmotivated to create his own curriculum. He has a sort of "school stinks" attitude. (Though he is doing well with online classes and co-op offerings, and even in the subjects he studies here).

 

He has joined Civil Air Patrol and has lofty aspirations (pun intended). That's when I started thinking of sending him, particularly to a small, "classical" charter school here. I believe a school could give him the discipline, structure and study habits that I have failed to instill here. (He's a quick study and, like me, I'm afraid to admit, does very well just putting things off 'til the last minute, relying on his great memory.)

 

On the homeschool side, I know he could do more with CAP and have great flexibility -- but I am just really concerned that I wouldn't set the bar high enough for him -- he wants to apply to the Service Academies!

 

Any encouragement or resources would be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Sandy

(southmetromom)

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Dear Friends,

 

We always have homeschooled. ...He pursues his own interests with zeal - reading every book on the library shelf ...He has a sort of "school stinks" attitude. (Though he is doing well with online classes and co-op offerings, and even in the subjects he studies here). ...I believe a school could give him the discipline, structure and study habits that I have failed to instill here. (He's a quick study and, like me, I'm afraid to admit, does very well just putting things off 'til the last minute, relying on his great memory.)

1

I have your son's twin brother living at my house. Seriously, I would have written the above to describe my 14-year-old son. However, I have known for a few years that he would attend public high school.

 

He just finished his first semester, and he did great... all As and one B in honors classes. (His electives are not available in honors.) This is a well regarded high school. He has learned that he has to do the reading that is assigned in history to be prepared for pop quizzes. He learned that forgetting to turn in assignments, even just once, can lower your grde enough to make a difference. He learned when you get an opportunity to do something that will lead to extra credit or an improved grade on something already turned in, you do it. (Well, he is still working on that concept if it means a lot of work. He had a 100-question study guide fIor the Language Arts final exam. If you did it, you would receive extra credit on the final. It wasn't a lot of extra credit, so he didn't think it was worth the work. "Mom, it is 100 questions." I put my foot down and insisted he do it as he had a weekend.) High school has not cured his organization issues, but he is still working, maturing. It did not improve his handwriing, as he assures me other people have even worse handwriting.

 

He went into the final of his history class with a high B, and the exam was over a ton of history/policals information/geography. For example, he needed to be able to identify on a map the location of 200+ counties/cities/rivers/mountains/etc in Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. He kept saying I can't learn all this, a B will be fine. I kept reminding him of the As he had made of the recent tests in the class. So he kept studying. He went to bed before I felt he had it all learned, but he got up before the exam and went over it some more. He ended up with a 96 on the final and an A in the class.

 

At one point in the semester, he mentioned, "Wow, I could have done great in homeschool if I had studied this much." For this kid, the structure of high school has been a great thing.

 

good luck with your decision. This kid would have been happy to stay at home through high school.

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A year and a half ago i would have said that your son's older brother lived at my house--Very bright, mocks everything, and only does as much as he has to . We chose to stick with homeschooling because the public school options were the reason we started homeschooling his 7th grade year. In the last year things have begun to turn around in large part because I am not his primary teacher -- we outsource most of the teaching to a small private organization that offers classes to homeschoolers twice a week. He has made some friends there that have challenged him to be excellent and it has helped that mom is only the spur to get him to do his weekly work, and not his instructor. So there's hope for this breed of boy, homeschooling or not, if they are put in the place that fits them.

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Wow! We are at the same decision point.

 

I am filling out the highschool apps this week.

 

What we told ds is that he has 2 choices. He will either go to our highschool (charter) or homeschool using CC classes. Obviously, the CC classes will be introduced slowly. In 9th grade it would only be one class there. He will need to come up with a basic plan for the same reasons you mentioned. He poo-poo's everything we suggest. We need him to start owning his education especially if he is to stay home. He also knows that simply not having any plan by the summer is a choice, too. The choice in that case will be the highschool.

 

I never thought I would consider sending him. However, I have found that I cannot work with someone who doesn't want to work with me. I am okay with sending him which is most likely what it will be. Either way, it will be okay.

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If he really wants to get in to a service academy, check out the requirements NOW. It's involved and rigorous. If that's his goal, start with the end in mind, and gear h.s. to getting him there. There are some families on the boards whose kids have gone to service academies- you might put a shout out to what all went in to the process.

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Any encouragement or resources would be appreciated.

My bright, unmotivated boy is 17 now. I'll look for the threads I wrote about our decision.

 

I have to admit that he has changed. For the better. Last semester, he took 4 classes at CC and aced them all. Biology was the most difficult for him (no great memory here). He actually submitted 16 chapter review sheets throughout the semester in order to get some extra credit. It made a difference in his grade. When we discussed his classes for next semester, he wanted to go ahead and take Chemistry even though it wasn't necessary until next year. In his younger days, he would have put it off as long as possible.

 

I do a lot of research now, present the options with pros/cons, give my opinion, but allow him to make the decision. That has helped our relationship as I am no longer so much of a cattle prod. I do try to keep tabs. Mostly, if ds is procrastinating or needs some prodding, I go through dh. The kiss of death isn't an automatic with dh. In fact, ds agreed to go to an engineering career day at a local university when dh suggested it. (Ds has no earthly idea what he wants to major in, but his strongest subject is math, and we'd all like for him to be self-supporting when he finishes college).

 

I was ambivalent about hs'ing HS because I was weary of the battle. When ds decided he wanted to continue hs'ing for HS, he also agreed that he would start at CC in 10th grade. We are allowed to dual enroll for free in 10th-12th grade. He decided some time during 9th grade that he wanted to take classes at PS as well (he's on the basketball team). We are allowed to take up to 3 classes at PS. He has been completely outsourced starting in 10th grade between CC, PS, and online classes.

 

I don't know a thing about service academies. Ds hopes to play basketball (his passion) in college. I hope that he will make an attractive prospect in part due to his CC dual enrollment.

 

Do you have a local CC that offers dual enrollment?

 

Good luck with your decision.

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I was planning to start a very similar thread, except PS isn't an option for us. My 15 yr old DS is in the K12 program. It's a constant struggle to get him to do work, although, when he does it, he gets A's and B's (A's if he studies, B's if he skims material). I'm personally tired of the struggle and toxic atmosphere constant battling has created. He will finish out this 10th grade year at K12, but next year we are thinking of just having him study towards the ACT/SAT and cut everything else out. He plans to take some local CC classes, but we have no idea what. His only goal pretty much is that he wants to go to college.....

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Do make sure the classical school has strog enough math and science offerings to serve as a launch pad to a service academy. Sometimes classical schools are not as strong in the sciences and maths as one might like, but obviously that is a school-specific issue.

 

If you really want to homeschool him, you might consider outsourcing classes. Both of my sons were done learning from Mom by about age 14, so we moved to online and CC and local 4-year college classes. They worked to succeed in those classes in a way that they justj wouldn't for me.

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He is a 14 y.o. boy and "pushing back" from me. Whatever I suggest, that is the kiss of death ;-).

 

I think this is very common! This year we are outsourcing 3 courses: Ap Chemistry, AP Computer Science, and Latin III. This has made a big difference. My son is overall pleasant and fun to be around, but last year it seemed like we had THE SAME EXACT CONVERSATION MANY TIMES about schoolwork. It seemed like my deadlines did not matter AT ALL! I have a lot of therories as to why boys especially seem to push against their moms at this age, but they still need to learn to get the work done :drool: . My ds wanted to continue to homeschool, so we talked about expectaions, which courses would be outsourced, and what was required for him to enter his desired college major. This year, although not perfect, has been MUCH better. I have really seen him mature this year, although he still has room to grow.

Do not feel bad for making the decision which will be best for your child. Some kids really need to be in school, while CC, online schooling, or traditional schooling may work well for others. Take a peek at SWB's most recent blog. She admites that one of her sons would have been better off in a school for the last two years of high school. Best of luck to you in making this tough decision!

Blessings,

Michelle

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Thank you, thank you -- each and all! I am reading, meditating, praying, re-reading. All perspectives are so helpful and so welcome. I will follow up on the many good suggestions here. I am doing the "research" and will present my dh with the options in about a week. Yes, we do have CC enrollment (free) here. A million thanks to each and all.

 

Sandy in CO

(southmetromom)

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There are several benefits to continuing to homeschool and use CC for dual enrollment:

1. wide variety of classes (especially science at our cc anyway)

2. ability to research/choose teachers

3. high school and college credit at the same time

 

Here is a thread I wrote as we wrestled with the decision (actually I think I was the only one who wrestled):

As we approach high school, we get more feedback that ds should be in school...

 

I don't know that my whine is that helpful, but you might find some golden nuggets in the replies. Jane's in particular touched me.

 

After we made the decision:

The decision has been made: We are going to homeschool for high school...

 

 

HTH!

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I want to chime in a bit.

 

My older son is a senior at boys' high school. His teachers were the best part of sending him to high school. He had mostly men and has had mixture of lay and religious, from men in their 70s to men in their 20s. I never could have arranged in homeschooling for him to be influenced by so many deeply faithful men.

 

It was a big part of his education.

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I have written this before, but I will comment again.

 

My ds did NOT want to home school for high school. The local public high school is crazy large with many problems. We instead sent him to a small charter school in a town 30 minutes down the road. It was the best decision for us. He has thrived in his school and has a renewed interest in learning. For boys, I really think the competition factor can be important.

 

We discussed using our nearby CC for dual enrollment, but he did not want to be with students so much older than he was. This was his point of concern, not mine, as I had really never even thought of that bothering him. What he really wanted was a peer group. He has absolutely found it at this *particular* school where there are many high-achieving, self-motivated, ambitious students. I think the fit of the school is most important, but it sounds like you have already taken this into consideration.

 

As far as service academies go, I know precious little. However, my understanding is that athletics are EXTREMELY important in the process. In particular, I think they truly want TEAM athletics. This may or may not be something your classical school offers. Our charter does have athletics, and I know a graduate last year was accepted to a service academy. We have friends who are considering moving their son from the big, local high school to our charter so he CAN participate in athletics because he isn't competitive enough to play at the local school. I agree with the above poster who said that you should look into their requirements NOW.

 

I do think it is interesting that many parents of boys have spoken up here. My son really needed for me to no longer be the person to whom he was accountable.

 

All the best with your decision.

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