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Pretty in Pink

9th grade was a complete failure here

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My son failed 9th grade.

 

I have been struggling with this fact all summer. My child failed a grade. At homeschool. How did this happen??

 

We live in Twentynine Palms, CA, and if you are familiar with this area then you know that homeschooling is really our only option. I have to find a way to make this work.
 

We have tried rewards. We have tried punishments. We have tried giving him input into his subjects and schedule.

My child will complete his work if I sit at the table and hold his hand for the duration of his school day; otherwise, pretty much nada. He is the oldest of five. I cannot give him my undivided attention all day, every day, and at almost 15 years of age I shouldn't have to, right?

There are no learning disabilities to consider.

He doesn't enjoy working alone, but that's part of school, isn't it? Not every lesson is a group project, no matter where you go to school. Still, I know that he does well when I work with him.

 

My son has outside activities and friends. He is very active in Boy Scouts. He played football last fall. He has sleepovers and talks on the phone. He's not socially isolated.

 

He has demonstrated what I consider to be a normal level of teenage angst and general annoyance with his siblings and myself over the past year or so, but nothing alarming.

 

I don't know what I'm looking for here -- commiseration, a kick in the pants, suggestions for curriculum? I will tell you all what we used last year:
 

Saxon Advanced Mathematics (he has successfully completed all previous levels of saxon math)
Winston Grammar (completed successfully at the beginning of the school year -- one of his favorite subjects, ever, according to him)
Fallacy Detective (not really worth a high school credit but we did read the book aloud and he thoroughly enjoyed it)

College Physics: A Strategic Approach by Knight, et al
Glencoe World History (first half of the book)
Prentice Hall Lit World Masterpieces
German 1 Online through OSU

The lit book was not my first choice but we fell back on it when he was giving me so much trouble about completing his lessons that our reading list and lit guides fell by the wayside. I figured a literature textbook was better than nothing, but even that became a struggle.

 

I'll be honest and admit that part of the problem was the fact that I became a small business owner last year and found myself with less and less time to sit at the table with him on a daily basis, which gave him an opportunity to slack off. While I don't think that a 14 (soon to be 15) year old should require his mother's constant supervision, my general busy-ness was certainly a contributing factor to his failing. I'd already been struggling to keep him on track the previous year (8th grade) and in hindsight I can see that it was the wrong time to start a business.

Anyway. I'm off to browse the boards and catch up since it's been so long since my last visit. If you got this far, thanks for reading. I have got to get my head back in the game for the coming school year and I always found these boards to be a source of encouragement and motivation. :)




 



 

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:crying: How horrible.  Can I ask *how* exactly he failed?

 

I haven't gotten up to 9th grade yet and I don't know most of your curricula, but I will say that College Physics by Knight is not a 9th grade level book.  Was he supposed to finish most of it in a 9-month school year? Has he taken physics before?  Has he worked with a substantial science textbook before?  How did you choose this text? Please don't take all these questions as critical of you, but this choice just really stands out to me.

 

I hope that this year goes better for you. :grouphug:

 

Ruth in NZ

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How did he fail?

 

Well, for example, he pushed to take the German course. That was his choice. He did the work for half of the school year or a little better. I checked his grades weekly. At some point during the second half of the school year he quit doing the work but would log in and edit the webpage to make it look like he was getting good grades. I didn't even know that was possible until we caught him doing it.

With his writing he would just sit there staring blankly into space and not writing a thing on the paper.

With his math he would do some lessons, not do others, skip problems, make up answers randomly to problems he didn't feel like working, etc. etc. etc. and for a while he got away with it because he was checking his own lessons and I was checking only the tests. He would pass the tests because he can do the work, he is just being lazy in the daily lessons. Even when I began checking the lessons myself every day he would still make up answers or skip lessons and...I don't know what he was thinking. He knew he would get caught. I was checking the work.

 

The science book, well, I saw it talked about here and he has the mathematical background for the book. He did physics in 8th grade. Whether he is capable of working with the text or not, he clearly hates it so it was a mistake.

With the history book he would read the chapter and spend inordinate amounts of time working on the chapter reviews but never actually produce any written work for me to check, claiming that it had been lost or ruined or what have you. On the occasion that he did complete a review the answers would be incomplete, sentence fragments, illegible, etc. He wouldn't even capitalize proper nouns.

 

Every single subject just turned into a battle of wills. We restarted his math, science, and history texts no fewer than FOUR times last year because he refused, absolutely refused, to keep a notebook for any subject so there was never a paper trail for me to verify his progress or even grade his work.

 

I finally threw in the towel about four weeks ago because I could not continue to struggle with him on a daily basis. It was leaving me in tears. The child would not do any work for me. He spent the entire month of June sitting at the dining room table five days a week, sometimes for 11-12 hours per day, and making little to no progress. How is that possible even? I know it doesn't make sense. If I am in the room with him and he is sitting there in front of me with the books how is he not making any progress? We would just go round and round with him skipping problems and skipping lessons and turning in sentence fragments, etc. and we're not even talking about science at this point, just math and history.


 

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Choices. According to the classes he took last year, he is ready to graduate high school. Do that and send him on to college. 

 

Or, back up and redo some high school classes in high school. He will still be learning, in fact he might just truly digest them the second time around. He will probably be able to manage them on his own. He doesn't turn in his day's work, then he doesn't do his social events. (I mean redo algebra, biology,... with a different text.)

 

Or, let him take some more creative types of classes. This can be hard on a mama/teacher. Obviously, he is a very smart boy who has learned what is required for high school already. You won't have books or tests to rely on for evidence of progress. This is a hard to impossible avenue for an in the heart classical schooler who reads these boards, but it can work.

 

But, no, a typical 14 yo boy is not going to just sit and do his work on his own. He still requires hand-holding and a lot of oversight. This is often true of kids who have up to this point worked on their own. Honestly, it is usually asking too much for a 14 yo to do their high school work without someone cracking a whip of some sort. Also, if he is able to pass the tests without doing the daily work, it is probably time to move on. I would have him take the ACT/SAT and move him along.

 

 

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Choices. According to the classes he took last year, he is ready to graduate high school. Do that and send him on to college.

 

Or, back up and redo some high school classes in high school. He will still be learning, in fact he might just truly digest them the second time around. He will probably be able to manage them on his own. He doesn't turn in his day's work, then he doesn't do his social events. (I mean redo algebra, biology,... with a different text.)

 

Or, let him take some more creative types of classes. This can be hard on a mama/teacher. Obviously, he is a very smart boy who has learned what is required for high school already. You won't have books or tests to rely on for evidence of progress. This is a hard to impossible avenue for an in the heart classical schooler who reads these boards, but it can work.

 

But, no, a typical 14 yo boy is not going to just sit and do his work on his own. He still requires hand-holding and a lot of oversight. This is often true of kids who have up to this point worked on their own. Honestly, it is usually asking too much for a 14 yo to do their high school work without someone cracking a whip of some sort. Also, if he is able to pass the tests without doing the daily work, it is probably time to move on. I would have him take the ACT/SAT and move him along.

This. Especially the last paragraph. My 16 year old dd is finally owning her work and choosing to be self motivated. 14yo's are still very much children, no matter how mature they seem.

 

If it is any consolation I was seriously considering consumer math for my oldest just a few months ago. We were starting to research alternative high school and college (or not) plans. In just a short amount of time she is now about to finish Algebra 2 and may graduate early. 6 months ago I would've laughed if someone told me it was possible.

 

Be encouraged. One year that did not go as you had hoped is not the determiner for the rest of his high school years or even college.

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Your ds sounds like a very bright and yet very typical 14yo.  The bad news is he is still immature and still needs a lot of guidance to get done what he should.  The good news is he's smart enough to do the work if he cares enough.  Is his dad in the picture to give him the man-up and man-up NOW talk? 

 

My son has outside activities and friends. He is very active in Boy Scouts. He played football last fall. He has sleepovers and talks on the phone. He's not socially isolated.

 

 

Maybe it's time he started being socially isolated.  Seriously.  He seems to crave interaction.  Use that as a carrot. 

 

If your ds doesn't get his work done, and done well, he doesn't get to go to Boy Scouts.  Period.  If it's an important night, too bad.  If he doesn't get his badge, too bad.  If he misses the big trip he's planned for six months, too bad.  School work comes first.  The scoutmaster will be on board if you let him in on the problem. 

 

If your ds doesn't get his school work done well, he doesn't play football.  No practice if his work isn't done well.  Big game?  "Sorry, son.  School work comes first."  The football coach may be another good source of support (or not, depending on his philosophy, so I'd talk with him privately).

 

If your ds doesn't get his work done well, he doesn't get sleepovers or have phone privileges.  "Son, I know you wanted to do this, but you didn't do your school work, and school comes first."

 

If you are consistent in this, and if other adults in his life back you up, he'll probably straighten up quickly in order to get back the privilege of having activities. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What does he want to do.  Is he trying to tell you he's done enough for high school?  Or that he wants to go to public school?

 

How can he fail math if he's passing the tests?  Are the tests not at all correlated with what he should know?

 

Or is it that his brain hasn't matured enough for that level of math.  There's usually a reason why advanced math is delayed until a bit later.  Kids who blasted through the earlier levels often run into a situation where they aren't quite ready to do advanced math, but they already did the previous stuff.  If that's the case, there's really no shame in taking a math vacation.

 

Also, for that level of math and science, he probably really needs help.  Just about everyone does.  Even if they were self-learners before.  If you are able to do that and that's why you're sitting with him, then that's not really hand holding.  That's just teaching.  If you aren't able, then you need to seek someone out to help him.  It's not his fault if he's spinning his wheels with math and physics.

 

Can he write if it's something he's interested in?  Trying to write about boring stuff is the surest way to kill any interest in writing.  A lot of school topics (lit analysis and that kind of thing) are really boring to a lot of kids.  If he can already write well about things that interest him, then he doesn't need any more writing instruction.  If he can't, then encourage him to write about any old crazy thing that might interest a teen. 

 

Maybe he's done enough academics and it's time to move on to applying what he knows.  Is he interested in computer animation?  Archaeology?  Anime?  Guitar?  Web page design? Have him find some internet forums and start chatting about whatever interests him.  He'll learn stuff.  And he'll get some practice writing.  Send him out to a job so he can make enough money to buy a guitar or a drum set.  Or something else that interests him.

 

But don't worry.  If he can read, write, and do math, he's ready for college.  As long as he's not getting into trouble, you might want to let it slide until he finds something he's interested in.

 

Has he already gone through his growth spurt?  That can really sap a child's intellect.  Things might be better once that's done.

 

ETA:  You can lead a horse to water and all that......  Taking away social privileges isn't likely to do much but make him resentful.  He's already sitting at a table 11-12 hours a day.  And it seems he lost his summer to trying to finish what was assigned.  So he's already had social privileges removed, with no result.

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9th graders are strange birds.  Dd is 12 lessons shy of finishing Algebra 2.  We have about a third of chemistry to wrap up and about a 1/3 of Spanish.  She otherwise completed the goals for Literature/Composition, World History (- a need to do a bit about post Korean War) and completed all the logic/rhetoric goals we set.  It was often very frustrating, if I gave her an inch she would drift a mile.  She found ways to widdle away time and pull some of the types of things you described.  I decided in mid-June to list out what remained to be done and explain that she could make it up during the summer or have it would be tacked on to this school year making everything far more difficult.  I could see it wasn't sinking in with her at all.

 

We wound up traveling together a good bit in July and just talking.  We have decided to wait and see, work what remains into this school year and and add a few weeks.  She suggested I sit with her more, especially at first and force her to stay focused on task.  I am scrambling a bit to rework some plans for the year before we start in a couple of weeks, but it feels far better to be working together than fighting one another.  We don't need a transcript for the next 9 months so we are going to try out what we have discussed and defer our decisions until we are winding up the 2013-2014 year.  She matured a great deal over this summer and the differences versus a year ago are striking.

 

Summarizing, I have come to the conclusion she was being a young teen and her recognizing on her own she isn't done with needing supervision yet may just be the most valuable bit she learned as a 9th grader.

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Adding: I just about always sit with my kids while they're doing math and science.  If they have questions, it's a whole lot more efficient to get them cleared up right then.

 

It looks like hand holding.  It's really just that a) I don't want them to get frustrated and decide they're stupid, and b ) if they have to figure out their question later, it takes a whole lot of time.  It even takes more of my time, oddly enough.

 

It may not seem logical, but I throw out logic if experience tells me otherwise.

 

You may just be running into the reason why an awful lot of homeschoolers farm out advanced math and science.  You really have to know the stuff pretty well to be able to answer questions.  Many homeschooling parents don't.  There's no reason why you shouldn't turn to someone else to help him.  The last thing you should be doing, though, is expecting that 11 hours a day will somehow magically make it so he figures it out.  It won't.  At best, it will make him hate the subject.  At worst, it will make him hate you.

 

It's his education.  It's his mind.  You can't stuff things in there that he's not willing to take on as his own.

 

And you can't expect he can self teach himself things it took centuries for humankind to come up with.  Text books aren't the best places to learn these things.  For physics and math, the students generally have to see how it's done. 

 

 

 

Yeah, that was a b ), not a b)

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Since more people seem to reply in this thread than in the other, I will copy my answer that I originally posted in your other thread over here. I addressed specifically the isssue of physics.

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Let me just respond to this, because I am using this text and am very famliar with it.

HOW did you have him use the text? Did you simply hand him the book and have him work through it? Or:

 

Did you assign problems carefully selected to illustrate the concept he just learned?

Did you (or somebdoy else) give him feedback about his worked out problems, discussing result and insisting on correct procedure?

Did you (or somebody else) discuss the concepts with him, answer questions, and clear up any misconceptions?

 

Unless those things happened, he was not really in a position that enabled him to succeed. Using a college text for 9th grade physics is fine, the level of text is not the problem - but expecting a student to work by himself through this text, without support and assistance from somebody who understands the material is the problem. I am not saying it is impossible; there are high school students who can self-teach physics from a college text, but these are rare exceptions. Unless you gave assignments, feedback for the assignments, and discussions/help with concepts, he did not actually study physics this year.

 

Now, if you did give and evaluate assignments and had regular conceptual discussions and answered his questions about the content and he simpy did not do the work, then yes, he deserves the failing grade. But if nobody sat down with him and explained how to set up a kinematics problem when he struggled, explained what needs to be in a force diagram when he was confused, figured out with him why a practice problem came out wrong, cleared up the misconceptions, if nobody did those with him, then he did not receive the instruction needed at his level, and the failure can not be held against him, since it was not his.

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Choices. According to the classes he took last year, he is ready to graduate high school. Do that and send him on to college.

No, absolutely not.

THE most important ingredient for college success is for the student to be able to work diligently, independenlty, and use his time wisely without anybody watching, hand holding, supervising. The OP's son may be an accelerated student, but he does not possess the maturity to succeed in college.

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My first thought is that maybe it would be advantageous to outsource some of his classes? (I know you outsourced German, but having had two daughters outsource Spanish through OSU, it does not have the same level of 'oversight' as other courses we have used... it was very easy to get 'behind')

 

I also wondered if maybe the Physics was just a wee bit challenging related to his math ability? I am remembering when my daughter was really, really jazzed to take an Astronomy MOOC... she had a lot of conceptual Astronomy and a high interest level, but the math was just too much. She needed time to digest and master the math before tackling the applied math in the Astronomy course. Maybe a year with another science (like Bio) while the math brain is maturing will help your ds be more successful in Physics in a year or two. (I dunno... to me Physics just seems like another advanced math class... but I am a mathphobe. :p )

 

Have you and he started talking college at all? Does he have any aspirations in that regard? It may awaken some self-motivation if he is aware of the possibilities if he is a hard worker and does well in high school.

 

Good Luck!

 

Parenting teens is a whole 'nother ball of wax, isn't it?

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No, absolutely not.

THE most important ingredient for college success is for the student to be able to work diligently, independenlty, and use his time wisely without anybody watching, hand holding, supervising. The OP's son may be an accelerated student, but he does not possess the maturity to succeed in college.

This!  One cannot succeed, in a college or university, without being self directed. My DD is self directed, at 12. He is older, but he is not there yet...  College requires a huge amount of Time Management and Self Discipline. He doesn't have that, at this stage...

 

Hopefully, as someone suggested earlier in this thread, the Boy Scout leader, and the Football Coach, can explain to him why his #1 priority must be his education.

 

Mom sitting there all day with him will not be able to get the material into his head, unless he is interested in learning. It doesn't sound like he is interested in learning at this time.

 

Counseling of some kind might help him?

 

What plans does he have for his future? What does he want to be, "when he grows up" and is an Adult?

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I'll be honest and admit that part of the problem was the fact that I became a small business owner last year and found myself with less and less time to sit at the table with him on a daily basis, which gave him an opportunity to slack off. While I don't think that a 14 (soon to be 15) year old should require his mother's constant supervision, my general busy-ness was certainly a contributing factor to his failing. I'd already been struggling to keep him on track the previous year (8th grade) and in hindsight I can see that it was the wrong time to start a business.

 

 

I'm so sorry that this has happened. I know it is frustrating and discouraging. However, I think it is time for you to meet your ds where he is.

 

As far as the quote above, no being 14 does not mean he can work independently. My dd actually works less independently at 14 than she did at 11 or 12. She sounds a lot like your ds in that she is very social and has a lot of outside activities that I thought would provide that for her. However, for her right now, education must be relational. I spend a huge amount of time with her each day. The keys have been spending the time and consistently not letting her go to anything she wants to do unless the work is done. I provide a schedule, sit with her while she does most of her work and provide feedback on every piece of work either immediately or in the very least before she does the next days work. 

 

I know it is harsh, but this is your job. If you can't do it because of work and younger kids, you may have to use a brick & mortar school or in the very least some online classes that have a lot of oversight. Your ds can't do this on his own and it is going to be up to you to step up and help. The good news is he has been working at a high level in the past. That means he is not behind! Even if he totally repeats 9th grade, it is an acceptable level of work for 10th grade. This is not a disaster, instead consider it a learning experience. Make a plan and try again.

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No, absolutely not.

THE most important ingredient for college success is for the student to be able to work diligently, independenlty, and use his time wisely without anybody watching, hand holding, supervising. The OP's son may be an accelerated student, but he does not possess the maturity to succeed in college.

 

Unless,  the below is the problem.

 

Since more people seem to reply in this thread than in the other, I will copy my answer that I originally posted in your other thread over here. I addressed specifically the isssue of physics.

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Let me just respond to this, because I am using this text and am very famliar with it.

HOW did you have him use the text? Did you simply hand him the book and have him work through it? Or:

 

Did you assign problems carefully selected to illustrate the concept he just learned?

Did you (or somebdoy else) give him feedback about his worked out problems, discussing result and insisting on correct procedure?

Did you (or somebody else) discuss the concepts with him, answer questions, and clear up any misconceptions?

 

Unless those things happened, he was not really in a position that enabled him to succeed. Using a college text for 9th grade physics is fine, the level of text is not the problem - but expecting a student to work by himself through this text, without support and assistance from somebody who understands the material is the problem. I am not saying it is impossible; there are high school students who can self-teach physics from a college text, but these are rare exceptions. Unless you gave assignments, feedback for the assignments, and discussions/help with concepts, he did not actually study physics this year.

 

Now, if you did give and evaluate assignments and had regular conceptual discussions and answered his questions about the content and he simpy did not do the work, then yes, he deserves the failing grade. But if nobody sat down with him and explained how to set up a kinematics problem when he struggled, explained what needs to be in a force diagram when he was confused, figured out with him why a practice problem came out wrong, cleared up the misconceptions, if nobody did those with him, then he did not receive the instruction needed at his level, and the failure can not be held against him, since it was not his.

 

In that case, an actual instructor who knows the subject well would enable him to be able to study and learn. If his apparent lack of focus comes not from immaturity, but from improper setting for learning such advanced subjects; college would put him into a setting where he could succeed. Put this kid in a high school class and he will most likely be bored to tears if he is truly this advanced. I've known such kids who excelled when allowed to start college early. They literally rose to the level of the bar set in front of them.

 

I've also known kids in his situation who found success by repeating lower level classes. Those kids tended to have had parents who thought they were more advanced than they were, and the hand holding was actually the parent doing most of the work. For others, lowering the bar back to high school level allowed them to coast in the subject matter until they were older and attending college. THen, there are those who really just were needing a whip cracked. We have no idea which camp this kid falls in. Thus, my many suggestions for possibilities.

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Maybe it's time he started being socially isolated.  Seriously.  He seems to crave interaction.  Use that as a carrot. 

 

If your ds doesn't get his work done, and done well, he doesn't get to go to Boy Scouts.  Period.  If it's an important night, too bad.  If he doesn't get his badge, too bad.  If he misses the big trip he's planned for six months, too bad.  

 

If your ds doesn't get his school work done well, he doesn't play football.  No practice if his work isn't done well.  

 

If your ds doesn't get his work done well, he doesn't get sleepovers or have phone privileges.  

 

If you are consistent in this, and if other adults in his life back you up, he'll probably straighten up quickly in order to get back the privilege of having activities. 

 

This may work for some kids, but it also carries the risk of backfiring pretty dramatically. Taking away everything a child cares about, in order to make life so unpleasant that he will do the things he finds boring and pointless (school work) in order to have access to the only things he enjoys, will almost certainly further damage the parent-child relationship, and may result in the kid deciding to just stop caring about anything. I have seen exactly that dynamic play out too many times with kids I care about.

 

Also, IMHO the biggest issue last year seems to have been lack of supervision and support, so unless appropriate measures are taken in that area, removing all privileges is like setting him up for failure and then punishing him for failing. 

 

Rather than further damage the relationship with harsh punishments, I would take responsibility for part of what went wrong last year and try to rebuild the relationship.  And instead of taking away the things he really cares about in order to force him to do things he really doesn't care about, I would try to reorganize his school work so that he does care about it, and I would make sure he has the support and accountability in place to help him succeed.

 

Jackie

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To be blunt, it sounds like you have more of a problem than the kid does. Things went too far without your direct involvement; it is very hard to reverse a bad trend once a kid starts doing badly in a class - he was drowning and you didn't notice. 

 

Some of those subjects are tough and actual instruction is required (physics). Others need constant feedback (Adv. math, German). Writing needs to be broken down into small pieces with much encouragement. Literature and history need to be discussed.

 

When classes are outsourced it is necessary to keep on top of how things are going, offer help when needed, ask about what they are learning, check on grades, pay attention to things the teacher sends out, etc. If you are not willing to teach/closely monitor, do your child a favor and send him to a real high school and have him start fresh as a 9th grader this fall.

 

I am sorry it was a bad year. Like most of us you probably had the best intentions then got so busy things just got neglected. I hope things can be changed around to make his high school years successful. You need to have a frank talk with your son about his future and how to proceed. At this point, what to put on his transcript is the least of your problems. 

 

As for outsourcing, some of the instructors we used:

Derek Owens (upper level math, physics)

Dale Gamache (Spanish)

Julie Bogart (Bravewriter writing courses)

several Teaching Company courses watched together

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Have you thought about having him take the California High School Proficiency Examination and then sending him on to community college. This is a route that many homeschoolers take in California. Your son seems academically ready, and he would probably perform better at this stage in a classroom environment. 

 

I believe a student has to be 16 years old, or have completed 10th grade, to take the CHSPE, so the OP's son would need another year of homeschool (or she would have to count this last year as 10th grade, which doesn't sound like a good option).

 

I think it could be a good option after 10th — I would just make sure that this next year focuses on fixing the relationship, making sure that math and English are solid, improving his motivation, and building the study skills that he'll need to succeed in college.

 

Jackie

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My son failed 9th grade.

We have tried rewards. We have tried punishments. We have tried giving him input into his subjects and schedule.

My child will complete his work if I sit at the table and hold his hand for the duration of his school day; otherwise, pretty much nada. He is the oldest of five. I cannot give him my undivided attention all day, every day, and at almost 15 years of age I shouldn't have to, right?

There are no learning disabilities to consider.

He doesn't enjoy working alone, but that's part of school, isn't it? Not every lesson is a group project, no matter where you go to school. Still, I know that he does well when I work with him.

Okay it sounds like you know what he needs and are simply struggling with accepting that you are going to have to do this. (((hugs))) No, working alone is not part of school. A huge part of the learning process is having discussion and bouncing ideas and thinking aloud. Some people need that more than others, but it's generally true to some degree for everyone. It's why even when scholars in the past couldn't be in classes, they wrote very frequently to peers. Even the geniuses.

 

Saxon Advanced Mathematics (he has successfully completed all previous levels of saxon math)

I don't give grades for daily work, only tests. If he can pass the test without cheating then I'd call it good and move on.

 

World History (first half of the book)

If it wasn't finished, I wouldn't even put it on the transcript.

 

Prentice Hall Lit World Masterpieces

Dies he dislike writing and reading in general or what? What was the struggle? Getting him to read the selections or writing assignments or?

 

German 1 Online through OSU

I'd notify OSU of the glitch in their system that makes it look like a kid is passing when they aren't. We're their exams and teacher conferences? What grade did he receive on those?

 

I'll be honest and admit that part of the problem was the fact that I became a small business owner last year and found myself with less and less time to sit at the table with him on a daily basis, which gave him an opportunity to slack off. While I don't think that a 14 (soon to be 15) year old should require his mother's constant supervision, my general busy-ness was certainly a contributing factor to his failing. I'd already been struggling to keep him on track the previous year (8th grade) and in hindsight I can see that it was the wrong time to start a business.

8th and 9th grade are often rough mentally foggy ages for boys. In addition to that, we can argue that they shouldn't need our involvement til the cows come home, but the truth is, as a general rule, the majority of students at any age are highly unlikely to be more consistent than their instructor. If the teacher doesn't seem to care or be involved, wrong or not, it's unlikely their student is going to have more initiative than their teacher. I do not say that to condemn you bc I think we all go through times where we as the teacher are having a rough time. But this is just a basic psychology situation you are fighting. I say it to warn you the odds of wining it are slim and thus I'd advise changing things as much as you can. If you can.

 

The science book, well, I saw it talked about here and he has the mathematical background for the book. He did physics in 8th grade. Whether he is capable of working with the text or not, he clearly hates it so it was a mistake.

Alright. One change of text isn't that awful a thing.

 

With the history book he would read the chapter and spend inordinate amounts of time working on the chapter reviews but never actually produce any written work for me to check, claiming that it had been lost or ruined or what have you. On the occasion that he did complete a review the answers would be incomplete, sentence fragments, illegible, etc. He wouldn't even capitalize proper nouns.

If he is having hormonal brain fog, memory work can be a real strain bc it requires repetition and focus, two things in short supply in the 13-15 year old teen boy brain. In frustration they just mentally throw up on the page and call it good enough. Does he typically dislike history and reading and writing in general? If not, I'd consider a rigorous book list for lit and history and make a serious effort to have a twice a week enjoyable discussion about it and call it good.

 

Every single subject just turned into a battle of wills. We restarted his math, science, and history texts no fewer than FOUR times last year because he refused, absolutely refused, to keep a notebook for any subject so there was never a paper trail for me to verify his progress or even grade his work.

I understand you want a paper trail bc that is easier for you, but it also created a lot of seemingly pointless paperwork for him. And there was no consequence for doing it or not doing it. No benefit from doing it, other than maybe making you happy, which is not highest on the young teen boy priorities. No loss of privileges when not done.

 

I finally threw in the towel about four weeks ago because I could not continue to struggle with him on a daily basis. It was leaving me in tears. The child would not do any work for me. He spent the entire month of June sitting at the dining room table five days a week, sometimes for 11-12 hours per day, and making little to no progress. How is that possible even? I know it doesn't make sense. If I am in the room with him and he is sitting there in front of me with the books how is he not making any progress? We would just go round and round with him skipping problems and skipping lessons and turning in sentence fragments, etc. and we're not even talking about science at this point, just math and history.

 

(((hugs))) btdt. Remind him you are on his side. Remind yourself too.

 

What does your Dh/his father think about all this?

 

I wish I had easy answers.

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I admire your willingness to realize that both he and you could have done better. If it is painful for any parent to identify and plan a way out of school problems it is double or triply hard for homeschoolers who are wearing parent teacher and counselor hats at once.

 

Instead of saying he failed the grade I think you should look carefully at each subject. What did he do enough in for credit, even if not what you wish you would have covered? What could a little more complete (like literature with in paper)?

 

What did he earn a half credit for?

 

Yes he needs to do assigned work. But teen boys are frequently not ready for extreme independence. I think we as directors of homeschooling have to draw a distinction between a student failing and our not setting them up to suceed.

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Well - if he did well on the math tests, then he gets an A regardless of his daily work, IMHO. We didn't even count work for a grade here, it is just used to make sure concepts are understood.

As for the other classes, can he try to CLEP them for you? I mean - not necessarily an actual "CLEP" test, but have him take End of Course exam and see what he gets. If he learned enough, then he passed. If not, he gets a lower grade.

That said, I have let things slide before thinking DS was doing what he needed to do (last year was 9th for us as well). We interacted daily, I taught subjects, etc., but I wasn't actually checking his work every day. This was fine for a while, but then his test grades slipped. When I saw it happen, I had a 'conference' with him. I told him that I shared half the blame, but that we would both have to work very hard to make up for any lost time.

 

Basically, I think your son was being a normal male teenager. Very few of them can or will do that kind of work without someone checking up on them consistently. So - I'd give him as much opportunity to make up the grades as you can without overwhelming him. He also needs reassured that you understand where your blame falls in this and that he wasn't doing anything that abnormal.

It sounds to me like he feels so overwhelmed and behind he has kinda given up - thrown in the towel just like you have. You need to help him break down his work in to smaller pieces and have a really good schedule/plan worked out for him so that he can see that it is possible for him to get through this. Cut his work down (especially any busy work) by 1/2, and if he can get a good grade on a test, then he's golden.  He sounds very intelligent - but organization, ability to break large tasks into small bits, etc. - those are learned skills.  It takes some kids until 1/2 way through college before they figure it out.

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I believe a student has to be 16 years old, or have completed 10th grade, to take the CHSPE, so the OP's son would need another year of homeschool (or she would have to count this last year as 10th grade, which doesn't sound like a good option).

 

I think it could be a good option after 10th — I would just make sure that this next year focuses on fixing the relationship, making sure that math and English are solid, improving his motivation, and building the study skills that he'll need to succeed in college.

 

Jackie

 

Yes you have to be in your sophomore year or 16. He could spend the year working on core academic skills (math and academic writing primarily), study skills, and preparing for the test. Then he could take the test in the spring. From the website:

 

  • He or she will complete one academic year of enrollment in the tenth grade at the end of the semester during which the CHSPE regular administration (spring or fall) will be conducted.

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Could you give more info on the German Online part? Was he using the teacher login in order to adjust test grades? I'm curious since this is a program we use.

 

I'm just not sure where a student login could change grades.

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Thank you all for your thoughtful responses.

 

Last year I clearly did not make the time for my child that I should have. I admit that fully and, as the adult in this situation, as his parent and teacher, the responsibility for our bad year falls largely to me; however, I do care very much and am willing to make the changes that need to be made to see him succeed.

 

If sending him to a brick and mortar school were an option we would certainly consider it. There is one public high school here and it's terrible. There are no private schools. We live in the middle of the desert.

 

The German thing, well, he can't actually manipulate the grades in the school's system. He was opening the webpage that displays the grades and editing the numbers on that webpage so that it looked like he had completed assignments which he had not, but the altered grades were only visible on the screen we were viewing and if you refreshed the page the grades reverted to what he had actually earned. That sounds really confusing. :/

 

My ds is a bright child but has not been motivated at all and it's easy to see why. Again, my fault. 100%. He loves to read (hence his picking up Don Quixote without my prompting), he generally enjoys science but not mathematics, he detests writing like many students his age (and many adults, for that matter). He likes working together, as we did for logic and grammar.

 

Someone upthread mentioned that the had a less than stellar experience with OSU Spanish. If anyone has other suggestions as to a good German course I am all ears! DS really wants to take German and although he initially said that he enjoyed his German class his interest obviously waned during the second semester. I think he would enjoy a class that meets daily online, where he can see the teacher and talk to other students. Does anyone know of a German course like that?

 

We had previously discussed him taking that test in January and then enrolling in some classes at the CC. He is interested in doing that, and I think it would serve him well in math and science. It's definitely on my radar! :)

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This! One cannot succeed, in a college or university, without being self directed. My DD is self directed, at 12.

I don't want to burst your bubble, but please know that a self-directed 12 year-old will not necessarily be a self-directed 14 or 15 year-old.

 

A lot of motivated, hardworking youngsters turn into some pretty flaky teenagers for a while! I guess it's a hormonal thing, but it can come as a real shock to parents who are accustomed to their child being very organized and self-directed.

 

It may not happen with your dd, but if it does, try to remember that it's normal -- and that it doesn't last forever! :)

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This!  One cannot succeed, in a college or university, without being self directed. My DD is self directed, at 12. He is older, but he is not there yet...  College requires a huge amount of Time Management and Self Discipline. He doesn't have that, at this stage...

 

Hopefully, as someone suggested earlier in this thread, the Boy Scout leader, and the Football Coach, can explain to him why his #1 priority must be his education.

 

Mom sitting there all day with him will not be able to get the material into his head, unless he is interested in learning. It doesn't sound like he is interested in learning at this time.

 

Counseling of some kind might help him?

 

What plans does he have for his future? What does he want to be, "when he grows up" and is an Adult?

 

Your 12DD is, first, 12, and second, a girl. A 12-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy are very different creatures. There is a reason that so many boys go off of the rails in the middle and early high school years.

 

I think that getting counseling because a kid isn't self-motivated in his school work is pretty extreme.

 

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Your 12DD is, first, 12, and second, a girl. A 12-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy are very different creatures. There is a reason that so many boys go off of the rails in the middle and early high school years.

 

I think that getting counseling because a kid isn't self-motivated in his school work is pretty extreme.

 

I agree. As the mother of 4 teen boys and a tween girl - I agree. Hear! Hear! and Amen too! :)

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Yeah - a 12 yo DD just can't be compared with -well- any age boy.  Sure, some boys are absolutely that way, but I'd say the majority are not.   I also second the thought that she may not remain quite so diligent and self directed - which would be 100% completely normal and expected.  My sons were so very gung-ho about school when they were younger......  sigh..... (memories......). 

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I think that getting counseling because a kid isn't self-motivated in his school work is pretty extreme.

 

 

From what I remember, reading the first post, hours ago, it sounded like he is sitting at the table, for many hours a day, twiddling his thumbs, and not doing the work he is obviously capable of doing.  What is causing him to do that? 

 

I don't think the possibility of him talking with someone, in addition to the OP, is out of line. It is a possibility. Someone upthread, early in the thread, suggested her talking with his Boy Scout leader and his Football Coach.  They would be a great place to start.

 

Hopefully, the OP and her son can work together, to plan a course of action that he likes, and possibly might even be enthusiastic about.

 

If he is depressed, then yes, I would think that counseling is an option that should be considered.

 

He needs to have some goal(s) for his future.  He is an underschiever at this point in time, capable of doing far better. What will motivate him?

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But that is not who he is.

 

Who he is is not about grades.

 

He sounds more like a typical 14/15 year old boy struggling through a growth spurt to me. That doesn't define who he is or who he will be.

 

I can't say enough how harmful I think it is to label kids at this age like that. Because it isn't true. But it will often become true if it becomes part of how they are identified.

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Are live, online classes a possibility at all?

 

He sounds bored and lonely in his studies. The things he really enjoys are all sociable kinds of activities, not solitary things like hiking or biking or golf ....   With four other children and a new business, it just isn't realistic that you'll be able to give him the time and interaction it seems he wants. You've got to set both of you up for success this coming year!  What about a live, online class where he has the opportunity to interact with other students, his age, who are doing the work required for the class?  Nothing like seeing your peers studying to provide a little outside motivation, a reason to do the work. Boys, especially, seem to thrive on some level of competition. Also, the teachers would be the ones to monitor his performance; you'd switch to being on his side, a cheerleader, helping with specific assignments instead of the one "inflicting" expectations on him.

 

Do you think he would rise to the challenge of a rigorous, online class? Something like VP's live online Omnibus class (lots of reading there!) or a TOG rhetoric class? Completing either of those would make for a successful year!  Or Associate Logic or Latin? (Those would be something out of the ordinary. Maybe he'd like studying something unique? I can't see any young teen boy not getting into the Associate Logic class. They all seem to love to argue.   He'd have the benefits of instructor & peer interaction, a set of outside/objective expectations, and relatively immediate feedback on his assignments?  A rigorous live online class seems like it might give him the motivation and the structure and support to succeed academically. It could be great for both of you!

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Just as a total aside, does it seem odd to you that he's got some skill as a hacker but has no computer science credits for 9th gr??  Is he doing that on the side?  I think I'd take every subject that isn't getting done well and see if you can tackle it from that angle.  Writing?  Well there must be computer science magazines he could read, topics to report on, arguments to be made, theses to be defended, editorials about things or letters to the editor or manufacturer...  And so on.  

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Just as a total aside, does it seem odd to you that he's got some skill as a hacker but has no computer science credits for 9th gr?? Is he doing that on the side? I think I'd take every subject that isn't getting done well and see if you can tackle it from that angle. Writing? Well there must be computer science magazines he could read, topics to report on, arguments to be made, theses to be defended, editorials about things or letters to the editor or manufacturer... And so on.

She didn't describe a hacker to me.

 

Basicly she would ask for his grades and he would pull up the grade page, type over the grade and then show it to her. But as soon as he left the page it reverted back to the actual grade. Because he couldn't save e changed grades.

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But that is not who he is.

 

Who he is is not about grades.

 

He sounds more like a typical 14/15 year old boy struggling through a growth spurt to me. That doesn't define who he is or who he will be.

 

I can't say enough how harmful I think it is to label kids at this age like that. Because it isn't true. But it will often become true if it becomes part of how they are identified.

:iagree:

 

I also think it's kind of ridiculous to assume that a 14yo boy needs to have goals for his future. While I know that some young teens already have career goals in mind or know that they would like to attend a particular university, my guess is that the majority of them are planning to attend college because their parents have always told them that college is "the thing you do after high school," and not because they have any grand plans for their future. Sure, they probably hope to get a good job some day or start their own business or make a lot of money or help people in some way, but I think those goals are too vague and too far in the future to really impact the way most kids approach their school work when they're 14 years old.

 

In an ideal world, all kids would love to learn and be highly motivated to do their schoolwork, but in reality, a lot of perfectly intelligent, perfectly normal kids view school as a necessary evil -- and I don't think that's the end of the world. Additionally, I think every counselor on the planet would have a very full schedule if parents started bringing their kids for counseling just because they weren't working up to their full potential in school, and dawdled over their work. :rolleyes:

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Based on your posts, I don't think you can or should have him work on his own next year and expect different results from this year. 

 

 

 

 

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If something doesn't look rewarding to your DS, he is not doing it. I was like that in middle school myself. I would allow compacting for all the subjects he's fairly good in and can study fairly independently--have all the tests ready and let him take them whenever he feels ready, and if he gets a 90% be done with it. If he gets through a book in a week, he can move on to the next course.

Then give direct, interactive instruction for the other stuff. If something is not intended as writing practice, have him do it orally and cut the busywork. He will not get away with it if you are listening.

Now, how to create the time for that? Is there a subject in which he can tutor a younger student, freeing you to do more with him?

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My first question is why was he allowed to go to Scouts and Football when his work wasn't done? That should be non negotiable. You don't do the work, you don't do fun stuff. Life stops until the work is done. You don't have to like it, but if you want to go far in life you have to put in effort. End of story.

 

That said, remember, in public school they DO have someone watching over them all day, so it isn't a given that kids his age can be self reliant when it comes to education.

 

Does he have a checklist for each day? Do you go over it in the evening to make sure each item is done? That is the MINIMUM level of supervision I would think would be needed. I hate to be harsh, but if you are not motivated enough to check up on him, don't expect him to be motivated enough to do the work.

 

Plan things out, have daily task lists, and check them over with him. Have a time set aside each day where he can ask you questions about stuff that he is struggling with. That takes away the "it was too hard, I didn't understand it excuse", because he will have a set time to ask you to bring up any work that he is confused about.

 

And hugs...it is normal for kids to be unmotivated at this age. But we do need to structure their lives so they get in the habit of doing the work...then later that habit will hopefully stick.

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I haven't read the entire thread so please excuse if this has been covered, but he sounds angry and like he playing games with you.  I wonder about family dynamics, how he feels about all the younger kids and a newborn and also how the new business has taken a bite out of time for him, in addition to everything else limiting your time with him. 

 

I do not mean to talk out of school, but I wonder about the family dynamics and how things are going from his perspective because his behavior is shouting "LOOK AT ME!  I'M STILL HERE!  I'M NOT A LITTLE KID BUT I NEED SOME THINGS I'M NOT GETTING AND I DON'T KNOW HOW TO ASK!"

 

This is my "gut" on at least part of what is going on.  It may not be of value so please excuse me if it is out of line.  Take what you need and leave the rest.  (((hugs)))

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Some of what you describe sounds a lot like what drove me to "expell" my son from our homeschool this past November. I pushed for putting him in school, whatever school would have him, because we had reached the point at which it was clear to me that the only challenges "school" was providing my son was to see how little work he could get by with doing each day and how furious he could make me in the process.

 

It was clear to all of us that he was expending far more energy figuring out how to avoid doing the work I assigned than it would have required to simply do it.

 

We also discussed the possibility of trying to enroll him in a program offered by a local ballet school that has the students on site all day, doing schoolwork virtually in between dance classes and rehearsals. That would have been my son's first choice, but my husband was adamant that it was too much like a reward for screwing up here at home.

 

Eventually, we compromised on enrolling him in a full slate of online classes, with the understanding that even that was a probationary measure -- meaning if he blew it again, he would have no choice but the closest public school and withdrawal from all extracurricular activities -- and that starting over in November meant he would be giving up much of his summer to schoolwork. We also put into place strict requirements that he had to keep his grades at a certain over-all GPA and that no class could ever fall below a 'B' or he would not attend most of his extracurriculars or social events. (We made exceptions for rehearsals and performances, situations in which his absence would negatively affect other people.) Whenever his grades fell below those cut-offs or he failed to complete the week's assignments, he was grounded until he caught up and got back on track.

 

We are lucky to have access to Florida Virtual School at no tuition, because we're Florida residents. We chose four FLVS classes and ended up using Aleks for math and science. Once we got him enrolled, my only part in his daily or weekly work was to look over the planner he set up at the beginning of each week to make sure he was accounting for all of the work assigned in each class and to check up on him a few times a week to make sure the work was actually done and his grades were acceptable.

 

I will not lie and pretend our lives transformed into a paradise at that point. I spent the first several weeks feeling like a total homeschool failure, mourning the path I thought we'd be taking together for the next few years, being frustrated and disappointed at the quality and amount of work his online classes required and accepted and (not proud of this part) crying when no one was looking. It took my son some time to adjust to the workload, and we had some unpleasant afternoons and weekends when I had to follow through and keep him home from activities.

 

But, with the long view of eight months or so, I can say this "worked" for us much better than I could have hoped. We are now getting along so much better than we were back in November. His grades, after a bumpy start, are really, really good. (He actually just missed a 4.0 for the year.) He did actually learn to take more responsibility for his schedule and to manage his time. The teachers for his online courses had nothing but wonderful things to say about him. And, most important to me next to the relationship-salvaging aspect of this whole thing, while he may never be an academic, he seems to have stopped hating school (and me).

 

I'm not sure what the moral of the story is, exactly, except maybe to assure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You just may have to choose a different tunnel. And sometimes a drastic change is what's needed for a fresh start?

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What a horrible piece of advice this is.  Absolutely shocking.  Scouts and football and social interaction are very important parts of life.  What sort of compassionless person removes these?  Its hardly the child's fault at 14 that he can not work like an independent college student when his mother admits she doesnt have time to school him.

Oh geez. Scouts, football and hanging with friends are not rights. Even in school they aren't rights. Your grades drop, so does your name on the team roster. The theory being that the student obviously needs to focus their attention and or need more time to study/remediate. It's a fairly simple and common natural consequence.

 

The idea that this poor kid should be sitting in his room cooking thru these classes with no input from anyone and succeeding is laughable.  And the idea of depriving him of meaningful activity as a punishment for his parent's refusal to recognize his need for someone to teach is egregious.

One, the OP and several other people already noted that this was BOTH their problems.

 

Two, when a family is having a major scheduling problem, it's reasonable to look at priorities and what can or should be eliminated.

 

Let's see...

 

Mom putting food on the table - keep

Son doing core academics - keep

Making time to go over work and touch base - keep

Football or scouts or play time - yeah, not so high on the priority list

 

That's not necessarily punishment. That's just life for most people.

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What a horrible piece of advice this is.  Absolutely shocking.  Scouts and football and social interaction are very important parts of life.  What sort of compassionless person removes these?  

 

What kind of compassionless person removes these?

 

Lets see, at my daughters private school it would be the coach. You either keep your grades up or you don't play and face being booted from the team. 

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Good to see you back - I've thought of you time and again.....remembering you had a baby girl!!!

What subject/s did he fail?  Was it a true failure? 

 

He's taking college level work?  Wow.  He's bright to be in college level work, but failed!??!?!  I'm trying to understand this.  Help me.

 

He has a good load, but I don't see an elective.  Maybe I missed it.

 

My dd who is 14 and a rising 9th grader works better when I work alongside her - sit near her doing my own thing.   BUT, I can't do that.  I did it for a few years and gained a ton of weight!  I won't do it now not only for me, but for her as well.  She should be working a little more independently.  There are things I want and need to do.  I'd like to finish my manuscript, exercise more, read more, etc.   I'd love to volunteer and so on through our church.

 

Last year I started an academy and she was one of 5 homeschooled kids.  They met M's and W's through the year under the supervision of a tutor.  It was a fantastic opportunity for her academically and socially.

 

Is there a homeschool group in which your ds could participate? 

 

Throwing ideas out. 

 

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I would do two things. Make the time to be where he needs you to be and make scouts and football dependent on work being completed. The sitting there and doing nothing is just as unacceptable as not having the necessary adult oversight. He needs both oversight and to be learn responsibility.

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What kind of compassionless person removes these?

 

Lets see, at my daughters private school it would be the coach. You either keep your grades up or you don't play and face being booted from the team.

I agree. At any public school sports participation Is dependent on keeping up grades.

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The idea that this poor kid should be sitting in his room cooking thru these classes with no input from anyone and succeeding is laughable.  And the idea of depriving him of meaningful activity as a punishment for his parent's refusal to recognize his need for someone to teach is egregious.

 

Apparently you missed the first part of my answer where I said that he still needs guidance.  He has hard courses and needs adult input.  The OP has agreed she needs to provide it, so that issue will be resolved.  However, there was a lot more to her description which I recognized as a major issue - the habit many 14yo kids develop of putting off things they don't want to do.  

 

I have many years of school experience with 14yo students with this habit. It was amazing how quickly they gave it up and learned do their work well when they realized they would miss something fun if it wasn't done.  Where I taught, it was the students' responsibility to complete all their work by the due date; late assignments resulted in lowered grades.  If they still had outstanding work on Friday afternoon, they were given the gift of an extra hour to do it while the other students had the privilege of open gym (which usually meant standing around talking with their friends).  Also, if their grade average in a class dropped too low, they weren't able to participate in sports until they brought it up.  With that system in place, students learned to work hard during each class to get their assignments done, and if they finished work for that class they would pull out work from another class to finish while they waited for the period to end.  This was something even C students with learning disabilities learned to do, so it's not like the OP's very advanced ds without LDs can't learn it.  The OP has clearly stated that her ds wasted time on assignments he should have been able to complete, even when she was sitting right there.  This is not just an issue of him needing more direct instruction and interaction to understand the material. This is also a time management and personal responsibility issue, and those things need to be addressed just as much as making sure he gets the instruction he needs. 

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What kind of compassionless person removes these?

 

Lets see, at my daughters private school it would be the coach. You either keep your grades up or you don't play and face being booted from the team.

Scouts ≠ sports. Community service is done often, and lots of skills are learned in scouts. Taking that away because you think isolating a child is a good punishment for being angry with a lack of attention and help is ridiculous.

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Re: math failure...  I think if he passed the tests(did well) he should be given that as a grade.  Once I realized that my ds actually learned from his mistakes(I do grade his daily work and go over his mistakes), I started only taking a grade for his tests.  He always did pretty crummy on lessons, but once he understood it, he did well on the tests.  It was a lot easier on me to enter only test grades as well.

 

German...see what the content of the class was.  Often college level semester classes  are worth a year for high school.  If that is true in your situation, I would give him credit for German 1 and find a German 2 class for this year.

 

English...I had this suggested in our hs circles.  I have not tried it(we are signed up for another online Lit/Comp class)http://www.sandiegoscribblers.com

 

 

 

I do not think all of the deception should go unpunished.  He should have a heavier workload this year because he helped create this problem.  It is a natural consequence.  If that means working on Saturdays without it "counting" for school days...Well, it is what it is.

 

I understand not wanting to sit and hold his hand.  I do.  But, you need to check his work daily.  I create a schedule for each child each week..  They highlight work completed and they are held accountable for that. If they highlight it, they are indicating it is DONE.  We do have issues with deception at times, but the schedule helps me stay on top of things.  

 

Hoping you all can start off this school year well.

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Scouts ≠ sports. Community service, and lots of other skills are learned in scouts. Taking that away because you think isolating a child is a good punishment for being angry with a lack of attention and help is ridiculous.

 

No one here is saying isolating a child is a good punishment for being angry with a lack of attention and help! At the point I suggested he lose the privilege of attending Scouts or football practice, there was no indication in the thread that the student was angry with a lack of attention.  It seemed he was simply refusing to work, yet he was being granted the privilege of being very involved in Scouts, participating in football, having sleepovers, and talking with friends on the phone.  It made no sense that he would be allowed all of those things without having met his responsibility to do his schoolwork.  Losing those privileges seemed a reasonable solution to his refusal to work.  As the thread progressed, it became apparent that anger might be a part of the problem, yet it isn't the whole problem.  He still has developed terrible work habits and a poor sense of responsibility, not only to do his work but to represent himself honestly.  Yes, the parents made some big mistakes.  So did he.  They both need to learn new habits.  Linking fun activities to work completion is still a reasonable option, including Scouts.  Do you really think his Scoutmaster would be happy to learn he lied about work completion?  That he misrepresented his grades?  Every Scoutmaster I've ever met would be all over the kid to shape up and would support the parents 100% if they felt they needed to link attendance to work completion.  

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