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Pretty in Pink

9th grade was a complete failure here

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Can I just say that I am so impressed that you put this whole situation out here for discussion.  There are a lot of issues being discussed that are so important and difficult, and I really really appreciate your honesty.
 
Ruth in NZ

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 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.  

 

This.  Probably the Scoutmaster is the first person the OP should speak with, and she should ask him to speak with her son, privately, and try to motivate him.   From the BSA web site:

"The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness."

http://www.scouting.org/About.aspx

 

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A very similar situation to the OP's happened when my son was in 9th grade.  In his case, he needed help but didn't know how to ask for it.  He did make some ineffective cries for help in his behavior that if I had been paying attention, would have corrected things sooner.  But I wasn't paying attention (in my case I was overwhelmed with my chronic pain problems) and he decided to try and fix things himself - in fact, he decided that he would be seen as a wimp if he didn't fix it himself.  But he couldn't.  I was asking too much from him and he didn't have the capacity to teach himself or to figure out how to get the help he needed.  My son threw in the towel too and I was very upset.  But I realized that I should have been monitoring the situation and stopped it long before it got to that point.  Anyway - in our case, we didn't need counseling.  We didn't need punishment.  We didn't need blame.  We needed a fresh start where we sat down and figured out where he was academically in each class.  We needed a system that provided instruction before he had to beg for it and we needed accountability.  

 

Each class was a bit different but we basically came up with a system where we would meet at the start of each day to go over our day's work and then focus specifically on "the subject of the day".  Sometimes that included me giving some direct instruction.  Some of that time it was just glancing things over together and seeing if there were any potential problems and making sure he understood what was required from him for assignments.  I was responsible for having graded before our meetings so that if he got more than a few wrong or it looked like he wasn't getting a concept, that we could correct it.  In the maths and sciences I was no longer qualified to explain trouble areas to him adequately so if he hit a roadblock we would A. google together or would look it up on Khan academy.  If that didn't help, we would go to B. see if dh could schedule a session with ds when he got home (we'd text him right them to see his availability) and if he really didn't have time then C. I would call the tutor that I "have on retainer"  (ie. we have an agreement that we can call at any time and see if he is available for an emergency tutoring session to get ds past his trouble spot).  At that time, ds didn't need help 90% of the time in geometry or chemistry so having someone available for intermittent help was all he needed.  In Latin, he did need a teacher so I got him one.  In the humanities, we would spend our "subject of the day" time having discussion or scheduling a time in the week (where it made sense) for us to have discussion or review.  

 

The point is, adequate instruction is non-negotiable and we had to work at scheduling it.  And accountability is important for more than keeping someone's nose to the grindstone.  I needed to be constantly checking to make sure that things were being understood and making appropriate responses to problems without making ds feel like he was being a bother if he needed some extra help.  If that broke down, then ds broke down.  

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Presumably at a school there is someone teaching the material, not tossing the kid to the lions with a college physics book then acting shocked he didn't thrive.

And that wasn't the case for the OP either.

 

Tho she rightly admits he needed more than she was able to manage, she did not just toss the kid to the lions eithers. He lied, cheated, and refused to cooperate when she was trying to work with him to the point she was regularly driven to tears of frustration. And that's on him, not her.

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Pretty in Pink,

 

I think that first it's important that neither of you give up in despair.  There are many young men of our acquaintance who have stumbled around this age.  It doesn't mean that they need to just quit high school as failures.  It does mean that they need to learn the process of learning (maybe relearn) and organization.  It does mean that mom has to learn (or relearn) how to guide a teen who might not know how to articulate what he's struggling with or when he needs help.  And struggling teen boys can be prickly creatures, who are quite capable of just avoiding subjects for days or weeks because they don't know what to do next.

 

I think that sometimes it's also possible to overlook the frustration and sense of being overwhelmed that teen boys may feel.  They often aren't as verbal about it as teen girls.  They may choose this time to start pulling away from parents in general as they try to figure out what being adult looks like.  Hormones, growth spurts and the need for food and sleep can all be factors.  Sometimes I feel like I'm doing

just trying to keep my balance and not get sucked into the drama.  Because they boys have enough of their own.  They need me to be steady, not emotionally fly away.  AND IT CAN BE TOUGH.

 

I think that boys this age often do need to have someone right there, so they can ask for help and be guided away from distraction.  I ended up taking up knitting just do have something to do that kept me busy but interruptable (reading or computer often left me harder to interrupt).

 

You've gotten some pretty good suggestions up thread about how you can assign credit for work that was done.  I do think you need to separate what is ok high school work and what doesn't meet your vision for how the year could have gone.  And (more painfully) you need to determine how much was lack of work and effort on his part and what was lack of oversight and frequent checkpoints.  Don't put excessive penalty on a student for taking advantage of a situation in which it was easy to slide. 

 

I'm not personally big on restricting all outside activities.  I think it is important to have mental and emotional breathing room.  It might be doubly important when you're trying to dig out of a hole.  But that doesn't mean that some parts can't be contingent on academics - either outcome or effort.  One of my sons swims and at one point in the year, I had to go to his coach and ask which practice would be least problematic to skip if schoolwork wasn't done.  Then ds knew that if he wasn't on track at dinner of the day before, then he would be staying up and doing school and skipping the following practice instead of going to bed early and getting up for the next morning's practice.  He wants to practice, so it's a good lever.  You have to find the right lever for your son (and they might change frequently).

 

I would work hard to avoid labels at this point in time.  Keep the actions (or lack of them) in one box and characterizations of who or what he is separate. 

 

You haven't mentioned how much dad is involved.  For us, dad involvement has been really important.  He is able to give me time off from the situation, back up the schedules and requirements we've set, be less emotional about the situation and just generally be stabilizing as we all work through things.  I do tend to react a bit like a bull before a red flag.  It's good for our family that I have a partner who's just as serious and competent but who reacts very differently.  I'm guessing from your location that this might be a struggle.  Hugs and prayers if that's part of the issue.  That would be another reason to reach out for trusted adult male help from scouts and sports or church or extended family.

 

I agree with previous posters who have mentioned the deceptiveness as a different issue than the academics.  I think you probably want to unbundle these.  Struggling with a subject is one thing.  Lying about completing work or what grade you got on a test is something very different.  (Again, don't think that yours is the first family to have to work through this.  You're not.)

 

One final thought is to think about if there might be a non-academic, non-teen being a boneheaded teen related issue that might need to be addressed.  There are a lot of depressed teens out there.  Sometimes it's pushed along by outside factors and sometimes it's not.  But it probably is worth some considering and some quiet questioning. That's not to say that every teen boy who is avoiding school is depressed or in need of counseling.  But those are possibly symptoms of underlying issues.  I would especially be concerned about behavior that reflects a change from past habits and attitudes.  Even if depression isn't a factor, it might help to have someone who can come in as a third party with a neutral eye and help everyone get back on track.  It might help everyone get past feelings of guilt, anger and defensiveness that have gotten attached to the topic of school work. 

 

Don't feel like you are the only parent who's gone through this.  You're not. 

 

 

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: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:

Well said!

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As far as the deceptiveness, I agree it is wrong. However, it could be a case of him getting in over his head and just not knowing what to do about it. It may be wrong but it is understandable. The lesson he learned was that now he needs to go back and remedy some things. And that now you Mom will be a lot more hands on whether he likes it or not. This is a learning experience for both of you. A child his age cannot be expected to stay on top of things without supervision or outside accountability. He might do fine with a cc class because there might be enough structure and accountability to keep him on task. I do not think online classes will provide the same level of accountability a live class does. It is very hard for teens to keep themselves motivated at home, doing work on their own. It is HARD. Adults find it hard, too, to do things today that can be put off until tomorrow. It takes a lot of discipline to be that type of person. I also agree with those who say it does not seem like he failed at all. He might not have accomplished what you imagined he would but that does not mean what he did should not count. Best wishes to you and him in moving forward!

 

As for German, my daughter loves Rolling Acres German. I do not think level 1 is offered live this year but there are audio lectures and office hours. Potter's school offers a German class, too.

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Can I just say that I am so impressed that you put this whole situation out here for discussion.  There are a lot of issues being discussed that are so important and difficult, and I really really appreciate your honesty.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

That is kind of you to say, Ruth. Big thanks. :)

 

There is certainly nothing good to be gained from me painting a pretty picture of our school year or lying about my level of involvement.

 

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Several ladies have mentioned my dh or asked about his level of involvement. Thankfully my husband is around and not deploying anytime in the near future. His level of involvement in our homeschool is to support our efforts financially, to do an occasional lesson with the younger children if I need a hand, and to give pep talks as needed when one of us is struggling in our role as teacher or student. Math and science are not my dh's strong suits so he is not able to provide academic support to our teen in those areas, though he can carry on a discussion with him over a piece of literature or historical topic if it's one he's familiar with.

 

My husband has had many calm talks with our teen about his school work, why it's important to work hard now, etc. but it hasn't seemed to sink in yet. My husband is always as cool as a cucumber, so to speak, whereas ds and I seem to push each other's buttons just right, you know?

 

Anyway, I am hoping that having a nice long break will be helpful all around. Perhaps we can all return to the table relaxed and ready to start fresh. Ready to make school a priority again for all of us.

 

I am not inclined to penalize my son by pulling him from sports or scouts, especially given that those are team activities in which a group's success hinges on the participation of each member. Going forward, with the right kind of supervision and instruction on my part, I would not have a problem "grounding" him from a sleepover or something if he continued to balk at doing his school work, though I really don't think that will be the case. He enjoys it very much when we work together on his lessons.

 

I feel confident that he will enjoy taking a class or two at the local CC once he is eligible to do so. :)

 

 

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I am not inclined to penalize my son by pulling him from sports or scouts, especially given that those are team activities in which a group's success hinges on the participation of each member. 

 

You might think of it as *logical consequences* rather than a penalty.  He does his work, he's ready to go.  No work, no go.  It's not that you took something away but that he had to do it to be ready.  All the other kids on that sports team would get KICKED OFF if their grades dropped the way his did.  So I don't think it's fair to THEM that he's not doing the work and has no consequences.  And the fact that you're not WILLING to set it up as a serious consequence is why he's willing to walk all over you.  

 

He wouldn't have to miss football practice many times to get the picture.  

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You might think of it as *logical consequences* rather than a penalty.  He does his work, he's ready to go.  No work, no go.  It's not that you took something away but that he had to do it to be ready.  All the other kids on that sports team would get KICKED OFF if their grades dropped the way his did.  So I don't think it's fair to THEM that he's not doing the work and has no consequences.  And the fact that you're not WILLING to set it up as a serious consequence is why he's willing to walk all over you.  

 

He wouldn't have to miss football practice many times to get the picture.  

 

Re: the bolded — Elizabeth, you have no way of knowing that; you are assuming things about this child's motivation that may be totally untrue, and yet you are stating these things as if they are facts. 

 

The "logical" consequence for not doing schoolwork is getting a poor grade and/or having to redo the schoolwork. Taking away totally unrelated activities for not completing schoolwork is, in fact, a punishment. Punishing a child who is balking at doing work he finds boring, tedious, and/or over his head, by taking away the things he finds meaningful and important, may work for some kids, but it can also backfire very badly — I have seen that first hand. And I would especially not resort to this sort of punishment in a situation where the relationship between the parent and child is already strained. 

 

Anyway, I am hoping that having a nice long break will be helpful all around. Perhaps we can all return to the table relaxed and ready to start fresh. Ready to make school a priority again for all of us.

 

I am not inclined to penalize my son by pulling him from sports or scouts, especially given that those are team activities in which a group's success hinges on the participation of each member. Going forward, with the right kind of supervision and instruction on my part, I would not have a problem "grounding" him from a sleepover or something if he continued to balk at doing his school work, though I really don't think that will be the case. He enjoys it very much when we work together on his lessons.

 

I feel confident that he will enjoy taking a class or two at the local CC once he is eligible to do so.  :)

 

OP, I think this sounds like a great plan, and I hope you and your son find your groove and heal your relationship this year.  :grouphug:

 

Jackie

 

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You've received a lot of advice here so I am only going to add one thing. Our eldest boy of the three teens has been the most tricky of the four children in terms of motivation. One of the best things that

happened to him was when we were able to help him zero in on whtat he wants to do for a future career. He

was able to find his passion which gave him the internal drive to help research the path he would need

to take. We did an early college visit with him to help build that excitement. The change in his demeanor

and attitude was lovely. He is passionate about computer software engineering and seeing what the really

good schools require in their programs helped motivate him. The kid who once made us frustrated with his

attitude about math, now willingly grabs his algebra 2 and asks for instruction and his next assignment.

 

Some students need more help seeing the end goal, the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you could help him really define what his future career goal or passion is and then help him find the information about

that path and what kind of education is required to pursue it as an adult.

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I just love this thread- thank you for putting it "all out there" and bringing this discussion here. My personal feeling (dunno how helpful this is) is that both you and he have learned a whole lot from this year- definitely not a waste! These are lessons it's good to learn now, when you have time to remedy them, rather than later.

 

And hey, the computer hacking bit was deceptive and wrong and all...but awfully clever. I'm impressed, anyway!

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It's hard for anyone on the outside to give you specific advice. But I can share my own experience. Maybe there's something there that can help you.

 

I have a 16yo daughter who has spent the last two and a half years mostly sitting on her bed. We eventually took her to a psychiatrist, who helped us with one of her issues—but there she was, still sitting on her bed. She spent her time reading and listening to music. Nothing I could do would get her to change.

 

I took a couple of friends into our school, worked out a much stricter school schedule for everyone, and that worked to some degree as long as it lasted. But when they moved on to other things, we were still left with someone who was sitting on her bed. At this point the psychiatrist didn't help at all.

 

I took her to another counselor, who sat down with us and tried to help us come up with a plan that would work for both of us. We started with violin practice: I had become unwilling to drive her to violin or orchestra because she didn't practice. She wanted to play violin, but didn't want to be held accountable for practicing. (She wanted to practice, but on her own initiative only, and without keeping a log.) There were lots of tears, but eventually we came up with a plan that she agreed to: when she had played her violin for at least five minutes a day for six days, I would pay her orchestra deposit.

 

Two weeks later, she hadn't picked up the violin once, and the deadline (true drop-dead deadline) for orchestra was the following day. I canceled her participation, and told her about it. She was very upset, and suddenly wanted to negotiate. The counselor encouraged me to go ahead and negotiate, in case she came up with an acceptable plan. She did: If she doesn't practice at least twenty minutes on a specific day, she cooks dinner for the family the next day. That was acceptable to me. She has been on this plan for two weeks now, and has cooked us four dinners.

 

It's good that we had that practice under our belts, because we had a bigger one coming. I was not willing to continue to homeschool her if she wasn't willing to submit herself to some sort of accountability. I wanted to come up with a plan that would enable me to keep an eye on her and have reasonable Plan Bs if our current plan wasn't working—or else she would register at the nearest high school. I knew that transferring to public school at this point in her life would be damaging to her, and I hated that idea, but first, I knew that she hated it too, and second, I knew that it is also damaging for her to be sitting in her room alone every day thinking about how incompetent she is to do the things that she knows she needs (and wants!) to do.

 

So this week, we came up with a plan (for socializing, for academics—we still have to work out physical activity). And she has agreed that we will modify the plan if we need to do so. And she won't be registering at the nearest high school after all—to the relief of both of us.

 

Our plan (minus details) is that she will go and study at her father's office three days a week. If she does not finish a week's work, the following week she will not be allowed to use her own iPad for school work, but will have to borrow another computer. At that point we will also revisit the deadlines, because I suspect that she will need a daily rather than a weekly deadline, but she really wanted to start with a weekly deadline.

 

(And yes, I do think she's likely depressed at least some, but she's determined to avoid medication, and we're seeing huge progress.)

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Re: the bolded — Elizabeth, you have no way of knowing that; you are assuming things about this child's motivation that may be totally untrue, and yet you are stating these things as if they are facts. 

 

The "logical" consequence for not doing schoolwork is getting a poor grade and/or having to redo the schoolwork. Taking away totally unrelated activities for not completing schoolwork is, in fact, a punishment. Punishing a child who is balking at doing work he finds boring, tedious, and/or over his head, by taking away the things he finds meaningful and important, may work for some kids, but it can also backfire very badly — I have seen that first hand. And I would especially not resort to this sort of punishment in a situation where the relationship between the parent and child is already strained. 

 

 

OP, I think this sounds like a great plan, and I hope you and your son find your groove and heal your relationship this year.  :grouphug:

 

Jackie

 

 

 

Sorry Jackie, but Elizabeth is being logical and they are consequences.  In our school district, if you do not have a certain GPA, then you are not allowed to play football, play in the band, etc.  This is EXACTLY what I would do.    In the past, I've had problems because my son has NO outside activities, so there is nothing to take away!!!  And he would spend all day reading in his room if he could ( in fact, he would be reading the Iliad for fun instead of doing his Geometry!!!!!)  So the answer for me has been to outsource.  My son needs a teacher, outside deadlines and clear explanations.  It has worked really well. 

 

That said, if he did have something he wanted to do, it was amazing how quickly math managed to get done on that day!!!!!  So, sorry, but this is a totally logical consequence for work not done.. 

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I also would not let my kiddo miss team events because of his failing other life events. Then my kiddo would learn it is alright to fail himself AND a team. All of his commitments would still be required of him whether those commitments were fun or not. Although I can see the dilemma for those who need to steal the time from a team sport in order to accomplish academics. This doesn't seem to apply to the OP's son since he is given ample time for academic work.

 

I would also be afraid to stick a struggling kiddo in dual enrollment. Those college grades stick with everyone for life. A certain amount of independent maturity is required to make good grades in college. If a kiddo is not ready, then he may have a GPA forced upon him that will keep him out of law school, medical school, nursing school, etc. later in life when he is ready.

 

I think the OP has good plans for the upcoming year, and I wish she and her DS the best. I hope she keeps us privy to the progress. I think all of us have learned a ton about teenage education dynamics because of this thread.

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My first impression is that, academically, your son is very bright . .. And bored. Boredom often presents as laziness. Due to his age, don't expect him to know how to figure out how NOT to be bored in school. as for literature, there is not, sadly, a lot written towards a male audience but perhaps you could find a couple of books that would stimulate his interest. I live the next state over from you - maybe we should come visit (I have a 14yo dd and a very bright 9yo ds) and bring you some books! :D

 

Second, my thought was, "So let him flunk and repeat 9th grade. Maybe that'll drive it home how serious this is." However, after reading a few more posts, I'm thinking maybe you SHOULD have him take the SAT and ACT. If he scores well enough to graduate, have him test for the G.E.D. And let him move on. All things to think about and thee won't be an easy answer, sorry.

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As many others have said, if he is passing the math tests and failing on daily work I would not make him repeat the class. Clearly he knows the material if he can pass the tests, and this is often a symptom of being in a non-challenging class.

 

I realize this sounds horrible and non-classical and everything, but if you cannot really change daily life I would seriously consider a git-r-done worksheet-based curriculum, where you can assign worksheets, check them in the teacher's manual *daily*, and have him finish them in the evenings if necessary.

 

Your son sounds very like me at that age, and long-term projects were too much for me. I also spent a lot of time sitting at the table staring into space not doing work. Something like 'maintain a history notebook', especially when unchecked for a period of time, would have been completely overwhelming.

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 as for literature, there is not, sadly, a lot written towards a male audience but perhaps you could find a couple of books that would stimulate his interest. I

 

Excuse me, but that is just incorrect. In fact, for centuries everything that was written was for a male audience because women were not taught to read. Literature is teeming with books that are meant to appeal to males. Battles, adventures, heroic epics, modern dystopias, classic sci fi...

All those famous male authors - do you think they wrote for a purely female audience?

I can't fathom how you can come up with a claim like this.

 

 

 

 

I'm thinking maybe you SHOULD have him take the SAT and ACT. If he scores well enough to graduate, have him test for the G.E.D. And let him move on.

 

And have him carry the stigma of being a high school drop out, with the limitations in opportunities this brings? He would, for the rest of his life, have to check "No" when asked whether he has a high school diploma.

Seems too big a price to pay for mistakes made in 9th grade.

And I also think a 15 y/o will be unable to fully grasp the consequence of such a decision, but might jump at the opportunity just so that he does not have to do more school.

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This oversight question is an issue. I don't know where this perception of homeschoolers as independent workers came from, but it has not aligned with my experience. People who hand their child a math book with an answer key in the fall and collect them in the spring and experience a successful outcome? I have never met one in real life. I read about them; I have never met one. (Sorry. I know you guys claim to be out there. I won't believe it till I see it.)

 

None of my three kids worked completely independently on their own in any subject ever. There was always periodic oversight. Sheesh- even their college profs checked up on them more than once a semester. My kids need goals. They like feedback. It motivates. Even completely independent adult researchers attempt to be published. We all want someone to validate our hard work.

 

Do you watch your son while he takes his math tests? Are the tests and answer keys locked up or does he have access to them?

 

My friends who have been homeschooling successfully for years have locking file cabinets. Only mom has the key. The inexperienced homeschoolers haven't bought their cabinets yet. They are always surprised to discover that these things exist in the old timers homes. I have no clue why this is not more widely discussed. Makes no sense to me. Ever heard of Wolfram Alpha? Math moms beware!!

 

Why do you think colleges place so much emphasis on test scores for homeschoolers? They get it.

 

I only expect what I inspect. Period. No confusion here about that.

 

My last ds is going into 11th grade. Some subjects are daily subjects; some are weekly. I can't think of any subject off the top of my head that will be checked less frequently than once per week. His dual enrollment classes meet twice a week with regular papers and in-class exams. Class participation counts. As he makes this transition to college, I will be spot checking to make sure he is developing good habits: he must prep for class and pass through ME before he goes to class. He will prep for class.

 

I suspect your ds has been doing more than changing grades on a web page. I would suggest that you administer a proctered math test to find out where to insert him. If you were not checking his work in 8th grade, I would suspect that this trend runs deeper than you think.

 

Then plan a fall schedule with daily class time (with you or another adult) followed by an independent homework assignment that is checked the next day. Put him in a place where you can see that he is working/reading. My kids have all taken a turn reading aloud standing in the middle of the dining room so I could continue to go about the house doings chores while still providing oversight. (Reading silently at the table is a privilege, not a right. I don't bat an eyelash about taking it away.)

 

Sorry if this seems harsh. Homeschooled kids need an environment that breeds success- not an environment that expects success based on anecdotal info. Sorry, I don't believe that the no oversight model works. Ever. Don't care what people say; I don't believe it. I think that only works in an advertisement. Folks selling homeschool curriculum talk about independence in order to sell products. In reality I have never met someone who purchased weight loss. I have met folks who lost weight. They didn't buy it; they worked for it.

 

And I'm sorry if this doesn't align with how you thought you would be spending your time with an older student. As they develop good study skills, they need an adult less and less. None of my kids have arrived at the point where they need no one ever.

 

I realize that folks have suggested that your son is advanced. Based on what you have indicated, I suspect he is behind and drowning. He probably doesn't even know that this can be fixed. Stop looking back. Give him a chance to move forward. Give him what he needs: a teacher. Rescue him.

 

I care. Really, I do. (Hugs!) I've seen this more times than I care to discuss. Most of us bust this completely independent leaner myth before high school. Oh well. Better late than never. If you're hsing five kids, you will benefit in the long run by embracing this ASAP. :-)

 

Peace,

Janice

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Excuse me, but that is just incorrect. In fact, for centuries everything that was written was for a male audience because women were not taught to read. Literature is teeming with books that are meant to appeal to males. Battles, adventures, heroic epics, modern dystopias, classic sci fi...

All those famous male authors - do you think they wrote for a purely female audience?

I can't fathom how you can come up with a claim like this.

Me either!! I have 7 boys and there is an abundance of wonderful quality reading out there. Pretty much none of it has anything to do with the gender of the reader.

 

I have no idea where people get this gender of the reader has anything to do with the booklist nonsense. I was talking to someone about how much my boys have enjoyed doing Literary Lessons from Lord of the Rings and they said, "But what will you do for your daughter when she is that grade?"

 

Um. Assign Lord of the Rings.

 

But "Do you really think that's going to work? I mean she's a girl and that's not a very feminine book. Do you really think she will be happy doing it?"

 

*Desperately tries not to roll my eyes*

 

Lord of the Rings is a great series of books, it doesn't have a gender. My boys also love it when we did the Prairie Primer. Because again, books are not complicated by gender attraction issues. ;p

 

And have him carry the stigma of being a high school drop out, with the limitations in opportunities this brings? He would, for the rest of his life, have to check "No" when asked whether he has a high school diploma.

Seems too big a price to pay for mistakes made in 9th grade.

And I also think a 15 y/o will be unable to fully grasp the consequence of such a decision, but might jump at the opportunity just so that he does not have to do more school.

Indeed. That was some horrid advice. Far and away worse than missing an extracurricular once or twice. I am always mind boggled by some of the different perspectives I only leant about on the WTM forums. *smh*

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This oversight question is an issue. I don't know where this perception of homeschoolers as independent workers came from, but it has not aligned with my experience. People who hand their child a math book with an answer key in the fall and collect them in the spring and experience a successful outcome? I have never met one in real life. I read about them; I have never met one. (Sorry. I know you guys claim to be out there. I won't believe it till I see it.)

 

Hold on, just because your children need supervision doesn't mean all children do. It's not at all bad that they do and I understand why, but my daughter is perfectly capable of teaching herself math with her textbook and she knows if she cheats she will be the one with the problem come psat/sat/college time.

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Can I just say thank you to putting this out here for discussion.  My oldest completed 9th grade this year and I felt like a total failure because he was failing.  I did not realize he was drowning until well into the school year. As a pp mentioned-he didn't know how to ask for help and viewed asking as weakness.

 

Dealing with my husband's health issues sapped me of all energy and I expected too much of him in terms of independent work. By the time I realized it and had the energy to deal with it the school year was pretty much over. 

 

The work he did complete he did well but overall I think the year was a failure (and even worse-the failure is largely my fault).  This year I am outsourcing a writing class to bring in some outside accountability.  He and I sat down and discussed his future and what needs to happen to continue homeschooling.  He knows he is repeating algebra this year.  He is not happy about it but it needs to be done.  He also did not do well with OSU Spanish because he does not want to take spanish.  I told him he has to take a foreign language and he didn't have any suggestions last year so I picked spanish for him.  He has now decided he wants to learn Russian (large Russian community where we live) so I am investigating classes for him.

 

 

 

 

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Hold on, just because your children need supervision doesn't mean all children do. It's not at all bad that they do and I understand why, but my daughter is perfectly capable of teaching herself math with her textbook and she knows if she cheats she will be the one with the problem come psat/sat/college time.

I understand your thought process. And I wish you well.

 

I have no evidence that the no oversight method works well. I hope you will. I truly do.

 

This has been discussed many times over the years. Folks always come out of the woodwork to tell about how this is working well and they are planning to have a successful end of the project test score to confirm.

 

Hopefully folks with that score will chime in and share details. That will help folks choose that path with confidence. Personally? I'm not interested.

 

I have seen the oversight model work well. I have no interest in other methods. I realize I am in the minority in my disbelief. The no oversight method is popular. I am a proclaimed disbeliever.

 

We can disagree. I'm not saying that your system wont work. I'm just proclaiming that I have no evidence.

 

Peace,

Janice

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I won't say that no student is scrupulously honest and self-motivated in their school subjects, anymore that I'll say that there are no drivers who follow all traffic rules.

 

But I do think that it is human nature to weigh anticipated benefit vs anticipated risk.  And that teen brains are often wired to favor risky behavior and discount potential consequences, particularly as those consequences fade off into a distant time horizon.

 

My guess is that there are few of us who get through parenting the teen and high school years without at least a few experiences of realizing that we'd overestimated the resistance of our teens to the quick and easy path.  I know that I've bumped up against that more than once in the past couple of years.  I think closer oversight also helps catch it early, before it becomes habitual or something that the kid can't back away from (cheating on a couple homeworks is one thing, cribbing answers for a quiz or changing grades on a report page are something else). 

 

I was fortunate enough to be at a friend's house several years ago, when her dh realized their eldest kids had been marking off subjects as complete when they weren't.  While I don't wish that experience on anyone, it was essential for me to realize that it can happen even with good kids in good families.  This is something that I had to rest in when their were failings with my own kids - and with my own attention to supervision.

 

My kids are works in progress.  So am I actually. 

 

I agree with Janice that the OP's situation probably warrants some close scrutiny across subject areas and potentially going back beyond this last year.  What matters right now, especially in math, is mastery of the content, rather than just continuing to move through the course labels.  It might be uncomfortable and painful and guilt-inducing (OP, remember, you're not alone in having this experience), but it's probably better to get it all out and on the table at once.  Then adjust and move forward (with more supervision).

 

According to a fact sheet from Stanford, between 75 and 98% of college students admit cheating in high school.  The tendency to cheat is not limited to low achievers, but is increasingly associated with high achievers who feel under pressure to earn higher grades in more demanding courses.  I personally believe that you can teach a student to resist the easy path, but that there is also an obligation to provide adequate oversight.

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Hold on, just because your children need supervision doesn't mean all children do. It's not at all bad that they do and I understand why, but my daughter is perfectly capable of teaching herself math with her textbook and she knows if she cheats she will be the one with the problem come psat/sat/college time.

You can say that now, when you're feeling confident that your dd will do well, but if she doesn't, you'll be "the one with the problem" just as much as she will, because if you'd been working with her, you would have been able to help her with her weaknesses instead of not finding out until she got a lousy test score.

 

It's easy to have a lot of bravado when your child has always been very bright and advanced, but as kids get older and the subjects get more difficult and the workload becomes heavier, you may find that even a formerly incredibly independent learner will need some help -- and it's perfectly normal that she would need that assistance.

 

If I'm not mistaken, your dd is in 9th grade. I can understand that she has been perfectly capable of teaching herself math with her textbook until now. But when she gets into more advanced math, I think you would be doing her quite a disservice by making her teach herself with a textbook. If she was a ps student, she would have a teacher to explain the concepts to her, and she would be able to ask questions of that teacher. Why would you assume that she wouldn't need help, instruction, and guidance at home?

 

I hear about a lot of people making their children work completely independently on subjects like math and physics, and quite frankly, I don't think they are giving their kids the best chance at success, and I think they are making their children work unnecessarily hard, when learning new concepts in math (or physics or whatever,) could be so much easier for them if someone simply took the time to sit down and work with them on those subjects.

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Just thought I would chime back in and say that I absolutely agree that mastery of content is far more important than moving on to the next course just so we can put a check in the box. If we have to repeat an entire year (or more) of mathematics, so be it.

 

I have already decided to take the month of September off from work so that I can focus my energies on getting our school year off on the right foot. After that I will re-evaluate and decide how much work, if any, I will take back on. Having a successful school year is heaps more important than running a business in our case.

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I am not inclined to penalize my son by pulling him from sports or scouts, especially given that those are team activities in which a group's success hinges on the participation of each member.

 

I have younger kids, so I shouldn't even be here (except that I learn so much by watching those who go before). I wanted to comment on this though, because there are people in my life whose high school years were very similar to your DS's 9th grade year. While I normally fall in line with the idea of not taking away the things that are most valuable and important to my kids and respecting their social needs (probably because my kids are younger), I'm coming to a new understanding about this (probably because my kids are steadily getting older, LOL). The basic revelation for me is that when I say to my kids "if _____, then _____," I am giving them the power, even more appropriate for a 9th grader. I also need to give them guidance and tools for success along with the power, but IMO handing over power in increments is essential to turning out a fully functional, successful adult. They have a choice. It is their choice, not mine. They determine whether or not they get to do the activity, not me. You would not be penalizing your son by not allowing him to participate. He would be penalizing himself by not doing the work. The older my kids get and the more I compare and contrast the work ethic of successful adults and unsuccessful adults, I see the difference between people who blame the world for their problems and the people who take personal responsibility and get crackin' in whatever way is necessary to improve their situation. I want my kids to feel powerful, and I'm starting to learn that I have to give them power in order to make that happen. They need power in order to understand the reality that most consequences in life are self-imposed.

 

You might think of it as *logical consequences* rather than a penalty.  He does his work, he's ready to go.  No work, no go.  It's not that you took something away but that he had to do it to be ready.  All the other kids on that sports team would get KICKED OFF if their grades dropped the way his did.  So I don't think it's fair to THEM that he's not doing the work and has no consequences.  And the fact that you're not WILLING to set it up as a serious consequence is why he's willing to walk all over you.  

 

He wouldn't have to miss football practice many times to get the picture.  

 

I agree with this. I think this is logical and in keeping with your DS's age. I also agree that some kids might dig their heels in and go angsty. I'm sure it's a hard line to walk, but it's worth (yet another) serious discussion.

 

In your shoes, I would lay down if/then and hand over power while simultaneously working on scheduling, organization, a daily teaching schedule and check-in system, and relationship. To get more buy-in and to show the positive side of him having more power over his own life, I would have him help me put together a curriculum tailor-made for his interests and strengths. "With great power comes great responsibility" and all that. :tongue_smilie:

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Pretty in Pink,

As one of my favorite board members through the years, I express my sadness that you are going through this difficult time, and I know things will go better soon!  I agree when another said that your honesty is amazing and will enable you to see a variety of angles to solve this problem!

I am of the 'don't punish him for being a typical teen boy' type.  Ways for you to discipline any dishonesty or disobedience are too highly personal...do what your husband decides and move on.

But, a question that I want you to ponder from my heart is, "Why did you decide to homeschool in the first place?"  Only to keep him away from ps?  Or was it to get educated while enjoying your family?  What do you like to do together or want him to do/learn/accomplish as he grows up?

I AM NOT an unschooler, but the person trumps the education and when you get life back into a place where you can all enjoy each other or at least you can at least enjoy watching him continue to learn and discover, you will be at peace...even in the midst of your busy life.

He did not FAIL anything but your poorly laid plans (that sounds harsh, I am sorry...we all lay bad plans sometimes=)  So...

I'd outsource his SKILL subjects (math, science, foreign language) and pick CONTENT subject that are taught in a way that suits his fancy until hormones settle down a little...maybe a year or two.  Have literature his enjoys, a booklist, and have him choose and read or even listen to (studies show listening is better for vocab aquisition!) why be bound to a desk all day?

I can't say enough for IEW for writing.  Put him in SWI-C and use Write Guide to grade it all...it really structures it so he knows EXACTLY what to expect.  And have him just read in other content areas (history, geography) and maybe mapwork and other hands on, fun stuff...he is still a child.

Boys feel miserable and mixed up at that age.  Love him where he is and don't make YOUR homeschool fit the model of ANYONE elses!  I have experience with teen boys and they just need a year or two (most do) to work through that awkward angst. 

Begin the year now, why wait, with a great read-aloud novel and discuss it naturally -- pick a classic and feel 'high-school-ish' and accomplished and you will both feel love as you enjoy each other!

Best Wishes to you and yours!

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You can say that now, when you're feeling confident that your dd will do well, but if she doesn't, you'll be "the one with the problem" just as much as she will, because if you'd been working with her, you would have been able to help her with her weaknesses instead of not finding out until she got a lousy test score.

 

It's easy to have a lot of bravado when your child has always been very bright and advanced, but as kids get older and the subjects get more difficult and the workload becomes heavier, you may find that even a formerly incredibly independent learner will need some help -- and it's perfectly normal that she would need that assistance.

 

If I'm not mistaken, your dd is in 9th grade. I can understand that she has been perfectly capable of teaching herself math with her textbook until now. But when she gets into more advanced math, I think you would be doing her quite a disservice by making her teach herself with a textbook. If she was a ps student, she would have a teacher to explain the concepts to her, and she would be able to ask questions of that teacher. Why would you assume that she wouldn't need help, instruction, and guidance at home?

 

I hear about a lot of people making their children work completely independently on subjects like math and physics, and quite frankly, I don't think they are giving their kids the best chance at success, and I think they are making their children work unnecessarily hard, when learning new concepts in math (or physics or whatever,) could be so much easier for them if someone simply took the time to sit down and work with them on those subjects.

Considering she's taught herself pre-algebra, algebra, algebra 2, and is now learning advanced mathematics, I don't think she's at a disadvantage at all. I never said I forbid her from asking questions when she needs help, nor did I say this is a method for everyone to use. I simply said not all high schoolers are incapable of working primarily independently.

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I will chime in on the independent worker angle.  I think this is ONLY possible with a few kids under certain circumstances..  I basically handed my oldest the math textbook and he would only come to me if he had questions.  It just took a quick little answer to get him to understand.  That worked until 9th grade.  He then did Chalkdust.  The only thing I did was to grade his work and by the time he got to Precalc, he was totally beyond me. He graded his own daily work.  I sort of graded the tests.  If the answers didn't line up, then I took it to him and we looked at it together.  He would either say, "Oh, I made a stupid mistake.  Yep, it is wrong."  Or he would launch into a big explanation of why it was right and I would look like I understood and then count it correct.  For Calculus I really wanted an outside teacher since I was scared to death I was cheating him..  I wasn't..  He took AP Calc this past year.  It was his favorite  and easiest class last year.  He made a 5 on the exam and is really excited about going to college with math people who actually understand him. 

 

Now, I still gave him deadlines when he was doing work for me. For 10th grade I had some outside classes and I checked all the time.  He did well.  By the time he was a junior, I was just rarely checking his work or online grades.  He thrived and so last year he took 2 classes each semester at the cc and 3 PA Homeschooler AP classes.  I never checked his grades once.  He made straight A's.  He had earned my trust.   He is so ready to head off to a "real" college. 

 

His brother cannot handle that lack of oversight.  That said, I am/ have cut back. 

 

So it is possible, but not by very many.  My oldest has to stay on track and would bug me as a junior high/early high school kid if we were not on schedule, "Don't we need to do .....?"  Most children are not like that!!!  So it is possible.

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I will chime in on the independent worker angle.  I think this is ONLY possible with a few kids under certain circumstances..  I basically handed my oldest the math textbook and he would only come to me if he had questions.  It just took a quick little answer to get him to understand.  That worked until 9th grade.  He then did Chalkdust.  The only thing I did was to grade his work and by the time he got to Precalc, he was totally beyond me. He graded his own daily work.  I sort of graded the tests.  If the answers didn't line up, then I took it to him and we looked at it together.  He would either say, "Oh, I made a stupid mistake.  Yep, it is wrong."  Or he would launch into a big explanation of why it was right and I would look like I understood and then count it correct.  For Calculus I really wanted an outside teacher since I was scared to death I was cheating him..  I wasn't..  He took AP Calc this past year.  It was his favorite  and easiest class last year.  He made a 5 on the exam and is really excited about going to college with math people who actually understand him. 

 

Now, I still gave him deadlines when he was doing work for me. For 10th grade I had some outside classes and I checked all the time.  He did well.  By the time he was a junior, I was just rarely checking his work or online grades.  He thrived and so last year he took 2 classes each semester at the cc and 3 PA Homeschooler AP classes.  I never checked his grades once.  He made straight A's.  He had earned my trust.   He is so ready to head off to a "real" college. 

 

His brother cannot handle that lack of oversight.  That said, I am/ have cut back. 

 

So it is possible, but not by very many.  My oldest has to stay on track and would bug me as a junior high/early high school kid if we were not on schedule, "Don't we need to do .....?"  Most children are not like that!!!  So it is possible.

 

 

I'm not sure what happened and didn't want this to get lost in Janice's 20 duplicate posts..

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On the pros and cons of restricting outside activities:

I learned years ago that if I cared more for my kids' outside activities, then we were in trouble. In other words, if I believed I couldn't keep them home from ballet OR soccer OR co-op OR anything else, then we had a problem.

 

On the other hand, if I set them a task that's too hard for them and say they can't go to activities if they don't perform, we have a different sort of problem. Telling my 16-year-old that she couldn't go to her orchestra retreat if she didn't pick up her violin six days in a row was an example of that sort of task. Simple as it was, she wasn't capable of it—which would have been okay if it had just been a weekend, but missing the retreat pretty much meant missing a year of orchestra. And that was too big a consequence. But she herself refused a smaller consequence, or more support in achieving the goal.

 

I think that's why our counselor told us that I should negotiate, once she saw that she really was going to miss out. At that point she suddenly realized what she was going to miss out on—and that she needed to agree to a shorter-term deal. The deal she worked out, she was capable of achieving.

 

I think this may be one of the differences between the people whose kids respond well to a rule that "you can't go to activities until you've done X" and those who don't. The task has to be well within the student's grasp, and that's not always easy to judge from the outside. (Or even from the inside. Can you explain why that pile of papers is sitting over there on your desk still waiting to be dealt with? I can't really explain about mine.) If a student misses the goal once or twice, the answer may not be to say, "Well, too bad. Try harder." What if the student truly isn't capable of that task yet? No wonder the student would give up in anger.

 

The answer may be to say, "This seems really hard. What can we do to make it easier for you to accomplish what you need to accomplish? An alarm clock? More supervision from me? Do we need to change to a different location, or a different book? Do you want a smaller choice each day, as a sort of reminder about the bigger weekly choice? What would make this more reasonable, less overwhelming?" With that kind of loving, firm support, I don't see the kids ending up furious.

 

On kids working unsupervised:

I agree that many (quite possibly most) parents who expect their kids to work unsupervised for long periods end up with unpleasant surprises. I learned this with my own kids, and have observed it in other families.

 

My friend with the kids who worked most independently was probably the mom who was best at supervising work; she had gradually trained her kids to work quite independently in certain ways, while being closely supervised in others. (These kids have had very easy transitions into adulthood.) If a child needed increased supervision, they got it, and quickly. But they needed such things less and less as they grew. But even she grew lax with the years. One year she got busy, her youngest daughter (16 and highly driven) accomplished less than she should have, and they ended up having her graduate a year late in order to make up for the skills that she'd missed.

 

Another friend of mine came to expect (during turmoil in the family's life) almost completely independent work of her kids. ("And if they don't do the work, they're the ones who will suffer. Failure is healthy for people.") These were great kids, with big dreams and great intentions. The woman ended up with a 14yo who could barely read (dyslexic) and a 17yo who still added on her fingers. Fortunately the kids recognized the problem and sought help from a friend, and they're going to be fine.

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I will chime in on the independent worker angle. I think this is ONLY possible with a few kids under certain circumstances.. I basically handed my oldest the math textbook and he would only come to me if he had questions. It just took a quick little answer to get him to understand. That worked until 9th grade. He then did Chalkdust. The only thing I did was to grade his work and by the time he got to Precalc, he was totally beyond me. He graded his own daily work. I sort of graded the tests. If the answers didn't line up, then I took it to him and we looked at it together. He would either say, "Oh, I made a stupid mistake. Yep, it is wrong." Or he would launch into a big explanation of why it was right and I would look like I understood and then count it correct. For Calculus I really wanted an outside teacher since I was scared to death I was cheating him.. I wasn't.. He took AP Calc this past year. It was his favorite and easiest class last year. He made a 5 on the exam and is really excited about going to college with math people who actually understand him.

 

Now, I still gave him deadlines when he was doing work for me. For 10th grade I had some outside classes and I checked all the time. He did well. By the time he was a junior, I was just rarely checking his work or online grades. He thrived and so last year he took 2 classes each semester at the cc and 3 PA Homeschooler AP classes. I never checked his grades once. He made straight A's. He had earned my trust. He is so ready to head off to a "real" college.

 

His brother cannot handle that lack of oversight. That said, I am/ have cut back.

 

So it is possible, but not by very many. My oldest has to stay on track and would bug me as a junior high/early high school kid if we were not on schedule, "Don't we need to do .....?" Most children are not like that!!! So it is possible.

Good morning,

 

I see plenty if oversight in this example. Yes, a motivated learner to be sure. But he is still receiving input. This example speaks to my point. He seems to want even more adult interaction. (Math begs for it- another reason why it makes me sad to hear homeschoolers talk about their children doing math independently. When he explained to you why a question was right on the test, he was demonstrating his need for collaboration. It sounds like you did an awesome job providing it. This kind of back and forth over the subject matter with an adult who is keeping the student engaged IS oversight in my mind.)

 

I just graduated my dd who worked well at this level of oversight for her senior year. Primarily honors dual enrollment. But I see that as a heavy oversight year. I see AP tests as heavy oversight of learning. Instead of meeting Mom's expectations, someone else is watching. Granted the child is monitored less than once a week, but the monitoring is iron clad.

 

I plan for my last child to be functioning at this level of oversight before heading to college as well. My experience has told me that colleges love the kids who can handle the periodic oversight model. It's the kids on either side of that line- the ones who need daily monitoring or are used to no/flexible monitoring who have a tough transition.

 

I posted to offer hope to the OP. I have seen so many families disappointed to discover that their 9th graders can't handle no oversight. It can take families months or an entire year to recover from the academic harm. The harm to their relationship and the Mom's confidence? That's tough. I truly believe that it's a notion promoted by folks selling homeschool curriculum. I have not met anyone in real life for whom it has been successful.

 

And I am sorry about the duplicate posts. I was typing on my phone with a terrible Internet connection. When I realized what had happened, I tried to delete the mess. I'm sorry.

 

Peace,

Janice

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Let me just say I have a 16 yo that was once a 14 yo and the child at 14 is now a man at 16.  We outsourced and ended up doing summer school to try to cover ground that he led me to believe he had covered.  But now at 16.5 he is very RESPONSIBLE.  Thank goodness, because I now have another 14 yo to herd along.  I scaled back last year with my 14 yo and focused on accomplishing things well!  And I finally carved out time in my schedule to "teach" math to him.  This year our goal is for him to continue to accomplish things well and to move forward in math and science.  His load is not heavy, but it does cover what needs to be covered.  The goal is a sense of accomplishment and good coverage of the subject areas.

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I see plenty if oversight in this example. Yes, a motivated learner to be sure. But he is still receiving input. ...

I posted to offer hope to the OP. I have seen so many families disappointed to discover that their 9th graders can't handle no oversight. It can take families months or an entire year to recover from the academic harm. The harm to their relationship and the Mom's confidence? That's tough. I truly believe that it's a notion promoted by folks selling homeschool curriculum. I have not met anyone in real life for whom it has been successful.

 

I have been thinking about this some more, and I believe that there may also simply be a miscommunication going on between people who believe in what  they term "independent learning" and your viewpoint that such a thing can not be successful. If you just take the example in the post to which you responded: the poster sees the independent aspect, you see the oversight -  in the same situation.

 

In my own family: I would definitely describe my son as working independently. To me, that means: if he is working on math, I do not have to be present, he will put in his time, will continue on his chapter, will not cut corners and pretend work has happened when it did not, will identify where he needs help. But it also includes him telling me if he gets stuck, me asking him how math went, spot checking his problems, keeping track of his progress. I do not hand him the book and don't check on it until the end of the semester. But while he works, he works independently. So, this is clearly a situation in which you would identify many tools of oversight, while I would still characterize it as independent work.

My DD who takes college classes has , from the very beginning, been solely responsible for keeping up with reading, homework, test prep, lab prep, following the syllabus - I was not permitted to even remind her. I see her as independent - while, at the same time, there is an oversight structure at the college through the collection of assignments, test grading etc.

 

I mention this because I am one of the people who have written about their high schoolers studying independently before, and I assume I would be one of the people you might criticize. But I suspect that all we have is a semantics issue, a communication problem, because we use different views to describe the same thing. I very much doubt that there are many parents, even of mature, strong students whom they consider independent, who would advocate abandoning the students for the entire semester with their materials without any interaction, without any form of accountability, and without a support structure in the background.

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I have been thinking about this some more, and I believe that there may also simply be a miscommunication going on between people who believe in what  they term "independent learning" and your viewpoint that such a thing can not be successful. If you just take the example in the post to which you responded: the poster sees the independent aspect, you see the oversight -  in the same situation.

 

 

Just quoting a snippet, though I agree with the whole thing.  My understanding was that the OP's situation was one where she didn't do the spot checking or check his progress.  In my own experience I had started out doing the spot checking and all that, then life got busy and unwieldy.  I put it off one day and then the next and all of a sudden realized that I hadn't checked on things all semester.  I've had to make a real effort to highlight the oversight part of the equation so that it wouldn't get lost in the shuffle.  It was all too easy to do the independent aspect and forget about the other side of the coin.  

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Ok Janice,

 

This is definitely a matter of semantics, then.   I never, ever checked his grades from his AP classes this past year.  I never logged in.  I took him at his word.  ( Now the previous two years, I did check.)  Same thing with his cc classes.  He told me what he made.  I never "taught" him math, especially Alg II and Precalc.  I didn't understand it myself.  I faked it.  So to me, that is independent work without oversight.

 

But according to you, the AP scores are what makes it oversight.  That I occasionally asked him, "How is it going?"  every once and awhile is oversight...  Well, I guess.  But to me, I looked at it as his first year of college/ transition to leaving home.  I treated him like he was already a college student.   I never gave him deadlines.  The deadlines were by his outside classes..

 

I couldn't do that with my middle one yet.  He can't handle that. 

 

Now I believe that what I described is what MOST of us here on this board would call independent learning.  I don't think that what most of mean by independent learning is throwing a book at a kid without either giving them the tests and grading them ( which is how I did Chalkdust but I did not TEACH the material)  or having them in an outside class where someone else grades the tests/papers.  

 

Independent learning means they figure it out.  They make a schedule about how and when they learn it.  They are responsible.  To me, they HAVE to be able to do this BEFORE they head off to college.  If I am having to check on them every single day and hold them accountable, then they won't do well at college, IMO.   Now, the mistake the OP made was expecting a 9th grader to do that.    You have to gradually let off the oversight. 

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Good Morning, Seeking,

 

Yes.  I believe this is a definition issue.  

 

And I believe that misunderstanding of this definition derails a bunch of folks who have been hsing K-8 and are hoping for a 9th grader who can handle that transition-to-college-year level of oversight (I call it the periodic oversight model - Mom's not providing the oversight; someone else is).  As I said, my dd was there by 12th grade; she sailed through this last year.  This model would have been a disaster when she was in 9th grade.  But I do not consider it independent learning.  Her last year of honors dual-enrollment resulted in grades that will be with her for the rest of her life.  She was ready for the responsibility.  She was ready for the educational model: periodic oversight.  I believe we agree:  it is best for kids to spend their 12th grade year succeeding with the periodic oversight model.  It helps them transition to college.  Next year she will be away.  She will not be living in our home, so I can not even see her sitting at the dining room table.  She will have to work when no one is looking.  (I didn't check her work, but I could see her and say, "How's it going?  Are you on track?  Good.  Work hard; it's worth it.")

 

When I re-read the OP, I see a mom who believed that the no-oversight model would work because the child was in 9th grade.  No written work produced?  Reading only?  I see a mom who got sucked into some idea that homeschooled 9th graders sit at the dining room table and write essays just because you tell them to do it.  You lay out the coursework, and they complete it.  They might fall behind for a day of two, but they will work hard to catch up because they are homeschooled and they have been taught to love learning and value education.  When Mom is busy, they get it.  They work even harder, so she won't worry.  The quality of their work goes up when Mom's stress level goes up.  They get it.  They love Mom, and they are team players.  The less she checks, the harder they work.  The less she checks, the more independent the children become.  

 

In my experience, Mom's ability to provide oversight has nothing to do with the child's ability to work without oversight.  And that can damage relationships.  High school is challenging on many levels.  I have seen so many Moms rely on independent learning to help them manage the schedule.  That's something that depends on the child, not the demands on the Mom's time.  

 

Let me say it this way.  It's like needing a new roof.  If I have a hole in my roof, it does no good to consult my checkbook to decide if I am going to buy a new roof.  We need a roof, or we lose the house.  The balance in the checkbook actually has no bearing on the demands of the system.  Just because Mom is busy, (Overwhelmed to be honest.  And the OP needs to know that this is quite common.) doesn't mean that a 9th grader is ready to learn independently.  Even the periodic oversight model doesn't usually work with 9th graders.  

 

I spoke up here, because I want the OP to know that she fell into a common ditch.  It's a matter of definition of terms.  9th graders need oversight.  Either daily or weekly at a minimum; weekly is for children who have already been trained.  She will have a better year this year if she abandons this idea of homeschooled high schoolers who sit in their room cranking out work that no one scrutinizes. I believe THAT is a marketing tool used by companies to sell curriculum.  I haven't seen it work in real life; in my book, it's a myth.

 

Peace,

Janice

 

 

in·de·pend·ent  
 
Adjective
Free from outside control; not depending on another's authority

 

 

 

myth

a : a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially : one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society

 
b : an unfounded or false notion

 

 

 

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I am constantly having to remind myself that teens do not necessarily mature or accept responsibility evenly.  They might be excelling in one area of their life while another suffers or even in one school subject while another suffers.   (And just to make things difficult these areas can be very nebulous and not school related; they might be developing great character traits, ethics, attitude, or maturing spiritually while successful Algebra completion and study skills still lag.)  Over 8th or 9th grade through 12th and sometimes into college they are working to achieve this balance.   The rate at which any individual teen will go through this process must differ greatly; I wouldn't even expect siblings to be similar.  I need to remind myself that this isn't always a personal failing on their part and part of my job is to guide them towards balance until they are ready to take over.

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It's easy to have a lot of bravado when your child has always been very bright and advanced, but as kids get older and the subjects get more difficult and the workload becomes heavier, you may find that even a formerly incredibly independent learner will need some help -- and it's perfectly normal that she would need that assistance.

A word to the wise for all of us with bright LITTLE ones. I am eating my slice of humble pie while being so grateful for the wisdom and experience on these boards. The vulnerability on this thread will help so many of us who still have to sail these waters.

 

To the OP, thank you for your honesty and transparency. It is so obvious that you love your son very much and are willing to make changes so that he succeeds. Making a mistake doesn't make you a bad mother. In fact, recognizing you've made a mistake and having the humility and will to change makes you a great mother. Your son is blessed.

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I just wanted to pop back in and tell you all something my ds said to me yesterday. We were driving in the car together and he said, "I'm kind of getting excited about school this year. Thanks for finding some fun books that we can work on together." That made me smile. :)

 

Edited because why was the text so tiny??? :P

 

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I just wanted to pop back in and tell you all something my ds said to me yesterday. We were driving in the car together and he said, "I'm kind of getting excited about school this year. Thanks for finding some fun books that we can work on together." That made me smile. :)

 

Edited because why was the text so tiny??? :P

 

 

That's great. There were parts of our year that weren't so hot. I've had to be choosy about what I insist gets finished and what I let slide. I think my willingness to back off on the challenge level of some subjects has given some good breathing room.

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