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in a slump... not enjoying it...need perspective


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Edited for privacy. The gist was:

 

These last few weeks I have felt like I am doing nothing right.  It just feels so joyless at the moment. I don't really enjoy homeschooling DS right now because I think I am doing a lousy job. Mainly writing and foreign language.

 

How do you get out of a slump like this? Is it the time of the year? Or is it because we just wrapped up the exhausting college applications and admission process for DD?

 

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Even without reading the body of your post, I was planning to tell you that a slump would probably be normal after the college app process.  You had an especially long wait, too, compared to the people who heard in mid-Feb. or earlier.  If your son is like my youngest, all the excitement has made several things really obvious to your son - his sister is going away soon, and soon he is going to have to go away, too.  And he just watched the work she went through and probably feels tired at the very idea of it all.  And it is the end of winter.  And your son is 15, which for my 15yo's was a particularly unmotivated age.  It is natural for you to be turning your attention towards him now, but you just went through all that applying and waiting (even if your daughter did the bulk of the work) and probably are running low on energy and creative ideas for him.  Your policy of doing only the basic academics for school doesn't leave you a lot of exciting easy electives to plan and carry out, since you are leaving all that to your son.  If he isn't as academicly oriented as his sister, he might not want to put the extra energy into his studies that would make them more interesting. He might prefer to save his energy for his own projects.  Other than planning a trip to go look at Roman ruins in Italy GRIN, I don't have much in the way of interesting suggestions.  My strategy for English was to do a Shakespeare play whenever we were feeling bored.

 

I assume you have asked him for ideas and he hasn't been interested enough to come up with any?  (I've gotten that answer before lol.)  Do you know if he is strongly STEM oriented or strongly humanities oriented?  If he is STEM oriented, then focusing on technical writing for awhile might not be such a bad thing.  Have him write directions and then you try to follow them.  Maybe you can both laugh at the results.  Or focus on experiment design and write-up.  Or have him outline science articles, put them away for a few weeks, then rewrite them from his outline and compare the result with the original article.  We spent a year working on writing summaries abstracts of Science News articles.  At that age, I picked some sort of writing assignment that could be repeated over and over again each week and had them do it.  My object was to speed up and smooth out their writing, so it didn't really matter what they were writing as long as they were doing enough of it every week.  If he likes history, you could have him collect stories and write up a family history, x pages per week.  You can decide that if you are slumping, you might as well get some of the drudge work of writing practise out of the way, or you can decide that since you are slumping, you might as well have your son write something that will be useful later (like a family history).  Sometimes, I took the let's-have-all-our-pain-at-once approach, and other times I took the well-since-things-are-not-going-well-we-might-as-well-try-to-do-something-useful approach.  Neither is really a good anti-slump approach, but they both turned the slump INTO something.  I just would be careful about adding to his work load as a remedy for slump.  Substituting things would be good, but adding would probably not help him to continue to be cooperative.

 

That probably wasn't very helpful.  You might need to just keep slogging.

 

Nan

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  Is your son doing the physics at the college?  Could he take a course, of his own choosing, this summer?  

 

The physics class is at the college, but I am the instructor ;-)

We are planning several trips over the summer, and he has no interest in taking any courses - it woudl be viewed as a punishment, not an opportunity.

He needs to find his passion. 

 

He has, two in fact: creative writing and martial arts. I see much enthusiasm, hard work, and persistence going into these areas.

I suggested that he could delve deeper into history and philosophy of martial arts for an elective, but he did not seem enthusiastic about this prospect - and I don't want to ruin his enjoyment by making a fun thing "school", IYKWIM.

 

And I thoroughly understand what you mean about the whole application process being totally exhausting, and that's probably not helping anything.  Take a week off.  Go for hikes.  Have some fun.

 

We just had a week of spring break, but my parents were visiting and we did lots of stuff with them. DS is not really interested in accompanying us on hikes anymore, which I find age appropriate and can understand. I am looking forward to early summer when we have planned a trip to Utah and Colorado and get to spend some fun time with the kids.

 


I''d also encourage him to find out what clubs are available on campus. and if he's interested see if he can join. 

The only thing he is interested in is martial arts. And he already does three different ones, LOL. So, in terms of extracurriculars, he is all set, has friends and plenty of physical activity.

 


Another thought is that your daughter is very interested in the humanities and French and reading and all of that, but it sounds like it's not really your son's thing, which is more common among the math/science types.  Maybe you need more of a basic get-it-done program for literature, writing and history.  

 

That is not really accurate, actually. DD is also very interested in math and science (she wants to major in physics, after all) - and DS is very interested in military history and likes to work on his novels, so none is either a "humanities" type or a "STEM type" kid. He does enjoy what we are doing for history and likes to read... it really is just the writing that is painful. Which is ironic since he loves to write if it's creative.

 


As for language, I imagine his German is pretty good, so maybe you could just do some written work with that and let the Italian go.

I am saving this as a last resort if Italian flops entirely, because it is really not the same thing for the brain: German is his second native language acquired as a child through immersion; the process by which an older child learns a language is different, and I find it beneficial to have the experience. Not just because it's required for college admission, but because it is an important educational goal for our family. I am reluctant to admit defeat ;-)

 

Thanks for all your suggestions. I will think about them some more.

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Do you know anyone in Italy with whom he could spend a month this summer?  Needing to use his Italian might stir his interest.

 

Perhaps it is time to drop the Romans and give that study 0.75 credits for the year.  Suggest to your son that that is an option if he can suggest an era or special interest he would rather study for an additional 0.25 credits to finish up the year.  (History of WW1, biographical study of several scientists, Psychology of 15 year old boys, ....)

 

Perhaps your daughter might have some insights or suggestions.

 

ETA: Ah, we were posting at the same time, regentrude.  Given his interest in military history, perhaps a special study in that might work.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Even without reading the body of your post, I was planning to tell you that a slump would probably be normal after the college app process.  You had an especially long wait, too, compared to the people who heard in mid-Feb. or earlier.  If your son is like my youngest, all the excitement has made several things really obvious to your son - his sister is going away soon, and soon he is going to have to go away, too.  And he just watched the work she went through and probably feels tired at the very idea of it all.  And it is the end of winter.  And your son is 15, which for my 15yo's was a particularly unmotivated age.

 

Thanks - I had suspected this may have something to do with it. I recall the depressive slump after I had submitted and defended my dissertation... total let-down after hard work and anticipation... And the age, that is probably a factor as well.

 

Your policy of doing only the basic academics for school doesn't leave you a lot of exciting easy electives to plan and carry out, since you are leaving all that to your son. ... I assume you have asked him for ideas and he hasn't been interested enough to come up with any?

 

I would be happy to facilitate fun electives - we have no policy of only basic academics (my DD had a culinary chemistry elective and spent lots of lab time baking and experimenting with kitchen procedures). As I wrote in my response to the previous poster, I would be happy for him to channel his passion for martial arts into some elective studies about the history or philosophy  - anything he wants. As long as he can get excited about it, I'll be happy to dig for resources and facilitate his studies.

 

Do you know if he is strongly STEM oriented or strongly humanities oriented? 

Both. As is his sister, LOL. At it's not that he does not love writing - he writes for fun. Novels and poetry, and it is really good, as far as I am allowed to see.

 


  At that age, I picked some sort of writing assignment that could be repeated over and over again each week and had them do it.  My object was to speed up and smooth out their writing, so it didn't really matter what they were writing as long as they were doing enough of it every week. 

 

That is an excellent idea. I just have to come up with the right assignment. I like your suggestions, have to mull them over and come up with something he will not just tolerate, but like (maybe that is asking too much - but he will tolerate any assignment and is really a good kid, I am not complaining about *him*, it's just *I*.)

 

Thanks for all your good ideas. It helps just talking things out.

(Now, having a  hormonal week does not help much either, I assume)

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Do you know anyone in Italy with whom he could spend a month this summer?  Needing to use his Italian might stir his interest.

 

Sadly, no. But we will be spending a few days in Italy this summer, so maybe this will spark an interest.

 

Perhaps it is time to drop the Romans and give that study 0.75 credits for the year.  Suggest to your son that that is an option if he can suggest an era or special interest he would rather study for an additional 0.25 credits to finish up the year.

 

Oh, I think we can call it good and have a full credit for Ancients without stretching it - we read a lot of stuff and used tons of TC lectures. All I ask is that he finishes reading the last textbook chapter that pertains to Romans, so we don't leave any lose ends.

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Well I know nothing about a losing your older sister slump, so I can't help there.  That's pretty fascinating that he is so into martial arts. Isn't he at an age where they start to apprentice and become teachers of younger students?  Maybe he'd like some business classes... Econ (micro and macro), accounting, that kind of thing.  Learn the software for running your own business.

 

I know a boy that age who got the vision to start his own studio.  He realized for that he would need a business degree.  Maybe a little more embracing what you're seeing?  Have you asked him what he'd like to do with the martial arts?  Or maybe he wants to go into the military?  Seems like that physical prowess and mental discipline could get him somewhere.  Maybe he'd like to shadow some careers or find a man to apprentice to this summer?  He's got a lot of Mom/book time, so maybe he needs some male/physical work?

 

Adding: On the creative writing, I'd embrace it.  Or at least that's what I'm doing with my creative writing, loves to do, somewhat introvert dd.   ;)  Everything needs an audience, and there's a lot of good writing out there that benefits from our kids' creativity.  I just try to embrace it.  I've got her reading science essays this year, and for next year I'm getting her stuff for food writing.  Even the writing in WWS I let her contort to have a more creative approach or audience.  Someone can say that's not good, but I say it's reality.  Reality is people like to read good writing, and good writing is published all the time in a variety of genres.  

 

You mentioned the challenge of comparison.  I know I'm going to have this issue with the differences between my dd and ds.  You don't even have the removal of distance (and forgetting!) to make it easier.  I think you sort of have to split your personalities and mentally change hats when you move between them.  At least I do.  I was having a hard time of it, so I'm trying to make threads on the K5 board and whatnot where I talk about him to help myself put on the mental gear of HIM and shed what worked for dd.  They're HUGELY DIFFERENT people.  It's very hard, when one thing worked, to change and realize you have to find something different to work.  It's even harder when it seemed like the credit for it working went to you as the mom, when you realize it was just the personality of the kid.  

 

Conversely, it means when it's not working it's not probably you either.  It can be if you keep him so busy that he can't pursue his passions or devalue the things he's passionate about, sure.  But in general he just is who he is.  Try to figure out who he's becoming and embrace it.

 

Oh, and if you can't tell, that's my new epiphany: Embrace the pace.  I have to wake up each day and tell myself I'm excited to teach him, that this is good, this is joyful, this is where I want to be.  I have to tell myself, because sometimes when things get crunchy it's really hard to be sure of that.  And now that I'm telling myself that, I'm starting to believe it.

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Regentrude,

 

I don't really have any suggestions. However, like Nan, I suspect a big part of it is being 15. Both my boys are no longer enthusiastic about anything (they want me to believe). In conversations over dinner or similar all sorts of interesting topics do come up, though. There is excitement. They just hide it away. It is not 'cool' to find excitement with Mom or over school work anymore. I think a lot of it has to do with them wanting to move on into, what they consider, the real world. I suspect things will get better once he starts doing more dual enrollment courses. In the meantime, I am afraid you'll just have to slog on.

 

Good Luck to you.

 

 

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I was going to suggest Duolingo (I just started using it for German in February and it's improved my grasp on gender/articles tremendously -- I no longer just guess neutral on everything :D) but when I went through your older thread I see you've already been doing that. FWIW, I thought 'immersion' was a lot more interesting than the articles.

 

If you're sick of the Romans, reading the last textbook chapter and saying "enough" sounds like plenty. Out of curiosity, might he find some social science courses more interesting than history? i.e. taking a year off history to do economics, geography, psychology, sociology, or something like that, while doing an unrelated literature class, and then returning to complete world history the next year?

 

I also think the idea to do technical writing might work. I have absolutely no idea what you might use as resources, but perhaps he'd find the idea of writing "popular science" reports explaining and elucidating technical subjects for non-technical audiences more tolerable.

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Conversely, it means when it's not working it's not probably you either.  It can be if you keep him so busy that he can't pursue his passions or devalue the things he's passionate about, sure.  But in general he just is who he is.  Try to figure out who he's becoming and embrace it.

 

Oh, and if you can't tell, that's my new epiphany: Embrace the pace.

 

Thanks for the advice. I do not think I am overloading him - aside from six hours of school, the rest of his time is his to do as he pleases. And he really is a pretty great guy. It's just the question (which I discussed more extensively in the linked thread) to find the balance between the right level of challenge and pushing too hard.
 

  I have to wake up each day and tell myself I'm excited to teach him, that this is good, this is joyful, this is where I want to be.

 

Right now I am lacking this joy. Part of it is that he does not want me to be involved. I would feel more enthusiastic if we did more together and I could plan all the things we could do and discussions we could have - but he resists this very much. And this, too, is part of his personality that I need to be embracing.

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I only have a sec and didn't get to read any of the responses, but I am totally worn out this yr and it has been far from ideal.    I am counting down the days until summer.

 

I just wanted to throw out a couple of suggestions.   For lit, I am really enjoying a short story study that I am doing with my 9th and 12th graders.   I read out loud and they follow along on their laptops or nooks.   We have had a lot of fun discussing them.   http://www.classicshorts.com/ has a lot.     Then there are classics like Metamorphosis or the Scarlet Ibis or Poe's works.   Short stories are easy to cover and are full of meaning.

 

Another suggestion would be projects.   Does he have a special interest?   Ds spends hours researching various astronomy topics and has done several huge projects with the data he has collected.

 

I'll come back and read the rest later and see where you are.

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I don't any advice to offer, but you nearly described my ds1 perfectly. He was like that at 15. Introverted, exasperated by discussion with me, and seemingly unable to apply himself outside his areas of interest. At that time, it was drums, video games and baseball.

We kept slogging through. I did interest based courses and abandoned the "should do" things. He saw me trying and in return tried a bit harder. Now at 17, he is still introverted, will discuss things if he is trapped in the car with me, and makes a half hearted attempt at things he doesn't like. So between, time and effort things got better.

You, all of you, have had a stressful application season. When you are tired, problems seem much bigger. I would do what I could to get to summer and then enjoy the break.

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If you're sick of the Romans, reading the last textbook chapter and saying "enough" sounds like plenty. Out of curiosity, might he find some social science courses more interesting than history? i.e. taking a year off history to do economics, geography, psychology, sociology, or something like that, while doing an unrelated literature class, and then returning to complete world history the next year?

 

He is actually looking forward to next year's history: Middle Ages and Renaissance. He says this is the good stuff! (I mean Vikings and Crusades, what's not to like...) and he actually wants to read Dante.
 


I also think the idea to do technical writing might work. I have absolutely no idea what you might use as resources, but perhaps he'd find the idea of writing "popular science" reports explaining and elucidating technical subjects for non-technical audiences more tolerable.

 

I'll give this some thought, thanks.

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I don't think you're doing anything wrong. 

 

My ds is the average kid, not motivated by school work, yet he spent most of the morning trying to devise a formula for rocket payload - he's still working on it. I had your advice about deadlines in mind and opted to let him work and miss a deadline (my deadline) for another assignment.

 

He's 16 1/2 and he's coming out of that aged 15 slump a bit, but also starting to realize the limitations we have due to budget and location and that he can't do everything he wants even if we did have opportunity.  

 

Does he get together with other creative writers? I know as a creative writer it helps to have a way to connect with other people who get that aspect of needing to write. Also, has he written creatively lately? For some who have that creative mindset, it becomes an agitation and slump and basic tension if we don't write. 

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You bring up many topics that have been occupying my mind lately as well, and I don't even have a graduating senior thrown into the mix.

 

I often mull over balancing acceptance of my kids for who they are with challenging them appropriately.  I think the introversion plays a larger role in this issue than I generally realize.  Also, I may intellectually realize issues or realities, but I still have a more emotional, almost gut reaction to some occurrences in the family (low level of talking is one area for example)  Have you discusses this with your husband who you say is also introverted?  My DH and my father, both introverted, academically oriented males, generally encourage me to let the kids be saying they will eventually find their passion and personal motivation.  I tend to alternate between pestering them and then letting them be.  :)  They know I am a worrier and they do their best to assuage my worries when I seem to be at the bursting point.

 

Older son has found a passion which he pursues avidly, unfortunately that accentuates in my mind how younger son has yet to do this.  So even though I have two quite similar introverts, I still have the same thoughts going around in my mind of how one child has a certain path which I feel the other child should also follow.  I know both of my kids are strong capable young people.  Reconciling (and accepting) their unique paths continues to be a skill I work on developing and strengthening in myself. 

 

:grouphug:  Wishing you all the best.

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Thanks for the advice. I do not think I am overloading him - aside from six hours of school, the rest of his time is his to do as he pleases. And he really is a pretty great guy. It's just the question (which I discussed more extensively in the linked thread) to find the balance between the right level of challenge and pushing too hard.
 

 

 

 

Right now I am lacking this joy. Part of it is that he does not want me to be involved. I would feel more enthusiastic if we did more together and I could plan all the things we could do and discussions we could have - but he resists this very much. And this, too, is part of his personality that I need to be embracing.

My dd doesn't either, hehe.  She disappears into the private office and reappears 5 hours later, save for little stints where she comes out for food.  She does her online classes entirely by herself.  Everything else has log forms.  I don't even LOOK at what she writes for WWS unless she enjoyed what she wrote and wants to show me.  I know she's progressing, and I have log forms I require her to fill out in in lieu of discussion.  

 

In her case, in addition to personality, she has some low processing speed.  I think many introverts are of that introspective, mulling sort.  They don't want to read and discuss.  They want to read then go away into the woods for a week by themselves and come out ready to talk.  They pull pieces from all over and mull and THEN talk.  

 

Anyways, you could try response journals, correspondence/emails, or less personal/confrontational methods of discussion.  You could give him his reading list and then assign that by the end of the week he write you a cogent email discussing xyz salient point which you will then reply to and allow him to rebut.  Still introverted, but thinking.

 

And yes, I think if a kid spends 6 hours a day thinking about Romans and crap he doesn't give a rip about, he's draining the mental energy he COULD have given to something more interesting.  Just because a time period exists doesn't mean it has to be covered or has to be covered thoroughly.  You might think about skewing the paradigm of your studies for this coming year.  He might like the Kissinger book on geopolitics I found for my dd, which he could then rabbit trail and use to turn into some more traditional sounding course.  Or maybe economics over the millennia and call it world history...  

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One more thought ~ might your son enjoy doing one of his courses through an online provider such as PA Homeschoolers?  I see that he does AOPS, but my recollection (which may be wrong) is that he is doing that at home rather than online.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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One more thought ~ might your son enjoy doing one of his courses through an online provider such as PA Homeschoolers?  I see that he does AOPS, but my recollection (which may be wrong) is that he is doing that at home rather than online.

 

You remember correctly, he is doing AoPS at home. He does not wish to take any online class.
 

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Hugs from here too. Hopefully you can get out more now that spring has arrived.

I know that I sometimes feel the slump when there isn't something new to be working on. I think it's part of my fixer/teacher nature. If apps are done and the spark of the Romans has worn off, maybe it's that you need a new challenge as much as he might.

The only other thought I had is diet. I find that when my oldest slumps it's often related to his not getting enough food over the course of the day.

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But, I'm wondering about sleep. The fastest road to unhappiness at our house (all around) is when people aren't getting enough sleep.

 

The only other thought I had is diet. I find that when my oldest slumps it's often related to his not getting enough food over the course of the day.

 

Thanks for suggesting this. I think sleep and diet are fine, at least mine are (DS still need to get back to an earlier bedtime after spring break)

Come to think of, I just had my parents visit and stay with us two weeks - maybe this also played a small role in throwing me off my game, as does adjusting back to no house guests...but I really think the biggest contributor is the college thing. I should have anticipated that, based on previous life experiences.

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Hugs. No real suggestions, but I'm thinking of you.

The biggest thing that helps my family get past the sluggish times is to cut back on all that we can and do minimal work for awhile. Not sure this would help in your case.

I agree that it is most likely a combination of the college stuff and the time of year.

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Nan, I thought of suggesting dog too, but didn't know if there are allergies or if it would be too difficult with their summer travels and all.

 

No dog for us. We travel extensively, and it is already hard to find somebody to care for our outside cat.

 

Have you ever considered starting some kind of group, either at your house or on campus, for students/faculty to get together to discuss something. ... I don't have something specific in mind, but maybe you can come up with something that would help fill the void.

 

I participate in some groups (a woman's group to facilitate interaction between foreign women and Americans, for example), and I may join the university's book club next semester, but I do not wish to start anything.

I am taking Nan's advice to have fill-the-void-plans in place before the kid leaves for college and have just committed to taking on a big new project at work - a redesign of a large enrollment introductory course - that will fill much of my time in the fall and will take my mind off DD being away. I anticipate that this will keep me extremely busy for the first one or two semesters. So, I am good there ;-)

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Teenage males go through a process where they have to emotionally separate themselves from their mothers in order to transition to manhood.  Your son is behaving normally.  Teen-aged boys can be quite hurtful with their speech to their mothers during this maturing process so be thankful that you are not dealing with that.  

 

 

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Given the various situational elements - not least of which is hormones - I have a feeling that, if you can manage to stay afloat for another week, keeping school minimalist in the meantime, things will look sunnier again soon.  Coming to terms with DD going to college will probably take longer (or have more spurts), but just getting past one obstacle will lighten the outlook, I think.

 

Will the kids go see a movie/play/performance with you?  I'm thinking passive shared experience, totally non-academic, where you're sitting next to each other without talking to each other.  Maybe just the "vibes" sizzling between you will be enough to soothe and connect.

 

I do want to thank you and the others for posting.  I certainly understand the reluctance to put such things "out there" and it makes me appreciate even more the courage it takes to share our darker moments. 

 

Hugs to you, regentrude, and to the other posters who have been in the same boat.

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I'm addressing the same bit Nan quoted in the previous comment. I'm also probably saying the same thing. :D

Well...It's a relationship. And there are things you need in the relationship that he has to learn to embrace, no?
 
My daughter likes to do most of her work on her own as well. She was very happy when I got out of the way in Latin and math especially. BUT we still needed something to do together. There still needed to be some connection and as much for my sake as hers. 
 
So we do Theory of Knowledge together. I bought a couple of Cambridge IB texts and we read a chapter through the week, take notes, write a bit and then go out for coffee and dessert to discuss it. I'm thinking of adding the TTC course Great Ideas of Philosophy to the mix (the drive to the restaurant is about the length of a lecture). It's a great way to get into big conversations about important issues and also about things my daughter might not generally bring up about herself.

I just hear you saying that you have to learn to go along with his ways and I don't think that's entirely the case. It's a two-way street and you are entitled to carve out an academic space for the two to interact despite how he prefers to do things. Maybe something like what we're doing with ToK where you guys are learning together?

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Another thought that came to my mind sort of revolves around the idea that you say your ds is an introvert.   My 15 yr old dd is has no qualms expressing herself.  :)   Anyway, she has said multiple times that she was annoyed by the college app process and how much time it consumed and how much we talked about it.   I did have to take ds on multiple trips for interviews, meetings with deans, a competition, etc.   There were a lot of conversations that centered around ds this yr.  She is 100% right.  

 

Is it possible that your ds felt some of this but didn't express it?   Her venting her thoughts was all dd really needed.  And a yay from her when all was done saying she was glad that we could move away from "news breaking alerts" and go back to "regularly scheduled programming."  ;)   I would imagine in a family of 2 that it might stand out even more and an introvert might hold it all in.   Maybe he just needs something "him" that has zero to do with school.

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You've received some great feedback.  I just want to join the party and encourage you that this is really fairly typical for 15-year-old boys. I've been through a couple of these teeth-clenching seasons myself.  Don't despair.  All that you are investing in your ds probably is sticking way down deep, though it can look just completely unfruitful at times.  I have found that my boys respond much better to outside teachers as they move through high school.  They begin to do less and less with me and by 11th grade are almost fully outsourced (dual-enrollment, online classes, tutors or co-op).  Then I just have to be the bouncer that makes sure they are actually doing the work!  

 

Slogging along with you right now, 

Lisa

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I wish I had advice but all I've got is empathy.  One definite disadvantage to homeschooling is how difficult it is to be both parent and teacher and spend 24 hours a day with a kid in the midst of adolescence. The only other thing I can add is, in my experience, boys at this age are different from girls.  Not necessarily better or worse, just different.

 

My teen son is just a bit younger but he is going through something similar.  I've tried lots of different approaches to no avail.  So I've come down to a couple things-we don't touch his two extra curricular activities.  He has one hour a day to be with his friends, in the pool, etc.  We try to feed him on time, get him to sleep on time and make sure he exercises (not goofing off but actually working out).  If we mess with any of these he has a pretty serious attitude shift that undoes any other good work.  He knows that any rule breaking will lead to loosing his one hour.

 

As for writing-I think I remember seeing somewhere that NaNoWriMo had a program coming up-maybe that would spark passion and be a challenge?  Not academic writing but perhaps a refreshing, unscripted jump start. 

 

In the meantime :grouphug:

 

 

 

 

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I haven't been on the boards for the last couple of weeks for the very reason you've written about.

 

:grouphug:

 

After finally managing to get some private, quite time to reflect on why I was dissatisfied, I could name some specific things that ds and I needed to work on, but most importantly I realized that my self-care had really slid. I needed far more outdoor time, exercise time, and alone time than I was getting. I have gone to the proverbial well too many times and it's left me high and dry when it comes to problem-solving and enthusiasm for home-schooling.

 

Regentrude, you have always struck me as someone who gives her all to the things most important to her. Perhaps right now, there is little to give because you have not given enough to yourself?

 

Forgive me if this has already been mentioned. I read your first post and no others, breaking one of my cardinal board rules, but I wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and sending virtual hugs and support.

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I have no advice, per se, but wanted to give a little perspective.  You speak positively of your son and obviously appreciate that he has some great strengths.  But do you really realize how amazing he sounds, how amazing your whole schooling venture sounds, to an outsider (me, for example)?  Your son does things I could never dream about my kids doing.  You, as a homeschooling mom, do things I couldn't imagine doing.  You feel like a failure because you are doing a "lousy" job in a couple of subject areas--even though he writes novels *on his own* and apparently already has fluency in a second language.   I'm not pointing this out as a way to shame you or guilt you for expressing your very real feelings--just trying to help you see what probably most of us see, which is that you seem to have a smart, talented kid who is lucky to be schooled by a smart, talented mom (with very high standards). ;)  Your expectations are what they are; I'm not judging them, and you are the one who has to reckon whether you are failing or not.  But from where I sit, you look extremely successful.  

 

As mentioned elsewhere on the board, I'm getting over a major slump of my own.  So it's easy for me to talk. :)  The winter here has been extremely long, and I think (as so many others have said) that weather, combined with what sounds like a stressful season of college stuff, combined with his age/temperament...well, all those things build and compound and take a greater toll than perhaps anyone can realize who is in the middle of it all.  Look at him and see what's good.  Trust the foundation you've laid.  Be gentle on yourself.  Joyless is a bad place to be in; I'm sorry that you're struggling.

 

:grouphug:

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Finally getting around to responding to your response to my first post -

 

I'm not sure where I got the idea that you stuck to basics for school.  You seem (to me, anyway) to be very careful to leave your children time to do their own projects.  I always thought you did a much better job of that than I, despite my trying so hard to do this.  You manage to be more efficient at the basics, I think.  I do remember the cooking chemistry, now that you mention it.  Your faith in your children comes through loud and clear, and your respect for them and their own projects, and your care not to "ruin" their enjoyment and satisfaction by turning their projects into a schoolwork.  I can see why you would want to try to arrange your son's schoolwork so that he enjoyed it more.  I had the same feeling.  Of course, some things were going to require a certain amount of joyless plugging, but I didn't see why the whole thing had to be that way.  It might have been different if I had had to spend lots of energy forcing him to do the basics, but I didn't.  He was trying his hardest to be cooperative, not mindlessly so, but intelligently so, making it HIS education (hence all the negotiating).  It made me want to do the best, creative job I could at my end of the bargain, which was to figure out what he needed to learn and find ways for him to learn those things that would suit him.  That took energy and creativity on my part.  There were times when I had more and times when I had less.  I understand why you are saying that it is you, not him, that is the problem.  I think some of your energy will return when you have recovered from the college application process, but it might be a good idea to get next year figured out before your daughter leaves for college, because you might have another low spot in the fall while you adjust.  Or you might not. : )

 

I think you are on the right track.

 

Nan

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Thank you all for the overwhelming support, the advice, and the perspective. This means a lot to me.

 

I have taken a first step towards feeling much better by... guess what... quitting my allergy medications.

I had not realized how tired they made me; I was walking around exhausted, did not feel rested after ten hours of sleep, and even DH complained - no wonder I felt depressed and in a slump. After quitting Saturday night, I got up yesterday and was actually awake  and had some energy. What a change.

 

We have called the Roman studies finished. DS will spend the remainder of the semester researching, and writing about, the history of various martial arts forms - he had thought about my suggestion and agreed that this sounded like a fun project. He has begun his work with enthusiasm. In order to practice expository writing, he might as well write about a topic in which he is truly interested.

We will continue to work on Italian, but I will try very hard not to stress about it. I will keep the German in reserve, to switch if we are really miserable.

 

About DD leaving for college... well, there really is nothing I can do except enjoy the remaining time. Last night it hit me that her upcoming birthday will be the last one she celebrates at home (sob).  I am looking forward to spending some time with her during the summer when we are traveling.

Thanks again for all your support and good thoughts.

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That's great!  Well, not great, exactly, but it is always nice to find a cause for a problem that is actually fixable, instead of unfixable, like missing the younger version of one's children.  I've done that with allergy medicine, too.  And that's good about the history of martial arts.  It was amazing watching my son use all those writing and study and research skills for his own purposes.  It went especially well when my son wrote for a specific audience, like me.  : )  It helped him to know how much basics to include and I was available so it was easy for him to ask me if I had understood or if he needed to clarify something.  But you probably have that figured out already.

Nan

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Interesting, I am just the opposite with my allergy meds. I am back on them and can function and sleep better than without. Good to hear you feel better and feel you have a plan that makes both of you happy.

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