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teeterbunch

what to do with a bright kid that didn't complete enough to earn a diploma?

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It doesn't sound to me like he has some kind of Executive Functioning Disorder, or depression. He is out there doing good stuff.  

 

"Being out there doingthe good stuff" does not mean a person cannnot struggle with executive functioning or suffer from depression.

It is a common misconception that depressed people must look sad and depressed. Nope. For many, you wouldn't have a clue, because they are "out doing good stuff".

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Kids with executive function issues are actually a really poor fit for the military. I would strongly discourage this route.

Not always, depends on the specific profile and what they do in the military. Military was very good for me for the time I was in and has been a great career choice for my brother for two decades now. Military structure can work well for some folks who have trouble structuring themselves.

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Not always, depends on the specific profile and what they do in the military. Military was very good for me for the time I was in and has been a great career choice for my brother for two decades now. Military structure can work well for some folks who have trouble structuring themselves.

I'm not trying to be argumentative; I'm genuinely curious: do you have an actual EF diagnosis? (Of course you don't have to answer if you don't want -- I know that's personal information.) Actual EF deficit is way more than just "trouble structuring themselves." We have always been told by the counselors our dd has seen that EF and military don't mix well, and given what I have learned about EF deficits, I can totally see why.

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The (apparently fairly common) idea of sending teenagers who don't have a clear idea of what to do with their life into the military of all places seems very strange to me. I cannot quite see how living under strict orders and having somebody telling you what to do every minute of the day is conducive to figuring out what to do with life. I would think the latter requires the freedom to experiment with different things as well as time and room for quiet introspection, neither of which I imagine a military environment would provide.

 

I spent 5 years as an Army wife, and I'll have to respectfully disagree. The military is one of the best avenues I've seen for turning smart-but-aimless kids into productive men and women. One of the best sergeants my DH had swore that he'd have been in jail or the morgue if his mom hadn't basically forced him to enlist at 17.

 

I actually think the U.S. would be far better off if we had mandatory military service (with an option for civilian national service for pacifists) after high school like most countries do.

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Teeterbunch, if his EF issues are substantial, have you ever done evaluations?  No diagnosis?  He sounds kinda 2e or potentially just plain gifted.  The EF stuff and lack of enthusiasm for academics combined with the nice test scores are the clues.

Edited by wapiti
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I actually think the U.S. would be far better off if we had mandatory military service (with an option for civilian national service for pacifists) after high school like most countries do.

 

Having grown up in a country with mandatory military service and having seen the damage it did to some young men, I respectfully disagree.

 

My home country has abolished mandatory military service because drafting uninterested people for short terms was not an efficient way to create a modern, effective military. I have much more trust in a  professional military formed from soldiers who want to be there and are properly trained.

 

But this is off topic :)

Edited by regentrude
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I'm not trying to be argumentative; I'm genuinely curious: do you have an actual EF diagnosis? (Of course you don't have to answer if you don't want -- I know that's personal information.) Actual EF deficit is way more than just "trouble structuring themselves." We have always been told by the counselors our dd has seen that EF and military don't mix well, and given what I have learned about EF deficits, I can totally see why.

ADHD, present since childhood but diagnosed in adulthood. I do a lot of compensating for EF stuff.

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OP,

Meanwhile back at the farm....., I think you've gotten a lot of great thoughts, and I hope it'll help you make a final decision on the diploma.  

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I spent 5 years as an Army wife, and I'll have to respectfully disagree. The military is one of the best avenues I've seen for turning smart-but-aimless kids into productive men and women. One of the best sergeants my DH had swore that he'd have been in jail or the morgue if his mom hadn't basically forced him to enlist at 17.

 

I actually think the U.S. would be far better off if we had mandatory military service (with an option for civilian national service for pacifists) after high school like most countries do.

 

We should hang out sometime

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I wouldn't try to force a kid into the military who didn't want to go that route, but I also wouldn't discourage a self-motivated kid because I didn't think it would be a good fit. My brother's high school counselor told him the military didn't want people like him. People who knew me were shocked when I joined ROTC.

 

Military training was honestly one of the best things that ever happened to me and I thrived in that environment.

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My home country has abolished mandatory military service because drafting uninterested people for short terms was not an efficient way to create a modern, effective military. I have much more trust in a  professional military formed from soldiers who want to be there and are properly trained.

 

My friends in Sweden tell me that compulsory military service there was abolished in large part because they couldn't actually come up with enough jobs and housing for all the young people who were supposed to perform compulsory service. Even though it was compulsory, most young people didn't actually do it. They were put on waiting lists and eventually were just dropped off the list.

 

I can't imagine the logistical nightmare of trying to coordinate compulsory service for millions of 18 year old each year ... or how much it would cost taxpayers.

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Things began to fall apart for my DS (now 18) during his junior year (last year).  He made it up to the very end, but failed to complete his courses.  He did very minimal work during the first semester of his senior year, mostly just keeping his high school status so he could compete in Mock Trial.  In January, he enrolled in 3 classes at the local community college (DE).  He also failed to complete these. At that point we insisted he work, if he wasn't going to pursue school, so he got a job at local fast food restaurant.

 

So here's the other side of the coin.  We have homeschooled all the way through.  He participated on the Mock Trial team all 4 years of high school, becoming one of our strongest members early on.  He even won a national award for his achievement in mock trial.  He scored a 30 on the ACT (composite).  He work ethic is "renowned" by everyone he works for outside the home.  He is very interested in blacksmithing, and has served as an apprentice at our local living history museum for several years.

 

Until recently I felt that I could not award him a diploma because he hadn't met the goals we established for our homeschool (I'm not really concerned about our goals matching the diploma issued in our state.)  When it became clear that he was not going to apply to college right after high school to pursue his original ambition of becoming an attorney, I modified my expectations.  However, he still hasn't met those qualifications.

 

Now my husband and I are thinking that our DS is as educated, articulate, and intelligent as most high school graduates, so why not just award him a diploma from our homeschool, so he isn't held back by the lack of it, like on employment applications.  This wouldn't be a "giving in" thing....more of a reasonable "moving forward."  Of course, if he decides to go to college, then he will have to address all the blank spaces on his transcript. 

 

I would love to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience (we can't be the only ones, right??) or can offer suggestions.  Thanks so much!!

 

Ashley

 

I would graduate him in a heartbeat. It's more important to move on than to be hung up completing a list of courses. Isn't the goal to have young adults who are educated and articulate and intelligent? Well...

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My friends in Sweden tell me that compulsory military service there was abolished in large part because they couldn't actually come up with enough jobs and housing for all the young people who were supposed to perform compulsory service. Even though it was compulsory, most young people didn't actually do it. They were put on waiting lists and eventually were just dropped off the list.

 

I can't imagine the logistical nightmare of trying to coordinate compulsory service for millions of 18 year old each year ... or how much it would cost taxpayers.

 

It was similar in Germany. It was initially 18 months, and then they kept shortening the duration of the service until at the end it was only 6 months. At the end, few people went. It had been criticized for years as inefficient waste of time and resources, and they finally decided to suspend it (it is still on the books). 

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I can't imagine the logistical nightmare of trying to coordinate compulsory service for millions of 18 year old each year ... or how much it would cost taxpayers.

My country has compulsory military service for 18 year olds for 2 years but it is a small island nation. My brother did his service more than a decade ago as a militrary vehicles service technician getting an allowance of <$500 a month. The job would have had a basic pay of $2k with benefits at that time. So it was a good deal for the taxpayer.

 

A few of my friends are from Taiwan which also have compulsory militrary service. Some are sent to the frontline defending the borders. Some help in disaster aid. It is really "cheap labour". However there is real threats of war so my friends aim for dual citizenship.

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My brother did his service more than a decade ago as a militrary vehicles service technician getting an allowance of <$500 a month. The job would have had a basic pay of $2k with benefits at that time. So it was a good deal for the taxpayer.

 

I don't think the US military has enough jobs for an extra several million people every year. Even if they paid them severely depressed wages, it would be paying for jobs that were created solely to create jobs for compulsory service.

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I would just give him the diploma. You might be amazed at how little kids in public school do.

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I would love to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience (we can't be the only ones, right??) or can offer suggestions.  Thanks so much!!

 

Ashley

 

 

 

I think at this stage in his life, he may regret not finishing his coursework, now that the reality of what that means is upon him.  So I think he would receive the diploma as an act of grace and appreciate the clean slate.  Of course, we don't want to rescue him from the lesson to learn here.  There in lies the rub, huh? : )

I've had 2 kids who had trouble being high schoolers, and the results were different, but they are both doing fine as adults.  In some ways, I think high schoolers are ready to move on, to feel like they are contributing to the world; being in a holding pattern controlled by adults around them is counter-intuitive.  In other words, I sympathize.  However, I was an oldest child, so I said, just tell me what I need to do to get out of here, I did it, I graduated early, and I moved on; my oldest was similarly bent.  The middle and youngest were not so willing to "just do it."

 

For them, I adjusted and adjusted, and in the end my minimal standards were very minimal. 

 

I didn't feel I was compromising on my word, because I made the kids aware of what an excellent transcript would look like, and how I had been shooting for a great experience moving into adulthood which would fit nicely into their gifts and preferences.  Then I explained the potential effects if we gave up on those goals and chose a lesser transcript.  When that seemed to be their choice, I outlined options about that transcript.  Outside activities could become credits (if named honestly) rather than quality extra-curriculars.  Some classes could be pass/fail or repeated.  Extra credit could be earned and either boost GPA or boost the number of credits.  I gave 0.25 credits for some things that were only partially done.

 

As others have mentioned, there are all kinds of things done in the public school system, as well.  There is an ideal, and then there is the reality that all kids aren't all staying on the same assembly-line.  My kids have known kids who went into adulthood in lousy situations - some seem to be there to stay, some have pulled themselves out very nicely, at least one committed suicide.  There are worse things in life than a lousy transcript. 

 

Today, my dd still hasn't finished my minimum requirement of one book per year for English, but she could and I would award her a diploma at any age.  Meanwhile she's gradually become an excellent mom and has supported herself as a waitress and weathered the challenges of trying to live very cheaply.  The other received a diploma from me, although less than his potential, then dove into a year of sweat labor, until he realized that the men there were still doing the same thing in their 40s.  He is in college now :)  He is still maturing but is taking care of everything himself in another state.

 

When I see my homeschooled kids conversing with others their age, I am confident they were educated.  I am at peace with that. 

 

And honestly, colleges will look at your son's great SAT score and may never even read his transcript.  Colleges compete with one another by posting high test score averages, not transcript details.  Your son may have to pay for high school level courses in college, which may annoy him.  He may not get into elite schools that he might have qualified for.  But he may find the perfect niche for him, nonetheless. 

 

Best wishes on agonizing through this.  I've definitely been there.

Julie

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I've had 2 kids who had trouble being high schoolers, and the results were different, but they are both doing fine as adults.  In some ways, I think high schoolers are ready to move on, to feel like they are contributing to the world; being in a holding pattern controlled by adults around them is counter-intuitive.  In other words, I sympathize.  However, I was an oldest child, so I said, just tell me what I need to do to get out of here, I did it, I graduated early, and I moved on; my oldest was similarly bent.  The middle and youngest were not so willing to "just do it."

 

For them, I adjusted and adjusted, and in the end my minimal standards were very minimal. 

 

I didn't feel I was compromising on my word, because I made the kids aware of what an excellent transcript would look like, and how I had been shooting for a great experience moving into adulthood which would fit nicely into their gifts and preferences.  Then I explained the potential effects if we gave up on those goals and chose a lesser transcript.  When that seemed to be their choice, I outlined options about that transcript.  Outside activities could become credits (if named honestly) rather than quality extra-curriculars.  Some classes could be pass/fail or repeated.  Extra credit could be earned and either boost GPA or boost the number of credits.  I gave 0.25 credits for some things that were only partially done.

 

As others have mentioned, there are all kinds of things done in the public school system, as well.  There is an ideal, and then there is the reality that all kids aren't all staying on the same assembly-line.  My kids have known kids who went into adulthood in lousy situations - some seem to be there to stay, some have pulled themselves out very nicely, at least one committed suicide.  There are worse things in life than a lousy transcript. 

 

Today, my dd still hasn't finished my minimum requirement of one book per year for English, but she could and I would award her a diploma at any age.  Meanwhile she's gradually become an excellent mom and has supported herself as a waitress and weathered the challenges of trying to live very cheaply.  The other received a diploma from me, although less than his potential, then dove into a year of sweat labor, until he realized that the men there were still doing the same thing in their 40s.  He is in college now :)  He is still maturing but is taking care of everything himself in another state.

 

When I see my homeschooled kids conversing with others their age, I am confident they were educated.  I am at peace with that. 

 

And honestly, colleges will look at your son's great SAT score and may never even read his transcriptColleges compete with one another by posting high test score averages, not transcript details.  Your son may have to pay for high school level courses in college, which may annoy him.  He may not get into elite schools that he might have qualified for.  But he may find the perfect niche for him, nonetheless. 

 

Best wishes on agonizing through this.  I've definitely been there.

Julie

 

Emphasis mine.  Copying to use the bolded above.  One of our local state schools admission is just this.  They ask to see homeschooled students test results and admission is based solely off of that. 

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Having grown up in a country with mandatory military service and having seen the damage it did to some young men, I respectfully disagree.

 

My home country has abolished mandatory military service because drafting uninterested people for short terms was not an efficient way to create a modern, effective military. I have much more trust in a professional military formed from soldiers who want to be there and are properly trained.

 

But this is off topic :)

As a former Army recruit instructor, I thoroughly agree with this post. The Army is a war machine. It doesn't need people who don't want to be there. The training is mentally brutal. You have to want to pass, and if your executive function is lousy, you are in for a world of hurt. Trust me on this - I delivered a lot of that hurt.

D

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I would hate giving him the diploma. I'd feel frustrated with it, with him.

in.

I do not think you would be giving him his diploma. He has been learning and applying himself the last 12 years, so much that he has earned a 30 on the ACT....in the top 95% of those tested. Some staes like Ca have tests a student can take to graduate early and start college....his scores say he would have qualified to do that....meaning in Ca he could take that test now and get his diploma as he would show mastery of graduation requirements. I understand setting goals and requirements and not wanting to have him feel like his diploma was given to him. I would talk with him and would focus on what he has accomplished and earned. I love the idea of letting him put his debate skills to work in arguing for why he has already earned his diploma although he may not have met your class requirements. This happens in RL when a military servicemen goes to college and argues for credit to be given for time in their field.

 

I love that you talk about him being 18.... I remember the frustration I felt with our oldest...it seemed for such a smart young man (he too scored a 30) he made so many dumb decisions....many were illogical. I would remind myself to breath and give him time....he is not a man yet but growing into one. Two years have passed and I am happy to say we are seeing steps in maturity and wise decision making......maturity takes time. It sounds like you have given him a good foundation now it has to simmer, have faith the skills you have taught him will manifest more and more as time goes on.

It sounds like he became board his last year and did not feel challenged so he just rolled along. I am glad he has found something that interests him and keeps him engaged.

 

hugs to you and your husband as you navigate the wisest way to acknowledge what he has earned.

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