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Trying to decide if I should home school, old home school

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We home schooled our older children years ago. This was before everything was outsourced, a coop was the limit of outsourcing for the most part. We did not have all these online resources we have seem to have now. Singapore Math was in the Primary Edition. We just had a great time. We made scrap books, from scrap book supplies and printed pictures, pictures that had been taken on film. It was so fun picking those pictures up and finding out how the pictures turned out and what was in there.  Those children are adults with the youngest of those three graduating college this year.


After a big gap, we had more children. I did home school them for a while. The oldest is in eleventh grade. With my four older children, they were enthused about school and learning. They enjoyed science. They followed instructions. They loved day trips to a museum or zoo or anywhere else. They soaked up books like Illiad and Boethius. My second child was not as academic with the books as the other three, but he loved to write and computer programming and worked hard at that. When he left for college, he had several composition books full or stories and poems he wrote. Oldest was in to writing also, but not computers and read everything he could get his hands on. He also loved science and he would study out of college physics and chemistry books on his own. My third was in to learning languages. She took every chance she got including attending language classes offered for free in the area, including ones she travelled to, by cultural groups. The fourth child, the one in eleventh grade is all about literature and Latin and music. Most of my children have done music. 


I had a friend tell me the problem is that my first four children are unusual and my eighth grader is more of a normal teen. I don't know. Nothing school related makes him happy. He never wants to study. Moaning and terms such as "dang mom!" are all too common. When he is with his friends, he is super happy. He wants a cell phone so he can text all the time. Talks of looking forward to college because he just wants to join a fraternity, he says with a giggle. I am pretty much unschooling him at this point, but cannot get him inspired for anything. All curriculum or studies I try to come up with is met with pouts. When his older brother went to brick and mortar school last year, I decided to send my eighth grader too. He hated it. He says he wants to go to high school eventually, but not now. He has left the brick and mortar school and is back to home schooling. He never wanted to be there. 


My current plan is to send him to a virtual academy for next year. But, I am wondering if maybe the problem is not him but rather my approach. I don't want to throw more money at the problem. And really, not sure what to do different. 


I really want to know if my eighth grader is normal and my older ones are unusual. Or if I have a problem with my eighth grader. Any suggestions on how to proceed if I do home school him for high school? Or does this sound like a better place for him would be a virtual school and/or brick and mortar where someone else is the teacher and peer pressure is a factor?

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I found the book What High Schools Don't Tell You  by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross enlightening. She claimed that every child has an interest, it's just a matter of finding that interest and using it to motivate him/her to go on and do other things. If you can find this book and in particular look at page 9, it might help. This book also has lists of ideas for summer programs to get your child's interests moving in a productive manner. Now this book can be irritating in it's "Ivy League or bust" attitude, but if you can get beyond that, it can be helpful.

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While I do think a child should be interested, there are times when I'm not going to let a child's attitude influence what he will/won't do when it comes to my minimum standards.  You talk about your son moaning and groaning, how he hated actually going to a brick and mortar, how he doesn't want to do anything so you're basically unschooling.


My .02 - don't let attitude influence a necessary education.  If *nothing* is acceptable to him, then it's not the work that's the problem and it's time to leave that off the table.  Don't take attitude into account or give it any mind.  Where will he learn the skills needed in order to have a fulfilling life later?  If not home, then virtual or brick and mortar.  If home, then a daily routine and clear expectations are needed.  Let him know he is welcome to come up with his own ways/pick a curriculum to learn x, y, z, but he will learn it no matter what is chosen.

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I have a 'normal' 8th grader who would much prefer to hang out with her friends, read YA novels all day, and draw to actually doing any school. We still have to do school. It is my job to make sure she is developing some study habits and learning that work is part of life. Sometimes we all have to do things we don't want to do.


If I had a teen that wouldn't cooperate or do the school which I had prepared, I would send them to brick and mortar school. I think online classes for an unmotivated teen is probably not a good idea. Online classes take even more discipline than other formats.


If this child wants to go to college and dislikes public school, you probably have enough leverage to get them invested in their own education.

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I just had a thread about this in the K-8 forum. Only one of my 3 oldest kids is super enthusiastic about learning. The other 2 want to check the boxes and get done.


I thought I had done something wrong, but it was suggested that the two box checkers were more normal and the super enthusiastic learner is the abnormal one.


Maybe help your 8th grader focus on thr long-term goal. My oldest will read the Illiad and study for the SAT, etc. because he wants to go to college and knows he needs the credits, SAT scores, etc. Outside of taking honors math and physics, and some DE courses next year, I’m not having him do things at a super high level. I always try to emphasize the purpose behind what we’re doing, and while he’s not necessarily thrilled about it, he’ll get it done and usually at a level that is just enough for an A. This kid is a master at getting a 90.1 or a 90.3, lol!


Maybe your 8th grader would like to try DE courses. My oldest likes the idea of getting credit for classes vs. just taking them for the sake of it.

Edited by Jazzy
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Is it possible that he has some undiagnosed issues that are actually making studying more difficult than it was for your other children? Children often develop coping strategies that disguise their difficulties, while at the same time avoiding anything that they find challenging


Or perhaps he is just very sociable and needs group interaction to learn.


Or, as others have suggested, maybe a get-er-done approach is needed, so he can tick the boxes and spend his free time doing all the other things he enjoys.

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Well you should probably not reward the habits you do not want. It seems to me that he has consistently been rewarded for wrong-think. He dislikes and pouts and moans and then that thing disappears from his life.


Whatever we make a habit of that thing becomes more ingrained. He’s made a habit of being unhappy and you’ve rewarded him for moaning and pouting about school so at this point it’s going to take a shift for both of you.


The first thing is that he needs to take charge of his education. He’s a young man. Find out what/how he wants to get this education. Fraternity is not an acceptable goal 😂...of course... but he needs a real goal and a concrete path to get there (not unschool) if he makes the Choices he will own them and perhaps choose to excel.


I also want to say that outsourcing some things may be necessary. He should probably take almost all his classes online and at a local co-op. He should be held accountable for his grades with a pre -determined plan. He should have all

His classes graded by outsiders. Your relationship doesn’t sound like you are a strong authority for him so it’ll be important to make sure that there are outside objective standards. Some kids also just really like hearing from others while hearing from mom is not so convincing. I have one like that. 🙂


Putting him in a virtual school is probably a bad idea. That would be 100% you telling a young man what to do.


Preferably he would do the research with you and come up with a mix of online (some self paced and some teacher led) and local co-op classes. You can keep it super simple just the basics at grade level :)

Edited by Calming Tea
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