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Sblora

New to homeschool, 15yo boy, need secular online class recs

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Hi,

i’ve spent weeks reading the threads, particularly the “difficult teen, lack of drive but very able” ones 😜 and still need recs for online content. I am homeschooling but am open to online school if legit, with due dates (see lack of drive 🙄 and EF skills) and teacher support particularly in math and writing. He does have an interest in history (Medieval mostly) but has taken to not reading in past year and despises math so much so he refuses to take chem or physics so will be doing Physical Science instead to satisfy NC grad requirements which I am using as a basis for his coursework. 

 

Currently, since i pulled him mid-semester of a block course school system, he’s finishing two core credit classes at NCVPS and planning to take Math 3 (already completed this integrated sequence, needs to finish or be stuck taking Geometry and Alg 2 for two years rather than finishing in one semester), Physical Science, English 2 Honors and Medieval Studies (HIS elective choice, which given his interest in actually doing school this past year, nearly knocked me over, making me feel immediately better in choosing to homeschool!) in Spring so he will be on track with credits to be a Junior in the Fall.

He is very bright, Duke TIP, but not motivated and is very visual though he read nearly non-stop prior to 8th grade (those hormones are not helpful). He has asked to do online school which im fine with if hes set up to be successful and not face a million tech issues before even doing the work.

All that to ask for legit online course sites, doesnt have to be accreditied, just good and im not looking for really rigorous as it’d turn him off. Eventually, once hes got his feet under him, id like to step it up but for now, he needs hand holding and to feel successful and capable so those WTMA classes won’t do as much as the idea of them makes my brain swoon!  As I’ve read here, know thy child. I want him to have a good education but only push him with classes of high interest...and he desparately needs to learn how to write an essay as direct instruction in it at his private Classical school in jr high missed the mark. Im also looking at Edmentum based classes...any thoughts?  The EdOptions Academy has individusl classes but also offers a diploma if we went that way requiring proctored exams and 2.0 min GPA  

Help!

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The only online classes I have personal experience with are:

 Bravewriter for writing 

KhanAcademy for math in particular and also other things it has as might appeal to your son

I recommend both.  

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You wrote that you have read a lot of threads, but in case you missed them, pinned up top are a lot that cover online classes, subject by subject.  

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Thx Pen, i have looked thru the threads and bookmarked a few sites.  My issue is not in knowing whats out there but what of what’s out there is any good. I did read the the How’s the year going? thread from Sept and that was helpful, I’m looking more for reviews than just a list of sites. 

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There are some reviews on the Online Classes thread pinned to the top of the General Board as well. Whether something is "good" highly depends on your kid.

Derek Owens is great for science and math, but my kid needs a live class, so she doesn't use his classes.

Bravewriter comes highly recommended, but the format  (both of how the classes are not live and how the teachers give feedback) does NOT work for my eldest. We tried one class this fall and while it succeeded in getting her to write an essay, the format, feedback, and teacher were subpar. Yet, others love it.

If you visit the pinned Master Online Class list thread, you will see many of my reviews. But my kid is different than many others on here, so take that into consideration.

I know I've read lots of reviews for writing classes in the last year or two. Lantern English, Bravewriter, Online Scribblers come to mind.

Mr D math has a live option, I think. Derek Owens is good if he doesn't need due dates.

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3 hours ago, Sblora said:

Thx Pen, i have looked thru the threads and bookmarked a few sites.  My issue is not in knowing whats out there but what of what’s out there is any good. I did read the the How’s the year going? thread from Sept and that was helpful, I’m looking more for reviews than just a list of sites. 

 

I think it might help to get started with 1-3 classes in  just math, writing, and / or science...   Let your son look at available samples, test out khan academy and so on. Or if he’s used to block classes try just one thing  

If he were to start, for example,  with Bravewriter online to build confidence and essay writing skills, you could talk with the woman who runs it to get help knowing what level to place your son at.  

I think anything you see listed in the pinned threads is “legitimate”.  But it may take some trial and error to figure out what will work well for your son.  

I am inclined to think Bravewriter might be a good fit for him from what you posted — if he is at the right level class for him, and puts in effort on the class.  It tends to be kind and gentle.  And I think good for smart kids who may be lacking self confidence in writing abilities.  

One curriculum or class that gets done will be a good start.  And could help know what sort of thing works (or doesn’t) even to get more useful advice here.  

You could also try a thread with North Carolina in title in case people who understand specifics related to your state would see it.  

Edited by Pen
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On 12/19/2018 at 5:41 AM, Sblora said:

issed the mark. Im also looking at Edmentum based classes...any thoughts?  The EdOptions Academy has individusl classes but also offers a diploma if we went that way requiring proctored exams and 2.0 min GPA  

 

Suggest you ask in separate thread with Edmentum in title. 

Similar for other areas you want to know about.

fyi, my son is currently at a small school that allows online learning if necessary to expand course options.  However, motivation and other EF is hard for many kids, and apparently without a teacher right there to be on top of students many didn’t do the work in online classes and failed them. Even though taking such a class usually seemed to have initially been driven by an interest in something not regularly offered.  

Conversely , my son was able to do 2 years of math with khanacademy successfully even though it didn’t have accountability and deadlines.  He gave it a set amount of time daily and worked for topic mastery and gamified badges etc.  

You may need to work on EF directly rather than counting on an online deadline to motivate him.

 

Additionally, it could be that your son would like a more challenging class. It could be that he would be more motivated if a class were more interesting. 

And he is old enough to look at options and participate in deciding what classes he thinks would be best for him.  

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OP Online courses are not easy. There are two (2) types of courses: The first are Asynchronous courses.  IMO, from what you wrote, if your DS enrolls in an "Online" course, it should NOT be Asynchronous. The other type of courses are Synchronous.  Those are more Instructor-Led with deadlines, etc.   The big questions are  how much Support  does he need and will the Instructor be willing and able to dedicate that time to him?

What is NCVPS and how do their courses operate?  

Does your local Public High School or District or  State have Online courses that might fill some of his needs?

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5 hours ago, Lanny said:

OP Online courses are not easy. There are two (2) types of courses: The first are Asynchronous courses.  IMO, from what you wrote, if your DS enrolls in an "Online" course, it should NOT be Asynchronous. The other type of courses are Synchronous.  Those are more Instructor-Led with deadlines, etc.   The big questions are  how much Support  does he need and will the Instructor be willing and able to dedicate that time to him?

What is NCVPS and how do their courses operate?  

Does your local Public High School or District or  State have Online courses that might fill some of his needs?

 

NCVPS is a North Carolina online course system.  I think vps signifies a virtual public school. 

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Sorry for the delay on responding but thank you all for them!

We are finding the NCVPS history class to be too much technically required on top of disengaged readings/ assignments. I agree completing all online requires a diligence he simply doesn’t possess at the moment. Unfortunately, deadlines have not really helped once he felt inundated and lost in the “Module 9, Unit 2, Practice 1” nomenclatures.  He has a hard time remembering what assignment it actually is! I do too and I’m super detailed and organized (was an executive administrator for Fortine 500 companies before having kids).

NCVPS is a misnomer as its not actually a credit giving body, it’s used by the state to provide online coursework aligning with state standards to public schools, homeschools and private schools.  The actual schools receive grades and administer any finals and give credit. I like the idea and simplicity of feeling my bases covered with it, but with my son, implementation has been spotty. Teacher support is ok, but more along the lines of don’t forget the due dates.

We’re in a tough spot...kid was doing poorly in public...more interested in friends than school, had dropped sports to hang out and because he knew he wouldnt be doing college sports so didn’t see the point ( he’s always had perfectionist tendencies that make him give up if he cant be the best rather than enjoy the journey).  I had hoped having an online teacher would give him accountability, but that hasnt been the case and he seems disinterested in working for me.  Sooooo.  He’s finally considering going back tto public but really doesn't want to but is seeing the reality that he wont be successful online.  I dont want him to go back because i dont see how anythimg would have changed other than he knows now that online was a bust.  Our goal is to keep him on track to be a junior in Fall  to do that, he needs to complete his core courses...history (almost done), Integrated Math 3, English 2 and either earth or physical science.  Going back to public, he can do that in the Spring semester, keeping him homeschooling...i am petrified it’s going off the rails and he’ll blow this entire year.  Our county is NOT homeschool friendly, I am certain they would not accept credits for anything other than NCVPS and maybe an accredited online class.  Huge conundrum.  I feel i have to make a decision on permanent homeschool NOW or send him back and I really dont know what to do.

Now that i’ve asked you all to be psychs for me, i really would appreciate your perspectives and thoughts on the situation.

Shannon

 

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We are figuring out goals as well...having philosophical vs practical conversations over the purpose of education.  My husband and i both feel strongly that public ed has not taught him a thing, but could check the diploma box that any employer/comm college would accept. The internal and eternal educator in me fiercely rejects that as the sole purpose of an education. I believe learning to educate oneself in any interest, be productive and able to self-direct is the purpose of education not a piece of paper saying you had enough seat hours and met a bare min to graduate...but how to engage a non-motivated kid..at what point is public ed still better than uninvolved homeschool?  Ugh. 

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Would he be interested in dual enrollment? It might feel more "for real" for him. My older boys started to check out of high school around 15-16 and did dual enrollment for all of Junior and Senior year. It had it's pros and cons, but honestly it was the only workable choice for them at that time.

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  It sounds like a therapist might be helpful. 

Some neuropsychological testing might be helpful as there could be a problem that’s not just motivation or attitude.  

What does he hope to do for work eventually? What is his plan to get there?

I suggest you let him have a significant say in regard to what school decision is made.

options seem to be:

homeschool online classes

homeschool independent and student interest driven

possibly community college classes

 

public school

 

I would ease up on your feeling that he has to be on track for 11yh grade next year.  He may need more time and more focus on EF, perfectionism and other things he seems weak in, which are probably more important than whether he takes a year longer to finish high school.  

Given weak EF he may do better with a single class at a time done more intensively.  

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13 hours ago, Sblora said:

We are figuring out goals as well...having philosophical vs practical conversations over the purpose of education.  My husband and i both feel strongly that public ed has not taught him a thing, but could check the diploma box that any employer/comm college would accept. The internal and eternal educator in me fiercely rejects that as the sole purpose of an education. I believe learning to educate oneself in any interest, be productive and able to self-direct is the purpose of education not a piece of paper saying you had enough seat hours and met a bare min to graduate...but how to engage a non-motivated kid..at what point is public ed still better than uninvolved homeschool?  Ugh. 

 

It doesn’t sound like he currently shares your feelings about education.

And it is fundamentally his life he has to live.  

Also it sounds like for a 15 yo at a learning to self direct and differentiate from parents stage,  he may need to rebell against your interest in him directing himself to education.  Self direction toward something you don’t approve  of like hanging out with friends (or away from something you do like academics and sports) is a form of self direction.

And emotional intelligence could be as important (or more so) in life as academics.  

Doing what you want him to do without handholding isn’t really self direction, it’s doing what you are demanding or at least wanting and expecting.  It’s mom and dad direction.  

There are laws to follow about education.  Beyond that, maybe start talking about the sort of life he wants more than talking about education.  

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14 hours ago, Sblora said:

nundrum.  I feel i have to make a decision on permanent homeschool NOW or send him back and I really dont know what to do.

 

You feel that.

 But  You don’t have to.   You could give him the rest of the year to explore homeschooling options.  Maybe there are hands on possibilities.  Really different options that could make homeschooling shine for him rather than just doing standard schooling from home.  

I still recommend a Brave writer class.  

And if he needs to redo 10th in public next year it isn’t the end of the world.  

What does he want to do?

 

Edited by Pen

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Hi all, i must be in a different time zone or im just an early bird while you all are up late!  Lol

Good points all.  I will say he is very, very independent and capable, he’s just not using those abilities in the ways we’d prefer. Having him home has dramatically improved his relations with us and his younger brother and he sems much more at ease and less antagonistic. So, on the “how is this person doing front?” we are on the right track. He actually has no idea what he wants to do.  He only has an amorphous idea that he’ll somehow get a job without a college degree, maybe will go to community college (a year ago he planned to go to UNC, so this is a dramatic departure).  Hes said he doesnt want to go into the military, too many ppl telling him what to do. He just wants to be able to pay his bills and enjoy life...ive no issue with that. Certainly, he’s seen his father work nonstop to be very successful and its not been appealing to him. When we discuss the hows of getting where he wants to go, he’s really, really unaware of things, costs, responsibilities, etc. We are trying to open his eyes more..ie that iPhone is expensive and on a contract, what income taxes do to his take home pay, why a job with benefits is key and usually only obtained with some sort of degree. But, its like talking to a wall, so I do push for a decent education so his options remain open when his brain finally matures. 

He desires to be on track for graduation just as much as we want it, so that focus wont change.  Given the drug issues at his school, coaches teaching AP classes, etc, we wont send him back there.  He’d been a straight A kid in a classical private school before public high school, yes, teenage brains can make a change but it sure seemed to be catapulted by that place.  We switched at his behest and its been disastrous. So, to some degree, allowing him to choose his own path has not really panned out.  

I’m thinking to find a blend of online classes that i can supplement with hands on/experienced based learning and in person tutoring in math which is his weakest subject (and mine! Hubby is a chemE and just cant bring it down to the right level as he's so far beyond it). Iagree, letting his interests guide should be helpful, its just that he seems to have no interests except Fortnite currently and has zero interest in learning to code, etc  

His father and i do see a counselor regarding him, my son refuses to go, but it has been helpful to keep us on the same page as I tend to be too indulging and my husband too authoritarian.  Right now, i think im going to settle for having a reasonable teen to live with and work on the relationship while we figure out this semester.  I do think concentrating on 3 subjects ant a time is a good idea but math running constantly so its not forgotten (was a huge issue with the block schedule..8 months off meant no retention).

I’ll be looking into Bravewriter for sure and will pursue more of your suggestions for writing as having thatskillis key to doing well in any coursework and life in general.  

Thx,

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, i missed a couple of points...he had a neuropsych eval in elementary as teachers suggested adhd which we didn't see, but thought he might be gifted as his younger brother obviously was. The results were totally normal on WISC and Woodcock Johnson, definitely gifted.  He has a fair amount of psychomotor overexcitabilities to go with it which makes it hard for him to focus and be still, fidgeting a ton. His brother, also gifted, doesn't have the psychomotor instead has the emotinal overexcitabilites, very sensitive and more of the typical gifted kid external presentations of diligence, high motivation, etc. I’ve often felt that my 15yo has not tried so much in school as he felt he couldnt compete against his little brother who’s off the charts in math like his father (both boys gifted in math ability but not equally interested!). He used to excel at sports but stopped cold turkey when friend time became more important.  I think it has affected his self esteem with weight gain and energy levels, but he refuses to do much of anything physical now. The therapist did see him a few times and said he’s a typical teen, not depressed, very independent and we are doing the right things to keep him on track to mature. He endorses homeschooling as a way to encourage my son’s need for independence and a way to improve family relations. 

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I missed that dropping sports had resulted in being more sedentary. Something that you can do right now that might yield some behavior change is daily physical activity. Have him pick something possible for him and your family - swimming, running (hiking, or even just long walks), weight-lifting, pick-up basketball, tennis, or some combo of these. The important thing is doing something everyday.

It is good that he has a positive relationship with you guys, and he may not ever get that self-motivation for academics so you guys will probably want to come up with Plans B, C, and D. I grew up with three brothers who were all capable of decent academics (not gifted, but B level). The most clearly intelligent decided he didn't care about anything but the military. It took life in the military to make him realize he wanted more in life than what he was going to get on the path he'd put himself on. (His later test scores showed he was as intelligent as our straight-A sister.) But he needed to come to that realization on his own and on his own time.

I get that you don't want him to be left with no good options from his bad decisions. Some of the moms here have kids who are late bloomers or those who have been down this very path. I think they are trying to get you to see that you and your husband might only be able to drag this kid so far. He's the one who ultimately will live with his actions.

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3 hours ago, Sblora said:

Oh, i missed a couple of points...he had a neuropsych eval in elementary as teachers suggested adhd which we didn't see, but thought he might be gifted as his younger brother obviously was. 

I would assume that he is gifted and design coursework that is appropriate.  For a kid his age, this means college/adult level input coupled with output expectations targeted at his level.  For a gifted kid who has decided that formal education is meaningless, regular online coursework is going to reinforce that belief, as is handing him a textbook and telling him to answer all of the comprehension questions.  Discussion is your friend.  Choose resources that speak to his interests.  Create interdisciplinary links.  Be creative and allow him to be creative.

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I agree with both Rootann and EKS ideas above this.  More ideas, and specific suggestions:

An actual ordinary job—such as filling ice cream cones at Baskin Robbins—is highly recommended by a book on raising teens called The Blessings of a B Minus by Wendy Mogel. Link if links will work for me today:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1416542043/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_976jCbWNSX6X3 

I think there’s a lot of value in regard to psychology of raising teens, even though there are some references to religion—we are also secular but I can use a take what works and leave the rest attitude.  

And It sounds like he needs some form of daily PE.  

My son has “Careers” as a 1 semester 10th grade class.  Also “health”.  These might be good for your son too.  And perhaps a unit on “psychology” separate from health.  

I also highly recommend Mindset by Carol Dweck , which may be important toward perfectionism related problems.  (There are also books directly related to perfectionism.). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success https://www.amazon.com/dp/0345472322/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Ue7jCb6NSEF1M

Bravewriter is currently enrolling for Spring classes.  The classes my son took filled and had waiting lists.  It can be very good for building some self confidence which your son sounds like he is lacking  .  Prepare to have him devote time to it and to handhold if necessary.  It can possibly help you toward a more coach / encouragement approach with him that fits well with the Mindset (focus on efforts rather than results) approach.  

I suggest you let your son try KhanAcademy math and Alcumus  (AoPS online problems) to see if either or both combined would be a better math fit for him than the math he is doing with ncvps.  He could go at his own pace aiming at mastery and understanding.  

Great Courses work well for some high school students, you could see if your library has or can get some.  My son liked some of their history ones (he preferred just audio so he didn’t have to watch a screen), and Dorsey Armstrong’s writing course could be a helpful adjunct to writing following Bravewriter.  

CreativeLive has some interesting classes in both arts and psychology areas.  

Check potential colleges that he might go to if he decides he wants to, for what their requirements are—or perhaps better yet have him do that.  My son is in public now, but the homeschooling requirements for our state’s universities were clearly spelled out.  If yours aren’t in writing probably an admission office can tell you.  Here the homeschooler requirements were not the same as for brick and mortar school requirements, and SAT subject exams seemed to take the place of courses and grades.  You may be trying to check boxes that aren’t even the correct boxes.  

 

Possibly some testing that suggests potential career areas he might do well in would be helpful 

Edited by Pen
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I do realize he has to come to his own decisions, just hoping its sooner rather than later so his hindsight doesn’t kick him in the tail!  I cant even get him to walk the dog with me, so the activity levels are dismal. I try to encourage but gave up on it given it only started fights. I workout 5 days a week in our home gym, it quite seems hes doing the exact opposite of his parents which, i agree, is certainly ine way to assert your independence. I’m hoping in backing off on a lot of it, he finds the need to be productive and take care of his health on his own. I certainly cant force him and he does have the knowledge. 

I have listened to a bunch of the Great Courses and Dorsey Armstrong is my favorite!  I’ll look into her writing class, she's very engaging!  We are aware of the UNC system requirements and that of the local community college and i am trying to keep him on pace for both. Given that he was advanced a year in math, he’s ahead of the game allowing wiggle room. He has asked to take geometry over the final Math 3 class and im now inclined to let him even though its 2 years of math rather than one semester. He could use the review and he much prefers the thought process for geometry over the mechanics of algebra. Either way UNC system requirements require a 4th math which could be precalc or a college ready math course depending on his thoughts at the time. What he is capable of is not in line with what he endeavors to bother with, so I’m trying to line up high interest classes where possible. And, i do much prefer a mastery approach, its one of the things missing in public. 

Edited by Sblora

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25 minutes ago, Sblora said:

. He has asked to take geometry over the final Math 3 class and im now inclined to let him even though its 2 years of math rather than one semester. H

 

I don’t understand.  Why were you potentially reluctant to allow geometry?  And how is geometry two years?

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Sblora said:

I do realize he has to come to his own decisions, just hoping its sooner rather than later so his hindsight doesn’t kick him in the tail!  

 

Yes.  

Some people have a de-schooling interlude between brick and mortar and homeschooling.  

 

29 minutes ago, Sblora said:

I cant even get him to walk the dog with me, so the activity levels are dismal. I try to encourage but gave up on it given it only started fights.

 

That’s unfortunate.

29 minutes ago, Sblora said:

I workout 5 days a week in our home gym,

 

My son would love a home gym!!!  He’d probably envy the opportunity your son isn’t taking advantage of!

29 minutes ago, Sblora said:

it quite seems hes doing the exact opposite of his parents which, i agree, is certainly ine way to assert your independence.

 

For teen boys it may be almost a psychological necessity.  

 

 

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@Sblora The suggestion to tie the physical requirements to a home class (PE) is a good one. If there is a male in the community (church firend, friend's dad) who has a fitness interest and that you son might respond to, it would be good to get that guy on board as a mentor for the PE class. He could be the accountability person for the class so you and your dh don't act as the Nags.

Otherwise, I'd look for a physical labor-heavy part time job for your son.

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Of Bravewriter classes, I recommend considering the Kidswrite Basic.  My son’s had some kids as old as 17 (one wrote a beautiful piece about her frustration never feeling “good enough”), and it is perhaps most geared to “reluctant “ learners.  However, I think it is only intermediate and above that have credits offered. 

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22 minutes ago, Pen said:

Of Bravewriter classes, I recommend considering the Kidswrite Basic.  My son’s had some kids as old as 17 (one wrote a beautiful piece about her frustration never feeling “good enough”), and it is perhaps most geared to “reluctant “ learners.  However, I think it is only intermediate and above that have credits offered. 

Now called "Writer's Jungle Online" or some such. The three series Essay Prep classes are also a good starting point. They used to be one class called Kidswriter Intermediate. (Bravewriter classes were not a good fit for my reluctant-writer DD and the teacher of the one she took was disappointing. They are pricey so I'd suggest starting with just one to see if the format and feedback fit his style of learning.)

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Thx for the course details Pen!  He’s a tough nut to crack though, perhaps, ive found just that in my most recent discussion with him. He really, REALLY despises being told what to do and sees little point in most of school. Geometry isnt a 2 year class, but it would require he follow it with Alg 2 if he were to finish the math sequence that way rather than simply complete the Math 1-3 sequence with Math 3. He was failing Math 3 but had missed a lot of class due to tardies ( class started at 7:20) when we pulled him. I have it thru Edmentum, so think i’ll try that just to get the credit done even if it takes longer than the semester. I do want him to adhere to NC grad requirements and it would be needed to try dual enrollment next Fall if he changes his mind on that. 

Ive basically decided he’s home with me and i have to do my best by him which will be true homeschooling rather than having the structure of outside classes in home  I’ll be cobbling together what works and appeals to him and hope my husband goes along with it.

i spoke with my son about what his options are and he prefers it not to be online, at least not thru NCVPS  he also perked up when i said its possible to tailor, say, his English classes to books of greater interest by picking and choosing from courses thru various vendors.  So, whike he may not get the exposure of a world lit survey class, he may actually dig in and make connections lost otherwise  

Slow going and we are learning together   

Im all for a part time job, has been suggested multiple times, maybe in summer as he’ll be 16  

 

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39 minutes ago, Sblora said:

Thx for the course details Pen!  He’s a tough nut to crack though, perhaps, ive found just that in my most recent discussion with him. He really, REALLY despises being told what to do and sees little point in most of school. Geometry isnt a 2 year class, but it would require he follow it with Alg 2 if he were to finish the math sequence that way rather than simply complete the Math 1-3 sequence with Math 3. He was failing Math 3 but had missed a lot of class due to tardies ( class started at 7:20) when we pulled him. I have it thru Edmentum, so think i’ll try that just to get the credit done even if it takes longer than the semester. I do want him to adhere to NC grad requirements and it would be needed to try dual enrollment next Fall if he changes his mind on that. 

Unless he would suddenly blossom with a harder dual enrollment class, it does not sound like he would be EF capable of taking DE in fall. Kids with ADHD tend to develop EF at a slower pace than “average”.  So aiming at  DE with EF impairment may be setting him up for failure.  I think you may be making a mistake to be trying to move ahead too fast (faster than his EF can manage), that you and your son may regret in hindsight.  

And if he was failing math, no matter the reasons for that, he probably has gaps in his learning so that he won’t be able to build strong capacities on top of a weak partially missing foundation.

You are against public school just getting credits done—but could fall into following suit at home without the social interaction of school.  

 In contrast, if he takes his time and works for mastery he may still end up gravitating toward a STEM field, with a  stable foundation. 

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Ive basically decided he’s home with me and i have to do my best by him which will be true homeschooling rather than having the structure of outside classes in home  I’ll be cobbling together what works and appeals to him and hope my husband goes along with it.

I hope so.

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i spoke with my son about what his options are and he prefers it not to be online, at least not thru NCVPS  he also perked up

 

Yay!!!  A perked up moment!!!

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when i said its possible to tailor, say, his English classes to books of greater interest by picking and choosing from courses thru various vendors.  

For reading, Why not let him choose to read and discuss books of interest to him.  

Even one book read and enjoyed may be valuable toward perking up and kindling some interest in literature.  

My son’s class has an in-class book read to them, and independent reading chosen completely by them.  It took his feelings about English from close to most hated class in 9th to close to favorite in 10th.  A recently finished book was Harris and Me — not usually considered a 10th grade book — but it allowed for laughter and discussion.  

 

 

 

Have you looked at “Essay Voyage”?  It is another writing approach that could help.  

 

Edited by Pen

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2 hours ago, RootAnn said:

@Sblora  ...  

 

 

It looks like BW has changed a lot since my ds did it, and no teacher names are familiar.  

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Edmentum isnt my primary choice for math but if he learns the material then, im ok with that box being checked. It is not the same as getting a D and moving on. It is mastery based and is the last high level math he’d need to take. 

Being brand new to this, im not comfortable just discussing a novel with him, nor is he willing. We both need structure of a predesigned course, oreferably with a separate teacher.  I really appreciate all if your suggestions, with my youngest, it’d be very easy to homeschool and a lot of fun.  Just trying to keep my chin above water right now. 

Edited by Sblora

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Are you familiar with how DE works in NC? It's a very specific program that kids can do for free through the community colleges. There is a FB group -- North Carolina Homeschooling for College Credit that is a great resource for any questions. You can't just sign up for any classes that you want.

I'm in NC, in the triangle, and my daughter is a hs freshman. I've used BW classes, and we were pretty happy with them. We took the 3 ms essay prep classes, and then the hs expository/persuasive one most recently. We've had Rebecca Pickens 2x, and we really like her a lot--had her for one of the ms classes and the hs class.

If you're in this area and want recommendations for in-person classes, I can try to help you find them. Aside from BW, we also use Derek Owens online for math, and we've been happy with that this year. We are in geometry (did AoPS for algebra) rather than following the NC integrated math path. We don't take any in-person classes or any other online classes. I still do all the teaching. We are using Oak Meadow for geography and environmental science. I designed our other courses.

 

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3 hours ago, Sblora said:

Being brand new to this, im not comfortable just discussing a novel with him, nor is he willing. We both need structure of a predesigned course, oreferably with a separate teacher.

If you want a class that teaches close reading of a literary work with a passionate teacher with very no output (so no busy work), I recommend a Roy Speed Shakepeare class. It won't take a whole semester and can round out a Bravewriter (BW) class in terms of a half credit.

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Good morning,yes, we know how the CCP program works thru Wake Tech.  Currently, he’s not interested but im keeping it in mind for future, esp for science. His math is a but funky as he was in private school for 8th and took Alg 1..got lucky with an A as they used Saxon and the weighting of homework significantly helped his grade. When he moved to public, he received credit for Math 1 but didnt have Math 2 Honors until Spring and he didnt remember most of it result is a very difficult semester and a low C result. Despite dropping to non honors Math 3, he had retained very little of Math 2 so was failing when we pulled him. Block scheduling is the pits for math and foreign language, he had Latin 2 in Spring as well and ended with a low C despite As all thru the Latin 1 sequence in jr high (much harder class in high school too but an 8 mo hiatus didnt help!). So he needs to finish the alg1-geo-alg 2 sequence or the NC Math 1-3 sequence, he has opted for the Math 3 course to just be done and we’ll do our best to support him so hes successful this time. 

This semester Math 3, Eng 2 and physical sci are the targets. I dont like the Eng 2 readings in NCVPS so if you all have suggestions for a typical sophomore English class that reviews literary analysis and essay writing, possibly allows some choice in readings OR can point me to a written curriculum I can follow, i’d be most grateful. I looked at Roy’s classes and they look wonderful, but i think Shakespeare would be a turn off for my son, certainly he’s expressed dislike many times. His interests have been in WWII/Holocaust and slavery in the past. He read Roots in 7th grade on his own...may have been the last book he read 😳. I have some ideas of books he'd like: Lord of the Flies, Elie Weisel’s Night, Black Boy and Native Son by Wright, Of Mice and Men, etc but don’t know how to teach a class on my own but would be happy to insert these books into a predetermined framework. 

I know trying to do homeschool as school at home rarely works well esp with a kid who’s rejected school...unfortunately, i am very structured and liked school so am having a very difficult time getting outside of that box and knowing how to design curriculum on my own, assign credits, etc. 

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1. Outsource a writing class.

2. Have him read how to read literature like a professor for the analysis part.  

3. Let him choose books to read for an hour per day of reading.  Longer if he wants to.  

 

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Intro to analysis: 

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines, Revised Edition https://www.amazon.com/dp/0062301675/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_LnwkCb0C75PS6

Or 

How to Read Novels Like a Professor: A Jaunty Exploration of the World’s Favorite Literary Form https://www.amazon.com/dp/0061340405/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_uowkCb9GJ0ATJ

 

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You’re welcome.  I recommend letting your son choose books he wants to read as a help toward recovering more love of reading.  You might want to suggest books though to help him out.  Dyslexia often goes with adhd so you might want to consider allowing some books to be audiobooks and others to be read as paper and ink.  His capacity to understand might be enhanced with some audiobooks. 

Btw, may not be same for your son, but My ds hated Lord of the Flies, but greatly liked the 21 chapter version with Burgess’s introduction version of A Clockwork Orange.  (My ds liked several Dickens books audio versions after seeing some BBC versions which helped to be able to picture the world of the books. Yours may not want to read anything by Dickens, but may be helped by some movie versions of literature.  OTOH, my ds loved Phantom of the Opera audiobook at around age 10, without ever seeing a dramatization.).   I think they read Of Mice and Men in school and Diary of Anne Frank, Not Night but that might be a good choice.  Some kids read The Book Thief.    He has not read anything by Wright, that’s an interesting idea.   Last year he read Farewell to Manzanar—didn’t especially like it, but it’s another WWII book.  The Boy on the Wooden Box is pretty easy to read as well.  

Consider any reading instead of video gaming a win.  I wonder if books that have to with gaming like the first James Patterson Lindsay Boxer mystery where the murderer has taken video game world too seriously and become psychotic;  or a series by James Dasher with characters stuck in vertnet would be helpful? 

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Hey Pen,

He doesnt have ADHD, his 1st grade teachers thought he did, but testing proved us right and them wrong, just gifted. If i can get him to read again, i will. Its crazy how overnight it changed from 7th -8th grades!  He has had some other problematic behaviors this year that encouraged homeschooling, all addressed now, just still dealing with the results of poor choices and influences. I wish i coukd implement most of these suggestions, but its a slow feed.  Having him laugh and joke again and not be isolated from family is such a huge win when school was a backburner while trying to find my kid again. Public high school was such a bad move for him. I had no idea and feel so much regret for that decision...one I let him lead. Anyway, im thinking providing him with choices is the way to go...here are 3 options for an English credit, which appeals?  I pretty much know what he likes as well as what he needs and will opt for a combo of both. 

The incredible classes on homeschoolconnections.com look pretty much perfect for lit and history esp with the info on how to award credits and teacher grading options. He’s always liked mythology and ancient/medieval times in addition to WWII and slavery issues. Do any of you have experience with these classes? 

And, i’ll 2nd and 3rd Richard Wright, i still think about his book 30 years later. Absolutely stunning. The emotions he raises and spotlight on what is was to be a black boy in the South and in Chicago precivil rights is just unreal. 

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Homeschoolconnections.com is a Catholic provider. While I can't recommend the math (which I know you aren't looking at), some of the history and literature classes are really good, depending on the teacher. Are you looking at recorded or live? Recorded are nice in that you can go faster than what live does, but my oldest needed the accountability of live deadlines to get the work done. She likes live classes with live classmates. HC gives both options which is nice. My dd#2 did some recorded writing classes (she didn't care for the teacher) since she hates live online classes. She worked through a year's worth in a semester since she could watch the weekly lectures in a condensed format --taking a day or two to do the weekly homework & moving on at her own pace (completing roughly 3 week's worth of lectures each week). Some of the recorded classes have can option for teacher-grading if you need it.

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Thx RootAnn, I’m interested in the recorded sessions but open to one live per week and i’d definitely want the teacher grading version so would pick based on availability. My son has been pretty clear he’s not interested in live classes but trying one cant hurt if its something he’s interested in. Deadlines havent helped us, very likely have hurt us so doing at our own pace I think will net better results as long as im not the grader. He says i’m way too hard, which is probably true, but regardless, he needs feedback from outside. I know its non-secular but doesnt seem hellbent on inserting a Godly worldview into everything they teach with many classes seeming wholy secular. We live smack in the Bible belt snd i’m agnostic so i’m fairly sensitive to any non-secular inclusions and this just seems educational rather than prescriptive. Pretty much in order to study ancient times until about 1850, there’s little way to not discuss religion.  Catholicism, etc. along with Greek and Muslim contributions are our historical academic roots and I recognize that. 

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2 hours ago, Sblora said:

. I know its non-secular but doesnt seem hellbent on inserting a Godly worldview into everything they teach with many classes seeming wholy secular.

 

This view seems to be a very bad match for homeschoolconnections if your son shares it (or it he doesn’t and would end up converting to Catholicism creating a family rift).  Particularly if taking a class in English or history with them, he is likely to encounter a great deal of a religious outlook, rather than math where I would guess there would be less religion included.  

Anyway, Good luck!

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Well, I doubt HomeschoolConnections would describe any of their classes as not including a Godly worldview, but it is really easy to try out the recorded classes for not much $$ and then add grading as needed (assuming it is offered for that class). I certainly wouldn't add live classes if he doesn't want them and does okay with getting his work done without outside-imposed deadlines. I don't believe they try to convert to Catholicism. I believe all classes have a prayer at the beginning (and maybe the end?). The lit & history classes would be more likely to include Catholic worldview, but depending on the subject & teacher, it may not be too pervasive. Again, not a big deal to try a bunch of recorded classes for a month because it isn't much money ($30/month unlimited classes maybe?).

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Instead of online courses, what he needs is to become motivated.  How you get that into him, I don't know. It must come from within.  Possibly Tutors can help him, but in the end, one must be motivated to put in the time and effort.  There are a lot of very smart people who were underachievers at his age. Good luck to him!

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7 hours ago, RootAnn said:

Well, I doubt HomeschoolConnections would describe any of their classes as not including a Godly worldview, but it is really easy to try out the recorded classes for not much $$ and then add grading as needed (assuming it is offered for that class). I certainly wouldn't add live classes if he doesn't want them and does okay with getting his work done without outside-imposed deadlines. I don't believe they try to convert to Catholicism. I believe all classes have a prayer at the beginning (and maybe the end?). The lit & history classes would be more likely to include Catholic worldview, but depending on the subject & teacher, it may not be too pervasive. Again, not a big deal to try a bunch of recorded classes for a month because it isn't much money ($30/month unlimited classes maybe?).

 

I agree that it would be inexpensive to give it a try.  

The Mission Statement says they operate in the Spirit of New Evangelization.  Which as I understand it means to try to get people who have fallen away from the Gospel back into the Christian fold.   

 

 

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If it gets deep in religion, both of us would be too distracted by that to continue with a course. He’s interested in the book to film analysis class (reading 5-6 books and analyzing the film counterparts aling with the books) which i could add The Odyssey 6 wk course (his choice) and a short writing course to for a full year of English credit. At this point, im looking for things he’s interested enough in to use as a way to kindle the internal motivation. Potentially, we could try unit studies a la Great Books but of my own derivation to cover lit/history/writing in one fell swoop using The Great Courses and books he’s interested in...then, I’d be needing science and math as separate classes which may be overall less overwhleming for us both. He has finally decided he needs to drop Integrated math and back uo to geometry then Alg 2. As he used Saxon Alg 1 in 8th and I think needs the spiral plus cogent text materials along with videos, we’re going with that. My younger son is taking Saxon Geometry now in 8th grade at his school...with a 98, so is an additional resource to us. My son recounted today that he has YEARS of poor math instruction (ie 6 teachers in 6th grade in public since they kept rotating subs, an inept prealg instructor, etc) and just feels completely incompetent in math. He has always been much more succesful with geometry and trig topics in the integrated math so starting with his strengths. 

Thoughts on the unit study idea? How to ascertain correct credit hours, etc?  Go big or go home, right? 🙈

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12 minutes ago, Sblora said:

If it gets deep in religion, both of us would be too distracted by that to continue with a course. He’s interested in the book to film analysis class (reading 5-6 books and analyzing the film counterparts aling with the books)

Films with books sounds interesting to me and worth trying ! 

12 minutes ago, Sblora said:

which i could add The Odyssey 6 wk course (his choice) and a short writing course to for a full year of English credit.

 

Sounds reasonable. 

12 minutes ago, Sblora said:

At this point, im looking for things he’s interested enough in to use as a way to kindle the internal motivation. Potentially, we could try unit studies a la Great Books but of my own derivation to cover lit/history/writing in one fell swoop using The Great Courses and books he’s interested in..

Dont know if this would interest yours, but my ds liked the GC Espionage course which mentioned books from the more literary Scarlet Pimpernel to the more fun James Bond books which ds also liked.  

We didnt have any associated writing with that.  

 

————

In 4th grade ds did unit study on Vikings and wrote about Vikings for BW class.  Later expanded that to a short “book”.  

Vikings has history, mythology, archaeology...

———-

In 7th ds had a unit study on Africa.  

And a hands on unit study building shelters for homeless people and learning about homelessness issues.  

———-

 

Earth science could be a basis for science oriented unit study.  

I’d probably use Iaian Stewart and National Geographic materials as a basis.  

12 minutes ago, Sblora said:

 

.then, I’d be needing science and math as separate classes which may be overall less overwhleming for us both. He has finally decided he needs to drop Integrated math and back uo to geometry then Alg 2. As he used Saxon Alg 1 in 8th and I think needs the spiral plus cogent text materials along with videos, we’re going with that. My younger son is taking Saxon Geometry now in 8th grade at his school...with a 98, so is an additional resource to us. My son recounted today that he has YEARS of poor math instruction (ie 6 teachers in 6th grade in public since they kept rotating subs, an inept prealg instructor, etc) and just feels completely incompetent in math. He has always been much more succesful with geometry and trig topics in the integrated math so starting with his strengths. 

 

Doing geometry sounds like a good idea.  I recommend using KhanAcademy to find and fill holes in math.  

Even if he has to wait on  Geometry till next year.  

 

12 minutes ago, Sblora said:

Thoughts on the unit study idea? How to ascertain correct credit hours, etc?  Go big or go home, right? 🙈

 

There are other threads dealing with credit hours probably pinned.  

Lori D is very good on that. 

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Thanks for the suggestions Pen.  I think it’d be fairly easy to cobble together a unit on Greek Mythology or WWII to fit the bill for English this year using the Great Courses along with associated novels, etc, maybe I can get him to read Unbroken finally.  I’ve found a Saxon Geometry course that is block scheduled but AYOP so he could finish early summer if he starts next week. I’d like to slow him down for Alg 2 in the Fall and do the usual yearlong course...another benefit is his brother will being doing the same next Fall. Thankfully, my older son doesnt begrudge his brother his ability in math, just wishes he had it too. 

Any suggestions for Earth Science?  I’d tackle that at an accelerated pace this Spring rather than Physical Science and i’m hoping to convince him to give Conceptual Physics a try instead of skipping it altogether next year. He’s so afraid of the math in physics and chemistry, he wants to avoid both. And chem is just plain fun! Or was when i took it and I don't recall a ton of math in it.

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Consider some other math than Saxon.  Because it isn’t very interesting and it is unlikely to help emotional positive views to have you comparing to younger son.

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