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Interest-led high school when there is only one interest?


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Sooooo...my dear son, 16 and currently at the public high school part time as a sophomore, is truly miserable in the work he does at home. Basically he is at the high school for "fun" classes like band, drama, choir, sports management (next year psychology, civics, band, choir and sports broadcasting), and is at home for the hard stuff like english, math, science and social studies. He enjoys going to school, mostly for the extra curriculars he partakes in (marching band, speech team, theatre productions, esports club) and the social aspects of school, so he does not want to give that up. However he hates anything that doesn't help him pursue his dream of being an esports coach (think League of Legends or Overwatch, online computer games that have high school, college and professional level teams) or working in the esports field in some capacity. We fully support him in his desire to get into esports, but it is extremely hard to get him motivated to do anything he deems "unnecessary" like science, writing, etc...

He is extremely good at public speaking and performance and is a very good writer, so I'm not worried about sending him into the real world, as he would have no problem communicating with people in a school or job setting. In many ways he is mature beyond his years, somewhat of an "old soul".

He will most likely need to go to college, but if he could find a way into the esports world without college he would absolutely do that. He is just not interested in anything else. I've tried to let him pick subjects that interest him, for example last year he did a year-long study of Korea for history. It wasn't great but not terrible either. He did it begrudgingly, even though he picked the subject and books/movies to work thru. But in his mind it didn't get him any closer to his goal of getting into esports.

It has come to a point where it's really affecting his mental health. He is so unhappy doing his schoolwork. I thought perhaps he might enjoy a year-long interest led project for next year, but I just don't know how to turn that into science, math, history, etc...when it will probably have something to do with esports. Do I need to turn it into a conventional type transcript? Why do I feel like he needs to take biology, chemistry, US history, I feel so lost... It was so much easier with my daughter, who wanted to pursue music performance (bassoon). She managed to get herself thru the conventional high school classes (part-time at public, home for the rest just like her brother) but I knew that her audition would be 95% of what got her into college. The rest was just checking the boxes. Because esports is such a new thing, there isn't really a particular path needed to get into the industry. Some colleges are starting to offer esports management programs. So I have to set my sights on preparing him for college, where he will have to buckle down and take classes he's not interested in.

I do have a couple of Blake Boles books on interest led learning, I am going to re-read them and have him read them as well. In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions or ideas on what I could do for him over the next two years that would not involve traditional school type learning or school-at-home, I'd love to hear it. Attending the public high school part-time kind of prevents him from doing anything away from home. His schedule is usually every other day at the high school, but often he can have a practice or performance after school on his off-days. That doesn't leave many big chunks of time for him to work, intern, etc...

I was thinking maybe of a huge project covering a few subject areas. I just can't wrap my head around not making a transcript that says 3 years of science, 4 years of english, etc...Help 😥

 

 

Edited by brookspr
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This probably isn't what you were thinking, but there are high schools that focus on certain interests, such as art high schools.  I think I've heard of science-focused schools as well.  When our family was thinking of moving and tried out a different city for one school year, two of my dd's decided to attend an arts high school.  (Otherwise we had mostly homeschooled.)  There were around 5 focuses, such as music, theater, writing, media, etc, and you pick just one.  Half the day every day was spent on that topic.  As much as possible, they also combined that topic with the traditional classes needed, so instead of just science it might be science with an arts emphasis.  You still needed to do some traditional classes because it was still a college prep school, but it was a block schedule and you got those classes done in one semester instead of a full year.   I don't know if you have something like that in your area, but maybe?  The one my dd's attended was considered a public charter school, so we didn't have to pay anything.  

Actually, it was also a boarding school for students who were coming from out-state.  I wouldn't have wanted that and our girls lived at home, but it was an option and was very tightly run.  They also tended to have a lot of extra, fun activities, and it was a very close-knit group of students.

It's a different kind of an atmosphere for sure, and I think either you love it or you hate it.  It did attract very non-traditional type students.  One of my dd's loved it and the other hated it!  

I know something like this isn't exactly esports oriented, but maybe with a focus like media or writing, it would still hold your ds's interest.

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Keep in mind that I know nothing about eSports.

Ok, can his English be reading publications related to esports, journal articles, magazines, etc., and his writing be proposals (think persuasive techniques) for starting a new something  (team? League?), writing press releases or newspaper articles for sonething Esports related? (Ideas, not comprehensive)

I can think of other things in science, math, social studies, but not enough to make a full credit. I think math will need to be traditional at least.

ETA:  Ugh! I so have no clue (obviously). Deleted the really clueless parts but left others as they may spark ideas.

Edited by RootAnn
Clueless me
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Surely he needs enough math for understanding the statistics and making projections? History of sports - specific, esports, other novel sports...

Would his maturity be sufficient to complete the "worst" classes at CC so that at least they only took a semester, rather than a full year? 

What is the career path like in esports? Do you coach progressively higher levels and that is it, or do you shift to something like "team owner" where you need some business background?

What does it take to get into the business? Can he start now, part-time, and get a feel for how hard it is (or not) and perhaps find an offshoot career path that he likes better?

If it is a long held passion that you are willing to support, maybe minimize the high school requirements to 3 sciences and business math after algebra 2 and whatever else you can do. Then get creative with the ways he spends his time. Apparently colleges really like to see homeschoolers who make the most of the opportunities that homeschooling affords.

 

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Thanks everyone. He really doesn't want to leave the high school he is at since he has lots of friends and he really loves the activities that he is in.

I am going to see if he wants to take a college course online and see how that goes. It would be nearly impossible with his schedule to take anything live at any of the local community colleges. They run a block schedule at the high school, so right now he is there every other day. Some days its MWF, some its T, Th, and weeks where there is a holiday, well, forget about having a regular schedule week to week. So far we have only done ansychronous classes (like Oak Meadow, Bravewriter) because of the inconsistency of his availability. 

He has started an esports program at the high school, but is finding out how difficult it can be to work with administration on something that requires equipment and money to enter competitions. By the end of his time there he wants them to have a team that competes at high school events, but right now they just aren't there yet. Our neighbor is also a coach for a local college team, so we are hoping he can shadow him either once a week next year or perhaps do a gap year internship after he finishes HS. The difficulty lies in that it is still a very new field. Many people get into the role of coach and manager because they were a really good player. We are starting to see schools start bachelor degree programs in esports management, so I feel like in the next two years there will be more opportunities to go to college and work toward an esports degree of some sort. Even more colleges have competitive teams, not sure his playing is at that level yet, but it could be. That's a whole other issue, playing takes time and time is something he doesn't have much of with his work and extra curricular activities. 

I think the possibility of moving within the field is fairly open right now, again because it is so new. All North American teams are located in LA at the moment, and most are owned by owners of current NBA, NFL, MLB teams, people with lots of $$. The highest paid professional players make hundreds of thousands of dollars, and get even more with sponsorships and prize money. The revenue esports makes is comparable to the NFL or NBA. It's crazy to me.

The leadership course he is doing now consists of reading books written about and by successful coaches, leaders, speakers, etc...like Coach K, John Wooden, 7 Habits books, Dale Carnegie, and others. There's no getting around just doing math, I agree. Prep for the ACT/SAT begins this summer and I could probably turn that into an English credit with grammar, vocab and reading comprehension. I can work esports in there as well, perhaps he can start a fan e-zine or something like that. It's really the science and social studies that has me baffled. I think for social studies he'd be ok with either a world religion class (he's atheist but interested in the history of how religion started) and economics in addition to the one semester of Civics he will take at school. I just feel like he needs to do bio or chem to prepare him for college science. Both DH and I have chemistry degrees, how we raised two kids that don't like science is beyond me. 🙄

Any other suggestions are welcome, I have a feeling this will be a fluid situation until right before school starts in the fall. Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Bristayl said:

Is there a reason he couldn't do some core classes at the high school as well, since he likes it there?

That's on the table as an option as well, although some classes have prerequisites.  Bio is listed as a 9th grade course at his school unless you were on the honors track where they do Physics and Chem first and then Bio. Not sure if we could get an exception to that or not since he will be a junior next year. But he could do Earth Science, US History and a few other social/science courses that don't have prerequisites. 

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My son is into all things Nintendo and therefore also Japan (and surrounding cultures that have influenced Japan) - the culture, history, art, religions, weapons, the language, along with gaming music, graphics, game play, mythology, world religions, and the development of gaming consoles.  I am trying to design a multifaceted Asian Studies type of curriculum for him. Your son's interest sounds a little harder to work around.

I'm just going to throw out some questions that I would ask myself.   How are his basic computer skills?  Does he know all the specs. for gaming equipment and the physics behind them? Could he fix any equipment?  Does he know about esports injuries and about muscle fatigue or other health related ideas that could help with cognitive and physical optimization?  Does he know enough human anatomy and cellular biology (Plus, you could throw in some organic chemistry somehow, then have to backtrack to get the foundational knowledge necessary to understand the organic chemistry.) to understand the medical problems that could occur or the ways to optimize health?  Does he know CPR? Just because.  LOL Hey, if you are there in a support role, then you have to be able to help in all sorts of ways, right?  What math is involved to understand the scoring systems in the games to make sure the gamer is optimizing his score? 

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1 hour ago, Irene Lynn said:

My son is into all things Nintendo and therefore also Japan (and surrounding cultures that have influenced Japan) - the culture, history, art, religions, weapons, the language, along with gaming music, graphics, game play, mythology, world religions, and the development of gaming consoles.  I am trying to design a multifaceted Asian Studies type of curriculum for him. Your son's interest sounds a little harder to work around.

I'm just going to throw out some questions that I would ask myself.   How are his basic computer skills?  Does he know all the specs. for gaming equipment and the physics behind them? Could he fix any equipment?  Does he know about esports injuries and about muscle fatigue or other health related ideas that could help with cognitive and physical optimization?  Does he know enough human anatomy and cellular biology (Plus, you could throw in some organic chemistry somehow, then have to backtrack to get the foundational knowledge necessary to understand the organic chemistry.) to understand the medical problems that could occur or the ways to optimize health?  Does he know CPR? Just because.  LOL Hey, if you are there in a support role, then you have to be able to help in all sorts of ways, right?  What math is involved to understand the scoring systems in the games to make sure the gamer is optimizing his score? 

I like this, we can tie the science course into physical/mental preparation for esports. He's already signed up for Intro to Psych at school next year, but I can work the the anatomy and physiology and cell bio and maybe some brain studies (optimizing mental performance) in there as well. The professional players have sports psychologists, nutritionists, wellness coaches, and fitness trainers to prepare them for competitive matches, so it definitely ties in. Thank you for the great ideas!

 

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I don't think a student needs a conventional transcript, and I think interest-led classes can be amazing. However, I also think that high school is a time for expanding your horizons,  and that there is a minimum knowledge of various subjects needed in order to consider yourself an educated person. 

For example, some people have a particular interest in weaponry and this is reflected in their history studies. Other people might view history through an artistic lens, spending a lot of time on the artists and art movements that reflected the mood and events of the time. But they are all doing history, they all learn about WWII and the civil rights movement and so on. 

I do think that your situation is complicated because he is taking all fun stuff at public school and all difficult/less fun stuff at home. Clearly he doesn't hate everything that isn't furthering his goal of getting into esports, he simply hates everything that is not fun. Oh well. I would give him a choice: he can improve his attitude and stay at home where he at least has some input into courses and specialization, or he can go to the public school full-time. You're going to get an education, which method would you prefer? 

If he wants to stay home, make it clear that you aren't going to put in all the effort. A student who isn't willing to put in the work of helping to plan a year-long project is a student who is not going to actually do the work of that year-long project. He wants out-of-the-box classes, he can help design them and he can work through them with no more than the standard level of teen angst and moaning. 

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Have you looked at the schools that have eSports? Have him work from their graduation checklist for his online dual credit classes and make sure what he's taking would transfer in. Possibly he would have more buy-in that way.

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On 5/25/2019 at 9:46 AM, brookspr said:

We are starting to see schools start bachelor degree programs in esports management, so I feel like in the next two years there will be more opportunities to go to college and work toward an esports degree of some sort.

What are the entrance requirements for those colleges/programs?

Regards,

Kareni

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The first thing that occurs to me is that he should learn Korean. They imported most of the players for the new Overwatch league and many of them don’t speak English. My kids have no interest in it professionally, but my business geek finds the business end fascinating so I’ve also had my ear talked off about esports.

I also think doing game design and coding is important, even just at an intro level. Even though that’s not the aspect he wants to work in, one of the ideas behind things like Hour of Code are that we all need a better grounding in what goes into the code that we use in our various industries in order to be more effective in them as non-program/IT people.

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