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stacyh270

When to stop pushing, pulling, and dragging DS through HS?

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Surely I'm not alone in this........My oldest DS10th grade is doing okay in his classes but it's basically because I'm pushing, pulling, and dragging him through every single one of them.  Frankly, I'm tired and I feel like my other homeschooled kiddos are suffering because my oldest just can't/won't rise to the occasion unless I'm basically sitting on him every day to get his work done and done well.  I'm ready to throw my hands up and let the chips fall where they may regarding his future.  Needless to say, it's causing lots of tension in our home day in and day out and it wouldn't change even if he went to public school because he lacks any motivation which keeps me awake at night worried about his future.  My plan was for him to take several DE courses over the next couple of years but he has no desire to do so even though he knows it will save us lots of time and money on his education.  At what point did you give your highschooler full ownership of their education for good or bad (if at all)?

I guess I need some encouragement that this is somewhat normal at this age and some advice on how to really connect with him to find out what might motivate him.  Also, for seasoned HS parents, if your child was like this in 9th-10th grade, did he/she eventually turn out okay/successful in the long run? I'm  not sure if I'm not worrying enough or worrying too much.  

 

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So, my brothers were all like this. One got straightened out by the military, one eventually found his passion & worked for it (post-college), and one had to fail out of college & grow up a lot.

My eldest is a female but she was like what you describe. I got tired of nagging, so her home classes almost always went into the summer. (I won't tell you how long it took for her to finish geometry. She'd be pretty embarrassed for me to share that tidbit.) We outsourced more & more because she actually would work for an outside teacher with a live class & clear deadlines. She was still a procrastinator & didn't ever work too hard in classes that held little interest for her, but she would actually do the work.

She took ownership of her all-outsourced classes senior year, but I still did a lot of prodding on the college application process. She's now a Freshman in college - figuring it out on her own. But it was rough for a long time. She was going to CLEP two classes in the Spring. Then, it was going to be one in the summer. It never happened. But I realized that she will have to face the consequences of fitting the classes in her schedule, CLEPPing eventually, or taking them in the summer. Not my problem...But it has taken me a long time to completely let go.

So maybe he'll figure it out or maybe he won't. Could go either way.

ETA: I let go piece by piece, holding off completely letting go of the things that were most important to her future. IMO, she's where she is because I kept pulling but she's able to do as well as she is now because I did let her take the consequences of her inaction in some things.

Edited by RootAnn
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Well, I would personally have no problem throwing a kid at that age like that back to a B&M school situation and letting the chips fall where they may.  I always told my kids homeschooling at the high school level was a gift and a privilege and if they didn't step up and into that, we'd need to re-evaluate.  Has he tried any outsourced classes?  Has he been evaluated for learning differences?  What does he do during his spare time?  Is he motivated about anything in his life?

I have a kid who had a great DE experience.  But he wanted it and was ready.  I did outsource a fair bit at the high school level because I felt like my kids didn't want to work with me closely for hours on end and wouldn't have taken that well.  I also aligned resources at home that were more hands off for me.  So that's a thought too,.

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I agree with @FuzzyCatz, but you'll have to check your state's laws and local school regulations - in some states and places, the public school does not have to accept a 10th or 11th grade homeschooled student. They'll let them enroll, but they'll require them to back up to 9th grade. So that might be the first thing to check, as you're considering how to make changes.

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1 hour ago, stacyh270 said:

 My plan was for him to take several DE courses over the next couple of years but he has no desire to do so even though he knows it will save us lots of time and money on his education. 

 

I think it is hard to expect a 10th grader to have desire to DE to save parents money and his time. I told my 10th grader that we could afford paying for $35k every year for four years at my husband’s current wage. He would need to work part time and/or summers if he wants to spent more than four years on his degree or go for his masters. My other kid is in 9th grade so I don’t want to offer/promise more than what what we can afford when both are in college tapping into savings and wages. So I have my kids buy in for DE classes and AP exams to hopefully save us money by graduating in four years. If taking more years was due to unforeseen circumstances like medical issues, we would help out with college costs as much as we could of course. 

My DS14 has some low grades for outsourced classes in 9th grade but we can still salvage his GPA by him doing better for 10th to 12th grade. So it wasn’t great but it wasn’t the end of the world.

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......and if you haven't already checked put the threads under "attitude" in the Expectations/Attitudes section in the High school Motherlode pinned thread, I'd suggest doing that.

Edited by RootAnn
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All kids require some prodding, somewhere.  My eldest was aces when it came to school but needed quite a bit of prodding for his college applications, and a few other areas of his life. Being type A/B overall it wasn't a constant struggle but it existed.

I agree that the seeming lack of motivation is worrisome.  However, I know a LOT of kids just like yours who went to college or Trade School and then suddenly, when they were on their own, decided to Do Life.  🙂  

The more you push and prod, sadly, the more your ds will retreat.  Usually family counseling therapists will tell you with these sort of relationships, to step back and give the person space to grow in their own way, and make their own failures and mistakes.

Have you tried outsourcing all of his classes?  Dual enrollment might be excellent for him, or perhaps local co-ops or online classes?  If he has full ownership over his own life, and his own education, he will most likely step up to the plate.  Piggy backing on this, is that he needs to choose his classes each year.  If you make all the choices for him, you remove his Sense of Self and that is damaging to his motivation.  

One case in point is that I made my dd take ASL this year and she really didn't want to. I pushed and prodded and extolled the virtues of having a third year of FL on her transcript.  She's a little lost in the class, and of course as a parent what is coming back to me is "See mom, I really told you.  This class is extremely difficult and I didn't want to do it."  Now here we are. She is finishing and pushing through and she's a trooper but more and more, it needs to be their choice what classes they take.  Show them all the options and let them decide.  THey HAVE to start making their own choices and if you do everything for them, they will blame you.  But if they make the choices, and they sink or swim, they can come to you for advice but they will naturally not try to place the blame on someone else.  

And you really have to listen to your kid.  My dd told me over and over she wanted to do a toned down Science.  It's her worst subject and she struggles with it, a lot.  She asked me for specific curriculum but I got excited that one of the local co-ops had a nice friend of mine teaching Chemistry.  ....fast forward one month and we ended up dropping the class due to various reasons, mostly that I cannot teach Chemistry but also because it is a hard college prep Science.  Though my dd is going to college she is going for Art and truly didn't need this Science.  I should have listened to her, and gone with her gut feeling on the issue.  Live and learn. (actually I never learn. I do this to her every year. Maybe next year will be magic.) 

I don't know if any of this helps.  But I hope you can find a way to lessen the tension and that your son can step up to the plate.  Maybe him answering to himself and not you is really the answer.

 

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2 hours ago, stacyh270 said:

At what point did you give your highschooler full ownership of their education for good or bad (if at all)?

Never.  I don't think it's a good idea to leave major life decisions up to a teenage brain.

That said, sometimes kids really do work harder in outside classes than they do for their parents.  If you haven't already, you could try enrolling him in a low stakes outside class just to see what happens.

I would also take a long, hard look at what you are expecting of him.  How engaging is the work?  Is it interesting?  Is it interactive?  Does it involve more than just reading, writing, and watching videos?  Are there certain things that he really balks at?  Is he getting enough exercise, social time with friends, down time?  Is he spending a lot of time playing video games (this can really sap a person's motivation)?

Many times making some simple (or sweeping) adjustments to what we're doing can vastly improve how things go with our students.

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I have a DS like that. He did an online charter school through 10th grade. I pretty much had to sit with him for every subject that he did not thing was “fun” which was just about everything. What changed things for him was changing to a a blended learning program that is part high school, part college, part online and part in person and starting dual enrollment classes where he was attending classes with “regular” college students. He found out the he likes college much more than high school. He is still just a B student but he keeps up with his college classes himself. I still have to pester him about is  high school classes though. Now he can see the light at the end of the High school tunnel and I think we are both counting down the days until he is finished with high school.

The only way we made it through 10th grade without one or both of us having a break down was that I agreed that he could quit school and take the GED as soon as he was old enough by our state rules (must be 18 or have school approval to take GED at 16). He didn’t seem to realize that he would graduate before he was 18 anyway,  it just me agreeing seemed to help.

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What does motivate him?  Does he have anything that he wants to participate in or enjoys doing? Is he possibly depressed?  Overwhelmed?  Does he have friends, activities, sports?  What are his consequences when he doesn't complete work?  (nagging, poking, and prodding are more your consequences than his)

I think some kids don't thrive in a homeschooling environment.  It could be that he would be more motivated if he were around other kids and saw what they were doing. Their engagement might motivate him to be engaged.   Unfortunately, as a 10th grader, options might be more limited.  If you think he will ultimately want to attend college, I would not have him DE bc DE grades follow students forever whereas high school grades can eventually disappear.  Whether or not he is eligible enroll in a school at grade level is another question.

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(((hugs))) That's very typical. You're right at the height of that age 11-14, or 12-15 tween/teen boy thing. Somewhere after age 16 they start turning a corner, and then by age 17-18 it's usually much better.

My first thought:
Consider testing and check-ups to eliminate the possibility that there is a physical/mental health issue (not feeling well, depression, anxiety, etc.) manifesting as attitude or refusal to work. And also eliminate the possibility of mild or "stealth" learning disabilities (LDs) or processing issues that might just now be surfacing. Often, a student who was able to successfully "mask" an LD will suddenly become rebellious or angry, or refuse to do work, or push back against academics when they realize they can't mask anymore and they are trying to distract you from seeing that "there is something wrong" and that they can't do it -- the reactions are often out of fear of "looking stupid" -- they'd rather look "rebellious but strong". Just something to consider.

My second thought:
I'll echo Susan Wise Bauer's mantra for that tween/teen age: "food... nap... shower..."  And I would add: daily physical exercise/work/exertion that raises the heart rate for 30-45 minutes at a time. Making those physical things a priority for a tween/teen going through hormonal and body changes can help make it easier for them to then focus on using their brains and learning.

My third thought:
Outsource. Sad but true: often, students will work harder, be more self-motivated, and care more if it's work done for someone other than mom. I'd suggest outsourcing Math, Science, and English (or at least the Writing portion), as those core subjects tend to require the most effort from a parent to teach/oversee. Then the remaining 3 credits can be things can be done with things easy to implement/oversee by you, and that somehow incorporate his interests or ability to be more independently done. Start with scaffolding and giving him the tools for success, but then, yes, chips fall where they may.

And... more (((hugs))) for you, as you decide what's best for the high school years -- for DS, for you, and for the whole family. Warmest regards, Lori D.

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2 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

Well, I would personally have no problem throwing a kid at that age like that back to a B&M school situation and letting the chips fall where they may.  I always told my kids homeschooling at the high school level was a gift and a privilege and if they didn't step up and into that, we'd need to re-evaluate.  Has he tried any outsourced classes?  Has he been evaluated for learning differences?  What does he do during his spare time?  Is he motivated about anything in his life?

Actually, ALL his classes ARE outsourced now.  He goes 2 days per week and they are pretty rigorous.  He's got A's and B's in all of them BUT it's only because I stay at him the other days about staying on top of them. Otherwise, he'd get to the last day and have all his assignments due.  Time management is a huge source of our conflict.  He's not been evaluated for learning differences and honestly, I don't think those are an issue.  It's more of an issue of "I don't like this and I think it's stupid so I'm going to procrastinate doing it as long as possible and when I do get to it, I don't really care if I do well at it." 🤯

In his spare time, he likes to hunt, fish, and do online gaming.  He's a hard worker on our farm when asked and rarely ever complains about it.  He just doesn't have the "gitty up and go" mentality, though, for that to be an option for his future.  DH, OTOH, although he struggled in school with  undiagnosed LD's, was a hard worker and puts 150% effort into everything he does.  Our son, though, just does the bare minimum to get by.  That's the frustrating part.

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2 hours ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

I agree with @FuzzyCatz, but you'll have to check your state's laws and local school regulations - in some states and places, the public school does not have to accept a 10th or 11th grade homeschooled student. They'll let them enroll, but they'll require them to back up to 9th grade. So that might be the first thing to check, as you're considering how to make changes.

 

The only high school in our small town is not an option for our son.  He would probably like to go there since their chemistry teacher (who I'm paying to tutor him one afternoon a week) tells him that what he's covering in his tutorial chemistry is a lot more than what she covers in her high school class 😕 

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Thanks, everyone! This has all been extremely helpful.  I should've included in the OP that DS is taking 6 courses ALL through tutorials (Alg 2, Chemistry, World Lit, Religion, Art, and American History).  Most of the classes are very rigorous (probably even more so than college level courses) which is why I was even considering DE courses (the cost of the DE courses would be less than what I'm paying for the tutorial classes).  The struggle we have is that he has to travel 2.5 hours each way to attend his tutorial classes because we live in a small town.  He spends the night with grandparents while he is there.  When he gets home, he wants to take the weekend off which leaves only 3 days to get all his work done, of which there is a TON to do.  He doesn't seem to understand that he needs to structure his time better in order to be able to get everything done.  I spend a lot of time and energy slugging through it with him and he will still end up racing on Wednesday night to get it all done before his classes the next day.  His teachers require that I actually check all his homework and sign off on it before he gets credit for completing it so it puts a lot of stress on me to be spend hours on Wednesday night grading chemistry and algebra 2, wait for him to make corrections, etc.   It's madness many nights 😵 

I do think he needs more sleep, better nutrition and more exercise.  I think he might run track in the spring with a homeschool group that his cousins are a part of so that may help.  DH and I are discussing some more rigid guidelines about nutrition and screen time among other things.  

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That sounds stressful. Maybe he is completely overwhelmed?? Does he want to take all tutorial classes and stay with his grandparents and travel so far for the classes? (I suspect that my kids would probably shut down under those circumstances.)

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4 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

That sounds stressful. Maybe he is completely overwhelmed?? Does he want to take all tutorial classes and stay with his grandparents and travel so far for the classes? (I suspect that my kids would probably shut down under those circumstances.)

Oh, he loves going to the tutorial classes because he has a ton of friends/cousins there and I suspect he loves getting away from us two days a week 🙂  Grandma and Grandpa also completely spoil him while he's there.  He just doesn't like the workload.  I'll admit, it's a lot of work and I find myself internally grumbling about why so much is assigned each week, but I want him to develop the character trait of perseverance.  He wants to give up too easily and doesn't like to be "uncomfortable."  I keep telling him that life is full of times where he's going to need to man up and do things he doesn't particularly like to do and that his attitude about it is what is going to determine his happiness.  

And I'll fully admit that I am hard on him in many ways and I can't empathize with him many times when he just can't seem to "get it" on assignments.  I was public school educated (not a ton of rigor) but I was a great student despite that.  I was motivated to do well because my parents couldn't afford my college and I needed scholarships.  I had nothing to fall back on.  It was do or die (not literally, of course 😉 ).  I get frustrated because I feel like my son has life way more easy than DH and I did and he is not making good use of the resources and opportunities he's been afforded because of OUR work ethic.  

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Wow, that's a lot. I'd want to take time off too and veg at home if I were him. Sounds like he's basically working like an adult with a heavy travel schedule. 

Is there anyway you can shift some/all of his classes to you teaching them or him doing them online or something from your house? This doesn't sound so much like homeschooling as it does commute/off site schooling. My oldest definitely wouldn't be able to handle things with that type of set up, so I don't think he's really at fault here. I think he's in an unrealistic position for a 10th grader (or 12th grader). 

That's a 5 hour commute round trip, with how many overnights at Grandparents before the weekend? 

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1 hour ago, stacyh270 said:

 

The only high school in our small town is not an option for our son.  He would probably like to go there since their chemistry teacher (who I'm paying to tutor him one afternoon a week) tells him that what he's covering in his tutorial chemistry is a lot more than what she covers in her high school class 😕 

A lot of homeschoolers say that their local school is not an option. I guess you're doing all you can do. But I cannot see how a travel and study schedule that would be hard on an adult, including a 2.5hr drive and an overnight stay, could be more realistic and effective than a local school. 

So you've set him up in a really unusual situation, with classes harder than high school and a kind of insane commute, then you are disappointed in his work ethic, begrudge his downtime, and have decided that he doesn't compare to you and your dh. 

I don't know you and vice versa, so feel free to disregard anything you read here. But as the mother of four sons, three of whom are successful adults (all homeschooled pre-K to 12), I would suggest that you give him a chance to just be a "regular" teen who goes to school locally and has support for what's expected of him there. He can do college level courses when he is older, or DE through school. Again, this is if you can't effectively homeschool him yourself, or find a reasonable co-op option nearer home.

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Hugs- I agree that the schedule you've set up is the problem-  Not your son or his work ethic.  My DD is traveling 1hr away for classes 2 days a week, and we both think the travel time is really exhausting.   If any of these classes are 1 semester classes, I would not keep going after the semester.   He needs to have down time, and it sounds like the classes are pretty tough.  At another point in life he might appreciate it, but right now he sounds like he wants a break.  I would check into enrolling him at the local high school.  I live rural and ours isn't the best school- I get that.   There are better opportunities in other places,  but if my kids ever start pushing back against homeschooling,  that's where they will go 

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My DS14 slept all the way home on UberPool (with me, ETA: I was too tired to take public transportation) after his DE class and it was only an hour’s ride, about 17 miles drive. A 2.5 hrs commute twice a week is really exhausting even for an adult. When my husband drove for that long without stopping on road trips, I spend an hour doing my coursework on my iPad (and maybe eating snacks) and the rest of the time napping. 

Out of the six courses you listed, four are reading heavy. My DS14 reads fast but he get carsick reading, he can however read on a train. DS14 mentioned how tiring the readings were for American History and English Language for him so we are fine tuning his schedule to make sure he gets adequate amount of sleep. His science is also reading heavy but his other four subjects are not.

DS13 had a class where the parent had to grade and sign off on homework. It was exhausting for me as a parent because it was a subject that I couldn’t teach and so I was grading purely by looking at the answer key the instructor provided. That was one of the reasons we didn’t continue with that class. Since you have other kids to homeschool, you would have to assess where the amount of parent participation required is what you could afford. 

My husband while mischievous was a very studious public school student who needed a scholarship for college. Our kids are more “relaxed” like me but more studious then me. My husband knows our kids have a more privileged lifestyle than his childhood but he doesn’t take it that our kids are ungrateful or lazy because they aren’t as studious as him. In a way he is thankful our kids didn’t need to slog as hard as him because we could afford to pay for them to attend a non selective public university. 

Edited by Arcadia
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I appreciate the concerns about the traveling, etc.  Truly, though, it isn't the traveling that is the issue.  DS BEGGED to take these classes because it lets him be with his friends. He knows and admits than online schooling is not how he learns best and was not a good fit for him last year.  He loves going to the classes.  He just complains about the work the classes entail.   He loves to get away from his siblings each week and have some down time at Grandma's and/or his cousin's house.  It really is a nice setup he has as he gets taken out to dinner and has lots of veg time while there.  

It's the attitude when back home and having to do the work that is causing the issues.  Staying on task is a huge struggle for him.  

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Then how about a couple of those classes and the rest at home? (Not online. At home. More interest driven with higher input and lower output.)

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5 minutes ago, stacyh270 said:

Actually, ALL his classes ARE outsourced now.  He goes 2 days per week and they are pretty rigorous.  He's got A's and B's in all of them BUT it's only because I stay at him the other days about staying on top of them. Otherwise, he'd get to the last day and have all his assignments due.  Time management is a huge source of our conflict.  He's not been evaluated for learning differences and honestly, I don't think those are an issue.  It's more of an issue of "I don't like this and I think it's stupid so I'm going to procrastinate doing it as long as possible and when I do get to it, I don't really care if I do well at it."


Perhaps rigorous is not a good fit for him? Perhaps classes that takes less time, which would make him less resistant to getting the work done in a more timely fashion?

Has he expressed any thoughts about what he might want to do as a career? Because if college is not necessarily a high need to help him get to his career goal, then perhaps less rigorous courses might be a better fit for him, while still providing what he needs for the future. I don't mean drop out, or drop down to remedial, but just your standard high school credits. As long as he completes the typical series of  college prep courses, he would still be eligible for admission to a university -- and certainly be good to go for an Associate's degree in a trade. Or an apprenticeship.

... DH, OTOH, although he struggled in school with  undiagnosed LD's, was a hard worker and puts 150% effort into everything he does.  Our son, though, just does the bare minimum to get by.  That's the frustrating part.


Meant gently and respectfully -- I know it's hard not to, but no one likes to be compared to someone else, and, it really doesn't help anything.

Sympathy about the bare minimum -- I think often that IS a common teen thing, as they pull away from parents and try and figure out who they are, but also a bit of "avoidance" behavior when they don't know what they want to do in their future and actually feel a bit stressed about it.

Wishing you all the very BEST in getting through this period and finding the best solution for you all. Warmest regards, Lori D.

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2 hours ago, stacyh270 said:

Actually, ALL his classes ARE outsourced now.  He goes 2 days per week and they are pretty rigorous.  He's got A's and B's in all of them BUT it's only because I stay at him the other days about staying on top of them. Otherwise, he'd get to the last day and have all his assignments due.  Time management is a huge source of our conflict.  He's not been evaluated for learning differences and honestly, I don't think those are an issue.  It's more of an issue of "I don't like this and I think it's stupid so I'm going to procrastinate doing it as long as possible and when I do get to it, I don't really care if I do well at it." 🤯

In his spare time, he likes to hunt, fish, and do online gaming.  He's a hard worker on our farm when asked and rarely ever complains about it.  He just doesn't have the "gitty up and go" mentality, though, for that to be an option for his future.  DH, OTOH, although he struggled in school with  undiagnosed LD's, was a hard worker and puts 150% effort into everything he does.  Our son, though, just does the bare minimum to get by.  That's the frustrating part.

 

Well I think online gaming is EXTREMELY addictive.  

I would totally eliminate that.  

And then, I would step back and totally take a back seat and STOP prodding him!  Make the consequences clear about what will happen if he earns a C in a class you know he can handle.  Then, let him handle it.  It will be very scary at first, and maybe forever.  But if you stay prodding him all the time you'll drive yourself crazy and he won't learn to answer to himself. 

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7 minutes ago, Lori D. said:


Perhaps rigorous is not a good fit for him? Perhaps classes that takes less time, which would make him less resistant to getting the work done in a more timely fashion?

It might not be a good fit but we are stuck in them until the end of the year 😕 I think Alg 2 and Chemistry are going to be hard no matter where he took those classes. Thankfully, with the help of the extra tutoring he gets in Chem, he's doing better with it (and the plus is that they work through a lot of his assigned work together!)   At least the good thing about DE classes is that they can be spread out so that he's only taking 2-3 classes per semester and not 6 classes at a time the entire year.  

Has he expressed any thoughts about what he might want to do as a career? Because if college is not necessarily a high need to help him get to his career goal, then perhaps less rigorous courses might be a better fit for him, while still providing what he needs for the future. I don't mean drop out, or drop down to remedial, but just your standard high school credits. As long as he completes the typical series of  college prep courses, he would still be eligible for admission to a university -- and certainly be good to go for an Associate's degree in a trade. Or an apprenticeship.

We talk about what he'd like to do often.  He has no clue so we are reaching out to family and friends with different careers to see if he can job shadow them (optometry, pharmacy, attorney, HVAC technician, electrician, welding, etc.) We have told him that we'd support whatever career path he wants to take 100%.  I'd personally LOVE it if he went into a trade and started his own business.  I just want him to have the work ethic and study skills so that no door is closed to him because of lack of training and preparation on my part.  Does that make sense?  

Meant gently and respectfully -- I know it's hard not to, but no one likes to be compared to someone else, and, it really doesn't help anything.  I do agree with this.  I just used DH as an example because he had to overcome a LOT to get to do what he loves to do (LD's, hard time in school, tutors, studying for hours every day because his parents refused to believe he had an LD, parents were against his career choice and forced him to go to college before they'd let him farm the family farm, etc.).  We support our son 110% but would just like to see him have a little more ambition and tenacity.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, stacyh270 said:

Oh, he loves going to the tutorial classes because he has a ton of friends/cousins there and I suspect he loves getting away from us two days a week 🙂  Grandma and Grandpa also completely spoil him while he's there.  He just doesn't like the workload.  I'll admit, it's a lot of work and I find myself internally grumbling about why so much is assigned each week, but I want him to develop the character trait of perseverance.  He wants to give up too easily and doesn't like to be "uncomfortable."  I keep telling him that life is full of times where he's going to need to man up and do things he doesn't particularly like to do and that his attitude about it is what is going to determine his happiness.  

And I'll fully admit that I am hard on him in many ways and I can't empathize with him many times when he just can't seem to "get it" on assignments.  I was public school educated (not a ton of rigor) but I was a great student despite that.  I was motivated to do well because my parents couldn't afford my college and I needed scholarships.  I had nothing to fall back on.  It was do or die (not literally, of course 😉 ).  I get frustrated because I feel like my son has life way more easy than DH and I did and he is not making good use of the resources and opportunities he's been afforded because of OUR work ethic.  


Just saw that you added more details.

Perhaps just be matter-of-fact and unemotional, and tell him what you've shared with us here -- that this can't go on, and if it does, you simply will have to pull the plug on this way of homeschooling because it's not working:

"Son, you have a great opportunity, and we're glad to support you in it. But I cannot continue to push/pull/drag you through the work here at home. I can help set you up with a schedule and provide the support you need to make the work at home happen, but I will no longer nag you to get assignments done. The ability to stay in this program, see your friends, and get spoiled by grandparents completely rests on you -- if assignments don't get done, or your grades drop, we can't afford to keep you in the program next semester. It's your choice. Please let me know if you would like any support with study skill tips or scheduling or ideas on how to break assignments into bite-size pieces and get them done over the week at home."

And then follow through if he can't manage to keep things going this semester -- pull him out for the spring semester (even if it means losing the tuition if you had to pre-pay for the whole year), school at home for the spring semester, and offer the opportunity of doing this program again next year for 11th grade.

Another thought: can you arrange to do the majority of your homeschooling with the younger children during the time when DS is gone, so that all you have to worry about when DS is home is your regular household routine and being available to sit with DS during the hardest things to get done? I had 2 high school boys who still needed me sitting there, available, or just keeping them company, in order for them to stay on track and get work done. Shrug. Some students take longer than others to reach full independent working -- mine were late bloomers.

Again, BEST of luck in finding what works best for ALL of you! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Just want to say, this sounds very familiar! It was extremely frustrating to me to have a smart kid who was just so unmotivated! Just this past year (and we're almost 19 here, folks), I have seen a spurt of maturity and motivation regarding his future. Yay. So there is hope.

I feel for you. Sometimes you just have to settle for the least of all evils and make it work. High school goes really fast. We had to bring Dad in as the heavyweight because, yes, not good for mom-and-son relationship. I know it can be really tempting to let him have his way. Once, a mom on here asked about how much we should let our kids experience the consequences of their own decisions. One wise poster said that, while they are minors, they did not let them make decisions in areas that had the potential of majorly affecting the rest of their lives. They considered education one of these. 

So see if your DH can be the main overseer/enforcer. If not, outsource differently so that there are not open days that you feel you have to manage. You're right, your younger kids will suffer if you use all your emotional capital on your high-schooler.

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4 hours ago, stacyh270 said:

When he gets home, he wants to take the weekend off which leaves only 3 days to get all his work done, of which there is a TON to do.  He doesn't seem to understand that he needs to structure his time better in order to be able to get everything done. 

I don't think he can take weekends off given the intensity of his schedule. My dd is taking 8 credits DE and 5 high school classes (4 of which require about 5 hours of homework, one which is just a couple hours of homework). She manages the work load by spending about 3 or 4 hours a day everyday doing homework. That still leaves a lot of time for extracurriculars and down time.

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He might enjoy his time away but it’s not working if he doesn’t buy into the routine and expectations at home.   I don’t think it’s surprising that a kid spending so much time away home would resent being pushed if that part of his life was very social with coddling grandparents.  I’d seriously consider eliminating those classes and that traveling.   I’m sure it is easier for you with him gone and I’m sure it’s easier for him but you pay the price the other days.  I would personally not want to be that accountable to an outside source as a parent either.   

I find with my teens the more they were out of our routine at home, the harder it was to get them back into it when it was time.  Not every kid needs a super rigorous high school experience.   My own kids are getting a pretty balanced approach because they do a lot of extracurriculars.  And my oldest was still well positioned for competitive college applications.  

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So, here's an idea to try. When he comes home for the weekend, sit him down & explain that this week, you will be available on Wednesday from 1 pm to 3 pm (for example, insert your own times) to check his work. If it is not ready for checking, you won't be doing it at the last minute like you normally do. You can add a half hour to the evening if you know he will need a second check, but the important part is to lay out what time you will give him 100% attention and STICK TO IT. (This is the most important part.) And then let him deal with getting 0% this week if it comes to that. If his procrastination & last minute work means he's not ready, don't budge from your stated schedule (but if you told him he could have 30 min Wed night, give him exactly 30 & that's it). If he works hard during the week & needs a few extra minutes, I'd give him those. I would expect that this decision will be clear to make this week.

I would likely give him clear hours he should work on Saturday (and/or Sunday) and not allow gaming/friends on those days if he doesn't work on his schoolwork. I would have a morning & afternoon meeting with him each day to see where he is on all his work and help him figure out what he should be doing each school day. But otherwise, do NOT nag or mention the Wednesday time deadline outside of those meetings.

Evaluate how it went once he leaves for his co-op next week & decide what you will do for the following week.

One thing separate from the above, if his dad had undiagnosed LDs, it is possible he does too. What you see as laziness & bad time management might actually be something else. Now, maybe not. But he might have been able to get by in the past because he's bright and able to get around poor executive function issues. The level of these classes could be making those issues really pop to the top, and it bothers him so much that he is avoiding/putting off the work and making things even worse. Something to keep in the back of your mind.

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The more you share about you son, the more he sounds like mine. I was a rule follower who completed all my school work just because I was supposed to do so. I took advanced math and science classes because I thought they were fun, and I much prefer working by myself. I hated (and still don’t like) doing group projects. My kid is the exact opposite, and I there is nothing I can do to change that. He is never going to want to do school work. He does not see any point in giving up his free time to be an A+ student. He does his work to avoid the negative consequences and that is it. 
on the other hand, he is a hard worker when asked to do non-academic tasks. He will do anything and help anyone as long as he is not working on his own. I actually think that the military would have been a good option for him, but he has a medical issue that prevents him from joining. We helping him look at career options with some of the same characteristics as the military. EMS/paramedic  is his top choice right now, and he may choose to spend the next few years working at Boy Scout high adventure bases. I do think he would make a good professional Boy Scout.

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18 hours ago, stacyh270 said:

Actually, ALL his classes ARE outsourced now.  He goes 2 days per week and they are pretty rigorous.  He's got A's and B's in all of them BUT it's only because I stay at him the other days about staying on top of them. Otherwise, he'd get to the last day and have all his assignments due.  Time management is a huge source of our conflict.  He's not been evaluated for learning differences and honestly, I don't think those are an issue.  It's more of an issue of "I don't like this and I think it's stupid so I'm going to procrastinate doing it as long as possible and when I do get to it, I don't really care if I do well at it." 🤯

In his spare time, he likes to hunt, fish, and do online gaming.  He's a hard worker on our farm when asked and rarely ever complains about it.  He just doesn't have the "gitty up and go" mentality, though, for that to be an option for his future.  DH, OTOH, although he struggled in school with  undiagnosed LD's, was a hard worker and puts 150% effort into everything he does.  Our son, though, just does the bare minimum to get by.  That's the frustrating part.

I was a smart kid who did only the bare minimum unless it was in an area of interest for me. I fail to understand why that is unusual--it's called intrinsic motivation. Your son's intrinsic motivation does not match yours. 

I also NEEDED my downtime doing my version of the hunt/fish/online gaming to FUNCTION much less thrive. Still do. It doesn't sound like he's getting that, or else that he's getting at Grandparents' house, and it's outside your direct influence. 

Also, if Dad has undiagnosed LD's, that is MORE of a case for considering this for your son.

18 hours ago, stacyh270 said:

When he gets home, he wants to take the weekend off which leaves only 3 days to get all his work done, of which there is a TON to do.  He doesn't seem to understand that he needs to structure his time better in order to be able to get everything done.  I spend a lot of time and energy slugging through it with him and he will still end up racing on Wednesday night to get it all done before his classes the next day. 

That's an ADHD/LD thing too. The taking the weekend off sound like rigidity, and that can be an executive function thing too. It also might be that it's that important to his functioning that he won't flex. If so, that's something to work with, not against. With his hard work ethic, I suspect he needs that time, and this is his way of making sure it happens--that's how adults meet their own needs. On the flip side, obviously adults do this while meeting their obligations (we hope).

17 hours ago, stacyh270 said:

He just doesn't like the workload.  I'll admit, it's a lot of work and I find myself internally grumbling about why so much is assigned each week, but I want him to develop the character trait of perseverance.  He wants to give up too easily and doesn't like to be "uncomfortable."  I keep telling him that life is full of times where he's going to need to man up and do things he doesn't particularly like to do and that his attitude about it is what is going to determine his happiness.  

And I'll fully admit that I am hard on him in many ways and I can't empathize with him many times when he just can't seem to "get it" on assignments.  I was public school educated (not a ton of rigor) but I was a great student despite that.  I was motivated to do well because my parents couldn't afford my college and I needed scholarships.  I had nothing to fall back on.  It was do or die (not literally, of course 😉 ).  I get frustrated because I feel like my son has life way more easy than DH and I did and he is not making good use of the resources and opportunities he's been afforded because of OUR work ethic.  

If you think the workload is a bit much, I am not sure why you don't direct your frustration toward the program instead of him. That seems unfair to him.

Gently, if he has a good work ethic and does what you ask, he's probably feeling like he doesn't get any benefit from it, just more school work piled on. Have you looked at it that way? Can you give him more time and space? 

My son will gently push back on that with me, and he's 100% right when he does. He asks why he should work harder if I"m just going to expect more from him. If there is a reason for that, we discuss it. If it's "to fulfill some unfulfilled potential," that's not always fair, kind, or right.

Also, if he's not sure what he wants to do, it's really hard to care about nebulous things like, "This could help me do something later." To some extent, this is not his fault. It's ridiculous, in general, that kids have to know what they want to be very early. I had NO IDEA even while I was still in college. I kind of fell into a field that tended to collect people like me, because there was a professor who knew her program's niche and the kinds of students that excelled in it. 

So, don't give up hope, but maybe let him be him. See what he's doing right. Get annoyed with the load that you feel is too heavy, not with his lack of interest in busting his tail to get it done. 

I didn't spent more time on things that what needed to be spent, and it has served me well as an adult.

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My oldest at this age wasn't ready to take over the schedule or to be self-motivated. I just used workboxes--one subject per box--to organize the physical materials, and required an hour of work per day per subject. If need be, collect any devices--they are not available until school is done for the day. I didn't have to do a lot of work keeping him on task--I could just say, "where are you with your workboxes?" if I felt he needed redirecting. But with devices not available, staying on task was easier! If an hour a day, 3 days a week isn't enough time to get the work done, you may have to come up with a workable routine--or ask HIM to come up with a workable routine--to follow. I still checked in with my kids daily throughout highschool to see where they were at with each subject and to see if they needed help with understanding anything--checked their work etc... I probably spent an hour a day checking work, and another 30-45 minutes meeting one on one with them. School was just the priority thing and what we did each day--other activities were not really an option until it was done. Not that they didn't procrastinate throughout the day sometimes--but that just made it later when they were free to do other activities they wanted to do. 

My youngest needed less prompting, but I still met daily. The youngest had more issues with social media though, and I had to stay on top of device use more (in fact, she got to the point where sometimes she just turned her phone in to try to make herself work, LOL!)

I don't mean that I had to stay on top of either of them to get stuff done--I didn't have to direct much throughout the day. But I think the daily meeting time and checking-in time was still important at that age. If your son doesn't want that though, then he needs to come up with a plan for getting his work done and run it by you. Dad may need to have a heart-to-heart with son about working diligently too. Sometimes by this age, boys really need to hear from dad from time to time to keep on the "straight and narrow" with doing school. 

Edited by MerryAtHope
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I have very similar situation with my son.  I gave up trying to homeschool a resistant teen and he is at brick and mortar school.

That too has had its difficulties.  Things ds has gotten exposed to and involved in, and still a lot of resistance to doing schoolwork.  So you are right that it doesn’t change in many ways, and I am worried about ds future as you are with yours. 

So there is still a lot needing my involvement.  Talking with teachers and principals. Etc.  

On the other hand it no longer feels like it is all on me to try to get him educated.  

It has helped some that I have in mind a few back up ideas for if he isn’t making it through local high school—though probably they will prove unnecessary.  But a few alternative programs (If they were nearer, I’d have put him in one of those already) that might work if necessary. 

I also have had that feeling you expressed about wanting to keep doors open, but I have come to accept that a human being who hates academics, who hates to study,  isn’t likely to do well in many professions.  And even to accept that though my Son  is quite smart, he may well not be going to college at all. And almost certainly not immediately following high school.

SWB’s book, 

Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child's Education https://www.amazon.com/dp/0393356841/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_9KgTDbQRKJMQM

Might be interesting to you.  

I think she too had one son who didn’t fit the eager academic learner mold.  

 

 

I wish there were many more career areas where college isn’t the route.  It feels like my son was born in a wrong era.  Even a lot of the trades in our area seem to be routed through community college programs, and probably require a bunch of general ed classes as well as trade specific ones. 

For us it was important to keep a decent parent-child relationship and drop the teacher-student part. 

I think that’s my answer to “when” in your title:  If dragging, pushing, nagging through school is hurting the relationship (not maybe a bad day or week, or one difficult class, but more generally and often) it’s time to stop. 

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Sophomore year with my two older boys was absolutely hard. They were not interested in doing school. They liked to have weekends off and sleep in. They were not interested in doing DE if it required test prep for the ACT. 

Neither wanted to do a coop or an online class. They were unmotivated people. And I lost sleep over their future.

How we got through it:

Ds1, although the brightest of my kids, he was the most resistant to jumping hoops. So no AP classes. No busywork. He was required to do a sport and get a job and read the books on my reading list and pass his math and science tests. That's it. For his senior year, he had to have everything completed- all tests passed, all books read, four big papers done by the time he flew to Europe for a six week solo backpacking trip. The ticket was a graduation present- purchased after he completed 6 college applications. He is now 23, graduated from college and still doing things his own way.

Ds2- has LDs (SLD in written expression) and is as close to to spectrum as he could be without getting a diagnosis. Things were hard for him. He was interested in what he was interested in. Again, no AP, no busywork, requirement of volunteering/job and a sport. He needed to get out of the house to something everyday. He wanted to try DE so he slogged through test prep (did pretty well- we were surprised) and took his first DE class in the spring of his junior year. By the time he turned 17, he had a little more amibition. He saw his older siblings having fun in college, doing interesting things and taking cool classes. And he wanted that. By the time senior year rolled around, he was fairly motivated.  He is a sophomore at a small LAC now and doing fine. Grade-wise, average, but fine.

Neither of my older boys were motivated by grades or external things. Still aren't. That was something I had to accept about them. We had lots of conversations about how they wanted their days to go and what they wanted their life to look like. Then slowly, we talked about what needed to be done to get there. It couldn't be what I wanted or thought they needed, they had to figure it out on their own. It was some of the most challenging parenting years, but in the end, I have a good relationship with both of them. They will be successful on their own terms, not mine.

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Neither of mine liked school, even my oldest who topped out the SAT. I did a lot of work trying to help them find their passions and approach things in ways that had some enjoyment for them, but it was rough at times. Neither had much interest in career planning, and I had to nudge a bit that way. 

It all worked out. They found their groove in college and are doing beautifully as a junior and a senior. They'll probably both graduate with a GPA higher than mine, and both are talking about graduate school. One is probably going to go an extra semester to double major in a related area.

I do know some people's kids who had trouble getting it together in college, but mine figured it out. It's very satisfying to hear that they are doing their own academic planning, meeting with professors, going to career fairs, etc. etc. 

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You have a rather unusual setup for his education, but it sounds like that there would be tradeoffs no matter which direction you went for him because of your location. He sounds pretty great overall, honestly!

I do think six intense classes is a lot. Typically, even for my highly motivated student, we would have a couple subjects that were "get-er-done" type situations.

I understand that the tutorial situation is fun in some ways for him, and probably nice that he gets quality time with the grandparents.  I'd have a hard time pulling it away too. I presume it is all or nothing as far as the number and types of classes? Would there be a way for him to get friend/cousin/grandparent time without the tutorials?

Yes, some kids do require a whole lot of assist/pushing. Personally, I think the brain sorts itself out in the early-mid twenties.

If you are weary of pushing him, I'd probably put this back on him with specific requirements. He likes the tutorials, so if that is the case, he's got to get the work done and maintain certain grades, whatever you think is reasonable. If that does not happen, no tutorials next year.

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I just read the OP.

 

My son is/was like this. We took a list of highest paid Associates degree and what our local Community college had to offer. We gave him a list of possible majors and told him to pick one. Then we paid him $40 for an A and $30 for a B per 3-4 credit course. He did not pick a major, so we took him into account when we picked Web Development for him. We explained that just because he doesn’t like school doesn’t mean he doesn’t need training for a field. He starts his final semester next spring and he’s a 3.19. 

 

He’s a senior now going back and forth on whether he wants to continue on after he graduates high school. He would have about 2.5-3 years to do for a Bachelors and only 2 years if we had chosen an AA degree. The reason we chose an AS degree is we were / are unsure about whether he would continue on after high school and he needed a career. You also have the option of a trade school if they do dual enrollment. 

 

As far as his day is structured he has 6 hrs of productive work, meaning almost anything and 3 hrs of computer/screen time a day.

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On 10/24/2019 at 10:32 PM, Calming Tea said:

Well I think online gaming is EXTREMELY addictive.  

Yes.

For those whose kids love to play but can walk away when it is time for something else, it is hard to understand. We are dealing with DS16, who can't.

I don't have great advice for the OP, except, remove online gaming as an option until the weekly work is done - make it a reward for completing early on Wednesday?

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Again, thanks everyone.  DH, DS, and I had a good long talk yesterday and implemented some rules related to home life and school.  I can't say it's gone perfectly yet as we are navigating through them together.  It's as hard on me to not hover over him as it is for him to stay on task.  Thankfully, this week is a little lighter in homework than previous weeks have been so he shouldn't have much difficulty getting everything done on time.   We have allocated his work across the three days he has at home and we've even decided to adopt the novel he's reading for lit as our family read aloud for this week and next so being able to do that together helped get our day off to a better start. 

As for gaming, the kids are only allowed to be on gaming sites after dinner and only after their schoolwork has been done.  Being caught on them when not allowed is an automatic loss for the rest of that day.  Period.  *I* have to be better about enforcing this, though 😉

All in all, attitudes have been MUCH better today and I'm just going to try to take it one day at a time with him.   

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Don't forget, too, that teens are not always great at denying themselves something they WANT (social opportunities) even when it comes at a cost that might be too high (full load of rigorous classes).  If those were the two options for any of my kids, I would assume they would make the same choice, especially if there might be nothing to replace it socially if they DIDN'T do the tutorials. So, good to take a step back and look at the choices they had to explain the behavior, rather than focus on the negative (you asked for this, why won't you do it!) 

My daughter fought long and hard to be in the high school swim team when she was in 8th grade.  After a couple of months she would get as far as the pool and then sit there crying and not want to swim.  She didn't want to quit, but she didn't want to go to practice. It took me longer than it should to realize that she really wanted to be in the group, but two hour practices five days a week plus drylands was just too much.  Yet she was afraid to quit. These decisions are really hard for kids, especially when they don't have an adult's perspective.

In high school, even the most academically motivated will try to balance their schedules with maybe 3 or 4 hard classes and 2 easy classes. I know that when my kids go back to high school I am going to make sure they have a balanced class load because stress makes my son shut down and avoid work completely. So for this year he has two very challenging classes (chemistry and Precalc) and then a self paced lit and writing class and a very low stakes Linguistics class with very little required work.  We tried a challenging history but it was just too much and was threatening to fry his brain:) . Basically he doesn't have the brainpower right now to do 2 hours of chem, an hour and a half of math, an hour of reading and writing, and then tackle a challenging history book or answer research questions.  It's not a matter of will or discipline, it's a matter of what is possible.  

 

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19 hours ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

Don't forget, too, that teens are not always great at denying themselves something they WANT (social opportunities) even when it comes at a cost that might be too high (full load of rigorous classes).  If those were the two options for any of my kids, I would assume they would make the same choice, especially if there might be nothing to replace it socially if they DIDN'T do the tutorials. So, good to take a step back and look at the choices they had to explain the behavior, rather than focus on the negative (you asked for this, why won't you do it!) 

My daughter fought long and hard to be in the high school swim team when she was in 8th grade.  After a couple of months she would get as far as the pool and then sit there crying and not want to swim.  She didn't want to quit, but she didn't want to go to practice. It took me longer than it should to realize that she really wanted to be in the group, but two hour practices five days a week plus drylands was just too much.  Yet she was afraid to quit. These decisions are really hard for kids, especially when they don't have an adult's perspective.

In high school, even the most academically motivated will try to balance their schedules with maybe 3 or 4 hard classes and 2 easy classes. I know that when my kids go back to high school I am going to make sure they have a balanced class load because stress makes my son shut down and avoid work completely. So for this year he has two very challenging classes (chemistry and Precalc) and then a self paced lit and writing class and a very low stakes Linguistics class with very little required work.  We tried a challenging history but it was just too much and was threatening to fry his brain:) . Basically he doesn't have the brainpower right now to do 2 hours of chem, an hour and a half of math, an hour of reading and writing, and then tackle a challenging history book or answer research questions.  It's not a matter of will or discipline, it's a matter of what is possible.  

 

 

 

Even in college if you're in a STEM degree they greatly advise against using all your AP credits to skip GenEds freshman year, because all you will be left with is Math and Science and harder GenEds than perhaps you could have chosen.  It's another reason why STEM degrees aren't for the faint of heart- even though they have a few GenEds they have a TON of super hard classes all at the same time.  There isn't any reason to do that in high school, and you will know when your kid has had too much.  

In this case, it sounds like a little much.  

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2 hours ago, Calming Tea said:

Even in college if you're in a STEM degree they greatly advise against using all your AP credits to skip GenEds freshman year, because all you will be left with is Math and Science and harder GenEds than perhaps you could have chosen.  It's another reason why STEM degrees aren't for the faint of heart- even though they have a few GenEds they have a TON of super hard classes all at the same time.  There isn't any reason to do that in high school, and you will know when your kid has had too much.  

 

 

Good point.  In my case, since I scored a 4 on AP English, I got to take a 1 quarter of freshman English (for the better writers) instead of 2 quarters.  I really didn't belong in that higher level class, and could have used more instruction.  To this day, I don't think I ever really learned how to do "college writing."  

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Hi all, just checking back in.  Week 2 since laying down new guidelines has gone pretty well.  We did end up having a hiccup or two last week with an assignment that didn't get posted on the tutorial's website until late and he'd "forgotten" about it so it did get turned in a little late, BUT he had worked hard the entire week so I chose not to give him too much grief about it.  This week, he decided it would be in his best interest to work over the weekend since we had to travel some yesterday.  

To clarify, DS has six classes and three of them are very rigorous (chem, alg 2, and lit); the other three (religion, art, and history) are easy peasy.   The three that are hard are supposed to be taking 6 hours a week each per the tutorial's guidelines/suggestions.  However, lit alone is taking 10+hours.  I'm not sure if/how I should approach it with the instructor that it's insane.

For instance, last week DS had to read 11 chapters of a book (160ish pages), write a one paragraph summary over each chapter (so 11 paragraphs), AND write a two page poetry analysis essay over 20 poems that he had to read the week before that.  This week is about the same for that ONE class except it's reading Ch 12-24 with one paragraph summaries over each chapter.  It's Week 10 of the tutorial and they've already read Letter to the King, Momo, Out of Silent Planet, an abridged Don QuixoteCyrano de Bergerac, 20 poems, and are finishing Trouble by Gary Schmidt.  Personally, that seems like a LOT to me and that's only about 2/3 of the semester 😕 DS has enjoyed the readings but he would have enjoyed them a little more if he hadn't had to rush through them, especially Don Quixote and Trouble. 

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2 hours ago, stacyh270 said:

... DS has six classes and three of them are very rigorous (chem, alg 2, and lit) ... The three that are hard are supposed to be taking 6 hours a week each per the tutorial's guidelines/suggestions.  However, lit alone is taking 10+hours.  I'm not sure if/how I should approach it with the instructor that it's insane...


Totally JMO, but just reading lots of books and writing lots of paragraphs does not equal "rigor" -- high volume can just mean it's lots of busywork. True rigor has much more to do with depth of thinking, plus how "difficult" and complex the material being studied is -- not how tall the stack of books and assignments is... 😉

2 hours ago, stacyh270 said:

...For instance, last week DS had to read 11 chapters of a book (160ish pages), write a one paragraph summary over each chapter (so 11 paragraphs), AND write a two page poetry analysis essay over 20 poems that he had to read the week before that...
...  It's Week 10 of the tutorial and they've already read Letter to the King, Momo, Out of Silent Planet, an abridged Don QuixoteCyrano de Bergerac, 20 poems, and are finishing Trouble by Gary Schmidt.  Personally, that seems like a LOT to me and that's only about 2/3 of the semester...


re: the literature
Yes, doing a "fly-by" at warp speed over the literature does nothing but provide brief, overview exposure to the works. I always have a horrible time narrowing down the lit. choices for my co-op classes because there's too much great lit. I want to do, and not enough time. But I DO limit it to about 4 novels per semester -- plus I squeeze in a few poems and a short story or two -- and if one of the novels is long and dense, then the other 3 have to be easier/shorter to balance, so that we have TIME to dig into the works...

re: the writing
Well... chapter summaries are NOT a high school level form of writing, and I'd be mad having the teacher waste our writing time on summaries instead of reader responses, essays, and research papers that require actual thought/analysis. If the teacher needs tangible proof (for grading purposes), summaries are useless as proof of reading -- students can copy chapter summaries from Sparknotes or other online lit. resources. A better choice would be a reader response paragraph to a prompt question that requires knowledge of several chapters of the reading...

And there's no way anyone could analyze 20 poems in a 2-page essay and say ANYthing meaningful or with any depth... Two pages for 1 poem, yes; *possibly* two pages for comparing 2 poems... Better to have students select 2-3 poems to discuss in depth for a 3-page or 5-page paper that the student spends several weeks on, with time for revisions.


I'm not sure that I see the value in participating in this type of program, other then the fact your DS is enjoying seeing friends... Perhaps that socialization could happen in a different way???

Edited by Lori D.
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On 11/5/2019 at 6:22 PM, Lori D. said:


Totally JMO, but just reading lots of books and writing lots of paragraphs does not equal "rigor" -- high volume can just mean it's lots of busywork. True rigor has much more to do with depth of thinking, plus how "difficult" and complex the material being studied is -- not how tall the stack of books and assignments is... 😉

Well, maybe rigor isn't the right work 😉 I wouldn't say that it wasn't rigorous, though, for DS. My nephew is taking a different lit course from this same instructor and my SIL has said that some parents have complained to the Board about the amount of work the instructor assigns and how quickly they are covering the material.  I'm not sure what will come of that, though, for my son's class with her.  

re: the literature
Yes, doing a "fly-by" at warp speed over the literature does nothing but provide brief, overview exposure to the works. I always have a horrible time narrowing down the lit. choices for my co-op classes because there's too much great lit. I want to do, and not enough time. But I DO limit it to about 4 novels per semester -- plus I squeeze in a few poems and a short story or two -- and if one of the novels is long and dense, then the other 3 have to be easier/shorter to balance, so that we have TIME to dig into the works...

re: the writing
Well... chapter summaries are NOT a high school level form of writing, and I'd be mad having the teacher waste our writing time on summaries instead of reader responses, essays, and research papers that require actual thought/analysis. If the teacher needs tangible proof (for grading purposes), summaries are useless as proof of reading -- students can copy chapter summaries from Sparknotes or other online lit. resources. A better choice would be a reader response paragraph to a prompt question that requires knowledge of several chapters of the reading...

I misspoke about that particular assignment.  DS was given 2-3 questions per chapter in which he had to choose one to write a thoughtful (and evidenced) reply to so it did require  more thought and synthesis.  Thankfully, he enjoyed this book so the assignment wasn't particularly HARD for him, just time-consuming.

And there's no way anyone could analyze 20 poems in a 2-page essay and say ANYthing meaningful or with any depth... Two pages for 1 poem, yes; *possibly* two pages for comparing 2 poems... Better to have students select 2-3 poems to discuss in depth for a 3-page or 5-page paper that the student spends several weeks on, with time for revisions.

Yea, I kinda think that, too.  I'm at the point with that that I really didn't care what he turned in for it or what grade he gets for it.  I'll adjust it for my records.  We had a farm incident last night when he was supposed to be finishing the final draft of the essay and I didn't really have the audacity to tell DS that he had to pour 2-3 hours into that meaningless essay after he'd just spent 2 hours helping DH shovel 2000 pounds of shelled corn off the ground after a grain wagon had flipped over and spilled.... 😕 He was TIRED!

I'm not sure that I see the value in participating in this type of program, other then the fact your DS is enjoying seeing friends... Perhaps that socialization could happen in a different way???

And I struggle with this way of thinking, too, but DH and I have discussed it and both agree that DS will continue with it to the end of the year.  I'm not sure what route he will take next year, but we are 100% clear that I cannot be his primary instructor and that his classes will have to be outsourced (either a tutorial or DE).  It's a hard reality to accept for us both but that's okay.  

 

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