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What educational thing does my kid want for his 11th birthday? UPDATE PAGE 3


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3D Printer is a great idea - he can figure out autocad stuff to design for it! My 8 yr old is currently designing his own pokemon figures to print 🙂

Or camera is a good idea - or maybe a good gopro that he can use while doing outdoor stuff?

What about camping equipment - would Gma pay for that?

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The more I think about this, the more I think that this sounds like her problem and not yours. Give her an honest list of things he honestly wants, and if she says she's not interested in buying those gifts say "Well, that's the list" and hang up.

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1 minute ago, Tanaqui said:

The more I think about this, the more I think that this sounds like her problem and not yours. Give her an honest list of things he honestly wants, and if she says she's not interested in buying those gifts say "Well, that's the list" and hang up.

And then on his birthday what happens? 

5 days after he watches his brother open a gift that thrills him I let him just not get anything?  Or get something that says, essentially, “I don’t approve of you, here is a gift for the grandchild I wish I had?”

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1 minute ago, BaseballandHockey said:

And then on his birthday what happens? 

5 days after he watches his brother open a gift that thrills him I let him just not get anything?  Or get something that says, essentially, “I don’t approve of you, here is a gift for the grandchild I wish I had?”

Honestly, this is why my kids don't really have a relationship with my mom. I don't need the crap. 

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6 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Honestly, this is why my kids don't really have a relationship with my mom. I don't need the crap. 

And I get that in theory, but this is just not the year for us to lose another family member.

Plus, and this makes me sound like a terrible person, but music is critical to his brother’s mental healthy. 

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1 minute ago, theelfqueen said:

There are kids that young at my sons blacksmith shop? Would something like that appeal to either of them?

Oooh it might.  He likes fire.  He told me he would like blow glass, but you can’t do that at 11 any place around here.  Blacksmithing sounds similarly exciting.  

I am not sure I could sell that to my mom though.  I don’t know how that’s different from woodworking. 

Part of the problem is that I don’t feel like he needs a new hobby, because I think the ones he does are kind of awesome, and he’s already really busy.  

 

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19 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

And I get that in theory, but this is just not the year for us to lose another family member.

Plus, and this makes me sound like a terrible person, but music is critical to his brother’s mental healthy. 

No, I absolutely get it 😞 . I'm just familiar with the screwed up dynamics with certain grandparents... 

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49 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

Old school erector set?  It has the benefit of being something she may have heard of so she may "approve" it.

Except that other than robotics, which is the one thing she's supported, his interests are kinda old school.

Soccer, baseball, swimming, legos, cooking, and woodworking (his plan for the summer in a nutshell) all existed when she was raising her kids.   

I'm going to reach out to this blacksmith I found, and get more info.  That wouldn't have occurred to me, and he might really like that.  I'll try to sell it as historical reenactment, which she might like. 

He's also talked a lot about the time when our family worked together to cook for the 120 men at the local homeless shelter. So, I'm going to suggest that she give him a generous gift card to the grocery store that he can use to do that again, maybe several times.   Maybe, since she doesn't really approve of his cooking, I can sell that as charity? Although i've suggested both money that he can donate to charity and money for his 529, and gotten shot down before.  

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Posted (edited)

The glowforge can be used for wood working projects. 

Would he enjoy a subscription to Raddish Kids? Those come with a full curriculum (that you can ignore), information about the place the recipe is from, etc. My 11 yr old loved it. And maybe would be seen as "educational" if you push the learning aspect? My son's state funded scholarship reimburses for it, as do charter schools and such. https://www.raddishkids.com/

OH! Edited to add this one - it's more "education" focused so that might work? https://eat2explore.com/ 

Edited by ktgrok
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What about awesome books on topics of high interest with some cool stuff to go with?

LEGO:  Yoshihito Isogawa's technic books (they are awesome and educational) and some technic pieces/sets or LEGO education simple machines sets?

Cooking: turn it into science with Howard McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, and some appropriate kitchen gadgets to go with?

Fire:  Daniel Humes Fire Making: The Forgotten Art of conjuring Flame with Spark, Tinder and Skill, accompanied by a mag striker, some char cloth,  or a char cloth kit, or a really old-fashioned flint and steel set, or fire bow kit, or materials to make your own, or vaseline and cotton balls to make the world's simplest fire starter that will catch a spark and ignite. (We got really into this as a family and made our own char cloth using old jeans and a mint/candy tin, and also made waxed jute fire starters.  Young scouts will spend all day at my "light stuff on fire" activity station at camp - there is something deeply satisfying about making a spark and kindling a fire without matches or a lighter)

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Part of the problem is that I don’t feel like he needs a new hobby, because I think the ones he does are kind of awesome, and he’s already really busy. 

Is there any talking to your mom at all about the hobbies being educational inasmuch as they might lead to a future career? If she's well off, does she enjoy nice things herself? Like meals out and...furniture. LOL Does she think about the skill level top chefs need? And how excellent equipment makes for better cooking? Does she appreciate a well-made piece of furniture? Crafted, not mass-produced. People can make good livings as chefs and woodworkers. Maybe she thinks of hobbies as for fun and educational as income-producing? Maybe suggest that your DS wants to be a chef and open his own restaurant? Or wants to be a master craftsman and open his own shop? Use the "bespoke" buzzword. Bespoke furniture. Rich people pay $$$$$$ for bespoke stuff. 🤣

Maybe emphasize cookbooks and tools for professional chefs? The CIA books The Professional Chef, Garde Manger, and Baking and Pastry are for pros. Molecular Gastronomy or this Modernist Cuisine set (or the single volume for home) are super educational. Not for pros, but my copies of Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique and Sauces are a step above the typical cookbook. With these, he could get a sous vide, saucier and All-Clad sauce whisk, pizza oven/peel, etc. There is all kinds of money to spend. LOL 

Or, similarly, woodworking books and tools for professional craftsman? Again, serious money, even more than cooking. 

Maybe if you can get her to reframe your son's hobbies as potential professions, that might help. I would ask some conversational leading questions about who she expects to earn three Michelin stars and produce heirloom quality furniture.

I'm sad if this idea won't work. I can hear your sadness for your son, and I get it. My mom has had an issue of "there's nothing good on kid's wish list." Insert massive eye roll. Because YOU don't like it, doesn't mean it isn't good. On the bright side, she is always fair and does end up buying things with a sigh even if she doesn't get it. Hugs to you.

Edited by Alte Veste Academy
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, wathe said:

 

What about awesome books on topics of high interest with some cool stuff to go with?

LEGO:  Yoshihito Isogawa's technic books (they are awesome and educational) and some technic pieces/sets or LEGO education simple machines sets?

Cooking: turn it into science with Howard McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, and some appropriate kitchen gadgets to go with?

Fire:  Daniel Humes Fire Making: The Forgotten Art of conjuring Flame with Spark, Tinder and Skill, accompanied by a mag striker, some char cloth,  or a char cloth kit, or a really old-fashioned flint and steel set, or fire bow kit, or materials to make your own, or vaseline and cotton balls to make the world's simplest fire starter that will catch a spark and ignite. (We got really into this as a family and made our own char cloth using old jeans and a mint/candy tin, and also made waxed jute fire starters.  Young scouts will spend all day at my "light stuff on fire" activity station at camp - there is something deeply satisfying about making a spark and kindling a fire without matches or a lighter)

Those are great ideas for me to give him!  They aren't going to fly with her, but other family members will be looking for ideas.  He's giving up scouts for soccer this year, I think, so things like this to do at home might be a hit. 

The reality is that the things she doesn't approve of are educational.  Like the cooking project above?  Figuring out a budget for 120 meals, following nutrition and safe food guidelines, organizing tight resources like time and refrigerator space?  How is that not educational?  

 

Edited by BaseballandHockey
Got distracted, resulting in incomplete sentences.
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6 hours ago, Alte Veste Academy said:

Is there any talking to your mom at all about the hobbies being educational inasmuch as they might lead to a future career? If she's well off, does she enjoy nice things herself? Like meals out and...furniture. LOL Does she think about the skill level top chefs need? And how excellent equipment makes for better cooking? Does she appreciate a well-made piece of furniture? Crafted, not mass-produced. People can make good livings as chefs and woodworkers. Maybe she thinks of hobbies as for fun and educational as income-producing? Maybe suggest that your DS wants to be a chef and open his own restaurant? Or wants to be a master craftsman and open his own shop? Use the "bespoke" buzzword. Bespoke furniture. Rich people pay $$$$$$ for bespoke stuff. 🤣

Maybe emphasize cookbooks and tools for professional chefs? The CIA books The Professional Chef, Garde Manger, and Baking and Pastry are for pros. Molecular Gastronomy or this Modernist Cuisine set (or the single volume for home) are super educational. Not for pros, but my copies of Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique and Sauces are a step above the typical cookbook. With these, he could get a sous vide, saucier and All-Clad sauce whisk, pizza oven/peel, etc. There is all kinds of money to spend. LOL 

Or, similarly, woodworking books and tools for professional craftsman? Again, serious money, even more than cooking. 

Maybe if you can get her to reframe your son's hobbies as potential professions, that might help. I would ask some conversational leading questions about who she expects to earn three Michelin stars and produce heirloom quality furniture.

I'm sad if this idea won't work. I can hear your sadness for your son, and I get it. My mom has had an issue of "there's nothing good on kid's wish list." Insert massive eye roll. Because YOU don't like it, doesn't mean it isn't good. On the bright side, she is always fair and does end up buying things with a sigh even if she doesn't get it. Hugs to you.

I think this is my mother's fear.  That if I let my children do "whatever" they'll get some weird notion that these are appropriate substitutes for a career she can boast about at the bridge table.  

It's not that she doesn't appreciate a delicious meal or a fine piece of furniture.  It's that she doesn't think of making those things as something that's an appropriate career for HER grandchildren.  

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I think this is my mother's fear.  That if I let my children do "whatever" they'll get some weird notion that these are appropriate substitutes for a career she can boast about at the bridge table.  

It's not that she doesn't appreciate a delicious meal or a fine piece of furniture.  It's that she doesn't think of making those things as something that's an appropriate career for HER grandchildren.  

Okay, first I have to acknowledge how sad this is. Then...

I bet she'd like a stockbroker grandson. Since she won't fund a 529, how about some stocks, with information on investing, and some money to choose more on his own? Maybe at least he'll get some use out of them in the future, and he might have fun figuring out how to let his money make more money.

I know nothing about this, just found it in a cursory Google search, but I bet there's more out there:

Stocks kids might like: https://www.giveashare.com

I'm a shareholder kit: https://www.giveashare.com

More info: 

https://www.kiplinger.com

https://www.fool.com

[Ugh, these ^ links don't go to the pages I was looking at. They both do have specific information on stocks for kids somewhere on the sites.]

And if a book makes it seem more educational to her: https://www.amazon.com

Edited by Innisfree
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What about a subscription to one of those crates? I was thinking Universal Yums looks fun to try, but there are so many! There are also magazine subscriptions including ones to puzzle magazines. Also, we did give one of our children flying lessons for his birthday.

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Posted (edited)

If she’s into music, but not woodworking, would she approve of a kit to make a musical instrument? Would your child be interested in building a guitar, ukulele, or other stringed instrument? I have heard good things about StewMac as a source for high quality luthier kits/tools/supplies.

 It’s very sad to me that she won’t approve/support your kids awesome interests and hobbies. It must be so frustrating for you!

Edited by Emba
Two times! Autocorrect has changed kit to lot
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33 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

Okay, first I have to acknowledge how sad this is. Then...

I bet she'd like a stockbroker grandson. Since she won't fund a 529, how about some stocks, with information on investing, and some money to choose more on his own? Maybe at least he'll get some use out of them in the future, and he might have fun figuring out how to let his money make more money.

I know nothing about this, just found it in a cursory Google search, but I bet there's more out there:

Stocks kids might like: https://www.giveashare.com

I'm a shareholder kit: https://www.giveashare.com

More info: 

https://www.kiplinger.com

https://www.fool.com

[Ugh, these ^ links don't go to the pages I was looking at. They both do have specific information on stocks for kids somewhere on the sites.]

And if a book makes it seem more educational to her: https://www.amazon.com1

Appealing investments for kids = Gold and Jewels.  AKA precious metals mutual fund.  (at least my D&D loving kids think this is great)

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Re:  investing/stock market   Maybe ask for an online class too to make it more educational like  one from outschool or from Funda Funda. So ask for a class and money. 
 

re:  flint and steel. You can link her to Townsends.us for supplies and advertise it as historical reenactment. 
 

re: cooking. What abt cooking historical recipes?  Check out the Townsends YouTube channel and the Tasting History with Max YouTube channel to try to hook your DS and mom. 

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Would she be supportive of a micro business, like, say, making and selling wood toys or baked goods? Something where she could put up start up funds, your son could create products using his current interests, and save money for the future/put towards charity projects, like cooking for homeless shelters?  Where he’d be learning business skills and she’d have something to brag about, but it also supports his interests and desires now. 


 

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13 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Part of the problem is that I don’t feel like he needs a new hobby, because I think the ones he does are kind of awesome, and he’s already really busy.  

I was thinking that so many of the suggestions hinge on getting him interested in a new thing, instead of encouraging or building on the kiddo's existing interests. I'm not sure how that makes a child feel seen and loved and understood.

Of all of the suggestions so far, the only one that really struck me as a good possibility would be something like a trip to an educational destination. I know you said he's not doing indoor stuff yet, but is there an outdoor location that would make his eyes light up?

I was also thinking that I wish we had a "support" emoji, because I can feel your frustration and sadness about this situation in your posts. I haven't had this specific issue, but I have had my share of difficult familial relationships, and I can imagine how hard this is for you. 

So, no real suggestions, but I am sending you virtual supportive vibes.

And I hope your son has a wonderful birthday. 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Thanks, I'll check it out. 

We have two of these (they were gifts) and DS12 & DS9 really really enjoy them! DS9 uses it often.

 

ETA: How about museum or zoo memberships?My mother renews our aquarium subscription most Christmases, and it's a favorite place for my kids. (We haven't been in over a year, and my kids miss it terribly!)

Edited by Noreen Claire
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3 hours ago, Innisfree said:

Okay, first I have to acknowledge how sad this is. Then...

Yeah, it's sad.  And, it's not our family's values.   My son's beloved great grandfather who I talk about all the time?  He was a carpenter.  His grandfather is a contractor.  His uncle teaches construction to refugees and asylees.  His Dad is transitioning to a job in construction.  So, when she communicates that "working with your hands" isn't good enough, she's judging the people he loves the most in the world. 

 

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3 hours ago, Janeway said:

What about a subscription to one of those crates? I was thinking Universal Yums looks fun to try, but there are so many! There are also magazine subscriptions including ones to puzzle magazines. Also, we did give one of our children flying lessons for his birthday.

She got him him Eureka crate for Christmas, and he likes that OK.  His preference is for things where he's got more creative license.  She wouldn't do anything that involves food, and I think he would perceive of anything that involves reading material as judgment, unless maybe it was a cooking magazine.  

Flying lessons sounds interesting, once we're comfortable with indoors.  My brother is a pilot, and has talked about teaching them. I'm not sure that will really happen.  He lives pretty far away.  

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16 hours ago, theelfqueen said:

There are kids that young at my sons blacksmith shop? Would something like that appeal to either of them?

So, I have to ask.

Is blacksmithing always super expensive?  

When you posted this, I was like there's no way that an 11 year old can do that right?  But then I googled and there's a place not too far from us.  I think he'd love that!  Maybe I'll make that my gift to him if Gma turns us down.  

But then I looked at prices, and they require minors to bring an adult for safety (makes sense), and it appears that a series of 5 classes is $899 for the adult, and $299 for the kid, which comes out to $240 per lesson.   There's no way I could do that.  

Both my kids already have expensive hobbies, but neither of them come close to that level.  

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2 hours ago, Jenny in Florida said:

I was thinking that so many of the suggestions hinge on getting him interested in a new thing, instead of encouraging or building on the kiddo's existing interests. I'm not sure how that makes a child feel seen and loved and understood.

This is it in a nutshell. The dynamic is such that even a gift that I think he would like coming from someone else, like the stockmarket suggestion, is going to feel like its a replacement for things she doesn't approve of.  

His other relatives give him new things, and it feels totally different.  One of my BIL's gave my kids golf stuff for Christmas, including some used clubs, and some shoes, and some trips to the golf course.  My kids had never played anything but putt putt, but it didn't feel like "golf is better than soccer", it felt like "here's something fun that I think an athletic kid like you might enjoy".  

 

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29 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

She got him him Eureka crate for Christmas, and he likes that OK.  His preference is for things where he's got more creative license.  She wouldn't do anything that involves food, and I think he would perceive of anything that involves reading material as judgment, unless maybe it was a cooking magazine.  

Flying lessons sounds interesting, once we're comfortable with indoors.  My brother is a pilot, and has talked about teaching them. I'm not sure that will really happen.  He lives pretty far away.  

I saw that Guy Fieri has a crate thing now. I do not know if it is good, I just saw an ad though.

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14 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Except that other than robotics, which is the one thing she's supported, his interests are kinda old school.

Soccer, baseball, swimming, legos, cooking, and woodworking (his plan for the summer in a nutshell) all existed when she was raising her kids.   

I'm going to reach out to this blacksmith I found, and get more info.  That wouldn't have occurred to me, and he might really like that.  I'll try to sell it as historical reenactment, which she might like. 

He's also talked a lot about the time when our family worked together to cook for the 120 men at the local homeless shelter. So, I'm going to suggest that she give him a generous gift card to the grocery store that he can use to do that again, maybe several times.   Maybe, since she doesn't really approve of his cooking, I can sell that as charity? Although i've suggested both money that he can donate to charity and money for his 529, and gotten shot down before.  

WHAT is her argument against woodworking? It’s such a useful skill and having tools and lumber(especially now) be subsidized would be amazing. It’s artistic. It’s practical. Is she just playing favorites or what?

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Is there somewhere that she could get a gift certificate for, that seems sciency enough or whatever for her, but that also has stuff he'd actually like? Maybe Timberdoodle or Rainbow Resource or something?

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57 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

WHAT is her argument against woodworking? It’s such a useful skill and having tools and lumber(especially now) be subsidized would be amazing. It’s artistic. It’s practical. Is she just playing favorites or what?

Cooking's both artistic and practical too.  

Maybe "approve" isn't the right word.  In her mind, I made a terrible mistake by marrying a man from a "working class" background.  She's worried that my kids won't "live up to their potential", and so her goal is to use her money to solve that problem.  It's not that she thinks that it's terrible that my kid sometimes likes to work with wood, or build with legos, or kick a soccer ball.  She's just not going to "invest" in those things.  Music, on the other hand, is something that could get my kid into a top college, and expose him to a "higher class" of people.  That's a worthwhile investment!  

As far as why she plays favorites?  DS13 is my pleaser.  He knows what things Gma likes, and when he talks to her, which is very rare, he talks about those things.  If he talked to her today, and she asked what he was doing this summer, he wouldn't mention that he's enjoying swim team, or that he's got baseball tryouts coming up.  He'd talk about piano and trombone lessons, and the theater camp he's hoping to attend later in the summer.  When she asks him whether he thinks he'd like to perform in an orchestra one day he says "that sounds wonderful" not "I'd rather be in a marching band" or "I think I'd rather be a a nurse".  

DS10 isn't like that.  If she asked him what he was doing this summer, he'd talk about soccer, because soccer is his favorite thing right now.   He's signed up for 2 weeks of virtual math camp this summer, by his own choice, but he's feeling kind of shy about that and not ready to share it with her.  If she asks him what he wants to do when he grows up, he'll say "I want to make stuff, like my Pop", and she'll tell me how worried she is that he's not "aiming high".  He wrote a great essay a few months ago about how he wants be a civil engineer and build bridges and other things, but he's not going to share that precious dream with her. 

Since she's seen my kids in person two times since the beginning of 2018, her picture of who they are is based on what they tell her.  In her mind, kids who like music are "smart", and so she thinks of DS13 as "the smart one".   In reality, both my kids are smart, but my younger son is by far the more academically talented of the two.  

 

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7 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

Ugh....I was like your DS13, so my grandma favored me over my sister. She never really got over it. 

Your grandma or your sister?

I worry about that.  My kids don’t really have a relationship with her.  They used to see her for visits twice a year and talk to her on the phone once a week, but they no longer do those things.

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13 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Your grandma or your sister?

I worry about that.  My kids don’t really have a relationship with her.  They used to see her for visits twice a year and talk to her on the phone once a week, but they no longer do those things.

My sister. She was resentful. I wasn't a big deal since we didn't see grandma much, but yeah. 

Although part of me felt, as a kid, that she should just make the effort to "get along" like I did. But looking back, my perspective is very different. 

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Posted (edited)

Is it possible to lay the situation out for your mother plainly? Let her see how her choices are coming across to your son, and how the contrast with how she supports his brother's interests is going to devastate him, and destroy any chance she has for a loving relationship with him.

What a rotten situation for you all.

Eta I'm assuming if she'd listen to reason, you wouldn't need this thread. But on the slim chance that you haven't just been blunt, maybe it's worthwhile. I'm so sorry. I've been thinking about your youngest DS all day. This hits close to home, because I've had a relative scorn a kid's interests, too, but they did grit their teeth and get her the present she wanted, mostly.

Edited by Innisfree
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If you go with 3D printer, this has info on the second page on how it aligns with common core, lol. https://www.lcps.org/cms/lib/VA01000195/Centricity/Domain/20267/3D Printing Handout.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0joGo6yOZgwGya6VV7aP9kx-nf9qYV6Ue_3h-i11KYGzwIHKBVHXW6rrs

Right now my son is creating 3D Pokemon characters using tinkerplay software. But it could be used even more "educationally". 

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I may have missed this, but could it be practical but not educational? Like is there something he needs that could also be sort of present worthy. I get the idea that giving him other hobbies is just giving him the message that he’s not who she wants him to be. But could he use something like a really good winter coat or a new backpack? I also think the idea of something like a laptop or ipad or tablet could be good. I know he’s young and you may not want him to have that. 

Or is there something that you know you need to buy for school and you could ask  your Mom to buy it “for” him and then you use the money you would have spent and buy something super awesome you know he will actually like? 

If he likes Math (which I’m guessing he does by you saying he signed up by choice for a math camp) this website has tons of funny and fun Math things...https://mathsgear.co.uk/pages/about-us. There are a bunch of books on the site that my Math-loving son has loved. Another set of books both my boys like are the books by Randall Monroe...he has one called What If, one called Thing Explainer and one called How To. The What If book has absurd scientific questions that Monroe answers in a scientifically accurate but ridiculous way. 

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34 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

Ipad for now.

College fund for later. 

 

We have a ton of ipads. My middle son had 3 charged and in arms reach, and backups charging at any time, and my other kids inherited them, to add to the ones we bought them for homeschooling.  Plus I have several for work.  

I tried the college fund thing.  I was shot down. 

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Any chance you live in an area where there are sailing or crew teams? If you son is interested in trying one of those, maybe she would be willing to help out since they are sports that are often connected with Ivy League colleges. If you phrase it right, maybe you can spin her in that direction. "I was talking to the crew coach there other day and he was talking about the local regatta in our area. He rowed at Yale and says ....."  or "Ds was looking at sailing, and I was remembering how much Brian, you remember Brian, I went to school with him,  liked sailing on the Harvard team. "

My older son and daughter both did crew and my daughter took sailing lessons. They had so much fun and they are great sports to round out a healthy athlete. They did it, because they both love the water. 

Maybe you need to add a little Ivy League spin on what ever he is interested in, to make it a bit more tangible to her. 

I have an ex-boyfriend who went to Rutgers on a soccer scholarship, to get an engineering degree. Maybe you need to start name and school dropping in conversations to get her to see the value in his interests. 

 

 

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Have you looked into thimble?  They ship out a subscription box every 3 months and have live/online robotics and coding classes during those months to teach you/your son how to use the supplies in the kits.  My friend loves these and they are on my bucket list for later. 

 https://thimble.io/

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  • BaseballandHockey changed the title to What educational thing does my kid want for his 11th birthday? UPDATE PAGE 3

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