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Posted (edited)

I mean, I planned my co-op to be all online and outdoors in the fall, lol. There’s a reason for that… I figured the fall would suck. It’s just that the sucking came a bit earlier than I wish it did.

I’m feeling cheery today for some reason, lol. We’ve made the hard decisions: told our babysitters not to come and told the kids we aren’t doing camp. But unlike in March 2020, I can see a light at the end of this tunnel. I’ll get the kids vaccinated and get a booster and we’ll rejoin the world of the living…

Edited by Not_a_Number
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8 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I mean, I planned my co-op to be all online and outdoors in the fall, lol. There’s a reason for that… I figured the fall would suck. It’s just that the sucking came a bit earlier than I wish it did.

I’m feeling cheery today for some reason, lol. We’ve made the hard decisions: told our babysitters not to come and told the kids we aren’t doing camp. But unlike in March 2020, I can see a light at the end of this tunnel. I’ll get the kids vaccinated and get a booster and we’ll rejoin the world of the living…

We are all vaccinated, but there is no world to rejoin. Everything here is online. And longer things stay online, greater the odds of those changes being permanent. There is no incentive for teachers to be back in the classroom. I am afraid there is no longer a world to rejoin. 

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3 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

We are all vaccinated, but there is no world to rejoin. Everything here is online. And longer things stay online, greater the odds of those changes being permanent. There is no incentive for teachers to be back in the classroom. I am afraid there is no longer a world to rejoin. 

No one is doing ANYTHING in person? Even in SF, our friends had their kids go back to school. 

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4 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

We are all vaccinated, but there is no world to rejoin. Everything here is online. And longer things stay online, greater the odds of those changes being permanent. There is no incentive for teachers to be back in the classroom. I am afraid there is no longer a world to rejoin. 

((Roadrunner))  It is so so hard.  It does feel helpless at times.  I think you are catastrophizing, though.  We are social beings.  I cannot see online life becoming permanent, I really can't. It's also not like that everywhere.  My state is taking covid seriously, but hardly anything is online right now.  I agree with @Not_a_Number that things will begin to turn around.  Try not to dwell on the what-ifs.  I know you have at least one dc with mental health issues right now and I do know how hard that is.  Try to do what you can in the present to alleviate your own stress and I know for me worrying about no world to rejoin would absolutely spike my anxiety.  There is always the option of moving somewhere, eventually.

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8 hours ago, mathnerd said:

There is the Lambda variant now which has been found in quite a few states already and is not responding to the vaccine.

The mRNA vaccines seem to work well on it, actually. 

2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I think this is making the unproven assumption that we can’t have effective vaccines again. It’s possible that boosters would again keep cases low.

 

Right, or even just a third dose. We give MANY vaccines in 3 or more doses, why would Covid be different? Pertussis is 3-5 doses, Polio is 3 doses, Hep B is 3 doses. I'm awfully glad that with all those things people didn't do 2 and then say "screw it" and give up, you know?

1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

If vaccination isn’t enough to stop the spread of Covid as CDC is now saying, then what’s next? We really have no hope left. At least last year we had vaccines to look forward. Now what? 😓

If it stops people from getting really sick, that's the important thing. And it does reduce infection/transmission. Not as much as with other variants, but less spread is better than more spread. And a 3rd dose may bring it back up even higher. 

Also, testing is becoming easier! With at home tests at $10 each, we have another way to control spread. For instance, before I see my high risk mom, I can and will test if we've been somewhere with higher exposure risk. My son, who really felt fine other than his sense of smell, was able o test and immediately isolate. That is going to help. 

Personally, once my kids are vaccinated I'll feel content to at least do outdoor activities, have vaccinated friends over, see family. Without a booster I don't see me doing say, a big stadium unmasked unless rates go down here (our numbers suck). But life will be much better. 

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2 minutes ago, freesia said:

We are social beings.  I cannot see online life becoming permanent,

This.

This is a very hard time, but it isn't permanent. Things will shift back. Humans are wired to gather in groups.

(I mean, some are wired that way more than others... One of mine is hoping online school is still an option for 2022-2023... )

But just look at how hard staying apart is in general. People don't like it. Most of us aren't wired that way. We're social, and we will *act* social, just as soon as possible. Some things may shift, like allowing more people to work from home, but people will gather, because that's part of what humans are.

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3 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Well PS is off limits for my son. Nobody would take him in as a junior. CC is online with an exception of few things that will move most likely online. Teachers love it. It’s all automated - watch a video, click on this, take exam. Most will gladly stay that way and collect paycheck. I have first hand knowledge of this. Longer this goes on, more permanent this becomes. Nothing for high schoolers here since we are rural and already had just one homeschool option locally. They won’t run anything in person. Sports (tennis being an exception) is all in public schools. 
Honestly if I knew pandemic was going to hit, I would have never homeschooled high school. We were really counting for one class per semester in person for human contact. I really underestimated the impact of isolation on my boy. 

After the first round here in Aus it took a little while but eventually when people started going out it got really busy because everyone was so company starved.  Maybe it will be like that for you guys as well.

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2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

So get off this cruddy amusement park ride. Do something else for this fall.

Like what?

my younger is going to PS thanks god. Really hoping it stays in person for him. At least one kid will be OK. 

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1 minute ago, Ausmumof3 said:

After the first round here in Aus it took a little while but eventually when people started going out it got really busy because everyone was so company starved.  Maybe it will be like that for you guys as well.

That’s how it is here, too.

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Just now, Roadrunner said:

Like what?

my younger is going to PS thanks god. Really hoping it stays in person for him. At least one kid will be OK. 

I dunno. I have no idea what’s plausible for you guys. We decamped to Boston last year, as you know. We made very different decisions than we would have otherwise due to the pandemic.

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3 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Like what?

my younger is going to PS thanks god. Really hoping it stays in person for him. At least one kid will be OK. 

I have to admit I don’t fully understand how schools work there but don’t your kids have a legal right to attend public school?  Here the public schools can’t refuse to take them because there’s the whole right to an education thing.

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5 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Like what?

my younger is going to PS thanks god. Really hoping it stays in person for him. At least one kid will be OK. 

How old are your kids?  

Is online the only option for one of them?   What face to face things can you find for that child then?  Is everyone vaccinated?  How are rates in your area? Are you waiting for a younger to get vaccinated?   Finding face to face things go for outdoor ones if you are not comfy doing indoor ones.  

Can you travel?  Even just going away to an airbnb just for a change of scenery.  

Can you start doing things with your kid who is home?  Pick up a new hobby.  Hiking together, bike riding, whatever works for you guys.  

Host groups of vaccinated kids for parties at your house?  Have them outside playing or socializing.

Edited by mommyoffive
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1 minute ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I have to admit I don’t fully understand how schools work there but don’t your kids have a legal right to attend public school?  Here the public schools can’t refuse to take them because there’s the whole right to an education thing.

They’d put him back in 9th grade, though, which is no good.

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14 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

By the time it shifts back, it will be too late for many. 

Yeah, I understand that concern. It's screwing up a bunch of my plans, too. You may be talking about more serious harm than I'm encountering. The situation stinks, no question.

This shifts the conversation a bit, but this experience has made me look at where we live in a whole new way. Thinking ahead in a broad sense, I want to be in an area which has responded intelligently to this crisis (because there will be other crises down the road), and an area that provides what we need to thrive. I had thought about relocating post-retirement, but the areas I daydreamed about haven't handled this crisis well. This reality is changing my thoughts.

Maybe you could think about doing something radically different? Are you the person who is tied to your area because of employment? I understand that, we are too, for now. But maybe there's something that could change.

Could you start a group for your ds, with safe guidelines?

Edited by Innisfree
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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

Maybe you could think about doing something radically different?

We’ve really had to expand our range of what’s reasonable during this crisis.

My kids will remember the pandemic year as the year they spent with their grandparents. This was NOT something we would ever have done without the pandemic, but I’m grateful for the way it turned out.

Edited by Not_a_Number
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16 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I have to admit I don’t fully understand how schools work there but don’t your kids have a legal right to attend public school?  Here the public schools can’t refuse to take them because there’s the whole right to an education thing.

My county's biggest public school system wasn't in person at all last year.  (And this is a district full of at-risk youth.)  Pretty sure this was not unusual in the US last year.

I heard there are allegations of collusion between the CDC and teachers' unions to try to keep schools closed, even after teachers had the opportunity to be vaccinated.  But I'm sure someone is going to call that a conspiracy theory.

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7 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

We’ve really had to expand our range of what’s reasonable during this crisis.

My kids will remember the pandemic year as the year they spent with their grandparents. This was NOT something we would ever have done without the pandemic, but I’m grateful for the way it turned out.

I'm quoting you, but this is directed at @Roadrunner.  I do know from experience the terror of a child who is not thriving and not being able to change the factors that were exacerbating the situation. We ended up making small changes and decisions that we never ever would have considered before then.  When you can, maybe pull back and brainstorm any crazy idea that might create the change you need. Maybe you have a therapist or partner or friend who can help.  I had all three.  Some of the smallest changes headed us in directions that created the biggest positive (in the way if you veer off at a small angle, over time you are far from where you were.)  Some of the "impossible" changes became the biggest blessings for everyone.  When I was where you are, I often felt hopeless and stuck.  My therapist would listen and then ask "What is going well?" 

For example, dc do go back to school and repeat years.  They go back, do a year and then homeschool again. They go to boarding school.  Families relocate for temporary reasons for schooling.

I'm not saying do the above, just create a list without censoring it.  I get caught in the trap of what "should" happen and forget there are alot of ways to do things.  I also underestimate what I am capable of with regard to change.

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4 minutes ago, SKL said:

 

I heard there are allegations of collusion between the CDC and teachers' unions to try to keep schools closed, even after teachers had the opportunity to be vaccinated.  But I'm sure someone is going to call that a conspiracy theory.

No one will call that a conspiracy theory if there is actual evidence, especially one that doesn't involved science.  Delta has changed the data and the equation but in the spring schools opened up here when the data indicated they could.  

I live urban and 100% agree, it is much better for at risk youth to be in person.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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35 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I have to admit I don’t fully understand how schools work there but don’t your kids have a legal right to attend public school?  Here the public schools can’t refuse to take them because there’s the whole right to an education thing.

They will put my junior into 9th grade. 

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29 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

We’ve really had to expand our range of what’s reasonable during this crisis.

My kids will remember the pandemic year as the year they spent with their grandparents. This was NOT something we would ever have done without the pandemic, but I’m grateful for the way it turned out.

Yes, but you could take your job with you. 😉

Yes we are tied to here permanently. I can’t imagine a situation where we could move anytime before we are done paying for college for kids. That will be 8 more years. 

Edited by Roadrunner
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3 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

They will put my junior into 9th grade. 

I am confused.  Is your 11th grader homeschooled or public schooled?  How would they put them in 9th grade?  High school is not face to face at all where you are? 

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2 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

I am confused.  Is your 11th grader homeschooled or public schooled?  How would they put them in 9th grade?  High school is not face to face at all where you are? 

He is homeschooled. Public schools will have to take all kids, but they don’t have to give them credit for any work done as a homeschooler. So they will take my kid, but will not allow him to take courses as an 11th grader. He will be in freshman courses. 
Public school is face to face. That’s why I put another kid in as a 9th grader. But I don’t have options for my 11th grader. 

Edited by Roadrunner
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10 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Yes, but you could take your job with you. 😉

Yes we are tied to here permanently. I can’t imagine a situation where we could move anytime before we are done paying for college for kids. That will be 8 more years. 

Are you personally tied there permanently? You couldn’t do something weird for a term?

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2 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

He is homeschooled. Public schools will have to take all kids, but they don’t have to give them credit for any work done as a homeschooler. So they will take my kid, but will not allow him to take courses as an 11th grader. He will be in freshman courses. 
Public school is face to face. That’s why I put another kid in as a 9th grader. But I don’t have options for my 11th grader. 

This is the same where we are.

Is there family anywhere that your ds could stay with for an extended time?

Or, is there anything else that your ds would love, but under normal circumstances you would never do because of expense, trouble, etc? We have dealt with mental health issues, and have gone way out of our comfort zone in response. It was expensive and difficult, but did help get through a rough period.

If possible, I would become the hostess with the mostest for whatever group of kids your ds would do well hanging around. I would go the whole nine yards-- screened enclosure, fans, masks available, food, games, fire pit outside, barbeque-- whatever gets the kids there.

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17 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

He is homeschooled. Public schools will have to take all kids, but they don’t have to give them credit for any work done as a homeschooler. So they will take my kid, but will not allow him to take courses as an 11th grader. He will be in freshman courses. 
Public school is face to face. That’s why I put another kid in as a 9th grader. But I don’t have options for my 11th grader. 

Can your 11th grader take any classes at the school?  Here homeschooled kids can take a few public school classes.  Or can he take a college course? 

Can he do anything face to face?  Outdoors?  

A job?  Volunteer?  Join a group?  A class? 

Host friends at your house all the time outdoors? 

Oh I just read that Outward Bound has trips and semester courses.

Is there a homeschool coop? 

Have you looked into private schools? 

Edited by mommyoffive
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4 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Not without leaving DH and DS, who will now have to be driven to school daily. 

Well, maybe your DH can manage? Or your DS can? As I said, I have no idea what’s plausible. I just encourage you to explore a wide range of options.

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Just now, mommyoffive said:

Can your 11th grader take any classes at the school?  Here homeschooled kids can take a few public school classes.  Or can he take a college course? 

Can he do anything face to face?  Outdoors?  

A job?  Volunteer?  Join a group?  A class? 

No, no classes at PS. CC was the only option here.

Nothing we can find for his age group now. Trust me. We are looking. 

 

Also you know deeper you sink, harder to step out. I am afraid honestly. 

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1 minute ago, Innisfree said:

@RoadrunnerOr, a different approach-- a strong focus on helping someone else. There must be someone in need that your ds could help. That can go a long way in giving a sense of perspective and improving outlook. 

Oh! Yes, when my son was that age with serious mental health struggles volunteering at a bird of prey rehab center changed his life. I'd go so far to say it saved his life. He became friends with a few other volunteers of various ages, but more importantly he saw a PURPOSE in his life. He saw that his life mattered - even if his contribution was as small as giving an animal a clean cage, it mattered. 

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Posted (edited)

Honestly, I've always gotten a TON of mileage out of the fact that I'm willing to "zoom out" and consider a really wide range of options, including ones I was never planning to do in my life. Frankly, homeschooling is one such example: I had never been planning to homeschool. But all I needed was a year at school to evaluate how that was going to go for my kid, and I could see this wasn't working. So here we are. 

I really don't know what's plausible for you and what's not, but I really encourage you to think outside the box. This is a hard, hard time. If what you're doing right now isn't working for your son, then do something else. I don't know what it is, but I bet there's something better out there. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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3 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

No, no classes at PS. CC was the only option here.

Nothing we can find for his age group now. Trust me. We are looking. 

 

Also you know deeper you sink, harder to step out. I am afraid honestly. 

What is he interested in? 

Can he take a class at the community college? 

What did he do before covid?  Can you do any of it safely?   Or honestly what is worth the risk for him?   I don't want you guys to get covid, but mental health is incredibly important during this time.  Sometimes it is going to be worth the risk to do something to stay mentally healthy even given the risk of Covid.  Is everyone in your house vaccinated? 

Edited by mommyoffive
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Could you do an Outschool class? Is there an online community that would help him feel more connected? Is there a club that's meeting on Zoom but is small and intimate and interactive that he could join? Are there fun in-person things you could do out of the house with him while the younger boy is at school? Is there family you could visit? 

I'm just randomly throwing things out here. What worked for us last year was a mixture of family and teeny unmuted Zoom classes with friends. Normal Zoom classes didn't work at all. 

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4 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

No, no classes at PS. CC was the only option here.

Nothing we can find for his age group now. Trust me. We are looking. 

 

Also you know deeper you sink, harder to step out. I am afraid honestly. 

One other thought-- it may be time to put on your own oxygen mask. Focus on meticulous self-care: getting outside daily, good diet, good sleep, therapy (virtual is easy), medication. You sound like you, yourself, may benefit from support, so you can provide the best support for your ds. A therapist might also have ideas for helping him. You may already be doing all this, sorry if it's restating what you already know.

Seriously, if there isn't anything for his age group, see if you can create something.

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6 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

Seriously, if there isn't anything for his age group, see if you can create something.

I had to do that. When I say we had "small, unmuted Zoom classes," what I mean is that I ran small, unmuted Zoom classes, and advertised for other people to do so when the kids wanted another one. 

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I'd really suggest looking for volunteer opportunities this year for him. When they are taht deep in they can't do it themselves. For months I told DS to "find a volunteer option" and sent links to lists. That was too much for him. So instead, what worked was me making a list of 4 options, that I emailed to him with links about each one. I told him to pick one, and I would take him and drop him off that week. If he didn't pick, I'd pick. 

He sort of randomly picked the bird place. But seriously, those birds saved his life. He's a totally different person now - my parents spent a day with him recently and called me to remark on it - the change. That he seems well, happy, and well adjusted. He isn't doing all I'd like....he's not in school. But he works full time and does a good job. He's got friends he sees. He does things like kayak trips with them. None of that was happening before that bird place. I think it really is the sense of immediate feedback - cage was dirty, now it is clean. Bird was hungry, and because of me he isn't hungry anymore. I matter. I have purpose. And it is IMMEDIATE gratification. I swear all boys at that age need that immediate feedback - their brains can't really grasp long term stuff in a concrete way. A zoom class so that 2 yrs from now he can go to college so that 4 yrs from now he can get a job where every month he can get a piece of paper that symbolizes money is WAY too abstract for their brains. We do them such a disservice that way. 

They need NOW. They need to build or clean or move something and see it has value NOW. Once upon a time (and still in some places) a teen would work a job and get paid a few hours later. That works with the brain. Working on abstract stuff for a reward 6 yrs from now? Maybe? ESPECIALLY with a pandemic and economy issues? That does NOT work with their brain. 

I am fully okay saying my kid got a credit of "avian science" for working 3 days a week at that bird center. Fight me on it. He got history credit for watching documentaries and discussing them (fighting sometimes about them). He got english credit for reading dystopian novels and talking about them. We fudged a lot that year. And I DON"T CARE because he is ALIVE. And all that crap is stuff any intelligent human can freaking learn later, quickly, if they need it. Again, fight me on it, lol. 

We do what needs to be done so they live, so they have options later. 

Seriously, see if there is anything like that. Animal rehab places and shelters don't close for pandemics. And are mostly limited in how many people he'd be exposed to - much of it likely outdoors. (I also think being outside in the sunshine and doing manual labor was very beneficial - he got tan and wirey and that was good for him). Food pantries don't close for pandemics. Meal delivery. Something. 

Or even look for any kind of camp or off site volunteer/wilderness/anything training. That will be harder to find now, but worth starting to look. 

Firefighting volunteer, police programs, those are other options to look for and see if they are happening - places where he will be around some older guys to look up to, to see that good things can be on the way. Jobs where ADHD is the norm, not a hinderance....(just guessing on that one, but a lot of teen boys with mental health struggles at that age are ADHD in my experience). 

I'm happy to discuss more in PM if you'd rather...seriously, I get that feeling of going to bed at night worrying over teen suicide statistics, if they will ever find their way out of this, what you could have changed, etc. I do. Heck, at a boyscout even with my littles we mentioned we'd gone to a particular camp once with our oldest, when he did cubscouts. The leader got all interested and asked if he'd made Eagle. I rolled my eyes and said, "we were just happen he didn't die or end up in jail". Like....that was SO far out of our reality..eagle scout. No...but he lived. He lived, and that was enough. so I get it. 

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We moved and my son got put in mostly 9th grade classes as a sophomore.

This was partly because of some state-specific graduation requirements, and partly because he took Biology and World History in 9th grade because that was the normal sequence there, but not the normal sequence here.  

Just some comments…

1) Even with that, half his classes were mixed-grade. 
 

2) I don’t know if he would have to register in some classes that could be taken any time in high school.

Anyway — maybe English, Science, and Social Studies would be his only grade-leveled classes?  

It’s hard to know.  My son was in a math class with all younger students because that is how his schedule worked out.  
 

It also depends if they make you take certain requirements during a certain year, or let you put them off.  My son went ahead and took a State History class that they recommend for 9th grade, and is a graduation requirement, but the counselor would have let him wait to take it later.  Apparently students usually take it in 8th or 9th grade, or take it as an online class (one semester is required).  But it’s not required to take it then.  
 

Anyway — if everything else about it would work out, maybe it’s worth considering.  If there is a mixed-age elective he would really like — that could go a long way.

 

If it’s a larger school, students may not be aware of what other classes people are taking or what grade they are in.


Something that was a problem was that the high school had one lunch period for freshman and one lunch period for 10th-12th.  This made it hard for him, because some kids he knew had 9th grade lunch together, and it took him a really long time to meet anyone in his own lunch period.  
 

But a difference is he knew it would just be for a year, which made a big difference with his attitude.

 

For his mental health — it was much better when he went to school, even when he didn’t know anyone to eat lunch with.  He definitely had some hard days, but overall it was better.

 

We moved, it would have been different if we hadn’t moved and he already knew people.  
 

Edit:  anyway — it would depend so much, but maybe it wouldn’t be the end of the world to have a few freshman classes, if there were other things that would be really positive.  

Edited by Lecka
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12 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

One other thought-- it may be time to put on your own oxygen mask. Focus on meticulous self-care: getting outside daily, good diet, good sleep, therapy (virtual is easy), medication. You sound like you, yourself, may benefit from support, so you can provide the best support for your ds. A therapist might also have ideas for helping him. You may already be doing all this, sorry if it's restating what you already know.

Seriously, if there isn't anything for his age group, see if you can create something.

I can say absolutely what helped our family the most is me getting therapy and doing the above.  I was not even in that bad a shape about life in general, but keeping my anxiety about the situation under control made a huge difference.  I have seen the same thing in other families.  Even when a dc refuses therapy, the mother going and getting support and advice can help the situation.

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11 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

 

Seriously, if there isn't anything for his age group, see if you can create something.

 I started the local tween/teen group for homeschoolers here. It was tiny at first...no one came the first meet up. 1 family came the second. Now, years after he graduated it is still going strong! Our secret was it was casual. No prep for parents, and that we let the kids just hang out. We'd meet up at parks with playgrounds during school hours. Teens actually LOVE playgrounds, although they will pretend it is all ironic and not real enjoyment, lol. The parents would hang out at the covered picnic area, and the teens would wander onto the playground far enough away so that the parents couldn't overhear them, and be all silly on the equipment or just talk. Maybe throw a ball, usually not. I think a lot of homeschool kids don't get much time to talk to other kids out of earshot of adults, so they liked that. When the weather was bad we met at the local mall and the parents would hang at the food court while the kids wandered the mall in groups. 

No activities, no art projects, no grades. Just hanging out, talking, being teens. My son still is good friends with the kids he met there. 

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Just sending some empathy to the parent of an 11th grader who needs something to do.  It can be incredibly hard if not impossible to motivate a high schooler without the help of peer interaction.

One thought that comes to mind - can he join any land projects for your church/house of worship or other entity that he is willing to support?  Even just pulling weeds if they don't have something better.  If he's in 11th grade, perhaps he's old enough to join the adults on hands-on projects.  Or, if he can drive, maybe delivering care packages to people in need.  Just a thought.

Have you tried volunteermatch.org?  It could give your son some ideas he might not have thought of.

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