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Graduation & Adulting when... (Don't quote)


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I am absolutely pulling my hair out.  DS is done.  I'm done.  He's supposed to be a junior.  We're thinking of having him graduate in May.  He just wants to work and take a tech course.  Is he able to do that? Maybe? His math score has increased but it's still out of his range.  Could he learn from someone else? Like a remedial math course? Maybe? I'm not convinced he can do math at that level, which, FTR, would be early Saxon Algebra 1.  We are attempting to get through Algebra 1/2 this year.  I'm not sure it's something within ability.  He is currently spending afternoons in a CC welding program - that's going well.  We've attempted budgeting, freaking out, etc., over him spending his whole paycheck.  Nothing sticks.  He is now struggling through a Writing course for a teacher he genuinely likes.  He is severely to profoundly dyslexic.  His working memory was in the single digit percentiles.  For all that? Hard worker - did demo and basic easy construction for friends all summer and occasionally now.  Works in a grocery store - shows up, works hard, super outgoing and friendly.  

When it comes to school? We're driving one another NUTS.  But he retains almost nothing.  Math is (by far) his best subject.  Fix It (book 2) has definitely moved beyond his abilities.  No understanding of grammar, spelling, basic punctuation.  He cannot pass Level 4 of Barton (we've done it twice.) He can use a period and a question mark correctly but that's about the end of it.  Still constantly forgets basic capitalization - like the first word of the sentence.  Can't answer questions we've gone over for years upon years, like:

 

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are what? (Gospels) What do they tell about? (Life and events of Christ's life.)  
I think we are at the end of what can be achieved in this home.  It NEVER occurred to me that I would graduate a child without a basic education.  But he NEEDS to be working with his hands and out of the house every day.  There is no peace with him home unless he's exhausted.  Yes, he's medicated.  

Today we woke him up - TWICE and two hours after he should have been up.  Reminded him twice to take meds before my meeting started.  Did he? Nope.  Had meeting.  Gave direct and specific directions (Start show for DS and do math)

Got off meeting 1.5 hours.  Find DS sitting at table, eating his fourth sucker, drinking an Under Armor (both of which he went to store and bought after class - $8 on suckers. SMH)  Math book in front of him - no math done.  What had he done? Hmm.... Well, he found his PPE for class.  Now he was waiting to go to class in 1.5 hours.  Ladies! I freaked out then reeled it back in.  Had him medicate.  Began Bible - see above questions.  DH comes out and asks how the morning is going.

 

Frankly? I have seven kids at home.  He gets double my time of the others.  He causes 10x the aggravation.  If he does a math set? He misses about 1/3 of them.  Then WE go over corrections.  Repeat the next day.  It's a miserable existence.  The welding classes? Great in class, barely passing the open book tests in 2 hours.  He wants to do the diesel ag mechanic program but I don't know if that's on the table.  At what point do you say, "I've absolutely done everything I can and maybe I've not understood fully what is possible?" And then what?  Because he's been a hard worker but I think he's throwing in the towel because I'm asking more than he can give.  And then what? Graduation? This feels so, "I quit," and flounce from the room.

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Oh gosh, I get it! Mine that I've had this struggle with sounds not as profoundly affected acadmically, but isn't as hard a worker either, so that's a trade off. I have the same struggle of when do I issue a diploma to someone who is not going to be able to do the same things I expect of my other kids in order to earn their diplomas. I've chosen to go the route of an outside program for people with disabilities. Does your CC or your state have something like that he could do? Mine appears on track to getting a diploma this way, but my plan B has been that since they did part of high school and have earned more than half of an AA degree at this point, if something goes wrong with the program, completing Algebra would be my benchmark for issuing the dimploma. They have multiple college english courses at this point, and lots of electives, so it's only the math piece holding me back from saying they have met the requirements of completing high school. I hope you can find a good way to graduate your ds. It does sounds like moving on to working will be the best thing for him.

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So, technically speaking, he needs hours in a class. We’ve done that. Math 1, done at his level, 180 hours. So but progress? Oy. 
 

Ironically, my husband is listening to Denzel Washington speak on a video and he said, “Don’t confuse movement with progress.” It resonates deeply. We are doing a ton of busy work. He has done Barton (repeated levels) and Fix It (two levels) Rod & Staff English (lower levels) and literature (grade level via audio) and Saxon... etc. We’ve put in hours teaching, showing, repeating, doing... hoping for PROGRESS but, sixteen years into this, it’s been mostly movement in circles with little progress. And that’s okay... I don’t mind fighting the good fight nor do I mind that kiddo just wants to go to work, do his job, come home, fish on weekends. I come from all blue collar workers and it is a very good life. 
 

i wonder if my question is more psychological self comforting. Maybe it is how do I justify quitting homeschooling, admitting I’m not sufficient to help him make more progress? Is that why this is so hard? It feels very much like failure on my behalf rather than it just is what it is...

 He’s already working on his welding certificate. He’ll do the second year next year. Then he’ll be a certified welder. If he wants more, he could attempt a remedial math course and attempt the diesel ag mechanic program. He’s remarkably good with his hands. He is our lawnmower mechanic which, with our two mowers, has been quite a lot of repairs, lol. I despise that his life is mostly writing and math - the two things he hates most. It makes for a miserable existence for both of us. We took the summer off and we genuinely liked each other again. He worked 40+ hours a week in construction and was the most content I’ve seen him in five years. 😞 

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43 minutes ago, BlsdMama said:

Sorry you said not to quote! 

I'm referring to the last paragraph of your last post. 

I'm so sorry you are facing such struggles with him! It is definitely not a failure on your part. It sounds like you have gone above and beyond in trying to help him! 

All you said about him above makes me think he is going to be fine and you should consider changing the workload if there isn't a way to graduate him early. I don't know your state requirements on that, but can you issue his diploma? Would you consider a different math than Saxon if he needs to continue doing math to count as credit? I taught Saxon one year in a co-op, and personally, I think I would have hated it (and I LOVE math). 

I think the key thing at this point is your relationship, and it sounds like it is really good when school isn't involved. I pray you will have clear direction on what is best for both of you!! 

Edited by mom31257
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He sounds like a stable kid who knows his next steps, knows his strengths and his limitations, and is ready to step confidently into the adult working world.

Well done, the two of you. 

The "standards" have never been one-size-fits-all. ( $.02 )

Edited by Lucy the Valiant
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The list of things you have helped him have access to (certificate programs, vocational training, etc) are impressive! You've opened the doors he needed to open and he sounds prepared to be successful. He would probably test as having significantly more issues (SLDs, adhd, etc.) if you updated evals. If he's employable, you've done your job. Make the numbers work out for some kind of diploma and move it on. Or have a senior year where he works a ton and diploma things fill in with credit from the work.

 

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I'm sorry. I get it. We just had our annual IEP meeting today for DS17 (11th grade), who is also not at high school level in reading, writing, or math. Sometimes kids can't get there, academically, due to learning disabilities. DS is enrolled in school, so the burden of getting him to the finish line is shared in our case. But your son has so much going for him that my son does not, and I would totally celebrate that!! That he is very mechanical and is a hard worker and does well at the jobs he has tried -- these are all HUGE positives.

I don't know what I'd do about graduating him early. I think I would consider how old he will be and whether he has internal incentive to move toward the next stage of his life. And how prepared he is with his independent adult life skills -- budgeting, cooking, etc. Could he (not saying he is ready, but COULD he) live in an apartment on his own and succeed? If he's not quite there yet, I might consider waiting through his senior year to issue the diploma, but make his senior year all about life and working skills. Give him academic credit for working. Have his math lessons be consumer math. Have him set goals to prepare for life after graduation and work toward those, instead of doing traditional academics. If he doesn't need that instruction and level of support, perhaps go ahead and graduate him (depending on your state's guidelines for homeschoolers).

I didn't know my sister's husband when he was young, but I've heard that he had a terrible time in school. Then he became a diesel mechanic. Then he changed careers and makes a great living owning his own fence installation company. He is a very successful adult, and I'm sure that your son will be, too.

Look into the diesel mechanic program and perhaps have him focus very tightly on the skills needed to gain entrance into that program. Maybe he could get a tutor to help him pass the entrance examination. If it's a community college program, and he has to pass the Accuplacer or whatever, switch to studying specifically for that test. If he will need a remedial math program at the CC, consider letting him start on that path sooner, rather than later. Think about updating his ed-psych testing, so that he can get accommodations in his future training. I would not stop math now and think that he might have to try to pass the math for diesel ag later; I would worry that his math skills will only lessen over time, and I would try to push through to qualify him for that program sooner.

It's hard. But it sounds like he really will be okay, and you just need to figure out how to help him launch. Hugs.

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On 10/12/2021 at 9:16 PM, BlsdMama said:

Oops, removed quote.

It's not quitting to connect him to resources he can use. It's really not.

I agree with @Storygirl. I would add a few things.

Blue Collar Homeschoolers group on Facebook could be a good resource for you.

Do you have a public vocational high school, and if so, could he take classes there either full or part-time, so that you don't have to pay for them? Our county vocational school takes homeschooled students, and they go junior and senior year. If they have an IEP that gets fuzzier in a good way (IEP students are eligible to be educated until they are 22). Homeschoolers at the career center can take up to a certain number of classes on campus in addition to their "lab"/vocational classes before they are considered enrolled. They can take DE classes, but it's a little unclear to me how many they can do. However, homeschoolers can apply separately for our state's dual enrollment, and those classes don't have to be traditional academics--they can take electives, vocational stuff, whatever they can get accepted into and works with their schedule. 

My son is attending the local vocational school for vocational classes only this year and next, and at the end of two years, he'll have internationally recognized industry credentials in construction. I am not sure it's his entire certification (it's a little unclear to me), but it's GREAT training, and if it's not complete, he's likely to be able to get the rest completed while working and doing evening classes at a vocational school. 

Also, check into unionized training, etc. in his fields of interest--there are different programs for different industries. You want to be sure that if you graduate him, he'd eligible to work in those fields and that age won't hold him back. If age is an issue, you can do as Storygirl suggests with doing workforce-related credits at home. 

Sometimes there are protections to keeping kids still in school but also going way out of the box. Other times, graduating them is more advantageous. I think you just need more information.

Don't be afraid to tailor his education.

I am wondering if there is more going on than dyslexia, and if you think it will keep him from accessing the credentials he needs to advance in a blue collar job (reading workplace diagrams, passing a certain level of math, etc.). If so, you might need them documented to apply for Section 504 training/workplace protections. Those are started in the school system, but it's a federal program for those with disabilities to be accommodated at work. 

Edited by kbutton
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I am not an expert here, but what about not graduating him early, and instead doing an experiential year for his senior year?  Perhaps drop Saxon now and devote all of his math energy towards passing the math test for the tech course?  

By experiential, I mean developing hands-on skills, which could mean work, an apprenticeship, volunteering, a class, that sort of thing.

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I would drop the Saxon asap. Saxon's problem sets can be demoralizing for a student who is struggling and just doesn't seem to be able to make progress (at least it was at my house).

AGS or Power Basics make decent math courses for students with different needs. 

https://www.wiesereducational.com/products/e_mathematics/

Something like Practical Math may be more what he needs... https://christianlight.org/curriculum/high-school-electives/practical-math/practical-math-textbook-4th-edition  I haven't used it, but it was on the shortlist for one of mine.

 

Hugs, mama.  I know it is hard.  For both of you.

 

 

Edited by Zoo Keeper
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21 hours ago, EKS said:

I am not an expert here, but what about not graduating him early, and instead doing an experiential year for his senior year?  Perhaps drop Saxon now and devote all of his math energy towards passing the math test for the tech course?  

By experiential, I mean developing hands-on skills, which could mean work, an apprenticeship, volunteering, a class, that sort of thing.

 

12 hours ago, Zoo Keeper said:

I would drop the Saxon asap. Saxon's problem sets can be demoralizing for a student who is struggling and just doesn't seem to be able to make progress (at least it was at my house).

AGS or Power Basics makes decent math courses for students with different needs. 

https://www.wiesereducational.com/products/e_mathematics/

Something like Practical Math may be more what he needs... https://christianlight.org/curriculum/high-school-electives/practical-math/practical-math-textbook-4th-edition  I haven't used it, but it was on the shortlist for one of mine.

 

Hugs, mama.  I know it is hard.  For both of you.

 

 

I'm a few days from the day that shall be known as The Day of Wretchedness when I was finally willing to pivot from the course, lol.  So, we dual enroll in a homeschool public program.  We do most of our teaching at home but have opportunities to take a class here and there at the homeschool building and/or take CC classes.  Our local CC is awesome.  I finished my Associates there a few years ago and five of my kids have taken at least one class there.  Their vo-tech classes are pretty spectacular and my oldest DS22 did a pre-engineering program, building a tiny house, etc.  So, it was just SO easy to say, "We'll just follow this course," but it is NOT working for DS16.  Not because he's not engaged there or because he's doing poorly, but because our relationship HERE is garbage.  And we've been on a countdown since about 7th/8th grade. ... that's a long time for both of us to suck it up and put in time.

I'm done.

After writing the initial post here, I fired off an email to our supervising teacher and later to a friend who is the high school counselor asking permission that he walk this May.  I want it for him -the "official" walk at graduation.  Heaven knows he has had to work twice as much as any of my other kids who graduated with honors.  

But, as I tried to articulate to them the WHY, I figured out it has nothing to do with academics at all.  I've felt the need to be the pusher/puller behind this kiddo his whole life and........

I JUST WANT TO BE HIS MOM.

I want to stand back and applaud and scream, "Wooooooooooooooooooooooooohooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"
I want him to know I'm on his team, his biggest fan.  I don't want to redirect to freaking math and deflate his sails.  No.  I refuse.

Did a bunch of homework yesterday.  On Saxon - we've tried other things.  He needs ALLLLLLLLL 30 problems of spiraling repetition, lol.  Does he love it? Nope.  I'm thinking about letting him light his book on fire when we're done with it, lol.  But kiddo moved his ALEKS score 9 points from last year.  ALSO - they dropped two of the math courses and revamped the other to be "Industrial Math" and the requirements are such that I suspect he could be successful now.  They dropped the writing class but kept the speech class which I'm not worried about him being able to do.  Otherwise? ALL tech courses.  

And I know it's stupid that it always comes back to this, but I am very aware my time with him is limited, due to him being a teen, due to life, due to the disease.  I'm not willing to do one more year of torture for either of us.  Homeschooling should be a blessing and I don't mean, "Happy, happy, happy, don't do hard."  That's crap.  I mean it shouldn't be soul sucking drudgery in which people who love each other reach barely tolerating one another because they steadfastly keep forcing one another into roles that do not respect how the other is made and it is exhausting and horrific.  

I love this kid.  He drives me nuts.  I drive him nuts.  Our relatioship is hard and exhausting... but I love him so damn much that this HURTS.  I bawled through the email requesting he be allowed to walk in the graduation ceremony.  I can't ask more of him.  He has worked and worked and worked. But neither will I hold him back because of arbitrary one size fits all requirements that he cannot conform to and I won't ask that.


And since then?
I feel amazing.

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1 hour ago, BlsdMama said:

ALSO - they dropped two of the math courses and revamped the other to be "Industrial Math" and the requirements are such that I suspect he could be successful now.  They dropped the writing class but kept the speech class which I'm not worried about him being able to do.  Otherwise? ALL tech courses.  

That sounds great!  

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I get it. We made a different set of choices, but ones that allowed me to be “just mom” and put my kid on a blue collar hands on vocational tech path also. 
 

Hugs! It sounds like you helped him reach his potential—what he was capable of doing—academically. That is success. It’s just hard on our hearts when it’s not what we would hope for.

When you have a bit more margin—make sure the life skills stuff is in place—filling out medical forms, reading utility bills, making a budget. For a while I got so distracted by what we were doing I forgot why we were doing it.

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