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Adolescence That fiery time prior to your child becoming a teenager. Their bodies are filled with hormones and turmoil. How are you coping?

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Old 05-12-2002, 09:10 AM
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I have 2 sons that sound exactly like yours. My oldest is a senior and we hope he graduates. He is also bright but thinks homework is a waste of time. I have to admit that I sometimes agree with him. It seems like busy work. We have talked to his teachers and have put some of the responsibility back on the school. We have told the school that our son has study halls and we want him in a special study hall where the teacher makes sure that the homework is done before he can leave the room to go to other parts of the school. The school sometimes like to always blame the parents. I told them that if you are letting him go to different parts of the school ( lunch room, different classrooms) during his studyhall than they weren't doing their jobs.

My other son is 14yr and in 9th grade. He doesn't do homework either. We would check his folders daily and he would tell us his work was done. Well it wasn't. This son has ADD and is on medication. He is unorganized and forgetful. I had a meeting with his teachers and demanded that they email me or phone me weekly to make sure he was up to date with work and not wait until he was so far behind he couldn't keep up. This has helped.

Children are different and learn differently. My daughters boyfriend was the same way in school but once he got to college doing courses he loves he has won awards and high recognition with the college and is a teacher aide in a class. I know it is hard but teachers need to teach to the individual and not the whole class. I can say this because I am a teacher. Not all students learn the same way. Good luck and talk to your sons school. They are a failure if they can't connect to your son.
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Old 05-12-2002, 04:02 PM
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I think at some point I have said every single thing that's been said here. Thank you so much. Now, at least, I know I'm not just "not getting it". I agree that there is too much homework that is just busy work. I try to approach his need to do this homework from a standpoint of learning to take responsibility, but so much of the homework does little to reinforce any learned lessons from the classroom. I want to homeschool but I also want to be sure that I'm not just doing it because I don't want to deal with the school and the hassles. I don't want him to think that he's getting out of school either. I have tried to make him truly realize that there may be days he will WISH he was back in school because I will make him work. I have a lot of other issues with public schools that are separate from the academic that also lead my heart to want to homeschool. And yesterday I attended a college graduation of a friend's daugher. She received a very nice science award on excellence in the lab. I didn't know until yesterday that she was homeschooled. (these are new friends who I met through dh). She is a very smart kid, very well-rounded and with tons of common sense. I was encouraged. Now it is up to my dear ex to figure out if he can live with homeschooling. He has some real concerns about it but is weighing the information and promises to give it real consideration. I try not to blame the school for all of Nick's organizational problems or his laziness, but sometimes I really feel their emphasis is in the wrong place...at least for Nick...and it's hard for me to put all the blame on him or for that matter, myself. I think that I can teach him to be responsible for his schoolwork without making him do useless, mindless assignments for teachers who, in my 9yr old's own words, have to consult a book to teach all the time because they don't know either. One teacher takes up much time speaking of her baby and how she is going to get her hair done. The band teacher often tells Nick's class that she "doesn't feel like sharing her music" with them, so they are to pack up their things and she pouts in her office. As with so many things, I feel the teachers are often so overwhelmed, especially because of SOL's now (for funding) that they are more concerned with form than content. I know that many jobs throughout the rest of their lives will be the same way, but I swear I think I could teach them to deal with that at home. If he does stay in school, I am going to be sure to become involved from day one rather than waiting until I find out he's in trouble. It's so hard to recover once they're in over their heads. Thank you so much, all of you. You have really given me a lot to think about and confirmed so many things I already thought. You've also helped me to realize that this is not a hopeless situation nor does it sum up who my son is as a person. It truly is a teaching situation and while he may fail (and I agree that may be what he needs, in fact dh and I have discussed that, too) that is just one window of time in his life that if used correctly can help him navigate the rest of his life a little more responsibly and effectively. Thank you...all of you.
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Old 05-13-2002, 05:55 AM
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We went through pretty much the same thing with our youngest, except that we never had his IQ tested. He was diagnosed ADHD in kindergarten and he was on medication until he was in 6th grade.

Like you, my husband and I did everything we could think of. He even had a guidance counselor follow him to every class and make suggestions for every class -- she even organized his bookbag! All of that was her idea, by the way, not ours! At any rate, I understand where you are. I motivated every way I knew how, disciplined, begged, pleaded and cried. I had conferences, wrote notes and had progress reports come home daily. He is a very bright young man, just not "in to" academics.

When he started his freshman year of high school we told him that he had to take responsibility for his education If he passed, he passed and if he failed, he failed. We would do all that we could to help him but we weren't going to remind, nag or do it for him. Nor were we going to request that the teachers write progress reports etc. He had a rough time for a while but he eventually learned that he COULD do what he had to do and he learned how to prioritize and plan. He didn't always do things the way his perfectionist worrywart mother would have done it, but they did get done!

I finally relaxed when I realized that I had one of the most kind, giving and compassionate sons around. Sure it would've been nice to have seen his name on the honor roll but if there was a choice between that and him volunteering to help an elderly neighbor, I'd rather have him help those in need.

The end of the story is this: he won a spot in a technical school program and did so well that he was hired by a local company while still in school AND he graduated from high school. He wasn't valedictorian but he graduated. In the past two years, he's held a variety of jobs and taken chances I never would have taken and he's loved every minute of it. He's LIVING his life instead of simply existing as I did at his age. His spelling is still atrocious, I can't get him to balance a check book and he still makes my hair hurt but he's just fine. That compassionate heart has led him into a career as a fire fighter. Take heart. Your son is going to be just fine too. PS -- Quit worrying about what you have, haven't or should be doing. He's your son because you are EXACTLY who he needs in his life. Blessings!
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Old 05-13-2002, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
he still makes my hair hurt but he's just fine.
I know exactly what you mean. LOL

Thank you so much. Your last line brought tears to my eyes. He is a special kid and I realize more every day what a good heart he has. Thanks for the hope you so freely handed out this morning.
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Old 05-13-2002, 10:17 AM
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It would be a boring world if we were all the same.


Differences make us all special.
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Old 05-13-2002, 10:58 AM
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i just had to smile as i read this.....my dd is 27 now but when she started high school i truly didn't think she'd get very far...i figured she was going to get pregnant or turn to drugs as she became totally beyond control for awhile...her truancy was ridiculous..

i didn't have any hair left to hurt!

and problems at home were off the board.....we went to family counselling and she had individual counselling.....and at age 17 she got mad at me for getting mad at her for banging up the car...go figure!...and she moved out of home and went to live with a girlfriend who was also wild...

but she graduated! and she went to college and got her diploma in restaurant services and now she's married, owns a home and works as a professional cook in a trucker stop.

so i guess i must have done something right after all...

i hear your frustration and remember it so well....don't we all want our children to accomplish things?....but sometimes you just have to go with the flow....seems that as long as they have the "basics" of life the rest falls into place..

look at it this way....it's the sort of problem that'll go away in a few short years

carol
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Old 05-13-2002, 12:15 PM
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help 13 year old is failing

Your son may be very bored in school.If he is intellegent but not doing homework he is perhaps not being challenged enough. I have heard of this happening and it takes awhile and different techniques to find and solve the problem. Good luck Debbie
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Old 05-13-2002, 01:27 PM
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Flunking Boy

My son started sixth grade this year -- first year in a public school. He's never made below a B in the past, but suddenly was failing two subjects in the first mid-term. I was devastated. At first, I told him if he failed this first quarter, he would have to homeschool -- let's face it, this punishes THE MOM! Later, I changed my mind and told him he would HAVE TO REPEAT SIXTH GRADE if he failed. This was a big help. It may be too late for this ultimatum to make a difference for this years grades, but if your boy has to repeat 7th grade without his friends, do you think he might respond and get it together? Just a thought.

Hope this helps!
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Old 05-13-2002, 04:50 PM
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I made him very aware that he may have to repeat 7th grade. He also knows that his step-dad is taking the entire summer off so that we can all (4 kids--2 his/2mine) have a great time all summer camping and taking trips. Now, he will have to do summer school. He has known this in time to do something about it and SWEARS that he IS doing something about it. I will say that he has improved but in concentrating on the bad grades and actually bringing them up a bit, others have fallen. I know he is going to feel awful this summer when his school schedule keeps not only him but the rest of us from our plans, yet it was not enough to make him work hard enough. I really think he believes there will be a miracle in the end and he will suddenly not fail....coz that's always happened before, but I am not quite so positive about that. I think he's about to be mightily disappointed.
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Old 05-13-2002, 08:46 PM
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to Mom2twoboys:

Relax and trust your instincts to know what is best for you son as far as school goes.I'm sure you love him very much.
The 6-8th grade can be a rough in transition.

My son sounds very similar and went thru similar problems in 6th grade. Some of his problem was bordom. They were moving too slow for him in school. I asked him" If you could structure your schedule what subjects would you take in 7th above the 3Rs - you know reading,writing, math. What else would you like to study?"It turned out he wanted to study Chemistry, Drafting,and French in addition to core curriculum.( Usually H.S. subjects.)
Also he had 6 very short periods during day and it drove him absolutly crazy the fact that he was being pulled off of a subject 'by the bell' just as he was getting into it. In 7th
I was able to schedule homeschooling for him in a 4hr.- 6hr. block max. and 2, 90 min. blocks. ie. (A typical day might be 4hrs. Chem. Lunch 30 min. - 90 min. World History, 15 min break. 90 min. Literature [60 min. reading 30 min short essay.] His P.E. was martial arts classes 3 days a week in the eve. and he used to play street hockey with his friends in the neighborhood after they got home from public school too.

If there is a power struggle going on between you and your son?, try to quell it by really asking and finding out if his interests have changed. Ask him what he would change about school, time of day,classes or whatever. check to see If there is a scheduling problem, if he's having bully problems or a personality conflict with a particular teacher or administrator.


I was very lucky in 7th grade on a job transfer we moved to a state with a more liberal homeschool policy. I decided to homeschool 3 of my 4 kids. We moved in late Apr. I'm not saying it was easy. It is work. I spent an adv. of 24+hrs. a week doing research on cirriculum gathering materials and info on other home school options and writing cirriculum. (For 10 weeks straight. ) It took about 250 hrs. But all my kids had a great year (especially my son.) Since I moved out of state and had to re- estabilsh a freelance work load, I cut my freelance down to 25% what it had been; to be able to teach. Teaching takes time -
And it was worth it. (We became closer too.) I was able to find a chemistry text geared toward 8-9th that was perfect, I don't speak French- so we used French language video tapes. I'm a professional illustrator so teaching drafting wasn't a problem and luckly I already had the tools. ( I used a British based drafting
workbooks and expanded them with additional projects. We also did math (my weak subject) we used Saxon math which is wonderful! My husband and I split teaching his math 50/50. For Literature used our own books, the library extensively, and I recommend The 'Dover Thrift Series' Dover Books. They're the classics Charles Dickens, Jack London, Jane Austin and lots of
poerty for $ 1.00 a paperback.

We didn't own a personal computer at the time Now there are good homeschool programs for PC's.

The next year my son went to a Parochial School with good results. And I taught Art K-12 in the same school under a one yr. contract .

By the time he got to 9th. H.S - he decided he needed to be more mainstream and socializing was important to him so he is back in public school. It has been a mixed bag at times. Not perfect.
Now he's a Junior and had some problems with math off and on. (He liked Saxon math better and his H.S. dosen't use it.) He's still taking Chemistry but may not persue it as a career. He has picked up a second language on his own time because his school dosen't offer it, he studies Russian on disk on the computer he's at about 2nd yr. level. He's into welding, forging, and working with metal and is thinking of persuing metalwork as a career, (as a metal sculptor). When he graduates he wants to put off college a year to 18 months to travel to New Zealand.

So you never really know - What works for one year may not work the next year. If your son has to take Summer school well, he might just have to tough it out.

Next year - if homeschool won't work for you and he is in public school see if you can 'enrich' somehow. Find that one interest of your sons that is a burning desire and use that interest. If he wants to learn a particular skill and money is a problem, maybe there is something you can do that you can trade. Example: Cooking for an extra person and freezing a months worth of dinner portions in exchange for 6 piano lessons a month. You might find he will get thru his dullest homework to be able to persue his interest whatever it may be. (This is one of the best 'carrots' there is!) Don't give up on him or yourself !

You both will get past this rough year too.

Sorry this is so long I got on a roll. Best of luck hang in there.

Leslie9220.
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