I don't have personal experience with honors in HS, my son just went to his first day of 9th grade today. I have done more advanced homeschooling with him. But, we chose to put him in PS, because he wanted to go for social reasons. He isn't so ambitious, and he could excel in either schooling option, but he is sure he doesn't want to go to college. This is disappointing, and I think that boys have less options than girls, but I digress. I am going to make sure that he has the credits for college prep though, not necassarily honors, to keep his options open. He is thinking of culinary school or vocational school.
I know that when I was a teen, I could also just breeze right through. I took the harder classes in 9th and 10th grade, did my cheerleading and marching band. My grades weren't great. So, I scaled down for my 11th and 12th grade years in order to up my GPA. I was sure I wanted to go to college, but my parents were middle class, I couldn't get grants, and they couldn't afford to send me. So, I went to the USAF to get my education, that didn't work out, had a kid, got some college, and am a SAHM now.
I could have pushed myself more in school. I highly regret that my parents were older, touted that girls could do anything, but figured once they had a kid, then being a SAHM was the best and only option. I think that having this worldview made them very lax about the high school thing. I WISHED (before children and wanting to be a SAHM) that they had pushed me just a little more. I was at school for socializing#1, music #2, and education #3, and that was the way it was. But, if they had made it a point that I was there for an education to get into college, then I think I would have done better.
Now, with my own kids, I think that I am the one to teach them to enjoy learning, learn how to learn, and to gear academics to their talents. There is no reason to keep beating a dead horse. If my DH was a dr, I wouldn't necassarily push my kid to do so. If DC was poor in science and math, I wouldn't expect him to just study more and do better. If he was a talented writer, then I would push him (or her) in that direction. Perhaps your DD can take honors courses in her fortes, and do regular work in what she struggles. Is she wanting to go to an Ivy League school? Then she needs to bite the bullet and do what she has to do. But, if this isn't important to her (and only you and DH), then she is going to just hate everything eventually about school, friends and all.
I don't think the friends should be a priority at all, in a parent's POV. I think that going with what her strengths are, what she enjoys (academically), and fitting in the rest of the perks should be worked in some way, if it means she gets to "hang out" every weekend with her friends as a reward for plugging along and getting good grades.
When we decided to put DS in PS, we had based this on the fact that he isn't going to do just what makes us happy at this age. He knows that we feel school is for education (not the socialization that everyone is concerned about), although he excels at making friends and socializing.
He can make decisions about his schooling at this point. If he wanted to, he could take some honors classes, but that isn't important to him. I wished my parents would have pushed me, but I think that in the end it worked out. Maybe I am not being very helpful.
My DH was in LD for dyslexia, graduated, and got a 5.5yr education
:, in a blue ribbon school. And, I believe he is very successful. We may not live in a mansion, but we have a large family that we can easily afford. Our kids are pretty happy, and he is very good with them. We are happily married, and money isn't as much of an issue as it used to be. Our measurement on success has nothing to do with how big a person's house is, or what their education level is. But, that is OUR values.
If a family values high education, big houses, and big cars, then this is what a child would gravitate towards, or the parents do. Some families just value high education, and money isn't the motivation. If this is your values, then encourage her to keep plugging along. My son says that "the nerds" will inherit the earth, and that eventually, he will work for one. And, he is okay with that. LOL He is a very hard worker like his Dad, and education level hasn't mattered. My Dh has NEVER had any issues going to vocational schools, and getting good jobs. But, again, this is OUR definition of good.
Have a heart to heart with your daughter and ask her what her goals are. What is her plan A? her plan B? How can she accomplish these by what classes she takes? Etc. Kymberli