My DS just turned 14 in October, he is attending an online high school for 9th grade this school year and basically he has probably done no more than 5- 10% of all assignments since school started at the beginning of September.
Background: DS was born when I was 20 and a single mom and had a very different mindset regarding child-rearing and education. Back in the day, I started teaching him to read right before he turned 4, I was making up addition problems for him at 4, and I even put him in Kindergarten in a private school at 4 b/c the cutoff date was in September and I didn't want him to wait a whole year to start school since he was so smart. In Kindergarten he was the only kid in his class that could read already so I pushed for him to attend language arts classes with the 1st graders. In 1st grade he transitioned to a good public school but that's when the problems started or surfaced. Since 1st grade he has resisted doing homework and I consistently spent hours forcing him to complete worksheets that should have taken him 10 minutes. He was an avid reader though and would spend as much time as possible reading books. Unfortunately, at the time I had never heard of or considered gentle discipline and frequently turned to yelling and spanking to get him to do work. DS continued to turn in assignments late or not at all; however, he always managed to make the honor roll and in the 7th grade he had his best year ever. He was in all honors classes and even made the A honor roll - I'm sure this was because the school had a system that encouraged/incentivized students to succeed.
Because of my job we moved to the Dominican Republic right before DS started 8th grade and I selected an American-style and accredited high school that turned out to be more disorganized than him. For the first time ever, DS's report card was full of Cs and low Bs and in one case, his teacher said he'd really earned a D but she knew he was capable of doing better so gave him a C. DS didn't turn in homework and didn't complete all of his class assignments either. He was really struggling with algebra so I hired a math tutor and he barely eeked out high Cs and low Bs for the rest of the school year.
I was so concerned about him not learning the necessary material during 9th grade and felt guilty about potentially making him change schools from 8th - 9th grade knowing that we are moving right before he goes to 10th grade, I decided to enroll him in this online high school. My hope was that being at home for a year would give him time to mature, remove distratctions and temptations to spend time trying to impress other kids, and provide me with an opportunity to have up to date information about his progress in school - whether assignments were completed, are due soon or not.
What I've got now is a mess on my hands. DS spent the first several weeks of school trying to skate by in class by online looking at the online lessons, skipping ahead to take and fail quizzes, and just didn't do any written homework or submit any assignments. I had the information at my fingertips and would use it to talk about when he'd start getting his assignments done but I was generally met with a hostile response from him. I started freaking out initially and would occassionally yell, but by the beginning of October I began trying to release and let go my guilty feelings for putting him in this school and accepting that he just might have to repeat 9th grade. I laid off of him - I'm not even asking every day whether he turned in any assignments anymore- and he started talking about how he intended to just "get it all done". I honestly think he's so overwhelmed by how much he has to do to catch up that he can't seem to get started and finish. He's upset with me and says that it is all my fault that he's failing these courses, but I've told him that I am responsible for putting him in this school and now realize that it was a mistake; however, he is responsible for not doing any work at all. I've explained to him that I'd like to withdraw him from school if he's not going to do anything b/c I don't want these grades on his transcript and prefer that he just start over in a new country next year (and we'll be at the next post for 4 years) so he can attend school from 9 - 12th grade in one place. He says he doesn't want to give up and he knows he's going to catch up and make it. I try not to be negative and I do believe in miracles, but I don't see him putting any effort into accomplishing anything (with the exception of one writing assignment that was due in September for English).
Am I being negative by discussing the possibility of him starting over in 9th grade next year?
Should I continue to encourage him to not give up and pretend that he's actually doing something to make up his work?
He has tennis lessons 2xs/week and dance 2xs/week and I don't want to take those activiites away from him, but I have taken away purely social outings. Does it make sense to consider imposing these consequences when I know that it will be really, really challenging for him to turn things around given his poor study habits and lack of self motivation?
Am I being a reckless, irresponsible mom by suggesting that it's okay for him to take a year off from school this year?
My job will only pay tuition for one school/year and given my other responsibilities (2 other children and stay at home dad and stepdad to DS), I can't afford to enroll him in another American school. Going to a local school in Santo Domingo is not an option.