would you let your son drop out of school for a term to make decent money? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS was homeschooled till this year.  He has been in school since September.  He enjoys it. 

 

About 3 weeks ago we noticed a program for teens and young adults in our town who are not in school. It starts in 2 weeks.  It is a job training program.  It pays about 4000$ for 12 weeks work.  This is double what he could make in the summer, if he is lucky enough to get summer employment.  He would  return to school next September  - so essentially, one semester off.

 

Pros:  money, some job training and experience.

 

Cons:  leaving school for a semester after having found a groove there.  The opportunity is supposed to be for disadvantaged youth who are not in school who face obstacles to employment.  He has no real obstacles to employment, other than lack of experience (there is a mild ethical concern of taking place of a person who could really benefit - but as long as he is honest in answering their questions, I see no issues. ) He may graduate later than his peers, but if he does summer school, etc, he might not.  I do not really care about him graduating later, but I think he does.  

 

Would you let your child leave school for a semester for a financial opportunity?  (I know no one can make this decision for me or my son, just curious what others would do)

 

 

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#2 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 11:40 AM
 
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I wouldn't b/c, looking at it from a long term perspective, if he doesn't go back and finish his long term career options and earning potential will be harmed.  I recall reading once that kids who took a year off post high school, for instance, were less likely to go back and finish their college degrees than kids who went right on to college.  I know that you're not talking about that type of situation, but wonder if the same might apply -- he might find himself working, making money, and just not go back to finish.

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#3 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 11:48 AM
 
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Ok, I only have a toddler so take this with a grain of salt.

 

I *might* let him do it if I thought he was likely to go back to school and not be seduced by the thrill of earning money and want to get another job and leave school for good.

 

Also I would be concerned about the ethics of participating in this particular program. If he had to apply and have his situation assessed before getting a place then I'd be fine with that as, presumably, the organisers would give priority to the people who really needed the opportunity.

 

Those are my thoughts.


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#4 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 12:07 PM
 
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Probably not.  It might depend on the program.  But, if it's the program where a van full of young people park in a neighborhood and go door to door selling things, I'd say "Absolutely not".  

 

If it were an internship where he was actually going to learn a trade that interested him, and he felt like it could be a future for him.  Then maybe I would.  

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#5 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 12:19 PM
 
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That's not really that much more than minimum wage. $8.33/hour. My vote would be no.

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#6 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Probably not.  It might depend on the program.  But, if it's the program where a van full of young people park in a neighborhood and go door to door selling things, I'd say "Absolutely not".  

 

If it were an internship where he was actually going to learn a trade that interested him, and he felt like it could be a future for him.  Then maybe I would.  


6 weeks of job skill training - everything from how to make a resume, conduct a job search etc, to 1st aide training, WHIMISS training, etc followed by 6 weeks of renovating a community building.

 

He would only being doing this for the money (although I see the 1st aide being attractive to employers).  He is university bound, focus on history, anthropology…that sort of stuff.

 

 

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#7 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's not really that much more than minimum wage. $8.33/hour. My vote would be no.


It is big money to him, though.  I expect it would take him 2 summers to make that kind of money, if he is lucky enough to find full time employment during the summer. 

 

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#8 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 01:28 PM
 
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Nope, no way

 

The first 6 weeks can be done on his own. More highschools offer classes in how to get a job & writing resumes. The middle schools here offer those classes. They are more for the kids who are highly at risk for not going to university. It is also something you can easily teach him yourself. 

 

First aid and whmis are weekend classes he can take.  Are they certifications he would need for his career goals?

 

Does a kid his age need $4000?

 

Would he be taking a spot away from someone who truely needs this as an advantage?

 

Is the job market really that bad there that he could not get a job for the summer?

 

 

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#9 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 01:38 PM
 
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Depends on the opportunity. Education comes in a lot of forms and if this were particular skill related to a field of passion, perhaps. I've let both my kids miss school for work in a field of interest however, they still attended part-time and kept up with independent study. However, if this is just about the money, then "no," it's not something I'd encourage.


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#10 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First aid and whmis are weekend classes he can take.  Are they certifications he would need for his career goals?

 

probably not - and they can be done independently.

 

Does a kid his age need $4000?

 

He wants it.  He will probably buy a laptop, which he could use for school and a few games.  I would imagine he will save some - whether he uses it for travelling (which he wants to do eventually ) or University (which we will not completely pay for - it is not financially possible) is up to him and fine with me.  I would not be amused if he blew it all on video games and the like, though.

 

Would he be taking a spot away from someone who truely needs this as an advantage?

 

Maybe.  This is very hard to determine.  

 

Is the job market really that bad there that he could not get a job for the summer?

 

Yes. He will turn 16 this month, so is on the young end for employers to consider. We also live quite rurally with few local job opportunities.  He cannot drive, will not drive by summer and we do not have a spare car.    Both his father and I work (in my case part time) - getting him to jobs might be difficult.  Many kids around here do not work during the summer for these reasons.  This opportunity takes place locally.  

 

 

 

 

 

 


A bit more of the story:  When Ds first saw the ad about 2 weeks ago, he was more eager than I.  He went and made an application.  Today, prior to me making the post - we got a phone call.  They want Ds to come in for an interview.  When DS came home from school, I told him about the interview, and he started to waffle about it  (we have flip-flopped - I am now more sold on the idea than him, although I will not urge him to drop out of school for a semester  if his gut says no).  The second semester just started - he could drop the classes without it showing on his transcript at this point and for the next couple of weeks (he would know if he got in before the deadline for dropping classes has ended.)

 

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#11 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 03:58 PM
 
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I tried doing something similar until I found a better program.  We had one at school that offered the ability to go to school and work.  You got credit for both.  The one I wanted to do would have me dropping out for a semester and my mom said no I could do the other program though.  She was cool with that.  I did have a friend that did it and he ended up leaving the program before it finished.  He was out of place and the program lacked a lot of real skill training.  He was then stuck at home afterwards and couldn't get back into school til fall semester.  It really didn't benefit him in the long run and he ended up doing night classes because he wanted to graduate with our class.  I would honestly find out if you can meet with anyone who has done the program before and see if it would really be something he could really get into.  Otherwise he'd be stuck and behind.  Fast money sounds good until you have to give up a lot of other things you really want to be able to do.

 

 

Edited to add

 

Some of the programs have after training requirements they do not tell you about until later.  And when I mean later... like a week or two into training. 

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#12 of 31 Old 02-13-2012, 07:33 PM
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No.  He doesn't need the first 6 weeks, and he can arrange the experiences associated with the second through volunteer work or conventional summer employment once he can drive.  It's great that he wants to work, but he can stay in school and get all those benefits at the same time.  The gross pay might not be as high, but he can do better hourly.  

 

It's kind of academic though - once he shows up at the interview, they will realize he is not their target demographic.

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#13 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 06:20 AM
 
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Another thought is about the classes he'd be missing and how that would affect future scheduling. HS courses are often not offered every term, and he may find that he cannot take everything he wants/needs to. I really don't see how this program would give him an edge wrt college/university. To me, that would be more important than the money.

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#14 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 06:41 AM
 
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If he wants to make money, tell him to do some training so that he can get a higher paying summer job. For example, I was a lifeguard in high school and earned more than $11/hour. If I had guarded in the summer on the local lake I would have made upwards of $14/hour (I chose to work at my childhood summer camp instead - it was more fun and a better experience). That's more money, hourly and gross (in my city full time guards worked 45hr/week - OT paid time and a half, and you were guaranteed more time if you wanted it). Guarding was also easier - sitting in the sun, playing on the beach, the "lifeguard games" were always a big hit too (each beach staff competed in different events), and it teaches responsibility, way more first aid training, CPR for the professional rescuer, etc.

 

The first 6 weeks might be helpful to him, but the second 6 weeks sounds like hard physical labor (you said its renovating a building - and you didn't say he wanted to do construction as a career path). I would not be supportive, as he may not want to finish once he starts. And, even if the first 6 weeks are helpful, he will get that other places. The Resume building stuff may not even be that helpful, since my resume has been a different format every time I've searched for different types of jobs.

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#15 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks all.

 

The whole thing might be moot, anyway.  DS was supposed to call for the interview yesterday or today…. and I don't think he is going to.  

 

I am a little surprised no one thinks it is a viable idea - I wonder if I do because I come from a HSing background, hence see school in a more flexible light that others ? I always expected his teens years to be a mix-mosh or studies, working, maybe travel, devotion to interests…..so skipping a working opportunity that falls in your lap seems odd to me.  I might need to adjust expectations :)

 

The other part of this might be the easy money.  I might have $$$ for eyeballs, lol.  I just know how hard it would be for him to earn 4000$ in other ways while in school.  As I said, I expect it would take a minimum of 2 summers, if he gets lucky.  

 

I can and will talk to him about other ways to beef up a resume.  The 1st aide might be a good thing to do on a weekend, for example.

 

To re-iterate:   none of this is relevant to  a career path.  It is all about the money, and perhaps using some of that money to fund a career path.  

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#16 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 09:11 AM
 
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I know part of the hesitation for me is wondering what type of student he'd be working with. In our area, these sorts of programs tend to be for drop-outs or young adults who are forced into them by their frustrated parents. I know, I know... there are great kids who drop-out or don't continue on with their education but it's an environment that I feel my own kids would find frustrating.

 

Maybe our schools run differently too. Almost all the courses in our area are year long and so missing a semester means having to retake the entire year. You can't take 2nd semester calculus in September and you can't join in for spring semester having taken a year off from the subject. What could you even take that first semester back? There are a handful of schools that do an entire course in one semester but they are either run through the community colleges or they are high schools for which kids only take 3 or 4 subjects at a time instead of 7. Summer school is also a luxury for most of our districts and they tend to only offer remedial courses. While he hasn't been in school long, will it bother him not to have a graduation ceremony if he finishes school half-way through a regular year? Will he care that he won't be with the friends he's with now. How old is he? If he has to redo the year how old will he be senior year?

 

Like I said, I do think there are some fantastic opportunities outside of school. My own kids worked in professional theatre much of elementary and middle school but they were also required to keep up with school or else their entertainment work permit would be revoked. It was fantastic for them, they made a lot of money, met some phenomenal people, developed a strong work ethic, ect. This work program you speak of could be great but I guess I'm suspicious of programs that require a minor not be in school. Why aren't they offering this in the summer?

 

Another option... can he do this program while keeping up with his work homeschooling or independent study? 


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#17 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 09:42 AM
 
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 There are a handful of schools that do an entire course in one semester but they are either run through the community colleges or they are high schools for which kids only take 3 or 4 subjects at a time instead of 7.


This actually depends on the district/area. The majority of high schools in our area have block scheduling - four classes each semester. So the kids actually take eight classes/year, as opposed to the standard seven. Nor are all the courses run through the local community college. Some are, most are not. As an example, AP Calc AB/BC are taught fall/spring semester. You have to take AB to take BC. Generally, it's a senior set of courses. Miss AB, you're not taking BC. In general, block scheduling provides greater opportunities to take higher-level courses, since a student can get pre-reqs done in one semester, and the higher-level class in a subsequent.

 

I hadn't even thought about how missing one semester would affect a traditional scheduling system.

 

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#18 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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This actually depends on the district/area. The majority of high schools in our area have block scheduling - four classes each semester. So the kids actually take eight classes/year, as opposed to the standard seven. Nor are all the courses run through the local community college. Some are, most are not. As an example, AP Calc AB/BC are taught fall/spring semester. You have to take AB to take BC. Generally, it's a senior set of courses. Miss AB, you're not taking BC. In general, block scheduling provides greater opportunities to take higher-level courses, since a student can get pre-reqs done in one semester, and the higher-level class in a subsequent.

 

I hadn't even thought about how missing one semester would affect a traditional scheduling system.

 

 

Yes, it is regional and I don't know what is the norm in the OP's area. I'm just commenting on our own. In our area, this is not the norm and the few high schools that offer it (outside the middle college programs) don't actually offer more in ways of advanced classes than the traditional schools. They offer the kids more "electives" but academically, their kids don't end up any further ahead than the traditional schools. 
 

 


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#19 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 10:38 AM
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If he was excited about the opportunity to get into the building trades and struggling to stay motivated in school because of a lack of relevant coursework, I would be OK with missing a semester of school.  But he's not.  His interests would be just as well served by a fairy godmother who waved her wand and produced a $4000 check.  The College Financial Aid Fairies are much more likely to visit a kid who completed high school in 4 uninterrupted years. 

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#20 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Op here:  in my area, the school is broken into 2 semesters.  The second semester just started.  Courses only run the length of the semester.  Leaving school now would cause him to lose one semester - not one year.  

 

Yes, this would mean he might graduate in the middle of the year.   I actually see this as a bonus, as he could work and earn money for university (we cannot pay for all of university).  Graduating in June with a September start date for university would be tight, financially. 

 

He is in grade 10, in a system that graduates kids in grade 12.  He will be 16 in 2 weeks.

 

All of this might be a sign to me that I figure out/ help him figure out how to pay for his goals.

 

whatnextmom - The program is for 15-24 yr olds.  The program stipulates it is not for students, but for those not currently in school. On the young end of the spectrum, I expect most will be high school drop outs; among the older ones, it might be people who have graduated but are having trouble finding work.  I do not think he will be unduly influenced by a roughish crowd (if indeed it is rough) but I don't think he will get much out of it either, except money. Maybe I just need to explore/suggest he explore other ways to make money.  

 

 

 

 

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#21 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 His interests would be just as well served by a fairy godmother who waved her wand and produced a $4000 check.  



He would really like that, lol  goodvibes.gif

 

Do you really think a financial aide person would really care that it took more than 4 years to graduate?  (note to self:  look into it).  I know most Uni's here only look at the top 6 marks from grade 12…...

 

His marks are good (average 75%) but it is only his first year in school and he missed 3 weeks of school (due to a trip) so maybe his marks will go up and be good enough for a scholarship…I just don't know.  

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#22 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 12:31 PM
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I only know the US system. Taking more than 4 years to complete high school would be an issue for competitive college admissions here. In many school districts, taking three weeks off would have meant failing the semester and a 75% average would not be good. Canada is a different world. 

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#23 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 12:46 PM
 
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whatnextmom - The program is for 15-24 yr olds.  The program stipulates it is not for students, but for those not currently in school. On the young end of the spectrum, I expect most will be high school drop outs; among the older ones, it might be people who have graduated but are having trouble finding work.  I do not think he will be unduly influenced by a roughish crowd (if indeed it is rough) but I don't think he will get much out of it either, except money. Maybe I just need to explore/suggest he explore other ways to make money.  

 



Well, then, his application to the program isn't based on honesty. He is enrolled in school, therefore he doesn't meet the qualifications for the program. Yes, he could drop out of school - but as he is applying he is taking classes. That just doesn't sit right with me, unless he is being completely honest about the fact that he is enrolled in classes, and would drop out if he is accepted (which would disqualify him it sounds like).

 

Also, I want to point out that $4,000 isn't exactly alot of money, and would hardly touch the cost of attending university. If he spends part of it on a laptop, that will cost at least $500 most likely, and depending on what he gets up to $1,500. Then he has between $2,500-3,500 left. IF he doesn't spend any, he will have the beginnings of saving for college - but it would hardly reduce the amount of loans and such that he would need to take out. But if he does spend it, then he's right where he is now, with more "stuff".

 

There are definitely other ways to make money, and he might be able to do some work from home (creating and selling things - woodworking for example) very part time, to supplement whatever he makes in the summers. But, like most people these days, he will probably graduate college with an s-load of debt (I'm saddled with quite a bit myself).

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#24 of 31 Old 02-14-2012, 02:58 PM
 
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I'd say no, but not for the reasons other people have said. I don't think that taking a semester off would be that bad, especially for a child who's been homeschooled and sees education as more flexible anyway.

 

He would potentially be taking a spot from someone who needs the spot. If your son is compared to a teen who's disadvantaged, doesn't have educated parents or has dropped out of school, he is going to look better on paper and probably interview better. He's got a better shot at getting into the program than other kids.

 

BUT, he doesn't need the program like they do. It's unethical, IMO.

 

Now, part of my response is colored by 2 things:

1. My kids go to school where 80% of the families receive free and reduced lunch. My kids get Christmas presents donated to them by a local high school because many of the families truly cannot afford presents at Christmas. I feel horribly guilty for accepting them, but there's no gracious way to decline. I know how hard it is for some of these families to keep their kids in school.

 

2. I teach at an urban university where many of the students are first generation college students. The difference between students who have families who have gone to college and those who haven't is pretty big in ways that matter. Students whose parents are college educated come see their advisers, they know how to make requests for extensions, they can work the system. Those who don't are very much hit or miss. Some of them figure it out on their own. Some don't. The ones that don't aren't any less bright than the students whose families have college degrees, but they fail much more often. They need someone to teach them how the system works.

 

I see this program as teaching students how the system works. It's a bit disingenuous for a student whose family knows how the system works to take a place because earning $4,000 would be nice.


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#25 of 31 Old 02-15-2012, 05:54 AM
 
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considering he just started conventional school and is doing well there and liking it, I'd say leave him in school.

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#26 of 31 Old 02-15-2012, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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considering he just started conventional school and is doing well there and liking it, I'd say leave him in school.



That is where we are heading.

 

This whole thing, though, has been a bit of a wake-up call for me wrt teens, money and future expenses…..  I need to be more proactive with him on having discussions on how to build resumes, etc.    I do think the centre where the program is taking place offers free resume and interview workshops - so that is good.  

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#27 of 31 Old 02-15-2012, 06:34 AM
 
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Late to the conversation, but I might have discussed some kind of flexible school scheduling with him. I don't think there is anything essentially wrong with taking a semester to do something else.  Plenty of students do overseas exchange trips for a semester. Since it's a 12-week program, it ends in May or June. If he left school for this semester, I would ask him to consider taking at least 1, and maybe 2, courses at summer school. It's would be as if he were taking an early summer break to work, but returning to school in July rather than September. I tend to agree with others, though, that he isn't really a candidate for this program. 

 

I hear you on the jobs and financing. DS likes the place he's been working (a community centre art gallery and workshop) for the past couple of years, but the hours aren't great. He talks about finding something better, but there isn't a lot of incentive when he's otherwise happy with the work and the people. 

 

Does his high school offer assistance and/or courses on employment and career planning and finance/business planning? A lot of them have pretty good resources now through the guidance office, and some even have courses for credit. 

 

 

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#28 of 31 Old 02-15-2012, 10:41 PM
 
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I think at 16, he already has a job-- school.  Unless your family really needs the money, I don't see any other reason for him to quit this semester of school and pursue this job.  

 

Your perspective on flexible work/school schedules is interesting to me, and one that I have never considered.  And I can certainly see how that situation must play out in many families.  But I think what's optimal is to get your child to finish HS, perhaps while working at the same time, in order to save money for college.  

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#29 of 31 Old 02-16-2012, 07:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by chaimom View Post

I think at 16, he already has a job-- school.  Unless your family really needs the money, I don't see any other reason for him to quit this semester of school and pursue this job.  

 

 

Once I felt as you do. I thought school was the most important priority for a child and nothing should interfere with attendance. I've adjusted my thinking and my view has broadened quite a bit. There are lots of great reasons for a student to get some work experience, and money is only one. Many teenagers are trying to sort out their place in the world and what kind of future they want to work toward. Education is the priority, but education can be pursued in all sorts of places and by all sorts of means. It can be very helpful to gain some experience in a setting other than traditional school, even if the opportunity isn't in the industry or kind of work that is the student's long term career goal.

 

For a couple of years, my dc attended a high school with a great work experience program. The high school prided itself on its academic standards and placed very high on standardized testing outcomes. The school also had a philosophy that students should be prepared for every aspect of life, not just studying. Therefore, every student in 10th grade had to find 2 placements - one in a community service/volunteer/public service organization and another in a typical employment situation. They spent the better part of a month in these placements. It was a valuable experience for them and opened a lot of eyes on the demands of the workplace, working with others to create a successful business, and serving a clientele. 

 

Some schools now incorporate co-op learning in their schedules, either in term blocks or on a weekly or monthly basis throughout the school year. If that kind of program isn't available but a student wants to pursue an opportunity to gain experience (and/or for financial reasons), then it should be open to them to cobble together their own program. A high school with a semester system lends itself very nicely to taking time for an alternate experience for a high school student - work or volunteer or travel. I think it would be an improvement if the school system was more integrated with community opportunities for learning. If such integration doesn't exist, a student who is inclined to create their own opportunities shouldn't be dissuaded because of a reflexive preference that all teenagers should be attending school. Rather, the adults who counsel them (parents, teachers, potential employers etc.), will provide the most help if they support the student to examine closely the opportunities and consider whether they are appropriate or not and any possible consequences. 

 

 

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#30 of 31 Old 02-16-2012, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaimom View Post

I think at 16, he already has a job-- school.  Unless your family really needs the money, I don't see any other reason for him to quit this semester of school and pursue this job.  

 

Your perspective on flexible work/school schedules is interesting to me, and one that I have never considered.  And I can certainly see how that situation must play out in many families.  But I think what's optimal is to get your child to finish HS, perhaps while working at the same time, in order to save money for college.  



No, we don't need the money. 

 

I would be reluctant to allow a child to drop out of school to pay for family needs - as I do not think that is their job.  It is the parents job to supply the family needs if at all possible.  If they wanted to work part time and give money to the family, that would be very noble,  but it is nothing I would put on them.

 

No, his desire to make money stemmed from wants and future wants as opposed to needs.  Computer, travel, university…...

 

DH and I graduated university in the mid 90's and it took us 10 years to climb out from the student debt.  It was a huge albatross around our necks, particularly in the early years.  If he were to do this (which he isn't) I would discuss (borderline insist) he put away 3/4 of the money for the future.  I would like to save my kids from the sort of debt I had.  We do have some savings for school, but they are no where near enough to cover University.

 

I know there is an odd contradiction in the above but I have a head cold, lol, so figuring it out might be tricky.

 

I do not doubt for one minute he would go back to school in the fall.  If I did I would never even consider it.

 

Our school does have a co-op class in grade 11 or 12, that may be a good way to gain work experience (and more in a chosen field) than the 12 week program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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