Away-from-home high school options: update in post 28 - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-19-2013, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Would love some outsiders' perspective on some options I'm considering for my middle dd. We're looking at alternatives to her current school situation.

 

She turns 15 this week and attends a small rural K-12 school in BC, Canada. We live outside a village of 500, about 90 minutes from a town of 10,000, with no public transit and no other nearby schools. Dd was unschooled until 8th grade, when she decided she wanted to attend school for some course-like structure, outside accountability, a place separate from home with a bit of a learning community, and access to teacher-mentors outside the family. She was well ahead of the curve academically, but it has worked pretty well for her so far. 

 

Nominally she's "in" 10th, though all her academic courses are all at the 11th grade level, and she's a straight-A kid. She plans to apply for pre-med programs at university. She is very diligent and quite mature. I've never done anything to help remind her about assignments or homework, for instance: she juggles it all perfectly despite having lots of extra-curricular complications. She takes her schoolwork seriously and looks after it all herself. With a November birthday, she's young for 10th grade, and so despite the fact that she's easily at an 11th grade level we don't really want her to graduate early. She doesn't have enough elective credits to do so anyway, nor is she in a huge rush to start university. She's happy to wait until age 17 to dive into pre-med stuff.

 

But ... the current school is just barely serving her needs and after the current crop of seniors graduate she'll have almost no social or academic cohort. The other three juniors are all doing applied stream academic courses. The 10th graders are mostly catty and anti-authoritarian, and there are really only one or two with significant academic aspirations. Electives here are the same four or five choices, offered again and again to a mix of kids from 7th to 12th grade. After she finishes her senior academics next year (by herself, by independent study) she'll have another year in which she could take, say, Calculus and Physics, but like everything else they'd just be on-line courses taken independently; otherwise she'll just be filling in her transcript by taking Foods or Personal Fitness or Art for the fourth or fifth time. And socially she'll be miserable: she hangs out a bit with the seniors now, but has nothing in common with (and a fair bit that's at odds with) the kids in the two grades behind them.

 

The social situation at the school is pretty dismal. She copes, but it's depressing. Her longest-term friend just moved away this weekend; another friend moved away in August (both in large part due to schooling issues), two other friends graduated last spring. Her brother and her boyfriend are her only two friends there, and they'll be graduating this year.

 

Two options present themselves. First... have her tough things out at the current school for this year and next, and then have her do an international exchange program during her senior year. She has no significant second-language skills (since her school doesn't offer anything much) so it could be a chance to pick up a language. We could probably afford it -- though we'll also have two in college that year -- and although she's not terribly adventurous yet, she's always thought that it would be fun to travel and live internationally someday.

 

Second ... starting next fall we could have her live in a town 90 minutes away and attend a larger high school (760 students rather than 34 students) that has academic classes at the junior and senior level, and a much wider range of electives. She could share an apartment with another girl 18 months older who is attending the same school and whose mom stays over two or three nights a week. They're family friends, the girl is a good kid, has the apartment to facilitate her busy extra-curricular schedule, since she lives 40 minutes from school/town. Or my dd could billet with a family or older couple. I could take her in on Sunday evening and fill up her fridge, bring her home Friday, and probably be down once mid-week for my other dd's activities. This larger school is one where most of her wonderful youth choir friends attend, so she's got lots of social connections already. She knows the other town well, as she's been doing activities there at least once a week for a decade or more. It's a safe, friendly, artsy town of about 10,000. The school is highly regarded and the kids seem to love it.

 

I'm leaning towards option 2 for a few reasons. First, almost two years is a long time to cope in the current school. Second, that's where she's socially connected, not here. Thirdly, given that she'd do most of her Grade 12 sciences next year, it would give her a far more robust pre-university education to do them somewhere that includes access to regular labs.

 

Dd is over the moon now that she realizes she doesn't necessarily have to spend the next almost-three-years in her current situation, and is excited about both possibilities, kind of overwhelmed by the choices. 

 

Any advice? Any suggestions or cautionary issues I haven't thought of? Obviously there's the basic minimally-supervised-teen-living-alone stuff which we'd have to deal with. We did allow our eldest to live away from home for 12th grade to facilitate her music training. But she was 17.5, being "old for grade." Middle dd will only be 15.5 because this would be one school year earlier, plus she was born at the opposite end of the year. But this would only be 90 minutes away, rather than across the country.

 

Thanks for helping me think this through.

 

Miranda


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Old 11-19-2013, 11:52 AM
 
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I think it is a great idea. My sister lived in her last two years of high school (in residence) and has life long friends from it. She loved the experience. She was about the same age.

The main thing would be to help her handle the increased responsibility. In this situation some would party, drink etc (or worse case scenario end up pregnant). It sounds like she wouldn't be one of these people though. I think that would be the main risk to mitigate. And you would need to help her be responsible for her living space unless you were going to help with that. Having set rituals for dishes etc would make her life easier.

I just moved froma rural area to town for better opportunities for school and friends. My kids are little though. If I was in your situation I would choose number 2 for sure.
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:21 PM
 
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Miranda, 

I don't have kids that age, but some of my friends did foreign exchange and I've traveled extensively after I got into college.  There's nothing like being in a foreign country.  It's not just about picking up another language (which wouldn't apply if she was in the UK, for example), but being exposed to a different culture is really valuable.  I can tell you that my traveling has drastically changed my life, my opinions, my views...I highly recommend it.

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Old 11-19-2013, 01:24 PM
 
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I went to England for my last semester of high school and had a great experience too!
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Miranda, 

I don't have kids that age, but some of my friends did foreign exchange and I've traveled extensively after I got into college.  There's nothing like being in a foreign country.  It's not just about picking up another language (which wouldn't apply if she was in the UK, for example), but being exposed to a different culture is really valuable.  I can tell you that my traveling has drastically changed my life, my opinions, my views...I highly recommend it.

 

I definitely get that; my 19-year-old has done a ton of international travel (she's spent significant amounts of time in Thailand, Myanmar, China, India and Laos, with plans to get to either Europe or the Caribbean this summer), and my family has helped host exchange students at various points. I mentioned 2nd-language issues mostly to point out that she'd be starting from scratch if she went to a non-English-speaking country, which adds a bit of an extra emotional / culture-shock burden for an introverted homebody of a kid who will still only be 16, so she'd be outside her comfort zone for sure. It's hard to say how ready she'll be for something like that in a year and a half.

 

Keep the thoughts coming! Very helpful so far.

 

Miranda 


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Old 11-19-2013, 01:45 PM
 
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I definitely get that; my 19-year-old has done a ton of international travel (she's spent significant amounts of time in Thailand, Myanmar, China, India and Laos, with plans to get to either Europe or the Caribbean this summer), and my family has helped host exchange students at various points. I mentioned 2nd-language issues mostly to point out that she'd be starting from scratch if she went to a non-English-speaking country, which adds a bit of an extra emotional / culture-shock burden for an introverted homebody of a kid who will still only be 16, so she'd be outside her comfort zone for sure. It's hard to say how ready she'll be for something like that in a year and a half.

 

Keep the thoughts coming! Very helpful so far.

 

Miranda 

I'm introverted myself, and although I really enjoyed travel in SE Asia (I was in my 30s), I'd probably recommend a culture that allows for more privacy for an introverted teenager.  Maybe Scandinavian countries?  

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Old 11-19-2013, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Iceland and Norway are top of her dream list right now.

 

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Old 11-20-2013, 01:15 AM
 
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I'd go with the second choice of living in a town 90 min. away if I were you.  There, not only would she be getting an academically and socially fitting environment but she'd also have a scaffolded entry into eventual adulthood and college.  Unlike a lot of incoming freshmen, she'd be thoroughly prepared to live away and take on pre-med in the university.  It is true that international exchange programs can have a profound impact on people but I generally don't see that for kids your Dd's age; I think older is better.  She will have the chance to do that later in her life should she choose to do so.  

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Old 11-20-2013, 10:27 AM
 
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Not having had kids that flew the nest, I can only speak from a perspective of a parent who might be faced with this for the first time:  I'd be scared, but I also would not want to limit my daughter's experience because I was nervous and clingy.  Your children have shown repeatedly that they are mature, trustworthy, and equal to this situation.  You know the town, she knows the people already.  I think if my daughter hadn't already established relationships with a social group, I might be even more nervous.  But you know the kids she knows, and it sounds like they are a relatively responsible bunch.  That makes all the difference in the world, I think.  Given all that, I think that letting her blossom away from home is a good choice.  

 

I would totally understand why you might consider keeping her home.  If I had any reasonable doubts, I would consider all the options in greater depth with the mind that "sorry, but this needs to work for you within this context.  It doesn't sound easy, but I think we could manage to turn it to your advantage".  But I don't see any reason for that, though I think you could pull it off with fewer limitations than you imagine.  You would totally be within reason, IMO to not send your 16yo off into the world (mostly) on her own.  But I also think that the other option sounds like a good fit, considering your personal circumstances.  So many details line up just the right way, I think it would be worth a go.  

 

Looking at this scenario from the POV of a mother of a 9yo girl, though, I can't say I see this issue with a clear mind!  (My inner Mama Bear is screaming "No Way In Hell!" :p)


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Old 11-20-2013, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Good point, Emaye, about considering the optimal age for an overseas year. I think some international travel is great for tweens and teens to really open their minds up to other ways of life and other cultures. I'm so grateful that my older two kids had those kinds of experiences in their early-to-mid-teens: they've had trips of 2 weeks to 2 months, alongside friends and trusted adults. But a 5- to 9-month exchange program seems, to this introvert at least, like a whole other order of magnitude in terms of intensity and challenge.

 

I do know a lot of exchange-program success stories, but I've also seen some of the not-so-great outcomes. I know kids who have come to our local community and ended up having to leave their host families because it just wasn't working. Recently a family with two young kids, a lovely caring well-intentioned family, had to find another local host family for a 17-year-old German boy they'd agreed to host for the year, because none of them had realized how difficult it would be for a teen to live as far out of town as they did. He was just miserable, unable to connect socially with other teens in the area, unable to take meaningful advantage of community resources, unable to participate in school extra-curriculars. Fortunately they were able to recognize what the problem was and find someone else, right in town, to take him, which really opened up his world in a good way, but his first half-year was super hard. I have a niece who did an au pair year at age 20 and ended up in a really poor-fitting situation; she managed to recognize the bullying tactics she was experiencing for what they were and eventually get herself out of it, but that's something I'm sure she couldn't have done as a teen. My brother's family hosted a Korean exchange student a few years ago who left after a couple of months due to homesickness. Two of my kids' closest friends have done 6-week French language immersion experiences recently and I know how incredibly difficult the first couple of weeks were for those girls, how close they were to coming home at the end of week 1. They were 17 and 19 at the time, and that was still within Canada.

 

So although I know that exchange experiences are usually on balance extremely positive, enriching, even life-altering, I also know they can involve huge amounts of stress. I realize that fall of 2015 is almost two years away still, but I'm not sure 16 is really the best age for my dd to jump into something like that.

 

Those of you who have had exchange-program experiences (living in another culture without anyone from home along with you for, say, >3 months) ... how old were you, and do you think the experience would have worked as well if you'd been 16 at the time?

 

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Old 11-20-2013, 10:15 PM
 
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I'm curious, have you considered a boarding school? 

 

We have a few here on Vancouver Island and they seem like they would be amazing opportunities for the right kid. I'm blown away by some of the resources they have, like one has an amazing theatre program and all sorts of fantastic opportunities for learning, working in the community, etc. My personal favorite has its own equestrian academy right on the property. I've ridden there and the facilities are lovely! Although they are pretty pricey they have scholarship programs and I bet your DD would have little trouble getting one. I don't know if there are any such schools close to where you are, and I think where I am would be a bit far, but just thought I'd throw the idea out there. 


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Old 11-20-2013, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We didn't really consider boarding school, assuming it wouldn't offer enough advantages to warrant the incredible cost and the distance. I'm pretty sure the Island has a near monopoly on secular or secular-friendly BC boarding schools, so she'd have to be a long way from home. There are one or two in the Lower Mainland, and all the rest are out your way. Eight to twelve hours away, so yeah, too far to get home except during long breaks, too far away for we parents to visit. We have a family friend who went to Shawnigan and she loved it (her family was just a hop and skip away from the Island). But I don't know .... in our situation boarding school seems like it would provide the same separation from family as international travel with none of the cultural advantages. And oy, the cost! Even with, say, a 50% scholarship, Shawnigan would cost scarcely less than what we'd also be paying for both the older kids to attend college.

 

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Old 11-21-2013, 01:42 AM
 
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Those of you who have had exchange-program experiences (living in another culture without anyone from home along with you for, say, >3 months) ... how old were you, and do you think the experience would have worked as well if you'd been 16 at the time?

 

Well, since you ask … I spent a year in another country way back before internet or even easy international calls (in a country where most ppl had no phone) and so relied on postal communication with my parents. 

 

I was 17 and I think for me it was definitely too young to be that far for that long.   Some things happened that I would rather not talk about.  

 

Had I been in a situation like yours, where I stayed closer to home with more frequent visiting it could have been very different.   My tendency would be to think like Sweet Silver, but then, too, my little baby is only 10.

 

Otherwise, your option 2 sounds pretty exciting and I wouldn't want to discourage such a great idea but in any case, my first thought when you mentioned that the local high school was not serving her needs academically, was to suggest taking online college courses through a MOOC.  


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Old 11-21-2013, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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college courses through a MOOC.  

 

Yeah, except her other academic courses are or will be essentially like that: Moodle-based interaction and assignment submission, computer-administered, some are primarily computer content. She works on them in the independent learning centre at the school, with a teacher occasionally available to ask for help if she has problems. This year pre-calc, chemistry and English are already in this format. Next year all her academics will be. When you're already tired of being in a class of one, I don't think the open college courses will add much stimulation. No real learning community, and they don't solve the lack-of-labs problem. 

 

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Old 11-22-2013, 03:09 PM
 
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I'm leaning towards option 2 for a few reasons. First, almost two years is a long time to cope in the current school. 

 

This. Two years still feels like a long time for me, in my forties, and at 15? An eternity. I couldn't have moved out at 15 though. Or 16. In fact, I didn't do all that well with it at 18- but I was much less diligent and organized. It sounds like your daughter could manage it, and might thrive in a larger school community with more opportunities. Given her maturity, I think option 2 sounds pretty good, especially if she knows that she can come back home any time if she doesn't feel that it is working for her.


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Old 11-22-2013, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Met with my friend last night. She's the one who has the daughter and apartment near the school where dd could attend for the next two years. She also had an elder daughter who did an exchange year in Thailand at age 18-19. She confirmed what I've been feeling and what you all have been saying here: for a proper year-long language/cultural immersion experience, 16 is too young for all but the most adventurous kids, and even if you have an older or very adventurous kid there are a lot of unknowns that can create problems. Her dd did fine, but it was a big stretch even at almost-19.

 

So, the apartment thing will probably work if we can find the right 2-bedroom place. They'll be happy for a bit of a break on rent, and the other girl will likely be grateful for my dd's company particularly on nights when her mom isn't there. There will likely be an adult there most nights: the other mom three nights a week, me one night, and the girls might be alone one night. I knew the other mom well when our kids were all pre-teens; connecting again last night helped us see that we're very similar in how we parent our teens, and I think the basic make-your-own-choices-but-tell-us-what-you're-up-to approach is what both kids are used to.

 

It's still a long time away, there are details to work out, and I wouldn't say the decision is final, but it's our Plan A at this point, and that's making my dd really optimistic.

 

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Old 11-24-2013, 09:27 PM
 
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Met with my friend last night. She's the one who has the daughter and apartment near the school where dd could attend for the next two years. She also had an elder daughter who did an exchange year in Thailand at age 18-19. She confirmed what I've been feeling and what you all have been saying here: for a proper year-long language/cultural immersion experience, 16 is too young for all but the most adventurous kids, and even if you have an older or very adventurous kid there are a lot of unknowns that can create problems. Her dd did fine, but it was a big stretch even at almost-19.

 

So, the apartment thing will probably work if we can find the right 2-bedroom place. They'll be happy for a bit of a break on rent, and the other girl will likely be grateful for my dd's company particularly on nights when her mom isn't there. There will likely be an adult there most nights: the other mom three nights a week, me one night, and the girls might be alone one night. I knew the other mom well when our kids were all pre-teens; connecting again last night helped us see that we're very similar in how we parent our teens, and I think the basic make-your-own-choices-but-tell-us-what-you're-up-to approach is what both kids are used to.

 

It's still a long time away, there are details to work out, and I wouldn't say the decision is final, but it's our Plan A at this point, and that's making my dd really optimistic.

 

Miranda

 

Thanks for the update!  It sounds like things are falling into place :)

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Old 11-26-2013, 09:14 AM
 
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Coming in late but not really much to add. Your kids have always impressed me with their independence and maturity. I don't doubt she could do well in the situation you described. I've only recently been able to see that capacity in my daughter at 16.5 but honestly, she still relies on us for a lot of social and emotional support. While she handles a lot of responsibility with oodles of maturity, she surprises me at times at how young and naive she can be. Her issues aren't necessarily your daughter's issues though.

 

My concerns would be her ability to maneuver in society as a minor. In the states, there is just so much they can't do until 18. I'd look into any restrictions she might have. Can she get emergency medical care without your consent? If not, is there a document or way to hand over her that right? Stuff like that.

 

Secondarily, I'd be a little concerned about any child that ages ability to manage peers alone. She'll be in a big school and likely exposed to some of the more unsavory elements of high school social dynamics for the first time. I know that my daughter has used the "oh, I'd love to but my mom is a tyrant" line a few times to wiggle out of uncomfortable situations (like an insistent 18-year-old body builder classmate who is not very accepting of her "no's... he only started backing off when she exaggerated our involvement in that part of her life and 6'4" dad walked her to the door one day and introduced himself.) It's not to say there isn't an alternative for your daughter but it may be worth talking about some of the uncomfortable scenarios that might arise should say, the older roommate have a group of co-ed friends over. Maybe work out some responses in advance to any attention she might get for being the minor with her "own pad."  I also recommend a self-defense class that role-plays those sorts of situations just for an added confidence boost. And of course, when you are prepared it tends not to happen right lol.

 

These are just general concerns and not necessarily anything specific to your case. I'll say you are a brave woman but if anyone's kids can do it, it's yours. Keep us posted. I do hope the school lives up to expectations! I think that Canada's system is at least not the rat race that U.S. high schools have become.


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Old 11-26-2013, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Good thoughts, whatnextmom. We shouldn't have a legal problem with her being a minor: medical consent in Canada occurs young and easily, and with other things like signing ISP contracts or whatever, we're not far away -- that was a major problem with dd19 when she was living as a minor 3000 miles away but should be easy to deal with here. Being unable to play the Tyrannical Overprotective Parents card is something I hadn't thought specifically about. I think we'll have to come up with some clear tactics, expectations and approaches to head off problems and give her some sort of safety net to fall back on. I would guess that if she's not there Friday or Saturday nights that will help minimize the issues a bit, but it won't eliminate them entirely. For the first year at least if there's a parent there most nights, and somewhat randomly, that'll help. 

 

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Old 11-29-2013, 08:59 PM
 
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Miranda,

This is coming from a mom of a teen boy (I am also a teacher) so take it for what it is worth. We just went through an experience where we had to make somewhat of a similar decision concerning our child.  What I can tell you is, although there is no "right answer" there are just right answers for you and your family.  It seems you have really thought this out well and that you have a lot of wonderful advise. Now you should listen to your heart. You are the one who knows your child and family best. 

Gayla

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Old 12-03-2013, 06:39 PM
 
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I would vote for option 2 also. My main concern would be that she might be a little too much on her own emotionally, and if it were my daughter, I would try to figure out how to best stay involved in her life despite the distance. The other challenges I can see are roommate issues or your daughter feeling like she's got less of a vote than the other girl because the other mother is there more-- I think it's all manageable, I'm just pointing out things you might want to think about and plan for. 

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Old 12-04-2013, 08:38 PM
 
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I think an apartment is a great idea as long as she has access to contraceptives (condoms for sure but something more long lasting would br my suggestion). I moved out and started college a month before turning seventeen and it was good that I did because I was able to have the reality of the real world without too many adult world consequences.

I suggest really focusing on working out house expectations though. Being roommates with a friend can be very damaging on the relationship and it is important to hash out clear boundaries and expectations beforehand.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:35 AM
 
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I just re-read this after seeing your other post and the picture out on the ice … I was just thinking about your littlest dd and what the impact might be on her to be the only child at home.    This is something that weighed on me when I was 17 and away from home for a year - I could have extended it for another year or longer, but one thing I thought of was that my two younger siblings would not have me around for support and company, etc.   
 
Not that it is a reason not to do it, but something to prepare for and try to mitigate as much as possible. 

no longer  or  or ... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just thinking about your littlest dd and what the impact might be on her to be the only child at home

 

Definitely something we're taking into account.

 

My first thought was that it would be a tough blow for her, but at a first discussion she was surprisingly fine with it, and the more we think and talk about it the more Inclined I am to agree with her that it will have several advantages for her. Her older siblings have been attending school for the past two years, while she's been the only child at home and we don't live on a school bus route, nor do we have public transit, so that means that our days are constrained by needed to drop off and pick up the big kids. The pick-up at 3 pm is especially difficult as it prevents us from doing a lot of homeschool activities and pursue other out-of-home and out-of-town activities. Also our Tuesdays have had to revolve around getting the older siblings to town for choir, which has had dd10 away from home from 2 pm to 9 pm for nothing that has any benefit for her. That weekly expedition will no longer be necessary which will be a huge bonus for her. We've noticed that when she's on her own with her dad and me, for instance when the siblings are away on a school trip or a choir trip, she actually loves that time when the flow of daily life can serve her needs more readily.

 

In addition, our tentative plan is to go to town as usual for younger dd's Thursday evening gymnastics, and then to stay overnight with the girls at their apartment and spend Friday doing "town things" until school is over for the week at which point we'd bring her sister home with us. That would mean a day of swimming at the pool, going to the library, and likely taking part in some of the homeschooling classes and get-togethers that happen amongst the community there. The Fridays In Town would be a tremendous perk for her. 

 

We also know that when our 15-year-old is away from home for a while she is much nicer to be around when she gets back. When she's missed the comfort and company of home after a period of busy-ness and travel, she's a really lovely person to be around for a few days. Absence making the heart grow fonder and all that. So I think weekends may be really nice for both girls. 

 

Miranda


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Old 12-07-2013, 07:01 PM
 
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In addition, our tentative plan is to go to town as usual for younger dd's Thursday evening gymnastics, and then to stay overnight with the girls at their apartment and spend Friday doing "town things" until school is over for the week at which point we'd bring her sister home with us. That would mean a day of swimming at the pool, going to the library, and likely taking part in some of the homeschooling classes and get-togethers that happen amongst the community there. The Fridays In Town would be a tremendous perk for her. 

 

We also know that when our 15-year-old is away from home for a while she is much nicer to be around when she gets back.

 

That all sounds wonderful for your whole family! 

 

I've been following the thread, but didn't have anything to add because everything had already been said by someone else. It is so tough when the current school situation isn't working and you need to make a switch, but this really sounds like all the pieces are falling in place. 

 

When will your DD return to the city for school? On Sunday nights, or is it close enough you could take her in on Monday morning super early?


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 12-07-2013, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I don't doubt there will be some difficulties; I'm sure there are times it will be hard on my youngest, and I hope it works okay for my husband, who will be on his own more than ever. I think middle dd will miss home, especially on weeks that have a bit of school stress in them. But there are always pros and cons. On balance it looks like moving her will be a good move.

 

I expect we'll go into town Sunday after family dinner, do the grocery shopping and get her settled for the week. Then she'd be able to have a quiet evening, a good sleep and a leisurely next morning. My guess is that will get her better recharged for the next week than an extra sleep in her home bed. Having said that we'll probably try it both ways and see which works best.

 

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Old 12-08-2013, 12:53 AM
 
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miranda first let me say i can see my now 11 year old is heading down ur dd's direction and she would be over the moon to have that opportunity.

 

my question is you are bringing her back home right when the social life begins. what if your dd does not want to come home on the weekend? what if she wants to just come home friday adn go back saturday, or stay saturday and come home on sunday am and go back sunday afternoon, evening. what would happen if she wants to stay back for a special school event and her roommate goes home. will you go and stay with her with your youngest and make it a family special trip? 

 

two years of boredom esp. in high school can be mentally damaging so i am glad you are not seriously considering keeping her there. 

 

what i have seen with my dd is that there is no true perfect solution. the moment you make a choice it also means you had to decide to let something go. from what you write i think your dd will be fine.

 

are there emancipation laws in canada? i know a few 13, 14 year olds here in the US who got legal emancipation so why cant a mature 15 year old manage on her own. 

 

but really like LOTM, i've been reading this but not really posting because its all been said. 

 

i would suspect your dd would be fine. its you and your dh who will have to adjust. 


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Old 02-18-2014, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Update: Yesterday we toured the prospective school and it was a very positive experience. Rather than being the only kid taking pre-Calc and physics, she'd be placed in one of several classes of 20-30 kids, with the option for AP courses. What a difference! It'll really give her that sense of being part of a school. It's friendly, lots of familiar faces in the halls, brilliantly set up with more options and amenities than I had at my high school of 2000 students. Music production, video and TV production, ceramics, three streams of dance, personal fitness development for girls, an adventure tourism leadership and safety program, co-op apprenticeship programs, French immersion, computer modelling and animation, plus academic options like psych, law, social justice and geology. Perhaps to most of you this doesn't seem amazing, but for the past 20 years I've lived in a town where the school has had to choose just a single senior science course which is only offered alternate years, and where students have to choose from amongst the virtually the same four elective courses over and over again from 7th through 12th grade.

 

So yes, the vice principal was encouraging and enthusiastic about her joining the school, and given the way credits accumulate on a provincial transcript here and transfer easily between schools there was no question of her not getting into whatever 12th grade courses she wants next fall. He was affable, and seemed very supportive of her desire to broaden and deepen her education over the next two years rather than graduating a year early -- which it turns out she would have enough credits to do. 

 

I don't think there's any point in legally emancipating her, since she'll only be an hour and a half away in a town we visit biweekly already, and will be home with us on weekends. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the role it plays, but in my experience it is mostly about giving legal independence as an alternative to foster care placement. She wouldn't need foster care to make our proposed arrangement kosher; there's no legal reason here that a teen can't live in a separate location with parental support. Perhaps things are different in Canada? Am I missing seeing the advantages emancipation give her? I suppose she'd have access to welfare payments, but that's not something that would feel right to us anyway.

 

Weekends ... totally negotiable. I expect she'll really want to come home, but at this point her track record is excellent and I'd have no problem with her being entirely on her own from time to time, or even more regularly. We're not committed to any particular living arrangement: at this point finding an affordable space within easy walking distance of groceries and the school is the biggest hurdle. We may end up sharing the rental of a house with a couple of other families in similar situations, where each family has their own bedroom and shares common space. Or we may luck into a separate granny suite in the home of a homeschooling family. We may find a 2bdrm apartment to share with the other girl and her mom. We may even consider a studio apartment where she'd be on her own for two to four nights a week, when dd11 and I aren't staying over. 

 

We've started dropping hints with the principal of her current school that she may not be returning. I feel really badly about deserting them. They desperately need the enrolment and every time one kid leaves two more seem to start thinking about it. The high school portion could be closed any time with numbers as low as they are, and that would be a huge blow to the community. But I won't sacrifice my girl's happiness and future prospects in order to try to make that a little less likely. She just got her mid-year report card and has the highest marks in the school in the most advanced science courses they're currently offering. She's a 10th grader who just turned 15. This school just isn't going to be able to continue to give her an optimal education, that's the reality. I'm sure they understand that.

 

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Old 02-18-2014, 12:22 PM
 
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It is just the reality of rural schools.  Ours has fewer than 100 students in the whole of K-12 education.  One student leaving, and their parents' support with it, can have an undue impact on the school but there is ultimately not much to be done about it.  (OK, I can imagine some crazy and wonderful solutions, but not very realistic.)  Our school district is strongly impacted because it has several school districts in close proximity with larger schools, more programs (even though funding is supposed to be evenhanded) and better opportunities and a positively competitive atmosphere for the ambitious student.  IME, pretty much any family that can get to another district does, leaving ours filled with poor kids that have largely hands-off parenting and relatively little parental support.  How we've managed to maintain the existence of this school is beyond me, except the community as a whole seems supportive.  But between 4-H and girl scouts, I don't know a single child that doesn't go somewhere else or else homeschools-- I know not one child that goes to school here.

 

Sorry for the OT ramble.  I'm glad the school looks like a good fit, and it's too bad that your local school cannot fairly accommodate her.  


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Old 02-19-2014, 10:32 AM
 
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So glad the school felt right! It must seem pretty exciting to her to have all those options suddenly. 

 

Emancipation is sort of an extreme and probably not even something she'd be eligible for since the kid has to prove they have means to care for themselves. Legally, I can't speak for Canada. I know the states are a little weird about it. There are strangely no set laws in this area. It's all case-by-case. You could leave your 12-year-old home alone while you are at work and no one would think twice about it or consider you neglectful. However, if a fire started while you were gone one day, you could be charged with child-endangerment and risk all your children being placed in foster care.... even if society, on large, thinks 12 is old enough to be home alone. If your child was home alone at 16 when a fire started, most likely, no chargers would be filed. However, if you'd left the 16-year-old at home for a few days while you flew upstate to care for an ailing grandparent... and something happened, then yes, you could get charged. Again, not suggesting you jump to emancipation in the least. I'm really just mulling over the oddity of society. 

 

Anyway, good luck! I hope she gets the experience she's looking for!


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