We, too, have a 14 y/o high schooler and I, too, feel bad that I let her get as bad of an education in math in particular as she did in middle school. Because she had skipped the last year of elementary, there was enough of a step up in a few areas that I don't think that I was fully aware of how much she wasn't getting what she needed in math. This year in Algebra II she is paying for how inadequate her Algebra I class in 8th grade was. It was supposedly the "accelerated" math class and math is, admittedly, a subject where she doesn't just pick it up by osmosis like she does in other areas, but in hindsight I really wish that we had supplemented or done something over the summer to make sure that she wasn't in this spot where she just didn't have a solid foundation and the class is more work that it otherwise would be. I guess that I just assumed that, b/c she was getting As, she must be doing fine. She was doing fine, technically, but she wasn't learning.
OTOH, like you, dd and I both realize that she's getting a much better high school education than she would have had we not changed to a school other than the assigned school and she, too, is settling in and doing well. I hope that your dd finds a good peer group and is happy at her new school. This is such a moody challenging age anyway even if you've got a mature centered teen.
My DD switched schools 2 1/2 weeks ago, and there have been some bumps and some good stuff. I think she is starting to settle in. Some nights have been rough because she was behind in some subjects, and she is still having trouble asking her teachers questions and therefore has gotten zeros on a couple of assignments that she didn't understand. BUT she overall likes it and agrees that she is getting a better education. She is starting to like her math class, which is great to see because it used to be her favorite subject. She's also been angry and moody and done some acting out (but what else is a stressed our 14 year old going to do?)
My DH and I are really happy with the decision. The things that are hard about the transition have all reenforced that we really needed to get her out of her other school. I wish it were easier to start at a new school, but at least she is at the RIGHT school now.
This is good that you are happy with the move. And that you can see all the extra work she has to do now points to how little education she was getting before. Although I am sure it is stressful, I imagine it is much more stressful for her than you, after all she is the one jumping through hoops, learning all new study habits, learning a whole new social structure (which I would say in the beginning is actually much more important than what she learns academically.) I guess I am saying let some of her attitude or grades or acting out slide for a half year or so, until she finds her way in the social situation. Once that is in place, and she is comfortable and relaxed, then the real learning can start.
Every single thing that has happened has affirmed that we made the right decision. We are VERY glad we decided to jump ship sooner rather than later for about a billion reasons.
The stress thing is odd -- the stressful part for me was before the decision was made. Trying to weigh the options and figure what really would be best for her was very tough and I lost sleep over it. November and December were rough for me. She wasn't stressed at all at that point.
The stuff she is going through right now is extremely stressful for her -- but not for me. I'm not the one who has to do it, I'm on the sidelines cheering her on. I'm just trying to figure out the best ways to support her.
Her grades need to be all at least Cs, and right now they aren't. And there is a limit as to how much acting out I'll put up with. Even when we are stressed, we don't get to treat the people we live with like crap.
BUT we are working on it. Being clear, helping her connect with her teachers, etc. Things aren't where they need to be right now, so we are providing the help and support to get them there.
I'm really proud of how well she is facing this challenge, and I tell her so pretty much every day.
but everything has pros and cons
So glad you found a solution that you are happy with.
Is math part of what needs to be caught up with? If so, then would it be helpful to get a tutor, just for a couple months? Like a college student majoring in math or physics could help bring your daughter up to speed with the math really quickly. Your daughter would be much less likely to act up with the college student, and more likely to act up with you if you try to help your daughter with the math homework. For me, the reduced stress on me would be worth the extra cost! :D
I'm so glad you made the switch and it's working. Where is your older daughter now?
Hire a tutor for the math stat. This can shift you into parenting mode entirely, putting all the teaching onto a different relationship. Plan on a few sessions a week. Have the tutor focus on keeping up with the class for about half the time, but spend the rest on patching holes. Ask the teacher for the end-of-first semester assessment (or each chapter assessment from the first semester). Have her and the tutor work through them, identify holes, and start patching. Your DD is super bright. This won't be a long-term endeavor.
I changed schools half way through high school. I was challenged in school for the first time in my life. I had a huge amount of homework all of a sudden, and it was hard. I remember going to bed earlier for months after the switch. Yet in retrospect, my stress levels went down overall, as I was finally in a more appropriate environment.
My older DD started at our local community college, and that seems to be going fine. She has some anxiety issues, so my DH took her first week off work and went to all her classes with her to help her get through the door and get started, but now that she has started she is doing fine. She taking a anthropology, plant biology, art and a developmental math course. She likes her teachers and text books, and feels ready for this change. She is a little surprised at the amount of homework, even though we warned her!
We are seriously considering hiring a math tutor for both girls. Right now, my DH is in charge of helping with math homework. He's an engineer and him helping works well. DD#1's class backed up so much that she is doing fine right now, but will most likely need help later. For DD#2, when my DH is traveling with work, I scan and then email him things, and then they do it by speaker phone. When he is in town, they are spening 2-3 hours a night on math, but it is really paying off. She getting it, and is starting to enjoy the class. She's a math bright kid, and daddy is enjoying helping her.
I'm not sure when we would schedule a tutor -- things are a little crazy her right now. With both girls starting new schools and needing more support AND i just started a new job that I really wanted and applied for months ago PLUS my DH traveling every other week, we don't have a routine and we are all just flying by the seat of our pants. I'm hoping that in the next few weeks, things will settle down a bit. The money for the math tutor isn't the issue (one of the joys of going from a private school to a public one is now we have more money), but just figuring how to add One More Thing.
She hasn't completed adjusted to the new school, but she has said that she can tell that she'll get a much better education and really be ready for college. Every week is a little easier.
but everything has pros and cons