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Discussion Starter #1
I just had a long, long talk w/ my 13-year-old friend who is really having a tough year. I thought people here might have some practical ideas I could forward to her.<br><br>
She's a very smart girl, very mature, interesting, creative, super self-motivated. Lots of ongoing family issues and IMO they are starting to really affect her (unresolved separation btwn parents, money problems, both parents have health issues, dad has obvious depression issues, though he doesn't see it).<br><br>
I am going to have to keep things a little vague since I don't want anyone to ID her possibly from what I am writing here (she's a friend, not my daughter, so I don't think its right to put anything too clear in here).<br><br>
She recently moved to a smaller town w/ her mom, who needed to downsize for financial and personal reasons. The girl had to leave a G&T school where she was not very happy (very rigorous, high-pressure). The work was never a problem for her but the atmosphere not positive. She's skipped 2 grades and is now a freshman in high school. She's miserable though- says school is boring and easy, other kids are dumb or pretend to be, and she gets bullied and made fun of and she dreads going to school. She also feels like she's grown apart from her same-age peers who are still in 7th grade.<br><br>
She was thinking of going to an "early college" program but she's kind of too young to start, plus the $$ is an issue. She is thinking of going back to live with her dad and going to a specialized/elite high school in the city (and probably repeat 9th grade). But, IMO, he is not stable enough to provide an appropriate home for a 13yo. And I don't think her mom will agree to it anyway.<br><br>
I was suggesting she look at free schools, but there aren't any w/in a reasonable commute of her home.<br><br>
I don't think her parents would consider boarding school, nor could they afford it, but maybe. Are there particular ones in southern new england or northern NY that would be good to look at?<br><br>
Do people have good experiences with distance or home learning programs for high schoolers? Which ones? How to find peers and social group? Mom and girl aren't getting along so well (normal for the age, I think, but its been hard on the mom who was always SO CLOSE with her daughter). Mom has never really wanted to do HSing but I think she'd consider it if there was support for her and social interaction for daughter- she's mentioned it to me in passing before as a possibility (I am also friends with the mom). Mom also works full time from a home office. To me advantages of homeschooling would bet that the girl could go at her own pace, could have more flexibility to visit her dad, and *maybe* could hook up with some other interesting kids, if there are some in her area. Downsides would be possibly being even more isolated than she already feels, and losing teachers, losing the potential social things (like sports, arts, etc, and she is into those things). Also, they have unpredictable internet- would that make distance learning schools impossible?<br><br>
Anyway, I am really feeling worried for my young friend and would love to provide her some productive information- have sent her some links to look at (like a very small local Waldorf high school... not sure if that would really be any better for her but I suggested she just go visit? and some regional homeschool networks).<br><br>
Thanks.
 

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There is a small college in MA right near the NY boarder, called <a href="http://www.simons-rock.edu/" target="_blank">Simon's Rock</a>. It is an early college. Of course they mostly get typical age high school sophomores and junior, not accelerated freshmen, but it is to a certain degree more set up for minors. She could look into <a href="http://www.simons-rock.edu/admission/tuition-and-financial-aid" target="_blank">financial aid and scholarships</a>.
 

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I would post this over in the unschooling forum. The moms there have lots of ideas and could probably give some pointers on how she could create her own educational program that is suitable to where she is at academically and socially.<br><br>
Two books that might also be useful are the Teenage Liberation Handbook and Guerilla Learning both by Grace Llewellyn.<br><br>
I think most states have home programs now through k12 if she is looking for something already put together, otherwise there are tons of materials available for whatever interests she has.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks ladies-<br>
Simon's Rock is def on her radar but she just turned 13 and I think she and her mom feel she's a bit young still to do that. She might do some part-time over there.<br><br>
I will try to cross-post in the homeschooling board, that's a good idea.<br><br>
Thanks! I've been close with this girl since she was a couple months old and its hard to hear what a tough time she's having. I know just listening and validating her is mostly what I can offer right now, but I keep hoping I could come up with some practical ideas too.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">There is a small college in MA right near the NY boarder, called <a href="http://www.simons-rock.edu/" target="_blank">Simon's Rock</a>. It is an early college. Of course they mostly get typical age high school sophomores and junior, not accelerated freshmen, but it is to a certain degree more set up for minors. She could look into <a href="http://www.simons-rock.edu/admission/tuition-and-financial-aid" target="_blank">financial aid and scholarships</a>.</div>
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I have a friend that went there. Send me an email if you think she'd be interested and I could share what I know about that...
 

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Homeschooling and distant learning are worth exploring. You mention that mom may agree if there were "support for her and social interaction for her daughter", but the description of the current school environment doesn't portray a healthy social experience:<br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>emmaegbert</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15364241"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">She's skipped 2 grades and is now a freshman in high school. She's miserable though- says school is boring and easy, <b>other kids are dumb or pretend to be, and she gets bullied and made fun of and she dreads going to school.</b> She also feels like she's grown apart from her same-age peers who are still in 7th grade.</div>
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If social interaction is her greatest concern about withdrawing her from the current school, perhaps she needs to re-evaluate.<br><br>
What kind of support is the current school offering? Even if there is no gifted program, is it possible to access some enriched programming with a few like-minded students? Or is it possible to set up some distance learning at the school, in place of some of her regular classes. That may help make school bearable.<br><br>
Extra-curriculars are always a good place to look for friends outside of school. Does she have some outlets like sports or music or drama?<br><br>
Are there mentors in the community who could offer some support and enriched learning experiences? Does she have special interests that she could pursue - eg. extend her science learning by participating with an ecology field study group or history by working with the local historical society - it may take a little work to find the right opportunities.<br><br>
It's wonderful that you are trying to help out and providing support. Best wishes to her and to you.
 

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You and she (and her mom) could read "The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life" by Grace Llewellyn. It would probably blow your minds wide open to alternative possibilities.<br><br>
My teen was unschooled her whole life but since age 14 has attended school part-time, doing a combination of in-class courses and independent-study flexible distance / distributed learning courses, just a light, part-time courseload. She also continues to focus on her unschooled passions -- violin performance, piano study, choral singing, creative writing, literature, part-time work, international travel and such. We are in Canada, so the administrative rules and legalities that make this possible for us may or may not work for you, but we have found that if you talk to the right people there is much unexpected flexibility in the school system.<br><br>
Miranda
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ollyoxenfree</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15366259"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Homeschooling and distant learning are worth exploring. You mention that mom may agree if there were "support for her and social interaction for her daughter", but the description of the current school environment doesn't portray a healthy social experience<br><br>
[...]<br><br>
What kind of support is the current school offering? Even if there is no gifted program, is it possible to access some enriched programming with a few like-minded students? Or is it possible to set up some distance learning at the school, in place of some of her regular classes. That may help make school bearable.</div>
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ITA about the social interaction. I am trying to think about how to word it to the mom. Mom is a very smart, interesting woman but a little conservative in her views on education- though watching both her kids struggle in different ways has helped open her mind to other options I think.<br><br>
The mom was herself attending college full-time by 15, and says she didn't have friends, but that it just didn't bother her. Her daughter very much wants to have more social life. And wants a lot of distance from her mom right now. I think some of the social problems she is experiencing are also normal 13-year-old girl angst and will get better with a little emotional maturity (she herself may begin to tolerate a little more imperfection from her peers, KWIM?)<br><br>
I think she's already in all honors classes and might even skip another grade next year if she stays there (will turn 14 halfway through junior year then). I wonder if she could do a part-time option at school for some subjects... I'll suggest she look into that. I only partly jokingly suggested to my young friend that she join the nerdiest clubs and see if she likes those kids- the ones who seem too geeky even to her (she's a bit snobby about that!)- they might not care as much about her being young. She is on a non-school related swim team which she loves, and just did what sounded like a VERY cool internship at a local hospital (I encouraged her, "why not hang out with the kids who did that with you" since they sound like neat kids).<br><br>
I did talk with her mom about trying to get her into some art, music, or science extra-curricular stuff so she can meet other kids in her area and I'll reiterate that.<br><br>
Moominmama (I *love* your name btw) I will recommend that book to her.<br><br>
Thanks as always for the excellent suggestions.<br><br>
-Emma
 

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Community college?<br><br>
I interviewed a 16 year old high school senior last December when he applied to college. He was technically in his high school but was actually dual enrolled at the CC. In fact, he spent all of his time at the CC. He started at the CC when he was a HS freshman at 13 years of age taking one or two CC classes each semester, then skipped sophomore year of high school completely. Then essentially spent all of his Junior and Senior year of HS taking a full course load of college level courses at the CC, including Linear Algebra. It was his salvation. To this day, his HS peers don't understand him, but he fit in very well with his CC classmates and made friends with his professors.<br><br>
I also know a math professor in a regional 4 year state university who had a high school junior take his advanced number theory course. The professor, and I assume the students as well, didn't realize that he wasn't a university senior like the rest of the students until the high school junior had to make arrangements to take the final exam at an alternate time due to a conflict with a high school event.<br><br>
Although these were guys who looked kind of ageless, I do think that CC or regional 4 year state universities can provide a better social niche for a really gifted child than high school. It might be scary for the mother because some of the older college students are old enough to drink alcohol and both of these children lived at home with their parents and commuted to their college classes, but really, the young kids were very level headed and found a lot in common with college classmates.
 

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I was thinking community college as well but the tuition issue might be a problem b/c she probably won't qualify for financial aid since she hasn't finished high school yet. Our local district does offer to pay for their hs students to take some courses at the local cc as part of a dual enrollment program, though. Perhaps she could look into whether her district would fund something like that.<br><br>
This would require a move and that may not be possible, but have they looked at the Davidson Academy in NV?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
yah they are definitely not moving to Nevada!<br><br>
I think CC is what she'll start doing if she stays at high school. I wonder if she could do a mix of home study and CC through the school district. I think she may have one more year or math before she's supposed to start that- anyway somehow there is supposed to be a way for her to do it through the school district which keeps the cost down (not the logistics, necessarily...)<br><br>
I'm going to talk to her mom later this week and see if they've thought through any of it together.
 
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