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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is kind of long but anyway:

My son is going to be a senior in high school this year. He failed an English course last year and now is lacking a 1/2 credit to graduate. To make a LONG story short I was able to convince the rector of his school to let me homeschool that 1/2 credit. He is willing to do this, but as a HUGE favor, he normally doesn't allow that and let me know that he was willing to do it against his better judgement. FINE.

So I got my son's school work in the mail and I am hoping
: to get this done by the new year, although I have untill April. He basically has a literature course to complete with a small amount of writing. My problem is that I cannot get him to do his work. He tells me he's just not motivated and the it is boring and
.

I have offered to read the books with him (Great Expectations and Silas Marner) I have offered to help him write his essays, I have done everytning I can think of short of taking the computer out of the house (which I am seriously considering doing) to get him to start on this project. I have explained to him how hard it was to get the school to agree to let me do this for him and he's just so ambivilant about the whole thing...

I am
. You know what...I wish I'd never done it. I really don't think he'd care whether he graduates or not. I really, really don't think he cares. Everytime I think about it I'm like :puke It seriously makes me ill.

Now he's walking around the house like HE'S the one all offended that I got on to him again about not doing his work. I don't yell at him, I don't nag him but I do remind him that he needs to do his work. I remind him how difficult it was for me to get this done and that I need him to make the effort to finish this credit. He's like
I'm like
Oh help me PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GAWD! Where DID I put that burbon?


If nobody has any advice at least thank you for letting me vent....
 

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He's a SENIOR. Cut the cord, mama, cut the cord. Make him read the books and write the essays himself. He'll either do it (and be really proud of himself--more than if you had helped him)---or he'll fail and learn the hard way, and have to get his GED later.

Where do I get off talking to you like this? I'm a high school teacher.

PS. Perhaps help him get the books on tape, but make him follow along in the book while he is listening to it.
 

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well at his age, and old enough to know the consequences, I'd advise to allow him to make the choice. you've done as you can and you did well but it is time for him to amke his decisions. hard to watch some you love make a bad choice but some need a hard path.
 

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All you can really do is give him your opinion (you have it seems) and then step back. You cannot force him, clearly. I understand that it can be difficult to watch people we love struggle or make decisions that make us nervous, but sometimes all we can do is share what's on our minds and then let them do what they will do.

Have you asked him about his feelings on graduation? Plans for after grad?
 

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If you feel the computer is stopping him from doing his work then take it away. I know the other moms said "at this age" well at this age he is still in your house and you have rules. If the rule is you cannot go online till you complete these tasks, well then thats the rule. You should point out to him he could have sat in summer school all summer long and that you are doing him the favor, not the other way around. And if he still chooses not to do it, then he has to deal with the outcome, tell him it will be a lesson in For every action there is a reaction and if his action is to not do his work then he will not pass.
 

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In my opinion a restriction from the computer just doesn't make much sense, especially at that age. What is he ...17 or 18 years old? What happens if he decides to use it anyway? What restriction comes next?
 

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Let him make the choice, he's old enough. He will either do it and graduate or not. He can get the GED if he wants to as well. That may be more appealing to him than having to do a bunch of "boring" work.
 

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I think the computer issue is moot.
If he is not motivated to do the school work, having computer access, or not having it, will probably not change that. He will just find something else to do.

If I don't feel like washing dishes, you could remove every particle of matter in the universe except for me and those dishes and, I would still just sit there and stare at my toes!


You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If he doesn't do his work, that is his choice... I understand this....but I don't want it to come back on me later. Ex: "I would have done it but I had no one to help me" "I didn't understand it." Whatever. It's just hard to sit back and let him dig a grave, knowing he's going to put himself in it WILLINGLY out of laziness and stupidity. I give him a lot of space, I don't get in his face, I defend him when his dad starts to get down on him, I don't baby him and he basically does what he wants. Am I expecting too much in return? He doesn't go to public school, he goes to a private school, so it's more than just time invested here....if he flunks not only will he not graduate, I will have flushed a bunch of money down the toilette as well.

I don't have a problem "cutting the cord" I just have a problem with him being lazy and then using excuses to back up his bad decisions. THAT is what makes me so damn mad.
 

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I just graduated last year so my .02 is this...

What I noticed from my less then motivated peers was that as the year went on they got MORE motivated. Listening to everyone talk about post grad plans is a HUGE push to finish things up. It's like positive peer pressure...?
:

At my high school you could still walk at graduation if you were less then 1 credit behind, and then make up the credits in summer school. I don't know if his school would have something similar (and I'm sure it would be the last option since you already went out on a limb for him). However it's nice to have a plan B, if only to keep yourself sane
 

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I can tell how frustrated and worried you are. It's hard to be the mom some days, no?

Some things to ponder:

1. It's not really money "down the toilet" if you think about it. Just because he is not interested in the course work or assignments now doesn't mean that he never was, or that he never got anything of value out of it before this point.

2. If you have made yourself available to him for help and guidance, and he knows he can come to you then you have done what you can do. Short of locking him in a closet or some equally ridiculous and horrible thing, the choice must be his.

3. Often what seems like laziness is just a person thinking or processing or regrouping. Or it has been in my experience anyway. More important now than power struggles or accusations of being lazy and bad excuses is discussion about his future plans and ideas. Ask him real questions in a casual, non inflammatory way- Adult to (young) adult.

"Do you plan to graduate? Is it important to you? Why/Why not?"
"What can I do to help you with what you want to achieve?"
"Do you plan to attend college? What are your career interests?"
"Are you having any trouble understanding the work you need to finish to graduate? Can I help in any way with that?"
" If you choose not to graduate do you have any concerns about how that will affect you?"
"Do you plan to get a GED or no?"

Depending on where you are you could just graduate him yourself. You are homeschooling right? Depending on your state laws can't you just homeschool until he is legally done with required education, and then graduate him? Just another idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa
I can tell how frustrated and worried you are. It's hard to be the mom some days, no?

Depending on where you are you could just graduate him yourself. You are homeschooling right? Depending on your state laws can't you just homeschool until he is legally done with required education, and then graduate him? Just another idea.
Yeah I could, but he still has some required credits to do but he wants NOTHING to do with being homeschooled...that is to say he doesn't want to homeschool like I do for his brother and sister. He's glad he's able to make up the course at home and that he doesn't have to take two English courses at school this year, but he absolutely does NOT want to finish his senior year at home. I had hoped that would be an incentive to get this thing started....

Everything you guys have said so far make perfect sense and it's a huge consolation to have a sounding board.
 

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Hi momo7!

Well I did put my mom through something similar not too many years ago, and we basically made a deal that I would finish high school by going to the local community college. (I had been in public school, then homeschooled for a period of time, then returned to high school, then quit it again.) When my brother decided to take a year off after graduation, he showed my mom his plan to work and take some classes at the CC in order to decide what he wanted to do. Maybe you can cut a similar kind of deal? Either he has to show you he has a plan to do something else, or he has to do this thing he needs to do to graduate, but he can't expect to do nothing and have you say nothing.

I have to say that I am grateful my mom "made" me graduate from high school and go on to college. She knew I would enjoy it, and she knew I would excel. I am glad she didn't "cut the cord" but then, that has never been our family's way.

From a pedagogical standpoint, Dickens is a great sarcastic writer, which usually works to get teens interested in him, but at the same time, those are tough, dense, long books. I know you've already spent money on the course but would it be possible for you to design a different syllabus, perhaps with your DS's participation?

Perhaps he can decide which books he wants to read, and how he wants to structure his responses (in a journal, a paper, a creative project, music, visually, etc), and how he wants to evaluate himself. Would his school allow that? Does he hate reading in general, or is he just not interested in Victorians? If he must read those books, see if he will first watch the movie version. When you are facing those long books, it helps to have an idea of what is going on in them. Then he could even do a compare and contrast of the movie and the book. That's a project that is often fun for teens because it is flexible and not too demanding, but still leaves room to explore how interpretation works, and how the same events can have different meanings depending on context. Perhaps you could even structure it as a film course? He might get more excited about the homeschool aspect, even if he decides not to do it for the rest of his school year, if he realizes that it means he can have creative control over what he learns, instead of just doing "school at home."

(edit: he might even be more likely to choose doing the homeschool courses. If he's resistant to doing homeschool, it might be because he feels like he will miss out on participating at school, with his friends. A lot of my friends solved this by just participating in sports, or taking one class at school, and leaving for the rest of the day. Many of us went to community college our jr. and sr. years.)

I've been writing hypothetical English lit. syllabi all summer, and I have a lot of resources bookmarked, so feel free to PM me.
 

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Hugs mama.

You are speaking about him spending lots of time on the computer. What DOES he do on the computer?

The reason I am asking is because my own DS also spent/spends a great deal of time on the computer. He can take one apart and make two out of it. Or vice versa - have two old ones and make a new one.

He also was/is interested in studying programming, networking, general IT (Information Technology) stuff

He ended up (with my help $$) getting the books and the parts he needed to proceed with his interests.

Could your DS be interested in pursuing studies this way? As my DS started to get more and more involved in computer "stuff", he made a decision to take Computer Science as his major in college. Then he saw what prerequisites there were... you catch my drift.

I did not notice (will look when I click "send") your location. Maybe just send him here, to Silicon Valley, the "Geek land"
 

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My DH went to college fresh out of highschool and failed all his classes, he wasn't motivated, lazy, worked too much, played too many computer games and just plain didn't care. 4 years later after living on his own and working a few years he's already gotten an A in his first class and much more motivated, he is actually happy to go to school.

I'd say you did everything you could, don't feel guilty, I'm sure it's hard to watch but he may just have to live a little, experience life, take responsibilities for his actions, and just plain grow up a little. Just because he doesn't finish now doesn't mean he won't ever.
 
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