Hello -- I am also just doing research at this point. My daughter will be 15 in August. She is basically a good kid... so far... but failing 9th grade, which she will repeat again come August. Currently she goes to Amy Biehl, which is small and progressive, but she just blows off class/home work. If she cannot do well by repeating 9th grade, I would like to take her out altogether and concentrate more on life skills and finding what truly excites her. I have read (with great enthusiasm) the Teenage Liberation Handbook and while I completely agree in my heart, it is a tough pill to swallow, especially if your kid seems so unmotivated you wonder what letting her stay home will do -- will she just read comics and watch DVDs all day? Will she get tired of doing that and try to find her own motivation? Should I just make her get a freakin' JOB and contribute to the household? There are no drugs or booze or boys, but those temptations loom on a dark horizon for kids these days and the fear for me is of giving the freedom and not knowing where she will take it. Any advice out there? It seems that most people homeschool when kids are young and then slowly integrate them into the school system during HS and pre-college years; I feel like I'm doing the opposite. I've got a smart savvy kid for whom the traditional school system has never worked. Help!
Wow, sounds like you have really been putting a lot of thought into this.
I am sure there are others on here who can address your unschooling ideas more fully, I just wanted to say as I read your message I saw a picture of myself when i was that age. I am sure i would have spent the first who knows how long watching TV and playing games and talking on the phone, but eventually I can imagine i would have gotten sick of that, especially if there were exciting things going on around me that perked my interest.
Certainly a better alternative than what is going on at school with your daughter. The people I know with older homeschooled kids have such amazing rapore with their teenagers!
Check out this website http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/olderkids/OlderKids.htm it has a ton of great info on it about homeschooling teens...join the AtoZ yahoo email group too they have a lot of great moms who have teens and the mom who runs the group homeschooled two kids and the youngest is graduating college, she unschooled them and most of the moms on there with teens have the same issues as what you are saying so they would be a great source of info! Also, a local group GOAL (Gathering of Alternative Learners) they have a yahoo group, has a great group of teenagers that meets regularly to do teen things and they have a weekly park group! There are a ton of resources out there and things to do...and ideas!http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GOAL-GatheringOfAlternativeLearners/
Hi, I've homeschooled our son since he was in 4th grade. He's now 16 - and we're still homeschooling. For about the past 3 years he has been an independent learner. However, I have provided him with curriculum.
Although he isn't sure what field he wants to go into, he has decided to begin our local community college this fall (about 4 months before turning 17). His intentions are to strive for a basic degree, initially, and through the process decide what direction he wants to take - career wise. One step at a time. He may also take his GED, but we want to get some guidance from the college to see if it would benefit him. I'm happy and comfortable with this.
He has held a part time job since he was 15. I believe this has really helped him to grow and mature. In the process, he has become more responsible.
Perhaps you could give your daughter some options, and allow her to make a choice. In doing so, keep the options in her best interest, which have some boundaries or guidelines. I think that lack of motivation can be a phase that many teens go through. They aren't always mature enough to make adult decisions at this stage of their life. Sometimes they require a gentle push in the general direction they need to go, and guidance along the way.
Maybe the choices presented to your daughter could be: (1.) Repeating 9th grade in her current school. (2.) Going through summer school (if that's an option) and continuing with the rest of her peers in 10th grade. (3.) Taking charge of her own education through homeschooling/unschooling, along with holding down a part time job. This option could also include a correspondence/online school for the education part - if she shows no interest in unschooling (learning on her own). Perhaps she may want to attend a local technical school for a specific field? Maybe taking a GED Course and getting her GED? (4.) GED & Full Time Job - (Although, I'm not sure about the compulsory legalities - 16 may be the age that teens are no longer required by the state to attend school. At the age of 15, she'd probably need a worker's permit and wouldn't be allowed to work full time. Even part time hours are limited. You can check the State of NM Government website to get more detailed info on youth and work in NM.) - If this is her choice, then perhaps you could incorporate some or all of the following responsibilities: opening a savings account and regularly depositing to it from paychecks (or a checking account), paying you rent, financially covering a portion of the utilities, contributing for some of the household food expenses, as well as being responsible for her own bills (car, gas, insurance, cell phone, etc...). These would help prepare her for adulthood and life on her own.
It sounds like you're on the right track. You're educating yourself, and trying to make decisions to help her, which are in her best interest. The reassuring factor is - if it doesn't work, the situation can usually be changed to attempt to make it better.
Through homeschooling/unschooling she could have an interesting, tailored, well rounded education - and experience *life* at the same time.
The Teenage Liberation Handbook is part of our home library also, along with Homeschooling - The Teen Years (Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 13 - 18 - Year - Old) by Cafi Cohen. Both are excellent resources, with tons of useful info!
That's just my 2 cents, for what it's worth. LOL! Barb
And for the record, requiring her to get a job and 'do her part for the family' isn't really unschooling -- that would just be speeding up adulthood with no time for her to recover from her school experience.
You might want to also purchase "Traits of Success" by Wes Beach. This particular CD was from one of the Live and Learn Conferences.
Anyhow, at the seminar (on the CD) he speaks about several of his students, the GED, the CHSPE (CA High School Profiency Exam - which by the way, you do not need to be a resident of CA to take), students basically skipping high school and attending college instead. He speaks of the SATs and also how he has graduated students from his high school from age 10 to 18. And no, they were not gifted, etc.
It is a wonderful CD that I would highly recommend. Of course, you know me, I like his ideas on unschooling and views of school and life in general. He was a teacher for something like 35 years. The CD cost $10.00. Here is the link if you wish to purchase.
I teach high school and have worked with teens for a long time> One thing to say is that usually, if a student is going to have a serious dip in success and progress--its about 9th grade. I wonder--is/was she a gifted learner? They are the largest growing group in underacheivement. Usually, they are board with school and being with friends who don't meet all their needs. Maybe get her some challenge in an area of her interest at the community college. She can do that while she attends school--its called concurrent enrollment and is often free while they are school-age--except books. This might surround her with some older students and conversation in her interest area. I would say, if you keep her in school, send her to tenth grade, summer school to make things up. I attended cc while I was a senior.I went to school half day and took sign language once a week at night. It was good. I really liked it and school became not so bad. If you bring her home, its not a punishment but a way to serve her needs. I wouldn't send her to work--she'll likely resent that. But maybe require her to do public service--often, it is through providing to others that we help ourselves. Hope to hear updates.
I have found out - the hard way - that by spending time with my girls and asking them questions about their likes and dislikes and a whole lot of listening on my part, they come to life. I did this with school subjects and found out some very interesting things! My artsy girl wants to learn basketball and math! My teen model/actress daughter is interested in the how the body works (I don't use the word Biology - she'll yawn and lose interest!); digestion, nutrition, etc. as well as comedy. That was news to me! From this, I've led them with a tailored-to-them curriculum and they are ALWAYS thirsty for more. Oh - I never let them go past a word they don't understand either - they each have their own dictionary, for their level of vocabulary. And we do a lot of "hands on" so they really get it. That keeps their interest up! If it wanes, I check if they missed something earlier and sure enough, we find it and they are bright again. I do introduce new subjects and make them interesting - we started with energy by my asking the question, "Do you want to know HOW food turns into energy?" It really works! I use http://www.howstuffworks.com a lot too! They end up asking ME questions that lead us into subjects which I then put on the curriculum. Hope that helps. Mom of a 14 yr old teen girl