James madison high school

Discussion in 'High School Education via Distance Learning' started by alohaoahu, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. suelaine

    suelaine Member

    Boarding school - James Madison

    Regarding James Madison, homeschooling, etc.:

    Thanks for all advice but I have already taken him for all that counseling. We have been there and done that. We even tried the "swift kick" method but nothing has worked! He does not need Sylvan because he knows he can "pass" by doing well on his tests and he does exactly that. He often gets the highest grade in his class on his tests (even at the boarding school). He lives in a house with sisters and mom who have been studying and schooling for a good part of every day, for his whole life! His attitude toward school is baffling.

    He has homework over the holiday vacation and when I know he has it, I can make him do it, and that is what I am doing though it is not pleasant. He threatens to go to his father's and not come back! His father is the one paying for this boarding school. I took him out of public school after 9th grade because he was extremely depressed and doing poorly (but he passed everything and was even taking advanced classes). I homeschooled him through 10th and 11th. I talked to him at length before we did this and that really helped because he understands that I take education seriously. He got up early every day and did his work (but it did not require the same independent responsibility to do homework that would be required in traditional school. He still did the work with no help from me except for an occasional question. I also helped him review for his tests. Other than that, he worked independently, so yes I know he can do that. But if left alone with no one to "make" him do it, he will procrastinate until it is too late to get it done. I bought a complete, rigorous homeschool curriculum for him. With this, I knew exactly what he was to do for homework, projects, etc. every day and I was successful in making him do it and he did well. I planned to homeschool him through his senior year but his father wanted him to try the boarding school so I went along with it, knowing in my heart he'd have the same problems he had in public school (not getting along with kids and poor grades). He is a good kid (doesn't use drugs, smoke, party, or anything like that.) He does participate in things that are supposed to improve social skills. He has been on the school soccer team and intramurals, etc. He has all As in his music classes (no homework!) He is in band and two different choirs. He also plays guitar and is taking organ lessons.

    Believe it or not, he has to have a campus job there to help pay for his tuition and he has the reputation for being the best worker there. He loves physical labor and is very good beyond his years at mechanics, electrical wiring, etc. He worked full time (over 40 hours a week) throughout this past summer, on a dairy farm. I think his biggest incentive to graduate is so that he can go back to working full time. He truly loved working on the farm.

    Sadly, nobody that knows him would ever guess his grades unless they knew this personally the way we do. He is very smart but has no self-esteem and no drive to succeed in spite of the fact that I have done all I know to do over the years to bolster these things. There are all kinds of ways to analyze it but I guess sometimes there are just no answers. His sisters were both straight A Valedictorians accepted to Ivy League schools. He does use this for his "excuse" saying he is not them and he is "not as smart" as they are. (Everybody including his teachers thinks he is just as smart as his sisters. It is frustrating to all that he won't use what he has.)

    If he "fails" at the boarding school, we would have few choices but to homeschool him or put him in another program so I don't see it as offering him something easier by homeschooling. It has not been "offered; I have secretly investigated options because the obvious option for someone who fails the senior year would be a GED and I won't allow that. That kid will not go out into the world without a high school diploma. I consider James Madison to be homeschooling since he is still 17 but the difference is I would not have to review with him or do any planning or grading so it would save some time (for me) over homeschooling as we did it before, plus he would get an accredited diploma. I would still be around to make him do his work, though.

    I will not take him out of the boarding school because his father wants him there and he is paying for it. Hopefully, he will graduate from there (he probably will...he passed everything for the first half of the year except gym, which was a half credit and he will have to take it again for the second semester, I suppose.) He is taking college prep courses but he has no intention of going to college. This will sound strange on this board but I don't think college is for everybody and I don't think it is for my son. (This could change when he is older.) He is only 17 and I do think he will mature a bit in the next few years. The fact is he hates school but seems to do okay in life outside of school. He gets along much better with older people than he does with kids his own age.

    His father has a trucking business and it does seem like a realistic option that he may go into business with his father. I think he is also considering the military. Part of me wants to encourage him to join the military, and the mom part of me does not want him to go there, you know? One of my step daughters did poorly in high school, went in the Air force for four years, and now she has a job on the Air force military base (she is no longer in the Air force) and she makes more money than my husband makes as a teacher, and she has had no college at all!

    I did not mean to disclose all this personal history, but yes, I know my son's problems are serious. In a short blurb on a discussion board, it might appear that I'm a parent in denial about all that but it is not the case. It is frustrating beyond belief and I think it is some kind of "learning disability" or related to ADHD or something, though his psychiatrists were more interested in prescribing antidepressants than ADHD medication. He really does not fit any identified profiles well, other than being a classic case of a gifted underachiever. So far he has taken no meds and if possible, we hope to keep it that way. He never shows signs of depression during summer vacation or any other time when school is not directly involved.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2005
  2. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    Perhaps a vocational-technical school is in this young man's future, and there is certainly no shame in that. There is a shortage of skilled workers, such as plumbers, electricians, welders etc. They are currently being paid a premium, plu sign-on bonuses.

    Some people aren't meant for a classroom or college. HOWEVER, one thing he needs to realize is that to work at one of the jobs listed above, or even on a farm for that matter, he MUST graduate high school. Many skilled labor jobs require some education beyond high school, even if it is from a vo-tech. You say he likes to work on a farm. Believe it or not, many farmers now have an education beyond high school, even college degrees in agriculture. It is necessary to keep up with the advances in farming.

    Everybody is motivated by something. Once you learn what motivates your son, you can guide him toward the things that interest him. For him, it seems to be physical labor and working with his hands.

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