Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Frustration (Parenting a high school boy)

I haven't talked about school or my kids or their education in a while, and for relatively good reasons.  I think, primarily, though, it's because I don't want to sound like the whiny unsatisfied parent that expects too much of her kids.  I also don't want to sound envious of my friends and their kids (though there are times that I am).  Recently, though, I've come to the conclusion that sometimes you have to share so that someone else can shine a light on your problem or so that you can find out you're not alone.

So, last school year my son did well for his first semester of 9th grade.  He made honor roll and I patted myself on the back that I'd made the right choice in putting him back in brick and mortar.  Second semester he started off as well as he did first.  Then second half of the semester hit and he decided doing work in Math and Spanish was optional.  I think in his way he thought he had it covered, knew what he was doing, etc etc.  By mid-semester he was failing both.  Thankfully, his teachers stepped up as much as they could and with his dad and I standing over him he passed math without any problems.  Spanish, though, was apparently beyond recovery.

We did a lot of talking over the summer and thought we had it all covered by the time school started this year.  He would be challenged by advanced classes, hopefully keeping him from getting bored.  Up until the last week I was under the impression it was all under control and he was on top of it.  Then I got a reality check.  Failing.  3 core classes.  PreCalc, AP World History, and Literature.  Not because he didn't understand the material, but because he wasn't turning in work.

I've checked in with his teachers.  The best thing for him to do is catch up on what he hasn't done and stay on top of what still has to be done.  So, I had a talk with him.  Then his Choi instructor had a talk with him.   He's making no excuses for himself, he just didn't do it.  I've let his friends know that he's under consequences so that hopefully peer pressure will help him step up.  He has a deadline to get it done by.  I can only hope that this works.

In the meantime, I have to wonder what I've done (or am doing) wrong.  I thought I'd given him a good base for responsibility and getting things done.  He made a comment, though, the other day that makes me wonder what other choices haven't worked out properly.  His comment?  If I hadn't pulled him from brick and mortar for MS, he'd be more social, maybe work better.  Throws your thoughts for a tail spin and makes you double think all of your choices.  I did what I thought was best at the time, but it's the end result you watch for.  So far my end results in this haven't turned out well.

I'm not looking for reassurances about what we've done, just stating what's happened.  Maybe a parent
who's gone through this before can shine the light that will flip the switch for my son, maybe not.  Ultimately, I'm having to learn the hard way that it's HIS life and HIS choices that will change the tide.  I appear to be the parent that's along for the ride desperately trying to steer a teen, that or I'm trying to herd a cat that wants to be on both sides of the door.
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