Homeschool Worries

Well my sister and I discussed Wednesday how Scholar Owl is doing this year with homeschooling. Honestly I discussed it with my therapist on Tuesday as well.

We had a good start this year but things have slid down the way side since November with the move. I find myself questioning if homeschooling truly is a good fit for him. My concern is that I know for a fact what he’ll do in public school: nothing. It’s why I chose to homeschool him in the first place but now I feel inadequate and ineffective in getting him to meet deadlines with the assignments.

I don’t want to micromanage him. I wanted him to be self-directed, but it looks like I need to take more of a hands on approach in motivating him to stick with the work. He does all the reading he’s supposed to, but then fluffs off the assignments. I had expected him to assemble his portfolio this year where he’s in high school now, but that appears to be a mistake.

If he can’t make up the work and get caught up then he’ll be repeating his Freshman year. I don’t know what else to do other than to make him take the hit and face the consequences for repeatedly ignoring the work.

You can talk to him all day and KNOW that he KNOWS the material. Hell, my sister is teaching him Health at college level right now straight from her old college text books. He’s understanding the material, keeping up, and actively participating in the discussion. Every subject except Math and Writing is like that for him.

I suck at Algebra so I don’t know if the math part is my lack of familiarity or if he struggles with it naturally like I do. Just because you struggle doesn’t mean you’re not learning but that can’t happen if you’re wasting the day away staring at the workbook.

Trying to get a writing assignment out of him – for any subject – is like pulling teeth and when you do get it one from him it doesn’t show his understanding at the same level in verbal discussion. He knows the material but hates writing. It breaks my heart. The writing skill he demonstrates right now doesn’t meet high school standards. It’s a stark contrast between reading his work versus speaking with him.

It seems he learns best by talking and doing but how the hell do you put that in a portfolio? Not to mention he’s going to need good writing skills for the rest of his life. I’m hoping that by getting him interested in creative writing that it will make writing fun for him. The art of writing is the same, to some extent, no matter what you write. You need to be able to figure out how to organize your thoughts onto paper in such a way it conveys what you intend. After that it’s a matter of format.

So him and I already talked about it and he’ll be writing short stories for Camp NaNo in April. No book for him, just short pieces to learn plot, setting, and characters.

I need to start collecting and organizing material now to go over the short story format with him no later than March so he’ll be ready to write in April. Technically he’s supposed to pick his word count for Camp NaNo but I’m not sure if that’s a good idea. I’m thinking instead that I need to decide how many stories I expect and roughly how long they should be – no less than one short story per week I should think given how right now writing is a chore for him. Then in May we can cover the revision process and he can polish the pieces he wrote.

Overall, just like last year around this time, I’m having doubts that I can handle homeschooling. We did well with our portfolio last year so maybe it’s just I have high expectations of him where I know he’s smart and capable.

Public school didn’t push him. At all. They let him fluff off and do nothing in class while he aced their standardized tests. “Oh he’s just really good at taking tests,” the assistant principle said to me once. That may be true but the knowledge had to have come from somewhere in order for him to use those ‘test taking skills’ well in the first place. You can’t be ignorant of a subject only to turn around and ace a damn test. Either you have the knowledge or you don’t. He has the knowledge. He picks up new knowledge quickly. It’s just getting him to do the damn work.

My sister suggested that since he understands at college level that maybe I need to handle it more like college by giving him a syllabus for each subject. Like each month give him a list of what needs to be done with due dates and hold him accountable for those deadlines.

I don’t know what else to do. I had wanted to put together his portfolio together as we went this year so I wouldn’t have the stress I had last year doing it at the end. But right now I feel like there is nothing to put into it. True we only need 2 assignments per quarter per subject, but I feel like right now he’s trying to get away with doing only what’s needed for the portfolio. The portfolio is supposed to be a sample of the student’s performance, not their entire school year.

So yes, I’m stressing any time I think about it. I hate it when I waffle like this on a decision I’ve made. It’s just once again I feel like I bit off more than I can chew.

12 thoughts on “Homeschool Worries

  1. Are you communicating with a group of other parents who home-school? I know someone who home-schools her 3 kids, but she is massively connected to a group of other parents who do the same. A lot of knowledge about how to deal with these sorts of problems are in those groups.

    • I wish I was to be honest. We live in a very rural area – even for Maine. It feels isolating sometimes for things like this. I don’t personally anyone homeschooling teens so I have no idea if this is typical for a homeschooled teen or if this is just my son and his Bipolar. We’ve noticed other issues cropping up that I didn’t mention in the post and I discussed with him about possibly increasing the frequency of his therapy and maybe a med adjustment. We’ve seen a spike in irritability since the move and as of January his sleep cycle is completely messed up. So again I doubt that sending him to public school will resolve the issue. I’m worried that he might actually be in a mixed mood state, triggered by the move and the holidays together. If that is the case then it won’t matter what I do for school until he’s stabilized again. Usually just prodding him is enough to get the work done but this past month that hasn’t gone over well.

      • You have to listen to your instincts as far as the therapy. Call the therapist and ask to throw in another session. And then see what the therapist says about keeping the extra session, but also observe and see if you think it’s been helpful. <3

      • Well at the moment he goes in monthly at most – because he didn’t want to do it more often than that. But I don’t think it’s often enough to be helpful. Then again I go once a week so maybe that’s why I’m concerned? It’s just that things bother him but he doesn’t really want to talk about them and work them out. He’d rather avoid it completely.

      • It can’t hurt to take him in one extra time and see what the therapist says. You’re in a hard position, because you have a bipolar teenager. Teenagers are assholes half the time anyway. Then you add bipolar and it gets weird. I really think that your therapist is your best option for at least some answers.

      • Very true and then throw in me with my Bipolar and things get weird. I’m always touching base with my therapist as to whether or not I’m out of touch or what not as a parent. My biggest thing is just remembering what it was like for me at that age. That usually serves me well. Scholar Owl and I talked some more tonight and it sounds like he’s getting a little excited about Camp NaNo. We also talked about making the writing assignments more interesting. So we’ll see. But yes, I think getting some kind of input from his therapist would be helpful.

      • And remember, your bipolar may make you worry more about things that aren’t really a big deal. It’s good that you touch base with your therapist. I think you’re doing all the right things. 🙂

      • Thanks. It’s the reason I touch base with them, mine and his, because I know when worry kicks in it can do all sorts of things with my mind. I also want to make sure my expectations are where they should be: not too high but not too low either. It feels like a fine line to walk. If you push a kid too hard they give up, but if you don’t push enough they don’t bother. And with juggling that you have to make sure you do it in such a way they learn independence.

  2. Homeschooling can be a struggle, that’s for sure. It’s why I’m hesitating to pull my oldest from school. The school is failing her, but she doesn’t want to do the work at home.

    I saw you’re pretty rural. Have you considered an online community? He might be encouraged to work on his writing if he needs those skills to communicate. An online community might give you more help, support, and ideas to encourage him.

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