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Author: slowlythere Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 198  
Subject: Nephew self-home school? Date: 6/5/2007 8:02 AM
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After being unreachable for the last several months, yesterday evening I caught up with my 18-years-old nephew. He gave me updates and related. One thing is he's planning to drop-out. He is in his third (I think) high school now, going nights. He claims there are no particular reasons for his absence other than lack of motivation, apathy, and general disdain for the school system.

He's thinking of doing some sort of homeschooling concept because he can learn on his own terms. (Misc.: he mentioned Penn Foster which I suspect is overrated and also too expensive: he has to pay for this himself and he only has erratic income which is often spent on cigarettes, beer, clothes, and peer socialization.) He tells me this is great because he can learn better without the stuffiness and rigidity of the school system and essentially "people telling him what to do all the time who don't know better." (Paraphrase.)

Personally, I believe he has very poor self-motivation, perhaps a touch of ADHD or related, and possibly have learning disabilities. For example, he is a terrible reader, often unable/unwilling to understand or follow directions, etc. He's continued to refuse counseling, etc. for the possible disorders. In general, he needs a lot of support for academic and general reasons and on his own in this area, I think he will fail miserably.

He also apparently needs/wants a computer, but again no money for it (unless he pays for it himself) and no clue really how to use one beyond email. Unlike the reputation of most of today's teenagers, he is technology-averse.

I don't genuinely believe (though he tells me otherwise) he will / can follow a course of self-instruction after the initial novelty and idea wears off. I believe (and told him) he's a heavily social person and requires interaction with peers or others and relies much on external feedback (good or bad, whether negative reinforcement, peer pressure, or reactive rebellion). On his own, unless he *loves* something or has an inherently emotional gut feeling, he rarely goes through difficult and distasteful processes. I believe general academic studies would be considered difficult and distasteful for him. In short, I think he's looking to homeschooling as a cop-out to avoid and deny issues, not really to work on things. He's never shown a real interest in academic or what I refer with him to as "hands-off" or vicarious learning processes. He doesn't like reading (perhaps related to the fact he struggles with reading), is easily bored when not in a socially interactive environment or without TV/movies, etc. Everything I know of him screams "this idea won't work."

I'm struggling with ideas to keep him in school. There are several special alternate and public high school programs that I have already told him about by name and basic description that may suit his needs, but he doesn't take those seriously.

In any case, I could be wrong. I'm worried about him, but he may well just be a complete drop out on his own.

Anyone deal with keeping kids from dropping out? Guidance appreciated in this area.

ST
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