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3 Bumps

I need help...

My oldest son is 13 Every teacher he has ever had has told me that he is brilliant. He is engaging and can carry on in depth conversations about what they have studied and all kinds of other things.
He is in an academically challenging charter school and is still beyond the level of the other students in his capabilities. It is the best school in our area. His teachers have told me that they are blown away at how quickly he catches on to ideas and runs with them, past what they are teaching. His school is very strict in their policies about turning in work and proving themselves. It is a very rigorous school in the requirements for quality of work they turn in.
Our issue is that he will not do his work. He can do it, but he doesn't. He is smart enough and capable enough, but he won't do it. He is at risk of being retained in eighth grade and not being allowed to move onto high school.
I was the same way. I always felt like I already understood the material it was a waste of my time to have to prove it. I still feel that way. I know in my heart there was nothing my parents could do to make me do the work, unless they sat with me and forced me to do every little thing. And I know my kid is the same and feels the same way.

Part of me feels like as parents we are doing a huge disservice to him by forcing him into this mold that he doesn't fit, that he will probably will never fit. The other part of me feels like he has to learn to conform and do what is required.

So what do we do with him? Do I force him to stay at this school where he is going to be retained because he won't do his work, even though he understands all of the material... most of the time better than the other students? Or do I take him out and try to home school him. My fear about home school is that I am not a regimented person by nature and I feel like I wouldn't be able to provide the education that my son needs. As a family we all have a great love of learning and are always looking for learning opportunities. I have no worries at all that he could go and pass the GED test right now, but he is not old enough.

I am just lost. Do any of you have any advice?

For the record... he is not ADD nor dyslexic.

Answer Question

Asked by SleepingBeautee at 1:28 AM on Feb. 23, 2013 in General Parenting

Level 45 (192,108 Credits)
Answers (23)
  • Yes I do.
    Certainly you can sit with him and make him do the work. It is very hard to do what is so beneath your capabilities but you need to try to help him understand that if he does not he can not move on to things that he will find challending and will be sitting through all ofthis boring stuff another year. You need to help him understand that sometimes we have to do boring things because it is our job to do it.
    But when that is done you are free to explore as much as you want.

    Answer by Dardenella at 1:36 AM on Feb. 23, 2013

  • Does your son want to go to collage? I had a similar problem with my son. He has Aspergers, and while he is very smart, if he in not interested in a subject it's like pulling teeth to get him to put any effort into the class. He almost failed English, and he did fail biology. I had a talk with him about his future goals. He is an amazing musician. He can play any instrument he touches. His grasp of music theory is stunning. His sight reading ability is incredible.  He said wanted to go to collage and study music. So I said, your grades in all classes in high school will determine what collage will accept you. So, do you want to go to the collage of your dreams, or do you want to go to a collage that is willing to take you? The better your GPA, the more prestigious collage you can get into. If your GPA is low, you might have to go to community collage. Your choice.


    Answer by musicmaker at 1:49 AM on Feb. 23, 2013

  • By the way, I don't have anything against community collage. I went to a community collage, but I knew my son didn't think of community collage as up to his abilities. . It worked. He ended up graduating with honors, and was accepted into his first choice university, and they even gave him a substantial scholarship.


    Answer by musicmaker at 2:23 AM on Feb. 23, 2013

  • You are the mom, what you say goes. He keeps on refusing to do the work, start taking or restricting his favorite activities. You might end up doing the same thing your folks did to you. Did you do the work? Did it make you a better person? Better educated? Or maybe try the reward system. He can do say 2 math papers and he gets to watch TV 1/2 hr more or whatever he really enjoys doing.

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 2:23 AM on Feb. 23, 2013

  • We have done all of that. The poor kid has no privileges because he loses them all because he isn't doing what he is supposed to. My parents did nothing. I went to school, ditched, never did my work and hid my report cards. I would be grounded for a couple of weeks and then that was that until the next report card came out.

    We have done the sitting with him for hours at a time slogging through his work to make him do it. All it does it cause more strife and he still isn't doing it, we are! It is just busy work that is below his level.

    I wish it was as simple as saying "I am the mother and you will do what I say!". But it isn't. He forgets stuff at school, or he forgets that he has to do it, or he...blah, blah blah... the kid has a million different excuses. Then if I do sit with him and make him do it what is he accomplishing? What is he learning by me brow beating him?

    Comment by SleepingBeautee (original poster) at 2:35 AM on Feb. 23, 2013

  • I am not trying to make excuses for him. I am the first one to say he is lazy, I know he is. I was the exact same kid when I was his age. School is hard when you are smarter than what they are teaching.

    I think it is now past the issue of making him do his work. I think it is an issue of, is it fair to him and our whole family to force him as a round peg into a square box.

    Comment by SleepingBeautee (original poster) at 2:40 AM on Feb. 23, 2013

  • I tried the punishment, reward, begging , pleading, nagging, yelling, going to a counselor, thing . . . didn't work. I finally had to let it go,(counselors advise) and just inform him that his actions were going to have severe consequences on his future plans, and he was going to have to live with those consequences. 


    Answer by musicmaker at 2:42 AM on Feb. 23, 2013

  • Okay musicmaker, how do you just let it go and let it rest on his shoulders? I feel like I am failing him if I leave him to figure it out himself.

    Comment by SleepingBeautee (original poster) at 3:00 AM on Feb. 23, 2013

  • ":I think it is now past the issue of making him do his work. I think it is an issue of, is it fair to him and our whole family to force him as a round peg into a square box..."OP
    So is it like a control thing with him then? So maybe let the homework stay where it belongs, between his teacher and himself. If possible, refuse to get pulled in by the school in the future. Then you can stay focused on your job, which is to help your son. So let him make his choice and then he can deal with the consequences.


    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 3:12 AM on Feb. 23, 2013

  • The counselor said I needed to realize that the world would not end if he failed. There would always be options. He could always start at a community collage and transfer to a university.  I never felt he was going to flunk out of high school ,but I was sure he was not going to get good enough grades to get accepted into any collage. He had to spend his summer taking biology again because it was required to graduate. He was in the IB program at his school, but because he got low grades, he was dropped from the program. This came as a shock to him. He started to realize that his actions had consequences, and he would not be allowed to take the "hard" classes if he didn't do well in them. He had to appeal to the school to be allowed to come back into the IB program. They gave him a second chance, and he never got below a C from then on.   

    Answer by musicmaker at 3:22 AM on Feb. 23, 2013

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