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Back at Square 1

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  • Enigma
    started a topic Back at Square 1

    Back at Square 1

    with my 16 yr old son. I do not know where to go from here. That is all.

  • cherylswope
    Hi, Enigma.

    Thank you so much for your earlier encouraging update. How have things been going for your oldest son the past few weeks?


    Leave a comment:

  • Enigma
    Thank you both for your responses.


    I gave a great deal of thought to what you had to say. I agree with you. I had J start reading all the books MP uses for lit and history that he had not before. I plan on having him use MP 6th, with Mom modifications of a great deal of oral work and read only. I also bought WWE. I have used this with him in the past but dropped it thinking it was too easy.

    We did have a small victory...he made 100% on the first 2 Saxon Math level placement tests. He was quite proud and so was I. I went with Hake 6 for his grammar as it is a lot of reviewing so hopefully the concepts will stick longer than one lesson. He also started karate with weapons training which he has been wanting to do for a long time. It turns out, he has a natural talent for it. I wish you could see his face when they complement him. He just beams.

    So we will go this way and hopefully he will make more progress.

    Thank you again.
    Last edited by Enigma; 10-25-2012, 06:07 PM.

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  • cherylswope
    Welcome back, Enigma. You were missed here too.

    To review, if only for others:

    1. Your 16yo son has difficulties with auditory processing.
    2. Once an avid reader, he no longer reads so eagerly.
    3. Your son has evidenced prolonged discouragement.
    4. You recently attempted an accredited distance school program, but this did not prove satisfying.
    5. You have a great deal of experience with multiple curricula. Even so, this oldest of your five children has proven especially challenging. You want him to succeed. But how?

    Below I have quoted from an earlier response, because I'm wondering whether portions of both answers still apply.

    Regarding his strengths, have you heard of the book Do What You Are? Such a book seeks to identify not only the young person's interests, but also his personality traits and true aptitudes. Perhaps you already know these well. If not, it might be helpful to have an extended "conference" with him before choosing your next steps. You can help him re-identify his favorite areas of study. I think we also discussed volunteering as a possibility to help a struggling teen develop passion, social skills, and some understanding of the need for academic skills in "real life." This helps with #1 below. Of course, classical teachers know that a formative education will help him in any vocation. This leads to #2 below.

    I truly believe that a beautiful, elevating classical education can redeem this situation. As you well know, you have so many wonderful resources available through Memoria Press! Feel free to use materials listed well below his grade level, because you're trying to engage him in excellent material. For example, obtain the book of Greek myths, but do not require completion of the study guide. If his ability level is higher, just let him read Homer's Odyssey or Dante's Divine Comedy. (Then you read the study guide and ask some questions to spark good discussion between the two of you!)

    You mentioned your willingness to educate him beyond the typical age of graduation. This will help. Then you can proceed at a slow-and-steady, persevering pace of success without comparisons to where he is "supposed" to be -- or where you wish he were.

    You have also mentioned significant writing difficulties. My own teenage children have found Writing with Ease (the Peace Hill Press program before Writing with Skill) particularly helpful. The scripted curriculum helps bring our students closer to age-level skills with step-by-step success and delightful stories.

    [If your son can no longer copy correctly, you can begin with Level 1. If he can copy sentences accurately, but has difficulties organizing his thoughts and then placing them on paper (or word processor), begin with Level 2.]

    Given his age, he would be able to handle all four of a week's literature-based Writing with Ease lessons in a single day. My own children do this. The 36-week program then becomes doable in 36 school days. If he works systematically through this program, Levels 1-4, and only then tackles PHP's Writing with Skill, he will learn to write well.

    Resist the temptation to load him with multiple subjects of failure. Begin instead with just a few areas of steady, visible achievement. You could simultaneously employ classical studies, Christian studies, astronomy, geography, or American history -- just eliminate written elements for now. These can be studied in lively discussions instead. Both of you will benefit from a renewed love of learning together.

    I hope some of this helps. It is admittedly difficult to truly "diagnose and treat" something so complex from afar. I noticed that you intend to attend the Memoria Press conference next summer. I hope to do so also. Perhaps we can talk at greater length then, although I sincerely wish your son some good, new successes this school year.

    Maybe others will have suggestions for you here too.

    Blessings to you and your young man, Enigma. Thanks, as always, for your honesty.


    From a conversation about your struggling son several months ago:

    Two initial thoughts:

    1) Strengths vs. Weaknesses
    What do you and your husband see as your son's talents? What interests your son in a constructive way? Where do you see him in service to others after he graduates?

    I wonder whether your sorrow over your son is due to the very real understanding that this is a pivotal time in his life. Where will he go from here? Perhaps some investigation into his personal aptitudes would be helpful.

    You mentioned some learning difficulties. Has he received formal evaluation to help determine his specific areas of difficulty? This might be helpful before making decisions about distance education -- or any other form.

    Socrates urged, "Know thyself." Your son will benefit from some good self-knowledge here! What are his real strengths? What are his real limitations? He needs to know himself well to avoid self-pity or discouragement, and then he can find areas in which he can be of real service to others.

    2) Integration vs. Fragmentation
    ...The classical approach integrates learning around elevating themes, good literature, and great ideas. This helps inspire and encourage the student as well as his mom/teacher....

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  • CelticaDea
    sorry I don't have anything to fix this. Just understanding, a virtual hug and prayers.

    Leave a comment: