Saturday, October 04, 2008

Talking about School, again

Gary wanted to talk again about his school woes. Girlfriend's Charter school is on a 3-week break (it is a year-round school) so he won't hear anything from them for that amount of time. I said that he should probably just plan on staying at Our Small Town High for the rest of the semester.

He told me that he had an appointment with the educational specialist at the agency to talk about graduation plans. He wanted to talk to her about just doing on-line schooling.

I'm getting a little bit tired of this, to tell you the truth.

I told him that I didn't see how he could transfer to the on-line school because neither Roland nor I worked at home. He just couldn't spend all day every day home alone. I did not say that the chances of him succeeding in the on-line school without supervision were very small -- although they are. I also reminded him that he can't take particular classes from the on-line school and transfer them into the high schools unless he gets advance permission from the school, which they are not likely to give. (The truth is that the agency has intervened on behalf of some kids who were determined to leave care on their 18th birthday. The kids have had an extremely low success rate at FINISHING the on-line classes though.)

We spoke again about Brian's charter school. He said that he really wanted to leave Our Small Town High because he didn't have friends there. He thought he did, before he went, but it turns out that the kids he knew from before aren't the same as they were, so he doesn't. "But you don't have friends at Brian's school either." "I know Brian and his friend." "Yes, but you are not friends with them...and they are freshman. I am imagining as a sophomore you are not really going to want to hang out with freshman. You will have to make friends with new kids."

I told him that I thought he could do that, but was he really sure he was going to be happy there? It is an arts school. As far as I could tell he didn't enjoy drama, or like to draw, or play music. He said that he had started to play the drums for a while once and enjoyed that. I agreed that was a good start, but did he want to take two art classes every semester? How about dance -- even though the dance teacher teaches Hip Hop moves, or whatever sort of dance kids are interested in these days. "I won't have to! I already have two PE credits." "But they might require everyone to take at least one dance class. They do have different requirements."

I reminded him that he would have to do a senior project in his focus area and perform for the whole school. That made him look anxious. I also told him that if he went he couldn't stay on the list for the girlfriend's charter school. He would have to make a commitment. He would have to be prepared to settle there, not just use it as a place to wait until he could move to a better one.

He thought about it and then decided that he didn't want me to put him on the list for the arts school for now. He really wanted to get into the girlfriend's charter.

I wish I could believe that if he got into the charter school he would be able to settle and be happy there. I don't though. My guess is that he would break up with his girlfriend and then get himself into a knot about where to go since he couldn't possibly stay there and couldn't stand the thought of going back to Our Town High.

But then I have always been a bit of a pessimist.


  1. Just because it's pessimistic doesn't mean it isn't true. Especially if it holds to a pattern. How are you feeling?

  2. You know, I keep reading blogs from people adopting/fostering kids who have been in group homes/institutionalized care for 12+ months- they all say the same things.

    1. The kids are very neat and tidy and tend to be quite respectful (all things encouraged at the group homes)

    2. The kids have major major major problems making indepedent decisions and sticking with them, from as small as picking food at a fast food restaraunt to large as deciding what classes to take (or where to take those classes), and everything in between. One even talks about how the child dresses punk one day, emo the next, preppy the following, etc.

    The only thing I've read that seems to work is to limit the child's choices to 2 and enforce the consequence of sticking with it. I did read that in some cases, the kids helped eliminate the other options with an adult's guidance.

    Its really sad isn't it? These kids have been told what to do for so long, they can't seem to funciton without express directions.


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