Sunday, October 11, 2009

Catching Up

Yesterday Gary was in a one-day men's choir event. Boys, more than 200 in all, came from high schools in two counties. At least at Gary's school, the boys had and practiced the music some before hand. The even started at 10am. They did nothing but practice, with a break for lunch, until the concert at 3pm. Brian's Drama 2 class had the two final productions of Dracula. He had to be there at noon. They performed at 1 or 1:30, scattered for dinner, and then had to be back at for the second performance at 5:00. So...I drove Gary to The City in the morning. Roland drove Brian to Schoolville at noon. We both drove to the City, stopping at Schoolville to give Brian dinner money, in order to go to the concert. then we drove back to Schoolville, at fast food, and went to see Dracula.

Both boys did well, had a good time, and, like their parents, were exhausted at the end of the day.

Gary keeps making and re-making plans for finishing high school. I had an uncomfortable conversation in the car yesterday. He asked what I thought about him doing his senior year at Our Small Town High. That sounds fine to me, but he wanted to know whether I thought he should take AP classes.


It was hard not to be encouraging, but I have made that mistake before. I stumbled around for a bit, pointing out that the AP classes require things like high-pressure big projects that kill your grade if you don't work on them far in advance. He responded that he needed to get used to that if he was going to go to college. Finally I said that if he took the regular classes he could go to school part time and take other classes at the community college and that might be better use of his time. He agreed that made sense, but he has in no way settled on a plan.

He still in not at all good at predicting how difficult something will be for him. He is taking an on-line course in physical science. He was sure it was going to be easy. He would just tear through it. He did the introduction and passed that test in a week. The next chapter though was about calculating forces. He can't do the math. He is frustrated because he is good at science, just not math. The school has recommended an advance student to tutor him, but he doesn't want to talk to her because she is good at math, but she doesn't know anything about physics. (Roland and I believe that he doesn't want to look "dumb" in front of a girl close to his own age.)

The tutor problem aside (which is a problem I can do something about), there is this constant issue where he expects things to be easy and then is frustrated when they are not. There are other examples, but I won't list them.

He has decided he wants to be a nurse, which is cool. However he simply does not understand that you have to do science classes and that after junior high there really is no such thing as being good at science if you are not good at math. I've encouraged him to try taking it one step at a time. He is thinking about taking EMT classes and then working to get an LPN before doing the RN program. Sigh.

I've known so many college students who have worked hard and not made it through nursing programs. I know that he is smart enough, but I don't think he has any idea of how difficult it will be.

Mostly I am pretty good at letting these things just be his problems. I really am convinced that kids (and adults) learn by trying to do things they don't do well. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes they don't, but they learn much more than if they don't push themselves. Most young people discover what they want to do while actively pursuing something they learn they don't want to do. I guess it was the conversation in the car yesterday that pulled me in and made me anxious for him.


  1. EMTs and LPNs have good careers too. If he follows that path he might not make it all the way to being an RN, but, he could have a good career nonetheless.

    I do know what you're talking about. I had a student last year that was failing grade 9 math for the 3rd time who wanted to be a pediatric surgeon and it was so hard to help her plan courses given that what she'd "need" was something she really couldn't do and thus, what she really needed to take was aimed at something she didn't want to do. How do you encourage without creating future heartbreak?

  2. I was an EMT, and that's an excellent way to get started if he thinks he wants to be a nurse. He may find that job to be more to his taste (from what you've shared about him I think he might, and I think he might be very good at it too) than being a nurse, and he doesn't need to worry about math. If he moves into being a paramedic, he'll need more, but not anything like calculus. If by then he's developed better study habits and a more realistic view of his abilities, and is still interested in being a nurse, he may be able to transfer a lot of those credits over (depending on the school). It's a fairly common progression, actually. A lot of people go back and forth between EMT/Paramedic and fire service and various allied health careers, like ER assistants and phlebotomists.

  3. My husband would tell him that becoming an EMT is a great start in health care but that if he wanted to move on then go for his LPN/RN NOT a paramedic...unless he wants to become a firefighter.

    Honestly I think you are doing all you can by simply getting him to think about his future and giving him options he may not have considered. In the end what else can we do? They have to make their own decision. Win or Lose.

  4. Not on topic, but I've given you an award. If you have time, stop by to get it!

  5. Just wanted you to know that I've been missing you.


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