Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Getting My Son Through High School

How My Son Struggled Through School 

The past few weeks (I should say the past couple of years) have been full of stress, tears and sleepless nights. I can thankfully say... in the end... it was happy tears.

What Was The Issue?

My son struggled in school. His Sophomore year of high school he failed several classes. We couldn't figure out what was wrong. Was he not understanding what was being taught? Was he just not doing the work assigned to him?

One of his teachers recommended putting him in a program called AVID to help him get more organized. She was thinking that him being unorganized was the cause of him "forgetting" to turn in his homework.

He dreaded going to school. He didn't have many friends and was being physically and verbally bullied. This is a huge problem with public schools. And I truly believe this caused him to change his attitude towards school.

He was in ROTC and we thought that would help him be more disciplined in school. We thought football would help, but the coaches just belittled him and made him sit on the sideline most of the time. Plus, his main bully was in football with him so that didn't help at all. We tried several different avenues to help him and nothing was working.

I didn't realize how bad off he was doing in school. No teachers contacted me. There were no parent/teacher conferences. I didn't find out about his grades or how many missing assignments he had until report card time.

I cried and prayed many nights.... wishing... hoping... that we could somehow get him out of this school. But... the other public schools in the area weren't any better and there was no way we could afford a private school.

A Quick Note About The Bullying Situation

I went several times to the school principal for help. I even at one point went above her head to the superintendent and was told that my son would be safe and it would be taken care of. It never was. It continued to happen. Unfortunately.

A New School

One evening, while discussing our sons problems at school, my husband mentioned a local public charter school and after doing a bit of research we decided to try and get both of our children enrolled.

After attending an information session and putting our children on a waiting list, we got the call! Our daughter was accepted and our son soon after. I was concerned about him switching schools for his last two years of high school. They expected a lot. This school had many rules to follow and a BPS (behavior point system) to show us parents exactly how our children were doing. Every nine weeks there are parent/teacher conferences. The teachers emailed us when there was an issue with work not getting turned in or failing grades.

It definitely was not easy for my son. He failed just about every class he had his Junior year. I was upset most days because I was worried about him graduating high school. Not only on time, but at all. About two months before his Junior year was over, we had to have a meeting with the Dean of Students to discuss his BPS points and his work ethic. They gave him one more chance to straighten up or he would not be able to come back for his Senior year. The end of his Junior year we had to have another meeting with the Dean of Students and the Superintendent to see if they were going to let him come back. He had shown them he was willing to do the work so he was able to return. Thank God!

The best thing about this school is the teachers and staff actually care about the students and want to help them succeed.

The Hard Work Begins

Over the summer he had to study for his History and English III classes that he failed in order to try to receive credit by taking an exam. He took the tests and failed both of them by a couple of points. Next, they enrolled him in an online college class to receive credit for his English III class and he was able to receive his credit. He then had to enroll in another class to make up his English IV credit for his first semester since he was working on his English III credit. He was then able to retake his History class and his English class for his second semester credit.

He was doing all of this along with taking his classes for his Senior year plus a Senior Thesis class where they have to write a 12-15 page essay and stand up in front of other students to do a presentation for graduation. It was stressful y'all!

My son started off great his Senior year! Then the last couple of months he started slacking off and had a few missing assignments. I... once again... was worried that he wouldn't graduate on time.

He had his class ring, his cap and gown and his invitations. He participated in the senior walk, the senior dinner, the senior trip... and up until the day before graduation... I didn't know if he was going to walk across the stage to receive his diploma.

It Was All Banking On Finals

The second to last week of school was time to cram for finals! We had four classes we were concerned about and he had to pass the finals in order to receive credit. My son and I sat for hours going over study guides and old test for six days. This mom was exhausted.

As finals week began... I prayed... a lot. And waited. Grades started rolling in each day and we had to wait for his final grade the day before he was to walk the stage for graduation. Stressful!

It Worked

All the studying paid off! He graduated! On time! With his classmates! He had so much to do in such a short amount of time in order to graduate on time. And he did it! I couldn't be more proud!

Why Am I Writing This?

It's not to brag. Believe me. I totally feel for any parent who is going through this or has gone through this with their child. It was heartbreaking for me to see him struggle and give up on himself. I'm writing this to tell you that if you are going through this... Don't Give Up! Keep pushing! Keep taking one day at a time. Get involved with studying and homework. Contact the teachers in order to get your child help. It's tough, but it can be done.

Has your child struggled with school?

Getting My Son Through High School - Struggles 

A few books that may help...
The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens
The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School
The Organized Student: Teaching Children the Skills for Success in School and Beyond
Overcoming Procrastination for Teens: A CBT Guide for College-Bound Students
Life Strategies for Teens

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