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Katherine
12-27-2012, 03:37 PM
Is 14, almost 15, and a lazy student. He's very bright, but doesn't t apply himself. I want him to get into u of m to be close to us, but I don't know how to get him to apply himself to his studies. His parents are at their wits end. Any ideas?

Paul Pless
12-27-2012, 03:41 PM
'Close to us' is fine. No way in Hell is he living with us. . .

TomF
12-27-2012, 03:42 PM
What interests him? A lot of not-applying-yourself disappears when it helps you do something you find really fun.

Peer group helps a lot too. If he likes music and there's a decent school band, he'll find that he wants to keep up with the people he meets there. Band people are typically quirky and fun, and smart enough that they can keep their grades where they need them to be, with enough time left over for practices etc. Our kids found that band people made a super peer group - even my daughter, who isn't desperately musical preferred to hang out in the band room.

Katherine
12-27-2012, 03:46 PM
If he wants to live with us, fine, he s a good kid. However, I think by the time he gets to college, he's ll want more freedom, so nearby is good enough. I just want him to live up to whet I know he can do. He likes robotics and those type of classes, but not math.

John of Phoenix
12-27-2012, 03:51 PM
Any ideas? Bring back the draft. ;)

Robotics, eh? Mechanical engineering is going to be tough without math.

leikec
12-27-2012, 03:51 PM
If he wants to live with us, fine, he s a good kid. However, I think by the time he gets to college, he's ll want more freedom, so nearby is good enough. I just want him to live up to whet I know he can do. He likes robotics and those type of classes, but not math.

Try to arrange a tour of U of M's engineering school, or at least an informal visit. Let him see what kids in college are doing--it might inspire him to take school more seriously.

Jeff C

Mrleft8
12-27-2012, 04:02 PM
The kid's 14..... Let him be a kid a few more years before he starts getting nagged by someone other than his mother..... Good god! 14? College? When I was 14 I was planning on being a wilderness canoe guide on the Back river in Canada, and only going to town 4 times a year to pick up supplies...... College wasn't even in the big picture, much less in focus.

C. Ross
12-27-2012, 04:03 PM
I have a college freshman and high school junior. College admissions has become nearly insane. Kids are applying to more colleges, which means, duh, the acceptance rates have fallen. Which makes parents and some students incredibly anxious. So they furiously augment their resumes with tons of activities, and apply to more schools, which drives the acceptance rate down and anxiety up. So a whole industry of college prep has emerged which heightens and does not noticeably alleviate this.

Michigan has become a hard place to get into. My undergraduate alma mater, Minnesota, accepted any Minnesota resident with a pulse when I applied, not so much any more. My advice, which is probably not worth much, is don't get fixated on one school especially at 14 or 15. Find out what the kid wants and loves, support and encourage those dreams, and don't get caught up in the college craziness.

Katherine
12-27-2012, 04:10 PM
St his age, I bated math, go. Figure. Injustice want him to realize, that education gives him choices in life.

leikec
12-27-2012, 04:15 PM
I have a college freshman and high school junior. College admissions has become nearly insane. Kids are applying to more colleges, which means, duh, the acceptance rates have fallen. Which makes parents and some students incredibly anxious. So they furiously augment their resumes with tons of activities, and apply to more schools, which drives the acceptance rate down and anxiety up. So a whole industry of college prep has emerged which heightens and does not noticeably alleviate this.

Michigan has become a hard place to get into. My undergraduate alma mater, Minnesota, accepted any Minnesota resident with a pulse when I applied, not so much any more. My advice, which is probably not worth much, is don't get fixated on one school especially at 14 or 15. Find out what the kid wants and loves, support and encourage those dreams, and don't get caught up in the college craziness.

I do agree that the college craziness is exactly that, but my reasoning for taking the kid on a college visit was a bit different. It's one thing to hear that studies are important from a parent, or other adult, but the message resonates a bit more when it's delivered by someone close to the child's age.

His "laziness" might be centered around a lack of confidence in his ability, and seeing other kids living the college experience might trigger something.

My best friend recently brought her son to town to visit Washington University, and his 14 year old sister came along. The girl really seemed to be energized by the experience--and previously, she'd had the attitude that college was beyond her grasp (her brother is an extremely smart guy and great student and I think that intimidated her).

Jeff C

Dave Wright
12-27-2012, 04:21 PM
.. Any ideas?

Start with a two year community college. Pick a program that will transfer to a 4 year college BUT insure that it is a program which will provide employment with a two year AA. For someone who isn't highly motivated or directed four year colleges can lead to failure and money down the drain.

He'll likely get a better student / teacher ratio in a community college; he'll be a little fish but in a much smaller pond, and it'll cost him and his parents less. If he plays his cards right he'll have a marketable 2 year diploma which will give him the opportunity to take time off to work before going on for the 4 year degree. Or, if he decides to hang it up after 2 years he has some decent education. If he fails, the failure won't seem as harsh; if he succeeds he'll be happy and well grounded. And again, he and his parents save a whole lot of money. Big name, expensive 4 year college are highly overated and not necessarily appropriate for the average kid.

Dan McCosh
12-27-2012, 04:32 PM
There actually is a program created specifically for kids like this. It's the FIRST Robotics competition, where high school students design and built robots to enter in regional and national contests. They work with volunteer engineer mentors on the project. It's quite active in Michigan, with local regional groups all over the state. A link is http://www.firstinmichigan.org/. The idea was to set up a program for designing and making things with the appeal of a typical athletic program, mainly to motivate students and generate enthusiasm in the field. It was founded by Dean Kamen, who invented something or other--I forgot what--and wanted to raise the interest in pursuing a career in science and engineering.

Oh yeah. Kamen invented the auto syringe and the Segway, among other things.

Meli
12-27-2012, 04:41 PM
Katherine, he sounds very similar to my son.
very bright, good at science, weak in english.
Year 9 is teacher nightmare especially with boys.
the are just catching up with the girls hormone wise.
It makes em silly, in attentive.
My boy was just the same at 14 , he's settling down this year.
starting to realize that if he wants to be an engineer, he HAS to apply.
the worst one can do is nag about homework etc.
I bethis parents do the.
"what homework have you got, have you done your homework, get off that computer.. "Routine every day.
I know I did.
best thing they can do IMHO is get his teachers to email both of you his homework projects.
then theyknow specifically what he should be doing and can ask direct questions such as " hows that japanese project going. Something that needs a direct positive response.

They settle down in year 10

Paul Pless
12-27-2012, 04:52 PM
The kid's 14..... Let him be a kid a few more years before he starts getting nagged by someone other than his mother..... Good god! 14? College? When I was 14 I was planning on being a wilderness canoe guide on the Back river in Canada, and only going to town 4 times a year to pick up supplies...... College wasn't even in the big picture, much less in focus.

Thank god someone interjected a bit of sanity into this thread! Its okay to not have 'things' figured out when you're fourteen or sixteen or even twenty years old. FWIW, lefty I had almost the same exact goal as you from age fifteen to after I graduated from college. I wanted to live on Lake of the Woods in the summer with a Lund and a 4 x 4 and be a fishing guide. LOL.:d

Boater14
12-27-2012, 05:03 PM
I'd can that "very bright" talk. My son knew he was very bright right up to the time he nearly fluked out of a very expensive school. Found out very bright was just baseline in that school. He's doing fine now. My daughter works like a fiend never mind very bright. If he's a marginal student through high school, life in a dorm will do him no good. to answer your question, nothing to be done. He is just 14.

McMike
12-27-2012, 05:06 PM
14 is old enough to take responsibility for ones future. The fact is, people who don't pursue a higher education of some kind don't do all that well in life, and they often struggle to make the bills and are rarely happy. There are exceptions but the statistics prove my point.

I think kids are given too much of a pass on responsibility. Letting a kid be a kid is one thing but not requiring that they take responsibility for their schooling, at least, is doing them a disservice.

School is their job, period. If it were up to me, barring any learning disabilities, if a kid gets lower than a B then they get no extras, no TV, no PC, no Games, No sports. Because if they choose to blow off school, more than likely, the rest of their life will be just as boring and unfulfilling, they ought to get used to it.

Lefty, you're an exception, I'm an exception, I make double what most people of my education make on average and I had to work twice as hard as a collage grad to do it.

It's not like the old days, most kids graduate from high school with absolutely no marketable skills, it's ridiculous.

McMike
12-27-2012, 05:09 PM
Thank god someone interjected a bit of sanity into this thread! Its okay to not have 'things' figured out when you're fourteen or sixteen or even twenty years old. FWIW, lefty I had almost the same exact goal as you from age fifteen to after I graduated from college. I wanted to live on Lake of the Woods in the summer with a Lund and a 4 x 4 and be a fishing guide. LOL.:d

I'm sorry Paul but your experience and what your family was able to pass on to you is not anywhere near the reality that most face. You honestly got lucky and then worked hard. Your advice is bad advice.

Paul Pless
12-27-2012, 05:09 PM
I'd can that "very bright" talk. My son knew he was very bright right up to the time he nearly fluked out of a very expensive school. Found out very bright was just baseline in that school. He's doing fine now. My daughter works like a fiend never mind very bright. If he's a marginal student through high school, life in a dorm will do him no good. to answer your question, nothing to be done. He is just 14.

I agree, the whole 'very bright' thing is very hard to deal with. I was a very bright kid I think. I was horribly under challenged in high school. Many of my teachers and my guidance counselors didn't understand me, didn't like me, and didn't know what to do for me. That's not to say that I didn't have some other very good teachers, because I did. I graduated 257th out of 262 in my class, but lo and behold I posted the highest ever ACT score from my school and a very high SAT score. My guidance counselors were shocked - they should have had their asses kicked. Once I got past my freshman year in college I did perform exceptionally well.

Paul Pless
12-27-2012, 05:10 PM
I'm sorry Paul but your experience and what your family was able to pass on to you is not anywhere near the reality that most face. You honestly got lucky and then worked hard. Your advice is bad advice.You're really not gonna be happy with post #19 then.:D

McMike
12-27-2012, 05:13 PM
You're really not gonna be happy with post #19 then.:D

Again, you are an exception. Most kids aren't that bright either. SATs and ACTs arn't enough to get a D/C or even a high C student accepted to college.

Paul Pless
12-27-2012, 05:17 PM
Again, you are an exception. Probably. But identifying the reason(s) that some students lag behind their ability and finding a way to motivate them was and remains an issue, and the question that Katherine asked. I also agree with you that I was very lucky.

McMike
12-27-2012, 05:32 PM
Probably. But identifying the reason(s) that some students lag behind their ability and finding a way to motivate them was and remains an issue, and the question that Katherine asked. I also agree with you that I was very lucky.

Tell them the reality of it. Most kids who don't apply themselves in school don't do financially well as adults. You tell them, If they choose to be lazy now, it will affect the rest of their life and it will be their fault. At 14, a freshman in high school, a kid has no excuse to not apply themselves outside of being disabled. The other way is to treat the extras they would normally receive as currency; they get a low or no paycheck if they don't do their job.

The helplessness parents feel is that their kid has free will and will never let you forget it. So use that against them, like actually giving them actual consequences for being lazy. If they're in so much of a rush to be autonomous then allow them to actually feel what it's like to fail instead of making excuses for them.

Boater14
12-27-2012, 05:35 PM
257 out of 262 and a very high SAT is vritually unheard of. Your one in one million.

Paul Pless
12-27-2012, 05:37 PM
I can't tell you how many times I got the 'ditch digger' speech from my dad. OMFG! Would you like to hear it? I know it verbatim, starting with the whole thing about the shovel being the devil's tool, because there is nothing that can be done with it except work. . .

Paul Pless
12-27-2012, 05:41 PM
257 out of 262 and a very high SAT is vritually unheard of. Your one in one million.I'm not that exceptional. . .

Canoez
12-27-2012, 05:42 PM
Some kids are late bloomers.

Mike - in my experience sitting a 12 or 13 YO down and telling them they need to work hard to succeed in life doesn't mean squat to most of them at that age. They don't have any experience to put that in perspective yet.

Kat - when you find the solution let me know. I could use it around here.

McMike
12-27-2012, 05:46 PM
I get it, but then you were lucky . . . had your Dad not given you that speech and stayed on top of you as he did, and you happened to end up less than mediocre, it would have been his fault as much as yours.

Someday you might be so lucky as to have to worry about a kid that you're invested in, that you love. I think you won't be so contemptuous of your Dad then. You'd be able to feel that helplessness of trying to change the course of a hurricane, you'll try to cover all your bases because you'll feel the gravity of your actions, before, during, and after. It makes you old very quickly . . . if it doesn't then you really don't give a crap.

McMike
12-27-2012, 05:49 PM
Some kids are late bloomers.

Mike - in my experience sitting a 12 or 13 YO down and telling them they need to work hard to succeed in life doesn't mean squat to most of them at that age. They don't have any experience to put that in perspective yet.

Kat - when you find the solution let me know. I could use it around here.

But it does to some and that's enough to keep doing it . . . to the rest, well then, they reap what they sow.

Oh, and I second your request to Kat, because I recognize that having an answer is not having the answer.

Concordia...41
12-27-2012, 05:51 PM
I have a grandson that I would give a lesser-used limb to see rally and succeed at something.

But I can't.

I can't fix his home life. I can't set his goals. I can't make him understand how important things are - even when you're this young. I can't instill my 40+ years of experience that taught me what an asset education is or the hundreds of doors it will open. I can't. :(

All I can do is a weird combination of wishing, and hoping, and praying, letting him know that I know he is capable of better things, and trying to show him by example...

McMike
12-27-2012, 05:57 PM
I have a grandson that I would give a lesser-used limb to see rally and succeed at something.

But I can't.

I can't fix his home life. I can't set his goals. I can't make him understand how important things are - even when you're this young. I can't instill my 40+ years of experience that taught me what an asset education is or the hundreds of doors it will open. I can't. :(

All I can do is a weird combination of wishing, and hoping, and praying, letting him know that I know he is capable of better things, and trying to show him by example...

It makes it hard when they have a crappy home life too. Sorry to hear it.

Canoez
12-27-2012, 05:58 PM
Nice if they all "got it", but that's just not the case - and you just can't say, "tough luck". I know you don't mean to sound harsh about the whole, "reap what they sow" thing, but it's really true. They've got to struggle a bit to learn what's important. The greatest advantage I ever had was my parents providing me with a college education. However, even with that advantage I've had little or nothing else "handed to me". Did I get that in High School or know what an advantage I had at the time? Hell no!

Paul Pless
12-27-2012, 06:00 PM
instill my 40+ years i don't believe a word of this. . .

Canoez
12-27-2012, 06:02 PM
i don't believe a word of this. . .
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Will suck up for fresh St.Augustine shrimp. :d

Paul Pless
12-27-2012, 06:04 PM
Nice if they all "got it", but that's just not the case - and you just can't say, "tough luck". I know you don't mean to sound harsh about the whole, "reap what they sow" thing, but it's really true. They've got to struggle a bit to learn what's important. The greatest advantage I ever had was my parents providing me with a college education. However, even with that advantage I've had little or nothing else "handed to me". Did I get that in High School or know what an advantage I had at the time? Hell no!

Maybe in some of these cases, it really is for the best that they take a year or so, between high school and college. Having a real job with real responsibilities and only making minimum wage or close to it has served as a wake up call to many that were aimless. Also college isn't the be all and end all, there are many worthy trades that offer a good income and there's absolutely nothing wrong with going that route.

Canoez
12-27-2012, 06:08 PM
Maybe in some of these cases, it really is for the best that they take a year or so, between high school and college. Having a real job with real responsibilities and only making minimum wage or close to it has served as a wake up call to many that were aimless. Also college isn't the be all and end all, there are many worthy trades that offer a good income and there's absolutely nothing wrong with going that route.

Agreed on all points.

Kids need to figure out what they're good at and want to do. The important thing to keep in mind is that while it is difficult after you have responsibilities, it is possible to re-invent yourself and do something different later in life.

McMike
12-27-2012, 06:22 PM
Maybe in some of these cases, it really is for the best that they take a year or so, between high school and college. Having a real job with real responsibilities and only making minimum wage or close to it has served as a wake up call to many that were aimless. Also college isn't the be all and end all, there are many worthy trades that offer a good income and there's absolutely nothing wrong with going that route.

Worthy trades require a worthy worker. I've seen many "kids" come into my shop wanting the paycheck but not having any clue how to earn it, something that at the age of 18 should be apparent. The look in their eyes when they finally see their reality is heart breaking; they are truly crushed when they realize what the rest of their lives look like, dusty hard work, with little positive reinforcement and little kindness. Trades are fine and dandy but, not for the lazy, pot smoking kid, who thought getting a job meant simply showing up. Momma aint gonna save them.

Paul Pless
12-27-2012, 06:24 PM
Kids need to figure out what they're good at and want to do. Honestly, I didn't figure it out until I was a sophomore in college. I was, until then majoring in math, and was still very bored and drifting around pretty aimlessly. But in one quarter I took an economics class that I really enjoyed and it really pushed the limits of what I knew. Meaning that I had to study and I had to actually do some work. The quarter before then I had taken one of the intro to history classes, and while the class was okay the professor was phenomenal. I tracked down what he was teaching this particular and took that class, I believe it was a junior level History of the Reformation. It was fantastic, it was small, it was conversational, there was no one assigned text book, but a number of readings that you were expected to have read before class so that you could engage in the discussion. For the first time in my life I made straight 'A' in all four classes that I took that quarter. I learned to take upper level classes as a sophomore. I ended up with a BS in Economics and minors in History and Math. From that quarter forward I made all A's and only one 'B' until I graduated. I was accepted into a competitive grad school, even though I ultimately chose not to attend.

Looking back, I was never really pushed hard by my parents. But there is one thing that they did give me, and they had it themselves. They were (my mom, still alive, remains so) incredibly hungry for knowledge and they knew how to learn on their own. They gave me that, I'm not sure if it was passed down to me through my genes or through something like osmosis, but I have that, I've always had it, and I'm sure I always will have it. Once you have that thirst for knowledge, that curiosity, and just a little bit of the skill set and confidence to know that you can learn anything, no one can take it from you.

Concordia...41
12-27-2012, 06:30 PM
Agreed on all points.

Kids need to figure out what they're good at and want to do. The important thing to keep in mind is that while it is difficult after you have responsibilities, it is possible to re-invent yourself and do something different later in life.

I'm still laughing at Paul's comment, but in 40+ years, it's only been the last 15 or so that I have CONSISTENTLY made good decisions. Well into my 20's I'd take a couple of steps foward and the proverbial one back. I can say my last WTF was I thinking decision was around 32.

You do have to learn from your mistakes, but I firmly believe that college gives you a broader base to land on when those good (and bad) decisions bounce you back.

.02

-M

Canoez
12-27-2012, 06:38 PM
Well, I'm forty-mumble mumble years old and every now and again ask myself what I want to be when I grow up!

McMike
12-27-2012, 06:46 PM
Agreed on all points.

Kids need to figure out what they're good at and want to do. The important thing to keep in mind is that while it is difficult after you have responsibilities, it is possible to re-invent yourself and do something different later in life.

Very true! But that shouldn't be a fall back for lack of responsibility. Take it from someone who kept putting off being responsible; it's a hell of a lot harder to play catch up than it is to do the work in front of you.

TomF
12-27-2012, 07:30 PM
Remember though that kids are little different from us in some respects - importantly, that what ought to motivate them usually won't.

The thing is to recognize what actually motivates, and build good-ends to choices that go those directions. Fun is a motivator. Building the capacity to pay off a mortgage you don't really believe you'll ever have ... Less motivating.

Gotta be a fun process, or there'll be little real incentive to work - at least at the outset. IMO

Captain Intrepid
12-27-2012, 10:20 PM
I don't really blame the kid. The sad thing is that school for the most part is directed at the lowest common denominator, and gets pretty boring and pointless if you're significantly above that. In grade 10 I did roughly half of my english assignments over a single night at the end of the year. I could get a 78 in the course, a 95 on the final and still come out with the final grade of A.

It's not an environment designed to encourage excellence. I directed my energy elsewhere, competitive weightlifting, theatre, singing, sailing, and turned out ok. Fostering the ability for him to apply himself wholeheartedly to things is almost more important ultimately than what he's applying himself to. Trying to force him to do things he doesn't want to do will just make him even more stubborn.

S.V. Airlie
12-27-2012, 11:11 PM
Kat...suggest he take a year off and work. Give him an idea what it's like to work, earn money, find out what topics he likes and dislikes. See the world mayhap. Get some perspective.He has been at school for 12 years. He may just need a break from those courses he apparently is not interested in.

Meli
12-27-2012, 11:41 PM
257 out of 262 and a very high SAT is vritually unheard of. Your one in one million.
no he's not

I got 22% in my year 12 mock lit exam. Teacher hated me. And told me he'd shout the class champers ifI passed
I passed the Real exam with 89% . Some of us just dance to our own drum beat and some teachers hate that.

we are still waiting for the .bubbly :rolleyes:

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
12-28-2012, 06:09 AM
To often, the kids of busy parents never learn to do anything - becaus its much easier to do the job yourself rather than take the time to supervise the kid.

Following her divorce my sister's eldest was looking "iffy" at 14.

So he spent the long summer vacation at our place - where Debbs set him to all manner of domestic crap - washing, ironing, re-tiling the kitchen, mowing the lawn - he also learned to roller skate, I taught him to paddle and, at the end of the summer, sent him home with an old slalom boat.

He learned a set of skills and a hobby that have lasted well into adulthood - he has just re-tiled his own kitchen.

At 18 he spent another - longer - summer with us, and again Debbs set to teaching him life skills.
He was sent out to get a job - and found unskilled work via an agency on a day by day basis - valuable lessons like:
You have to get up in the morning.
Do whatever turns up - and do it as well as you are able.
Sometimes it's $hit - but its often better the next day.
Have a clean ironed shirt - sometimes it pays dividends.

I taught him the basics of sailing - and we had an epic between Lowestoft and Holland....

He credits those two summers - and the lessons he learned from Debbs - with having a major impact on his adult life, and all it took was some time.

Bram V
12-28-2012, 07:02 AM
I know that I'll take a beating for this, but has he been evaluated for ADD (not ADHD)? If I'd been diagnosed while still in high school, I'm certain my life would have been much different.
I would subscribe to this, I have ADD, and was only diagnosed after all chance of a full time education had passed, trying to gather the funds to get that education now that I can finish one is very hard (though my next job should change that). I passed high school with flying coulours simply by being smart, I was unable to do much homework or projects after about my 16th birthday, I really could not focus, and I mean really could not focus.

I think it is best to help him set his goal, if he knows what he wants to do, and there is no condition holding him back, he'll have an easier time to do thing required to reach that goal. His goal might be different when he actually starts college, but he needs to have one.

TomF
12-28-2012, 10:36 AM
One of the best motivators for me was working as a waiter during summer jobs. At first, the money was great - and the summer-student staff were fun. But by the end of the summer I was more than ready to do something else.

And the one year that I stayed on p/t through the fall was an eye-opener. The "lifers" with no other marketable skills were pretty depressed, and trapped.

A friend who cut grass for the school board said the same. A very big difference between the attitudes of the summer students, and the guys who'd been cutting the same grass for 25 years. That group concentrated more on their drinking, when the whole staff went out for Friday happy hour.

A crap job was a great motivator to work at school, and develop other real options. OTOH, I coulda fallen in love with the industry, and made a real life there. But the job and its taste of reality were crucial catalysts.