Monday, November 16, 2015

Can This Teen's School Experience Be Saved?

Is your teen experiencing any of these responses to school?

1. Your teen hates school. It’s an all-encompassing aversion. No positive social life, adults in school are not sympathetic, the work sucks, and it feels like prison.
2. Your teen hates homework and tests, but likes classroom work.  Although they enjoy their classroom experience and/or social life, teens like this value their private life and need their own activities. This affects their grades, and you’re worried it will affect his/her chances in college.
3. Your teen seems very unhappy in school, and gets average grades. Teens like this go along and get along with school’s demands, but something isn’t right. They don’t take initiative, and don’t develop a real interest in their studies.
4. Your teen wants to go to college, but doesn't have the grades and isn't a good test-taker. For this teen, school just isn’t interesting, and they don’t excel in the way school demands.
5. Your teen is very ambitious, studies hard, does well in classes and on tests, and is stressed-out, anxious and unhappy. For whatever reason, this teen needs to rise to each challenge, and isn’t happy when that doesn’t happen. In a race with herself, she feels like she can’t lose. She might seem to be every parent’s dream child, so why are you so worried?
These scenarios occur at schools everywhere.
There are options and strategies available to the families in these scenarios. What would you do? Comment below if you have ideas about how these situations can be resolved, or join us at Solving School-Related Family Conflicts, a project of Catalyst Learning Network.

(If you have a teen who sounds like the ones described above, and you’d like to discuss options, email


  1. Wow! Challenging one!! I think my solution, would it were to have occurred in any of these ways, would be to quit my job in order to focus on what I could do for my children. Yes, it's easy to say -- but I learned early on how we can miraculously live on a lot less than we imagine, that there are ways and means available to us usually, that it can be a collaborative effort (part time work, share time and resources with other parents facing similar things) & I would look for solutions from that stand point -- it's amazing what spending time with, and giving attention to, our children can do, can uncover, can create. When we are working full time, and focused on paying bills -without considering what else is important -- we cannot see the forest for the trees. I always used to feel that way, that there was something that I was missing, or not understanding, about life and living and getting ahead. Until I gave up, focused on my child, and got creative. ;-) Radical Unschooler here, also known as Life Learning or child-led-learning.

    1. yeah -- I can see how that might be a hard sell for parents who work hard to have a nice house and yard for kids. I mean, they did that all for their kids, and now, in order to help them, they have to retrench, down-sell? Why don't these kids just do better in school???? Why don't they appreciate the nice things we've provided?