65 answers

15 Yr. Old Son Wants to Quit School.

15 year old son wants to quit school. I've tried talking to him and all he says is that he doesn't like school. Help! Any suggestions or advice welcomed...

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow. Got 74 replies! Thank you so very much to all of you who replied and gave your heart-felt advice. I e-mailed several people at his school and we will be getting together with his school counselor and behavioral correspondent before the new year starts to figure out why he feels this way and what options (most of which you all advised me on) we have but graduating is not an option. I will not give up on him - he's too smart! Thanks again to all of you.

Featured Answers

Hi,

My old standby, no school, no car, no license.

You can dangle that over him tell he finishes. He may also need tutoring, counseling, and Dad.

I raise 4 boys vertually alone.

Good Luck ~ F.

I didn't enjoy school myself, but it was the education part (luckily I outgrew that later down the road) that I disliked; I always looked forward to hanging out with my friends. Could there be a reason why he doesn't like it, like he's being harassed by other students as to why he wants to quit?

Try getting him home schooled and see if they will work with the highschool so that he can walk and graduate. I would definitely try home school.

More Answers

My post is coming from the perspective of someone who left highschool at 15 by taking the California High School Proficiency Test. I went to junior college and worked right away. This was 15 years ago and I have since graduated from college and had a corporate career that took me to the executive level.

My advice is to not discount him right away. Find out the root of the issue. Is he bored? Does he see it as pointless? Or is he just rebelling? Does he plan to go to junior college? Or is he just blowing school off? Does he even have a plan?

I went to my parents with my request to leave highschool and go to community college fully expecting them to blow me off and say no way. I told them I thought highschool was pointless when I thought I could be studying stuff that counted for my future. To my complete surprise, they approved of my plan.

I have NEVER regretted my decision. It was the best thing for me.

If your son has a plan and you have confidence in his ability to follow through, I might suggest supporting him. I would give him conditions where he has to graduate (either GED, Highschool proficiency etc), maintain a job and take a minimum number of units in college. In my experience it was a good thing.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Hi:

My son also hated school and was not doing well. Instead of letting him quit he transfered to a continuation school. The hours were much less and he could do alot of his work at home. I was not real thrilled with this but decided it was better than no school. There are lots of different continuation and also virtual schools out there. Maybe you can research them together and find one that will work better for him. Tell your son that my son succeeded in getting his diploma and today says that it is the best thing he ever did. Many of his friends did not and he sees how much they struggle to get a job. If you are interested, I would be happy to have my son talk to your son. Just email me and we can arrange it.

Take care,

M.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi! The previous responses raised some great points regarding the environment at school, so I won't repeat all that. Here's another tack to try, coming from a high school Economics teacher of 15 years experience...

Have your son go through the want ads and find jobs he'd like to do that take applicants without a high school diploma/GED. Have him really think about if this is a type of job he wants to do for the rest of his life. Have him analyze the wages and calculate how much he'll make a week/month/year AFTER TAXES to live on. Then, have him create a grocery list of what he'd want to eat, find an apartment, car payment, gasoline, utilities, the whole "living on your own as an adult" list of expenses. Don't forget things like health insurance, since many jobs don't offer that, particularly retail.

Can he afford to live without a high school diploma?

If you really want to drive the point home, have him research the costs of a baby: formula, diapers, daycare, doctor visits, etc. Can he still afford to live on his drop-out wages?

Have him factor in savings for things like education (he might change his mind), a new car, a vacation, or even a house. Have him factor in things that just happen in life. My family was doing great until my son skiied into a tree and wracked up $21,000 in medical bills in three hours. Insurance wouldn't cover it because it was out of network. Or, just today, my husband's engine just died and we either buy a car or a new engine. Life isn't always kind to us, financially. Can his drop out wages allow him to save enough money to handle life's unexpected events (without relying on "the bank of mom and dad")?

Explain inflation. Can his projected wages absorb increases in the cost of living?

Last but not least, while $10/hour sounds great at 15, it's not always enough at 20 or 30 or 40. The number one thing that translates into more money is education and the skills it provides. Of course, this is just the rule and my students have five bazillion exceptions. But, really, is it realistic to think we are the exception and not the rule?

I spend weeks working on this with my Econ students and you should hear the groans of agony when they discover they cannot live the life they want on minimum wage. I see more grade improvement in those four weeks than at any time during the semester. I know I've done my job when my juniors (16-17 years old) announce they are no longer in a rush to grow up...it's too expensive! Even better is when they announce they have more respect for their parents after learning how hard it is to make all the expenses fit into a budget.

Yes, school can be tough, it can be boring and he may be surrounded by obnoxious people. Is a job really all that different? I love my job, but some days, teenagers are just awful to work with. Or my principal is making unreasonable demands. Or finals week when it's so quiet and so boring, I feel like pulling my hair out. You can't quit every job you hate or leave just because you don't like someone. High school is (or should be) the place where you learn the discipline to suck it up and deal with it...and maybe even find the humor or the irony or the smile in the crummy situation.

Good luck,
Steph :)

2 moms found this helpful

Hi M.:
You recieved an excellent response from mindy. I agree,that attending continuation is a whole lot better than quitting altogether.I understand,that there are plenty of young people,bored and over-welmed with the public school system today. I will tell you,that My Grandson, who is 15,just began summer school,to make up credits,and he told me,today, that if schooling during the year was more like his summer school class,He felt he'd do alot better academically. I asked him,what the difference was,and why he felt that way,and I was surprised to hear him say,that he was more relaxed,not having to deal with the peer presure,the noise and the hectic running from class to class.He loved having one teacher for all his subjects,in a uncrowded enviroment.He said he was able to listen and it was so much easier for him to concentrate,and grasp things.He may opt to do the same as Mindys son,and I'm going to back his decision. I wish you and your son the very best.J.

2 moms found this helpful

Check out California Virtual Academy - free online public home school option for him. http://www.k12.com/cava/

Great choice and he can work at his own pace so most stuff should be at his level.

1 mom found this helpful

Marybelle, I have a 15 yr old son, too and he has wanted to quit school and work at times this year. He is now in summer school, because he failed a class. I think you should sit down with him on paper and show him how much stuff costs, like if he made minimum wage at a job, he would be getting 7.95 an hour and then figure how many hours he may work, like say 10-15 a week and then less taxes and then show him what is left and how much food is and on and on. My son now knows that he must go to school and college if he wants to make it and any kid in our house that is not going to school has to work. Maybe see if there are any electives he likes or is interested in that he can take for next year. I am a SAHM of 4, ages 15, 13, 2 (will be 3 in July) and 10 months and a 14 year old step daughter who is here for the summer. Good luck! M.

1 mom found this helpful

Ask him why he wants to quit school & please listen to him with an open heart & mind. It seems that his own knowlege & experiences have brought him to the idea that quitting school will solve some sort of problem he has in his young life. At our age & with our wisdom, you & I both know that quitting school won't solve any problem & will create more. I believe that if he trusts that you are able to see the world through his eyes (with out judgement) & understand his needs & wants, he may hear your words with an open heart & mind (as you did for him)& accept your guidance. It has been my experience that at his age, our children will either continue to trust that we have their best interest at heart (according to what they, as individuals, need & want)...or they stop trusting us if they feel we aren't interested in them as individuals but only want to control their choices & actions. Hence, rebellion. Allow him to confirm, in his own way,(through this challenge) his trust in you so that he feels he will always be able to depend on you for support in making his own choices. And at the same, help him understand that it is your priority & interest, as his loving mom, to make sure he has the proper guidance to examine both sides of any crossroads before choosing a direction. At that time, he should be ready to hear your examples of the end of the road of quitting school or the end of the road of completing school. Remember to appreciate the simple fact that he is willing to discuss his dilema with you and give you the opportunity to guide him. That alone is heart warming. On that note, keep in mind the old "if I knew then what I know now" philosophy. You have the chance to fill that gap for him so that he can know now what he will learn later through mistakes & experience. Share your knowledge with him so he can become wise. If he was wise enough to know what you know, would he be considering this question at all? Sometimes we think of our children's ideas (like this one)as ridiculous when they are actually the result of a detailed thought process. I wish you patience, compassion & understanding. Good luck and take care.

1 mom found this helpful

I highly recommend H.E.L.P. (The Hollywood Education and Literacy Project) located here in Hollywood. It is a free program, and they will truly show your son how to study successfully. You can definitely call them for a free tour, or if you don't live around Hollywood they can help you find a H.E.L.P. closer to your home.

Here's their data:

Hollywood Education Literacy Project International
6336 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood CA 90028
###-###-####
http://www.helplearn.org/index-flash.html

Life is magical when you know how to study!

With love,
L..

1 mom found this helpful

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