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Knowing when to call it quits...

Sometimes it can be so hard to know when the time has come to call it quits on a situation.

No, no, I'm not separating from the Grumpy Old Man, and I'm not giving up my PhD, so you can all relax.

I'm talking about school. Formal education. Institutionalised education.

When my eldest reached school age, I knew he wasn't ready for a classroom. He had no real concept of rules, or consideration of others.

Honestly, not much changed even when he did start school aged seven and a half. We trundled on though, and for the most part we were able to keep him on the straight and narrow with a massive amount of guidance. In primary school, a lot of behaviour issues are put down to immaturity. This does not continue to work in high school.

So, Erik is just about finished with his third year at high school, and to be blunt, it's been a bad year. We've had ongoing issues with work not being completed or handed in, even if he was allowed to hand it in three months late. He leaves the school grounds at lunch time because, as he sees it, he's doing VCE subjects so he should have the same rights as year 11 and 12 equivalent students, even if he is only in year 9 equivalency.

If he doesn't like a class, he just doesn't turn up.

He has been disruptive in class as well.

This morning we had a meeting with his head of house, and Erik has been restricted from enrolling in any VCE subjects. He had put in for four of five subjects to be VCE level, but that's just not going to happen now. He failed Studio Art 1/2 (because he didn't turn up to class or hand in assignments, despite swearing up and down that he wanted to be in that unit), he scraped through on Math and English, but in Math he had to re-sit nearly every SAC. He did well in Philosophy, and it really is a shame he won't be able to continue on to year 12 Philosphy, but well, he's done himself a disservice by showing such contempt for the rest of his classes.

He's on his last warning. If he doesn't improve considerably, he's out.

I have no real hope he'll improve. I don't even know if he can.

So, what happens if he's sent packing? Another high school? No, I don't think so. He would only be able to get into our local, and it's really just a terrible high school. A lot of social issues amongst the students, and Erik is drawn to kids with social issues like a moth to a flame.

So, it looks like we'll be coming full circle again. He'll have to be home-educated. This time out of necessity, rather than choice. I'll bring him into the office with me, and he'll just have to do work I assign him. There will be no unschooling this time, because it has become clear this year that he needs to be under constant supervision and direction. He is unable to make beneficial choices for himself at this stage.

My only question at this point, is, do we pull him out now, at the end of the year, or do we wait for him to be expelled in the new year?

That is what I mean by it being hard to know when to call it quits.


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