Class rigor - when is too much?

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Class rigor - when is too much?
24
Mon, 09-19-2011 - 10:10pm
I know we've had this discussion on the boards and I know I've seen varying opinions on it. I am wondering when you decide enough is enough, or you need to either step into things or let your h/s'er deal with it.

Bit of background, ODD is a junior, straight A's up til last year taking gifted and talented, honors, Pre-AP and AP courses. Last year she got a B+ in Algebra 2 and was okay with it because she put her all into it. She was on the JV cheer team, photography club, and officer of Latin club. She started getting tension headaches mid-way through the year, partly due to stress and we learned her dad's maternal side of the family is extremely prone to migraines also. We talked last year about the headaches, tried to work on strategies to combat the stress, but she is very ambitious, a perfectionist, and tends to get OCD about things. This year, I reminded her when she picked up an outside competitive team, made varsity cheerleading, added a job at the cheer gym, and took 3 AP classes, 2 Pre-AP classes, and elected to do an independent study, self-directed class to study and work towards taking the AP art history test in the spring. She dropped Latin and Latin club after a teacher change at the end of last year. I let her make the decisions, but gently reminded her several times that I thought she was taking on too much.

Its now a month into the school year, she has 1 night a week she is home before 8:30, is only working 7 hours a week at the gym which are times she is already to be at the gym for cheer practices, and the tension headaches are already starting. She came home tonight in tears over her AP English 3 class, the teacher, the testing and course structure. I asked her about dropping into core English 3 and she said no right away, she doesn't want to "go into a class where nobody cares about the work". I told her i wasn't going to make her do anything right one, but gave her some things to think about, like is one class that is making you this upset a month into school, and in tears, worth a whole year of stress and it sounds like a drop in GPA if it's as bad as she's saying it is? I told her to think about things, go in and talk to a counselor if she needs to, but it's her decision. HOWEVER, the first time we land in the urgent care again this year because the headaches are that unbearable, I will make decisions for her and she may not like them.

But seriously, I don't know what to do, she loves school, I know she likes being challenged, but this is ridiculous, I want her to enjoy high school, have fun, etc.., and I know she does, she has some great friends and loves the activities she's in, I don't want her overwhelming drive and ambition to make herself miserable. I would love thoughts, questions, BTDT advise, etc.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
Thu, 09-22-2011 - 12:38pm

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Thu, 09-22-2011 - 7:33pm
They do a switched schedule here in Texas, the older kids go later and the younger kids go earlier. My 4 year old starts kindergarten next year and the bus picks her up at like 6:45 or something close to that. I think they start around 7:30. Great in some instances, but it sucks when you have an older child that could do the after school babysitting for opan hour except for the fact that the younger kids get out before the older kids, so unless you get out of work early or are a SAHM, you ar stuck putting your kids in after school care.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Fri, 09-23-2011 - 9:50am

I think this is typical of motivated, smart kids now.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Fri, 09-23-2011 - 10:19am
No, we haven't done college visits. She actually already has her college/major/living situation picked out. She already knew she planned to go back to Michigan where we are from and had really wanted to go to U of M (DH wanted her to go to MSU). After a lot of thought, discussions and research she decided (as long as she gets in, and I can't see why she wouldn't) to attend Grand Valley State. My brother is finishing up his Master's degree there and owns a house just off campus. She's planning on studying Art Conservation/History with a minor in (most likely) graphic design. She's debating on a teachering certificate also. And after that, she wants to transfer to U of M for graduate school. She's going to live with my brother for the first year and then decide what she wants to do after that. She's more tha welcome to live with him the entire time she's there. But we looked at options that would give her the best options and least amount of student debt in the long run, while still letting her go to U of M if she decided she wanted to for graduate school. She's already been in contact with the cheerleading coach at GVSU and because my brother already knows a consider amount of people from both being at school there and his job, she is going to go on a tour and meet with some people next summer when she goes to Michigan for her annual visit. And she's working towards getting her certificate to teach at gymnastics/cheer gyms so that when she moves up there she can look into a job at one of the couple of local gyms close to campus teaching classes. If all else fails, she'll get a job as a waitress at the restuarant my brother works at.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Fri, 09-23-2011 - 7:20pm

Theresa, the main reason they don't change the schedule is because of sports, especially in schools at higher latitudes, where it gets dark earlier in the autumn and winter. The real question is why academic schedules should be impacted by athletics, when we all know that most high school athletes won't play sports in college, let alone professionally!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2001
Mon, 09-26-2011 - 8:54pm

I understand her wanting to be in Michigan!

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Mon, 09-26-2011 - 10:47pm
It's a beautiful area and a great selection of colleges to choose from.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2000
Tue, 09-27-2011 - 5:49pm

Has anyone seen Race to Nowhere?

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Tue, 09-27-2011 - 9:07pm
I've heard of it and looked into it. Jordyn would have went to see it, but the one time it was screening here in our area, she already had a commitment she couldn't reschedule. I will have to look up screenings again, though I wish it were out on DVD to just buy.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Wed, 09-28-2011 - 2:16pm

They showed Race to Nowhere at our high school last year, and I was rather surprised by the negative reactions from some of the parents in the discussion afterwards. Many thought the kids in the film were "complainers" who "blamed others for their problems."

I think they missed the entire point of the movie. Some of the people complaining were the parents of kids who have anorexia, are in physical therapy for tension headaches, miss days of school for stress-related illnesses, etc. How can there be such a disconnect?

But I think a lot of parents, while they see that their kids are overloaded with work, are proud that they can boast of the school's high ranking, SAT scores, and acceptances to top schools. So even though people may see that there's a problem, there's no will to change anything, because they fear they'll have to give up something, such as acceptance to an Ivy, if the workload is reduced in honors classes.