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Teen with LD Hates School

Homeschooling Expert Advice from Isabel Shaw

Q: My 17-year-old son hates school. He was classified LD in first grade and was in a self-contained class for his first four years. In fifth grade he was mainstreamed. He did fine until seventh grade, when things fell apart. He has no self-esteem, no motivation, and literally hates school. He was never a behavior problem; he just would not participate in school at all. We signed him out in the ninth grade because the school did not want to deal with him any longer. What can we do to get him enough education to deal with adult life? He would also like to do motorcycle-mechanic school. Any advice is appreciated.

A: How difficult it must have been for your boy. I've seen many children labeled LD. After a year or two of homeschooling, suddenly these children didn't seem to have learning difficulties any more. It appears these kids are very bright and have a different learning style. Given the freedom to learn on their own, they do quite well.

First, both you and your son must read The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn. Her second book, Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School is also very good.

For information on the GED (Test for General Educational Development) try: Students have used the GED like a diploma for college admissions, the military, or perhaps the motorcycle-mechanic school your son would like to attend. Good luck!

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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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