The problem with not graduating from high school is that it has a bad stigma, and the non-graduates believe they are failures. Society clearly has told them this. They failed enough classes to not graduate from high school. But, while it’s true that they may have not fitted into the system, it’s simply not true that they are failures. These kids DO NOT lack intelligence! Instead they are star-shaped pegs trying to fit in square holes.
Here is our suggestion:
Reframe this whole drop-out idea.
You know your teen is intelligent- It may be that this intelligence is in a non academic area. Is he a musician? an artist? really good at recounting stories or telling jokes?, physically adept? , wise and introspective? a gamer?
The problem isn’t your teen, it’s that school has not engaged or celebrated her particular intelligence.
Did you know there are at least 8 different types of intelligence?
- Self intelligence— You like to introspect, journal, be alone.You might be a loner. (Not really valued by schools)
- Social intelligence–You enjoy meeting and socializing with people. (Not valued by schools, but your teen may enjoy going to school because of the social opportunities.)
- Kinesthetic intelligence–You are coordinated and like movement and activity. (Valued by schools in the sports scene- but rarely helpful in getting good grades)
- Musical Intelligence— You like rhythm, poems, songs. You are good at recalling tunes. (Valued by schools in musical theater or band scenes but not really helpful in getting good grades)
- Nature Intelligence— You are sensitive to and love nature. you want to be outside, exploring and playing. (Not really valued in schools)
- Spatial Intelligence– -You are a keen observer. You like charts, maps, color codes.(Now this is the type of intelligence starting to be valued by schools)
- Mathematical Intelligence— You are logical, enjoy abstract thinking, math. (Yes, valued in schools)
- Linguistic Intelligence– Enjoy language, essays, writing, reading. (Yes, this is valued in schools)
You can take a little on line quiz and see what your strengths are. I found this quiz relatively fun, and it also gives suggestions for how to use your strengths to learn new concepts.
Most of us have particular strong clusters of intelligence- for instance I’m strongest in self , nature and social intelligences, and considerably weak in musical.
But fundamentally learning happens when the learner is interested, it’s fun, and there’s no stress or shame. You can’t stop a person form learning in these conditions!
So reframe that thought- your teen is not not graduating because he lacks intelligence, but because school hasn’t engaged his particular intelligence!
Leaving school to use his strengths and find real engagement with things that interest him could be seen as an entrepreneurial move, not a cop-out.
Before the school year ends and she doesn’t graduate, or if she’s a bit younger and on the path not to, consider transferring to Pacific Sands Academy.
We celebrate all types of intelligence!
We encourage young people to follow their interests and passions and help them figure out the next step in their lives.