Schooling/Trade Options for 15 year old HS drop out

My nephew, who lives in Colorado, refuses to go to school.  His parents are divorced and there is a lot of "it's not my problem anymore, and I can't do anything about it" going on.   Family dynamics aside, I am trying to find some options for him.  He's a bright kid, who says he was just bored in school.  He would rather enter some type of trade or art school.  He enjoys computer programming, and graphic arts.  We are not against even moving him out here to give him some options.  Has anyone been down this road?  Options?  Advice?  Thoughts?  Support.

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

Traditional high school didn't work for my son either; he claimed that while he loved to learn, he found the routine tedious and boring. He transferred to Berkeley High's independent study program (requires interview to meet eligibility) and it worked well for him. Students meet with their teachers only once or twice weekly to review work they've completed and to receive follow up assignments. Science and math courses, however, must be done with teachers on campus. Also, your nephew might pursue a GED at an adult school or online. Check out community colleges too. I believe he will need a high school diploma regardless of which path he follows.  Perhaps you could find out if his local Colorado high school has a similar independent program. Many kids thrive in smaller settings with more freedom to make their own decisions.  If you research the private school route, there probably are options, but they will all be very pricey. The fact that your nephew enjoys programming and graphic arts is fantastic, since there are professions/jobs that combine both of those skills.  I completely understand the urgency of wanting your teen to develop and thrive!  Best to you and your nephew.

Check out

Sounds just like my daughter. Identical situation.  After having done a ton of research about options that she might accept, I recommend that he be offered the chance to go to Community college here and take whatever classes he wants. I believe that you can register him for Berkeley High and that they will pay his community college tuition. Talk to a counselor there.  Also, a thought: You may want to make this offer to him with some conditions such as he must be doing something productive (community college, structured exercise, or working for example) for at least 6 hours/ day if he is to stay with you. Best of luck.

Maybe your nephew just needs a change of scenery. Maybe he is in a difficult social situation at his current school. You could do a trial where he stays with you for 3 months and then you re-evaluate the situation.  You didn't say which city you live in but he might find a public high school like Berkeley High more acceptable than his school in Colorado.  Many school districts including Berkeley have independent study programs.  That might work for him too. In California he can take the high school equivalency exam until he is 18, which gives him a high school degree. After 18 it's the GED which can be more difficult. He can also take classes at a community college which gives him a pathway to a 4 year college.  Good luck and good for you for looking out for your nephew.

You may want to see if there is a Sudbury School or Free School in his area.

If he is a bright kid -- have him enroll in community college classes in his area of interest.  he may just thrive in an environment made for adults making their own decisions about learning rather than high school where he has no control.