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  1. #1

    Default My son is lonely and it's not about a lack of other homeschooled age-peers.

    I feel like we have an "eye of the needle" to get through right now, and it's that my crazy-tech-geek DS8 is desperate for mentorship, for a friend he can share interests with, and we don't know anyone who even comes close, within an hour's drive.

    Here's the situation: he researched and built his first Minecraft server on the PC, but quickly agreed to delete it due to security concerns. Now he's determined to learn Linux and use Raspberry Pi and/or the Android Tablet to run his server from.

    The problem? He knows many other homeschooled boys he is friends with, with varying degrees of success, but fundamentally, none of them are able to discuss any of the things my son is dying to discuss.

    He's frustrated, and feels alone.

    I need to find him a mentor, whether adult, teen, college student, or whatever, because I have 3 other kids who need my attention, and I can't fill that role for him even under ideal circumstances, let alone real-life scenarios.

    Anyone have any insights? He is frustrated because even his closest-match friends don't understand a word he is saying.
    I remember how deeply meaningful and important it was for me, to be in an all-gifted class in 4th grade, with the sons and daughters of visiting nuclear physicists from around the world, and finally being able to be myself without hearing crickets chirping in the background. That carried me until high school when I lucked into a competitive-entry math and science magnet program.

    But I can't offer my son anything like that, homeschooling where we live, so far as I know.
    I just know he needs more.

    We're going to clear out the basement and set it up as part workshop for science etc projects, and part "man-cave" for hubby and DS* (and me because frankly, I need it too) but that still won't address the crushing loneliness.

    Public school is unlikely to solve this for us, either. He finds peership in kids 5 years older, generally.

    I don't know what to do aside from letting him stay up til 10, because he needs to talk physics and electronics with someone who gets it at least to a degree, but he needs more than his tired Mama. He wanted to try chatrooms, but I showed him what those result in. I told him what "ASL?" means, and why people ask. He saw for himself that chatrooms are nothing like what he and I wish they were. Conversations worth having, do not happen there.

    So what now?
    He has a lifetime account on Clever Dragons, but the word Minecraft is off-limits there for some reason, and he can't find much besides bland talk and religion there, so he gave up.

    He wants his own email account, but I"m hesitant due to his tendency to be driven by desire and curiosity untempered by caution or wisdom at his age. I'm thinking discussion forums would be much better.

    Anyone else have advice about restless youth with a mental age about 13, who want to reach out, want to find mentors, but is not yet 13? He really isn't emotionally mature enough for his cognitive ability, and I have no local support group for that sort of thing. Ugh. I want to help him, but I am only human, and I can't stay up til 11 with a toddler who wakes early, having those lovely deep conversations I recall from late teens and early 20s, with my 8-year-old...but someone's got to.

    Any ideas?
    Middle-aged mom of 4 kids spanning a 10-year age range, homeschooling since 2009, and a public school mom also, since 2017.

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  3. #2

    Default

    Is there a Maker Space near you? You might find what you are looking for there.

  4. #3

    Default

    Do you have a university in the area? You may be able to hire a tutor/mentor to discuss these things with.
    A mama who teaches college writing, as well as help her 11-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.

  5. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MissLemon View Post
    Is there a Maker Space near you? You might find what you are looking for there.
    Based on your recommendation, I found out that our state library has a dedicated maker space equipped with green screen, video recording and editing software and equipment, 3-D printing, etc. free for the public to use (but pay for materials consumed) by appointment, and we live close enough to do it!

    Thank you!
    Middle-aged mom of 4 kids spanning a 10-year age range, homeschooling since 2009, and a public school mom also, since 2017.

  6. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mariam View Post
    Do you have a university in the area? You may be able to hire a tutor/mentor to discuss these things with.
    I had wondered about that possibility and intend to see what I can turn up, hesitantly expecting to be given the brushoff due to his age. We don't have any major research universities here but there is a liberal-arts college, so I guess I would look for some sort of student coordinator? Or would you recommend starting with a professor of a certain subject?

    Thank you!
    Last edited by crunchynerd; 04-28-2016 at 11:40 AM.
    Middle-aged mom of 4 kids spanning a 10-year age range, homeschooling since 2009, and a public school mom also, since 2017.

  7. #6

    Default

    Wait a minute! Lightbulb moment! I should ask the local public librarians also! Librarians usually know about all the possibilities in a community!
    Last edited by crunchynerd; 04-28-2016 at 11:45 AM.
    Middle-aged mom of 4 kids spanning a 10-year age range, homeschooling since 2009, and a public school mom also, since 2017.

  8. #7

    Default

    Also, I apologize if the post came across as a brag, because it's nearly impossible to talk about without eliciting eye-rolls, and I get that. I've been put through the wars by this kid since he could talk, and have to watch myself or all I do is complain about him, not brag about him.

    Grateful for people who come up with good suggestions, like the Maker Space one, and the possibility of connecting to local universities to see if they have anything anyone could or would do to allow a kid like that to talk to someone instead of trying to wait years and years (by then he'll be the weird kid in the basement if we don't do something!).
    Last edited by crunchynerd; 04-28-2016 at 11:42 AM.
    Middle-aged mom of 4 kids spanning a 10-year age range, homeschooling since 2009, and a public school mom also, since 2017.

  9. #8

    Default

    Yay for the Maker Space! I would bet there is a club or group for kids that meets there regularly, too!

    And no apologies needed. I know the eye roll of which you speak.

  10. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by crunchynerd View Post
    I had wondered about that possibility and intend to see what I can turn up, hesitantly expecting to be given the brushoff due to his age. We don't have any major research universities here but there is a liberal-arts college, so I guess I would look for some sort of student coordinator? Or would you recommend starting with a professor of a certain subject?

    Thank you!
    I think that students who are jrs. or seniors would be appropriate. They might just be geeky enough to want to do it. If you happen to find someone who is in science education, who likes to work with kids that would be ideal. Here they can hone their skills working with students. Faculty might not want to, they could feel overwhelmed with the college students.

    I would consider contacting the science or education department of the college and see if they have something to match students up. Tell them you would like a tutor for your 8 yo who is interested in programming, raspberry pi, and linux. While it isn't really a tutor, it is a term that people will get.

    I have hired a college student in the past to hang out with DS and geek out with him on his passions.
    A mama who teaches college writing, as well as help her 11-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.

  11. #10

    Default

    Sounds like a good start! Thanks for the advice on whom to approach and terms to use. It does help!
    Middle-aged mom of 4 kids spanning a 10-year age range, homeschooling since 2009, and a public school mom also, since 2017.

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My son is lonely and it's not about a lack of other homeschooled age-peers.