What to do next

Quick update on the "firing" episode. I had a chat to the boss, and he felt my son was too young for the work environment, didn't have the physical strength required to do the heavy-lifting tasks they work with, and wasn't a good fit with the work they had available. Rather than fart around for a few weeks, he sent him home. So it really wasn't anything he "did" as such (didn't burn down the workplace, didn't crash anyone's computers) as much as he's not ready for it.

(He did, however, get very badly sunburnt waiting for Favourite Man to come home. He was locked out and didn't have the presence of mind to attempt a break-in or to find enough shade to sit in all day. He did go swimming - fully clothed - to cool off at one stage! :-) )

Which leaves me having to do some hard thinking as to what next.

You see, next year's homeschooling needs to involve apprenticeship-type work. The kid needs to get out into the big wide world and learn how to work with people who do jobs every day that he might be interested in trying himself later. He needs to up his social, physical and mental skills, learn how to motivate himself, how to follow through on hard jobs to the end, etc.

Except that at the moment all he really can do is sit on the computer and design stuff or do things online. He's good at cleaning when he puts his mind to it, he's good at helping when he focuses his attention sufficiently and doesn't give up. He's managed to both help and hinder in Olivia's restoration, depending on mood. But he's also cheeky and unrespectful of authority at times. He has little social skill, doesn't know how to relate to adults or those in authority well, often doesn't do or say the right thing, and thinks all that counts is his opinion. So I'm sitting with a dilemma on my hands as to what to do with him next.

He's not old enough to be officially employed - still a year and a half to go. I haven't got a lot of contacts in a variety of work fields yet - working on that. I'm still developing an official plan of action for the home-schooling / work-life experience options - which needs to have my full attention VERY soon. In the meantime the kid's lying around the house, sleeping in very late, playing his PS2 and sitting on Photoshop or the internet. Treading water, wasting time.

So what do I do? How do I creatively start him off on the next phase of his learning curve without another incident like we had this week?

Here's what I'd like to see:

* A shot at the great outdoors for his science/environment study. Perhaps volunteer work at the Nature Reserve nearby? Helping the Lourensford River preservation lot clean up the riverbanks fortnightly? A stint with local winemakers and olive growers to see how things are harvested, grown, processed and sold? A day spent with the 4x4 groups clearing a trail or restoring an area? Involvement with the Off-Road Rescue Unit?

* Some cultural training. Art school? Drama society? A volunteer stint at the local library?

* Academic. British system? ACE system? Unofficial draw-it-up-yourself system? Courses at local instutions or online? Maths club? Tutors? Add in some certifications like a first-aid course? Photography course?

* A bit of body-work/sport. Perhaps karate/judo lessons? (Pole-dancing? ;-) ) Joining up with SonSurf to help out and get into the grommet class? Joining me in getting back on the fitness track while at the same time spending time with his mom? Getting physical with Favourite Man and I doing metal work, wood work, and sorting out vehicles on a regular basis? Get him that wreck to restore by the time he turns 18?

* Computer stuff. Helping out an animator friend / watching and learning from him? Designing things for me and Favourite Man? A correspondence computer class to pick up new skills? A bit of basic programming work to learn how things happen, or perhaps website design? (I have instruction books for both Flash and Dreamweaver - with tutorial CDS)

* Social skills. Regular outings with new relatives and old friends? Regular "play dates"? "Rent a girlfriend"? :-) Volunteer work at the local old age home - with perhaps a project to document a few life stories - and submit them to the local paper (tick that off under "English studies" too)? Holiday kids-at-the-mall care or Spur kid-area supervision? Send him out on a mission to do research on the general public? Sort a stint at the soup kitchen and shelter? One of the local day-care places? (He used to go to a very rural one next to the place where he once took horse-riding lessons... note to self - horses = physical activity! add to sport options and hard-work-mucking-out list - and perhaps add in the SPCA's volunteer programme...)

You know... typing out this list has actually given me a bit of direction and some much-needed hope. There are definitely options out there worth exploring. And looking at what I hope to be doing in my own life next year, much of these can tie in to goals and dreams percolating inside my skull.

I think we're going to make it... but if you have any bright ideas, suggestions and thoughts - that's what the comment box is for. I'd love to hear them!