Had a talk with #1 about our "grades don't matter" revelation and how if he had something he was really interested in outside of school, we would let the grades slide. (I was careful not to mention any of his interests for fear he would hear that as a parental command and all the joy would be sucked from it.) While we were talking, he said, "It's hard to be motivated at school when they're teaching things I already know." As they used to say in Ms. Magazine, "Click!" (as the lightbulb goes on)
I know exactly where he's coming from, although I used the information I already knew to do my homework and get good grades with zero effort. For him, the same situation is demoralizing. That's hard for me to understand but I can deal with it.
This leaves us with the question of what he's passionate about. He already knows. It's time for me to get my mind around him sitting on the couch all day watching cartoons and/or playing video games and learning. He likes video games, particularly the multiplayer ones. I found a whole bunch of references in praise of video games. These four are the best: SandraDodd.com. Also a great resource for nontraditional schooling. Henry Jenkins from MIT debunks the myths about video games. On the same site (PBS, no less, can't get much more educational than that!) Michael Dolan on how video games have a future (important information to counteract the "you're wasting your life" argument.) And physicist/philosopher David Deutch and an interesting discussion on TakingChildrenSeriously.com, which looks like another good resource, although I haven't had a chance to fully explore the site yet.
#1 also has a taste for social satire. Last night, he made me pay full price for America: The Book by Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, et al. despite the fact that he swears he hates history. (The book is written like a history textbook. And what I've read, while hilarious, is also ~80% true.) While I don't always agree with his politics, Jon Stewart is funny as well as wicked smart and #1 really admires him. He could do a lot worse than to grow up to be Jon Stewart. ;) So I guess this means I should let him watch as much of "The Daily Show" and "Futurama" as he wants, huh? And play video games?
I know, I know. I'm slow, but I think I'm getting it. ;)