When is the best time to talk about academic?

I like to drive my high schooler to and from classes. That is the time I can talk with her about her classes and plan.

The other time is at a sit down restaurant. When waiting for food, the family can talk about various study and life events.

What about your family?

Yes, while driving the kids to and from HS was often a good time for them to open up about their thoughts, ideas, plans. D also likes very late night conversations, but S not so much.

Somehow they weren’t interested in discussing academics while dining out, nor were we.

We talked about it when they got their grades, or when they had questions about our college experiences. They knew their instate choices. We didn’t have set times. Dinner was dinner. They asked us about college funds or finances occasionally, since they knew that we would pay for their colleges and they knew which files had our tax forms and 529 information (serious applications, in senior year, is when we sat down and spread out their final choices).

When we drove them to school, they didn’t talk academics; we had a 7 minute drive. Typically it was reminders from them, all at once: My game is at “Springfield” High, which of you is coming? Can you guys bring some sandwiches (water, fruit, etc.) for us? Don’t forget about the uniforms. Prom tickets are ___. Can you get my racquet restrung? I need more resin. You’re driving the carpool this afternoon."

Playing basketball, or walking. Even now, if they have something they want to talk about, they will ask someone “walk with me around the neighborhood” and out comes the discussion.

Our commutes to and from school were about 30 minutes each direction, so time enough to talk if anyone wanted.

Thursday night in the Chinese restaurant. DH played tennis every Thursday, so it was our “date.” That was where he explained multivariable calculus to me.

And I understood not a word.

I am interpreting the OP as wanting to know about how classes are going and directions to take with school/college.

What is there to talk about? Of course kid was going to college. He’s gifted and independent so there was no need to discuss his future academics. HS was a matter of signing the form for next year’s classes and often being pleasantly surprised with his choices there and in college when no parental input was required. It was interesting to see how his interests evolved since he did well in all academic fields. We also had good finances so there was no strategizing for getting good grades to get scholarships.

Atypical. But I presume ours was not the only rebellious teen who would not talk with parents as well. The teen brain does not want to hear how it is important to get top grades even though bored- we finally found out about that boredom after college. Online stuff available after his time.

VeryHappy- H and son can discuss math and physics but those are not my likes (chemistry major undergrad). Plus I had forgotten so much by then through lack of interest and using what I had learned when son took classes. Have rediscovered the differences between research and development with my adult son as he has explained his current path/plans in rare phone calls.

The best time was basically never when son was a teen.

S20 keeps a tight grip on the pipeline for conversation. Have never, ever had a conversation about HS academics. Not a word. Once college planning began early junior year and it occurred to him that his savings account was not going to cover college, we had to be brought into the conversation.

Once a baseline was established (GC meeting led to list of parameters and preliminary college list), info now is shared only on a need-to-know basis. And that goes only one way - from him to us. This only includes some movement on or off the college research list. Or involves a request involving credit card security codes. Our opinions on anything are irrelevant. Occasionally the vice grip on the pipeline is opened up to allow a single question from one of his parents, but this is allowable only if it involves his obtaining something of importance, like ‘would you rather fly to College X in the morning or evening?’ Any question which is not of that nature is immediately shut down.

My older kids call me almost daily worth critical issues like…’how do you hide nail holes from the wall when you move out?’ Questions like that we are entrusted with. ‘How should I spend potentially a couple hundred thousand dollars of my parents money in choosing where I will spend the next four years of my life and launch my career?’ Nope, we don’t make the cut on that one.

I wouldn’t let my kid have that $200K for college with that attitude.

For us there was never a reason to discuss academics unless they wanted to. Both were independent in terms of planning the classes that made sense and doing well. We had saved enough that they could go wherever they wanted. Nothing to discuss. If they wanted to talk about that we were of course available but it seldom came up.

In my own opinion as a teenager with parents who like to talk to me about a academics, talking to me in the car traps me and gives me no escape, and talking about it over dinner ruins the mood. My opinion is that you should designate a time, not during a car ride and not during dinner, where you can sit down and talk.


Are you looking for a daily time to talk academics? Or just once in a while?

I agree with the student above. Dinner time in our house was family talk…not academic talk. Occasionally a school related conversation took place…but mostly we shared what we did during that day, plans, etc.

Car rides…frankly when I drove my kids, they rested or slept.

When I drove, I let the kids lead the conversation. It was often interesting to see what they might choose to discuss, or they might just chose to rest and/or consume healthy snacks I brought along in the car.

It seemed the conversations flowed better and the kids were more engaged when they were able to lead/guide it.