TechnoBoy Goes to School

So. Being that I’m the parent of two 13-year-olds, we’ve been experiencing a lot of teen angst around here. Usually every summer follows a similar pattern: we’re all sick of each other by June, but we have lots of fun and togetherness (and some time apart) and we’re back to loving each other by September when school begins.

This year, we clearly were not following that pattern. The whole summer was just brutal with controversy and disrespect and far too much arguing. I looked at the boys in August and said, “You don’t respect me. How can you learn from someone you don’t respect? I think you need to go to public school.”

The Mercenary said no way. He’s not going to take that risk. TechnoBoy on the other hand, said, “Yea. I can do that.”

I actually didn’t believe him and was taken by surprise a few weeks later when he said something in passing about going. As it turned out, the next day was Open House, so we hurriedly enrolled in the early afternoon, and by evening he was all scheduled and walking around the building meeting his new teachers.

I’ve never been the parent of a public school student before, so this has all been quite new. I went to public schools all my life and taught in them for 8 years, so it’s not completely foreign. But seeing it from this perspective is so totally different! I felt nauseous and short of breath for a few days, and I cried at Open House.

Note: The crying was related to far more going on than just him going to school. The dishwasher broke, the microwave died, the repairman didn’t show up TWICE-and I waited 4 hours for him each time, ten cavities were found in various boys’ mouths, I ended up getting a complete allergy testing and exam instead of just a quick check-in with the doc, during which appointment the phone rang from boys no less than 12 times so they could complain and fight…It was a terrible horrible no-good very bad week.

While we were walking around meeting teachers that night, it felt very…right to be doing this. Because it was my boy’s choice and not mine, and because he was so easily fitting in with all the friends and parents he already knows, the transition hasn’t been very difficult at all. Granted, he’s had some stressed moments, and there are sure to be difficulties to come; but that happens no matter where you are in life.

I’m super proud of my boy. He took a risk and he’s doing well. I’m glad he’s getting a chance to shine without his twin overshadowing. He’s getting to have his own identity. Last night he brought home some papers and The Mercenary took it upon himself to read through them and critique everything. I pulled TechnoBoy aside and told him, “If you play your cards right, he’ll do your homework for you!” Then we shared a laugh. Editorial note: it wasn’t homework, it was just class notes that TM was reading. No homework was performed by the wrong person. Thank you.

So yea. I am now the parent of a public school student.

I do miss having him home though.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents whose kids go from homeschool to public school.

Photo provided courtesy of afagen via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

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17 Responses to “TechnoBoy Goes to School”

  1. Crystal says:

    AMY!!!! I am so PROUD of you!

    Look at your boy. Maturing, making his own choices, being an individual. Look at you supporting him and allowing him to grow and decide what is right for himself. This is a lesson that will serve him over and over throughout his life. He is learning to be confident, take risks and trust his instincts.

    Great Job, Mom!

  2. Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny says:

    I got goosebumps reading this post. Good for you for letting go and letting your little man fly out of the nest. He’ll be fine and so will you.

  3. A wonderful ‘slice of life’ to read and co-experience. Congrats for keeping the faith in your children … the most precious gift a parent can give his kids. Together with the fact that growth is the natural course of things – when what preventing it is eliminated – makes that your kids are very lucky indeed to have you as their mom. Too many grown-ups out there that stifle kids by thinking and deciding for them, or, at the other extreme, by not caring. With best wishes for you, your family and Public School.

    • Amy LeForge says:

      Thanks Beat. I just had a disagreement with TechnoBoy two days ago about this issue. He claims that I should let him make his own choices regarding whether or not to participate in activities (such as amazing Scout trips). His default answer is “no” to those. My position is that these are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and that I’d be stupid to let him miss them. I only want him to try things once, and then if he didn’t like it he could refuse again. He just sees a mom who’s making choices for him.

  4. Amy,

    “Letting go” – knowing when to allow them some freedom (and when not to) is a great skill to have as a parent. Sometimes we get it wrong (well I did!) but in this case it sounds like the right decision.

    I hope it turns out well for TechnoBoy.


    • Amy LeForge says:

      Thanks Andrew. Both of the 13 year olds are currently very sure that I am holding on too tightly. Hopefully Hubby and I are getting this right and they’ll agree with it in the future. I guess we’ll find out in a decade or so.

  5. Joel says:

    Congrats Amy! I can’t imagine our little boy will ever be that age but I’m sure it’ll come soon enough. I hope I deal with it as well as you 🙂

    • Amy LeForge says:

      Oy. Joel there’s no way to imagine what will be in 13 years! I certainly didn’t know what life would bring us when the boys were babies. I hope I am dealing with it well. Sometimes I’m not so sure.

  6. Oh, they do grow up fast Amy. Sounds like you are doing a great job. sorry about all the troubles, microwave, etc. You do have to try to find the humor in those days. Can be hard, but I just laugh and go with it to hold the stress at a distance.

    Glad he is enjoying school and from a parent who has adult children, it is nice when they can fly. LOL Maybe most of the time.
    Blessing Amy and thank you for sharing this story.

  7. David Rogers says:

    We were lucky with our daughters, who are now all in their twenties, that we never had such major drama. But I know its very hard at times knowing what to do for the best, especially around choice of schools. It sounds great you could go with his decision and it seems to be working out. Good luck.

  8. Mary says:

    So I’m a little late reading and responding to this….you’d think with my two in school from 745-1030 I’d have more time! I miss them too but I’m so glad I “made” Justin take the diesel repair class….he’s taking it again this year and is all signed up for tech school for next year to have it as a career! (sheesh….he wanted to be a gamewriter originally…thank goodness for that change!) Nathan has seen that Justin lived through a class at school and I felt Nathan needed something hands on AND another teacher to make sure he knew how to turn in projects on time (which he NEVER does here) before he too will graduate therefore Nathan is now taking Machine Shop (in his case I’m a little worried he’s not going to want to be and engineer and will switch to being a welder but those are HIS choices I’m learning) I did be a mean mom and set them up for the morning class though. They are both adjusting to having to get up in the morning after spending the last 16-18 years sleeping in (the joys of having a mom who works second shift). I figure if I have made the transition to first shift and getting up at 5 am they too can stir their not so little bodies out of bed and start the day sooner. It has been a much more productive year this year and I’m so glad I made that unwelcome choice for them. Justin is not adjusting as well though….LOL stayed up too late saturday night and from what I hear fell asleep sitting in church and knocked his nogin on the pew in front of him……giggle…wish I hadn’t been working and missed it!
    I’m glad to hear things are going good for him and thanks so much for all you do to encourage us Amy!

  9. Tyrone says:

    Wow, since getting married, me and my wife have always been excited to talk about how to manage these things when we start making family. It’s nice to learn that we can soon really let them go and just trust our faith that they’ll be doing their best to learn things by themselves. I’m excited when the time comes that we’re able to make that happen too.

    • Amy LeForge says:

      Tyrone, how cool is that to say “my wife”? Another friend of mine got married this summer and it took him a while to transition. He kept saying “my fiancee”, so of course he was teased.

      As for the kiddos, yes they do tend to manage to do things for themselves. The letting go thing is super hard, so keep in mind that process really does begin at birth. That helps me with my perspective when I get a little choked up.

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