Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I'm always talking about the wisdom of my 18 year old...and he is wise. Beyond his years. 6'4", long ponytail, Eagle scout. Top 10% of class; dean's list. Great young man.
My 14 year old is pretty cool, too. But last year as I was driving him to high school, to 9th grade, it was the 14th consecutive morning that I was cringing and listening to his pleading to me not to take him. To homeschool him.

I'd homeschooled them both for about 5 years, about 5 years ago. It was successful, then they went on to a charter school, the oldest graduated last year. My youngest, G, went on to a public middle school. He wasn't fond of that experience.
He's a scout, a basketball player, an avid video gamer. He has a great sense of humor, but as he started to high school, his mood darkened. He wouldn't cut his hair and he let it fall over his face. He was hiding. We got worried.

The thoughts of, "hey, everyone has to suffer through this stuff" went through my mind. I did. I hated every minute of high school, and if I'd had the chance to be home schooled then I'd have taken it. To be able to read and study ahead of have freedom. You bet.
But my husband and I were worried that he wouldn't develop 'strength of character' if we didn't let him go through complete and utter torture.

That morning, I turned into the parking lot. The wrong one. I ended up in a bizarre twisted loop of concrete that kept turning me away from the school. G's complaints about going turned into nagging that he would not only be going to a "hellhole" but he would be LATE as well! I just kept driving around. Finally, I turned completely away from the school. Silence. "What are you doing?" he asked. I said, "I'm taking you home."

That was 5 or so months ago. He cut his hair. He's grown 4 inches, gleefully passing my 5'10" frame to a sturdy 6'1". He does his work. He laughs. He hugs. He's filled out. His game is better......he's great at scout meetings. He cracks me up. He wore his "I'm really excited to be here" T-shirt to the orthodontist yesterday...cracking them up. He had to get his lower braces, so I took him to get a GIANT chocolate shake to celebrate at his request.

As we were passing things around in the car, we both grabbed the HUGE cup the wrong way and the thing erupted like Mt. Vesuvius spilling chilled chocolate lava all over the side...and plopping like wet putty onto his leg. 6 months ago I would never have heard the end of it. But at that moment of eruption, we both looked at each other for what seemed like 5 minutes....and then we burst out in laughter. I still haven't heard the end of it....but in a good way. He dramatically and comically re-describes the event...grinning from ear to ear.

We've got our boy back.


Christine said...

This is wonderful. I love this entry!

bjk said...

Wisdom and have em both....

Larry said...

Thank you for letting G speak to you in that way... I wish my parents had listened to me in situations like that. But I had to go thorugh with it and I still bear the scars. Jesus is really good with scars, but I'd rather not have them.

Karen said...

Thanks for the encouragement, all of you!
God took the wheel that day....I promise you...I was completely disoriented in that parking lot!

Dave said...

Praise God.

Joe said...

I don't think public education really hurts anybody but I do think that private schooling can ill prepare a person to deal with the wide range of people in real life. I think homeschooling and private schooling share the same risks but I only have personal experience with private schooling. I have a 21 year-old stepson who attended Catholic schools through his sophomore year. All of his cousins and most of his aunts and uncles did the same. Some of them faired well but some of them, my stepson most of all, are like fish out of water in the real world. They are especially intolerant of people who are different than they are. What is different is "less" in their opinion. I think isolation in a "monolithic" group can result in intolerant elitist attitudes.

G, on the other hand, sounds like a great yound man. Evidence of great parenting. Congratulations! Loving, caring parents and children are a life long unsurpassed blessing on this earth.

Karen said...

Thanks, Joe. I am blessed with great kids.
I think homeschooling is a lot different than Catholic schools. I have friends that have loved Catholic school...and others who hated it.
Homeschooling actually exposes kids to all kinds of people; we are not hidden away; there are so many activities to be involved with, and opportunity to move around in the world during the day. Both my guys are more mature in their thinking, unaffected by peer pressure (G asked one of his disrectpectful friends, "Why do you talk to your mom like that? That's not right!")but able to get along with all kinds of folk. That's a good thing.