and I'm still waiting to begin work.
Well...let me backtrack. I'm 'working'...but in the office. We haven't started the afterschool program just yet, so I haven't met this years' students. We ended up with 10 students (out of the 18 we began with), and of those, 4 of them were 8th graders who graduated from our program, and (Thankfully) went to high school. Of the 6, we believe that 5 are returning, as one moved to another school district. Which means that we now have 13 slots for new girls....WHEW. This will not be easy!
As for my own kiddios, this year has been quite interesting. Q had a hard time last year...wait...hard time my butt, he was downright lazy, and we weren't sure he was going to make it out of 8th grade. I went to conferences, talked to counselors, helped with projects, etc., but he just wasn't getting the grades we expected.
Then I realized that Its wasn't me, it was HIM. He was being lazy! I couldn't sit in class and do the work for him; couldn't do his homework; couldn't be there at school to tell him to turn the work in. These were all things he was supposed to be doing. But...he just wasn't...had no reason for it,just wasn't.
So when April came around, and he was in danger of failing (and I received that retention letter from the school district), I told him I was washing my hands of the situation. If he wanted to be back at the same middle school next year, wearing that same blue shirt, that was fine with me. It took me a minute to get there, but I was resolved to be okay with my son being an 8th grader AGAIN. I wasn't happy with it, but if this is how he's gonna learn his lesson...
It turns out though, that maybe my letting go was what he needed. I wasn't there to hold his hand, to push him through. He actually applied himself and JUST BARELY made it out of 8th grade. We won't even speak on his grade point average, because Yes, it was shameful...he wanted to apply to go to the high school around the corner that has an amazing Arts program...but you had to meet the minimum GPA before you could even apply. So much for that.
So, all he was left with was our neighborhood school...which is a military academy. All students are enrolled in the Army JROTC program. Everyday, they are in full regalia and uniform. They are called by last names, and he is currently a Cadet. We had to shave his locs (boy, was he upset about that!), to comply with uniform regulations. (Actually, I took him to his first day of a 3 day orientation...they told him that first morning "we don't want to see your 'hair' tomorrow"). He was angry all summer about how he didn't want to go to this school because he didn't want to be yelled at everyday. I explained that "Its not boot camp, its high school", but he still wasn't having it, even though all of his neighborhood friends go there, and tried to tell him.
He just left a couple of minutes ago, beginning his third week of school. I have already noticed a change in him. He dresses in his uniform everyday, pants at his waist, uniform pressed by the cleaners, tie tight, shoes shined, belt just right, name tag and ID perfectly placed. He comes home everyday, sits at the table, DOES HIS HOMEWORK, even helps his sister when she needs it. He's still my 14 year old, but has somehow found something within himself to motivate himself. I had to let him know that I'd be here, but he is now 14...a high schooler, a teenager. I expect him to take care of business, but I also expect him to find himself. He needs a social life, he needs responsibility and he needs obligation. I think he is beginning to find all of this in this high school. Though he needs to find something to do after school now (because he's NOT coming back to my house to get in trouble! I''m not having that!). He's not really a 'sports' guy, so a sports team may not be for him, but there are clubs and things he can get into...
This is my firstborn. He's now 14 and taller than me, but I'm watching him grow into Himself. Its got a wow-factor that is sometimes overwhelming, especially as a single mom. I have to be honest, I'm starting to get scared, because now we are really coming into manhood, and I have no idea of what to do! When my brothers went through this, I wasn't really around, so I don't remember my parents examples. Dre moved to Texas with his biological father, and I was off doing my own teenage thing when Kemper was going through this (plus, he had just found out about his diabetes...so that took up most of his teen years, learning how to deal with that). The plan is to ask lots of advice, and to have the willing men and fathers from my church there to help guide him...but in the end, I am still momma. He is still 100% dependent on me, though he is learning how to gain his own independence. He is feeling out the world for himself, and instead of me reaching out to pull his hand back from the fire, I have to bite my lip, and allow him to scorch his own hand a bit. Its not easy (on my part or his...he's already shown me blisters that I have to take care of), but I am determined to help him be there best young adult he can be.