the beginning of the end of an era

today is the first day aly’s last year of high school.  and – if no one in my family changes their mind – it’s also the first day of our family’s last year of traditional school.  i’m finding dealing with both has me feeling all kerfuffle-y.  it hasn’t been all that long since chan went through his last year of high school and i still remember how raw it was.  how all year long the coming change felt so close to the surface.  i’m trying to not protect myself from those feelings this year.  i want to fully experience this whole year with aly (appropriately, of course, i have no plans to go to prom).  i don’t want to fall into a been there done that attitude, either.  this is her experience and while it will have its similarities to chan’s it won’t be the same at all.


at the end of the last first day of high school.

she and michael were in the states this summer and she toured college campuses.  she even found one she wants to apply to.  she also wants to apply to a college in japan.  so much change to come.  so little time to savor and no way to stop the clock.  i wouldn’t really want to.  she’s gonna have an awesome year.

along with her last year of school is our family’s decision to not send sam back to school this year.  over the past few years it has become more and more apparent that traditional school is not the best for sam.  we’re taking the road less traveled (so to speak).  he’ll come out of it with a high school certification and he won’t be shutting any doors he might want to walk through in the future, but for his well being – and the well being of our family – this is the best path we can find.  we are very thankful that the school will allow him to audit drama this year and that they have left the door open should he decide the classroom really is where he wants to be.  it’s scary for me.  i’m a rule follower and this isn’t how high school is supposed to be done.  (this is a little funny because we homeschooled our oldest two for several years, and that’s not how elementary school is supposed to be done.  even better?  it was my choice to do it.)  i also think it’s good that we live abroad as we are making this decision.  not that there aren’t plenty of people who support homeschooling in the states (i think that’s what you would consider what we are doing).  at this age it feels like it’s more sam schooling with a some parental oversight.  many of the non-american westerners around us have been very encouraging of our decision.  they’ve told us it’s not uncommon in their countries for how a kid is educated to change at this age.  it seems only us americans have a one size fits all attitude when it comes to education.

so big changes ahead for us and i’m just holding on to the knowledge that we’ll come out okay on the other side of all this.

born this way

tonight was the monologue and song competition for secondary students at the kids’ school.  both boys participated.  s13 performed a monologue and chan was part of a skit directed by one of his friends.  i am so proud of both boys.  the courage and confidence they show is worlds beyond what i had at their age – or even now for that matter.

s13’s monologue

chan’s skit.  or parts of it.  very small parts of it.

philosophy is stupid

report cards came out yesterday.  and this quarter – for the first time in many, many quarters – all three kids earned pretty good reports.  the school requires that each and every teacher write a comment about each and every student.  the teachers put a good deal of thought into these comments and they – for the most part – seem to be pretty personalized.  they also made me a very proud momma.  who wouldn’t like to read that their 11 year old is “very intelligent”  and “a voracious reader!” and that “he should do well in 6th grade”.  or that their 13 year old is “friendly and responsible” and “works well with others” and “she’s a pleasant member of our class” and my absolute favorite “she has a quiet, quick sense of humor.”  (no joking, that really is my very favorite comment about her, because her wit is awesome.)  and it seems that teachers fall firmly in the what’s not to love camp when it comes to my 16 year old.  they said things like “especially appreciated his meaningful contributions to classroom discussions” and “he has a natural ability to perform” and then there was this…  c16 “is a born philosopher.  he has a genuine aptitude for philosophical discussion, understanding many advanced philosophical concepts and, moreover, seeing the weaknesses in arguments…  he ought to be congratulated for his progress thus far.”

i know it was meant as high praise and that i should be able to take it as such, but it goes so against my personal belief system that it really just scares me.  c16 is really a good kid, except for this one thing.  he likes to debate.  a lot.  and by a lot i just mean a lot more than i do – which would be not at all.  my belief when it comes to working out disagreements sort of aligns much more with the mom’s always right school of thinking.  and i have no problem admitting that it would make me very happy if everyone living under my roof felt the same.  but they don’t.  especially c16.  which i’m sure is pretty normal.  he’s spreading his wings, asserting his independence, and all that stuff.  whatever.  doesn’t make me like it any more.  and knowing that there is someone out there actually encouraging him to see the weakness in arguments just seems wrong.  (especially when he’s determined that “because i said so” is the weakest argument ever.) it almost feels like that comment was meant as a personal attack against me.  and if you’re wondering how i connected the dots between seeing the weakness in arguments and me being judged for my obvious poor parenting – i used one of those advanced philisophical concepts. i’m pretty sure it’s too advanced for c16 and his teacher combined.

again with the no internet

we’ve got no internet, again.  which is even less fun than it sounds.  they’ve upgraded our neighborhood to a faster speed internet, but apparently that means something different for our house than our neighbors.  i’ve finally broken down and gone to an internet cafe.  the computer i’m using is speaking hebrew, except when i click on what i think might be instructions for possible ways to get it to quit speaking hebrew.  the instructions are in thai –  i can read just enough thai to get to my email and to write this post.  good enough.

the kids started school today.  i love the first day of school and i loved it when i was in school – except for the one year a mean girl made fun of me for wearing a sweater to school on the first day of school.  august plus texas don’t necessarily add up to sweater weather.  but it was a way cool sweater that had been purchased with the rest of my back to school clothes and i desperately needed to wear it immediately.  i hate mean girls.

michael’s leg might be doing better.  it still looks the same, but it doesn’t hurt as much and it’s not as hot to the touch.  i’m calling that improvement.

school’s out for summer… wait, no it’s not

there are three and one-half days of school left. but, as we all know, they are fake days. days that have to happen because the school year has to end, but grades have already been turned in so any work that’s done isn’t gonna be graded. which drives me bonkers. i hate busy work. hate it. with a passion.

it is actually all over for c16. he had his last final today and only needs to return to school to retrieve his final report card. a13 is left with only field trips. 3 days of field trips and one half day of p.a.r.t.y. and it’s nice to see that their teachers are not propagating the the-last-week-of-school-is-a-real-week-of-school lie. but for s10, the lie lives. he’s got a regular ol’ week coming up. with “maybe a few quizzes” (so he says). but, i’m starting to think that maybe s10 has it all figured out.

seems they were only looking for some kindlin’ to start a good marshmallow roasting fire.
good cover story, don’t ya think?

that time of year

i know not long ago i posted about my general friend making suckiness, but i’ve taken steps – or maybe it’s better worded to say others have taken steps – to help me make progress in friend making endeavors. and it’s good. and i’m in a much better place. but you know how it goes, for every two steps forward you take one step back. over the next few weeks it’s gonna begin to feel like i live in a ghost town. and we’re part of the skeleton crew that’s to be left behind. (which could possibly mean that friend making will go easier. options are limited and my hand waving high in the air while i squeal “pick me, pick me” won’t be so easy to ignore.)

school break is upon us and it’s time for furloughs and home visits. and then the summer will drag. 3 of s10’s closest friends are going to be going. one for good, one for 6 months and one for 8 weeks. a13’s closest friend will be gone for 8 weeks. i haven’t heard what’s going on with c16’s friends, but seeing as how many of his friends are thai, it’s possible he’ll have a few more options. the thai schools just started their term, so there are no summer activities to be had. no camps. no summer movie spectaculars. not even vacation bible school this year.

midway through the break c16 and michael will head to the states for a month. which is good and bad. good because it means we can stock up on a few necessities – like shoes to replace the shoes that one of the dogs has eaten. and bad because there will be the jealous feelings of those of us who aren’t headed to the states.

but for now, we’ve just got to get through the next 7 1/2 days of school. (there’s a holiday thrown in there, because there’s no way we could make it to the end without some kind of break.) actually, it’s only 7 1/2 school days for s10. for a13 it’s 4 days of school and 3 days of field trips. and for c16 it’s 4 days of testing and then he’s done.