It was a big weekend for the girlie, here at Casa Tuxedo Cats Will Help You With Word Problems. This was the weekend that she took the Get Out Of High School Free Test (she says, “with a bunch of disaffected youth in skinny jeans.”), and now we are on tenterhooks until April 22nd to see if she passed.
I had mixed feelings about letting her take the test, but the truth is, high school has not been a good fit. She’s done, she’s clear, it’s time to move into something new that will work better. My options as a parent were either to create a lot of resistance to what she knows is true for herself (ultimately changing nothing) or to listen and let her call her own shots.
I think it was the right thing to do for her. It was certainly, I think, the respectful thing. The thing that acknowledged her as a self-determining individual and person in her own right. Because for all that she’s my kid, she’s also a person and an individual, and we’re really at an age where she’s got to start making some of the big decisions for herself. Right or wrong. It’s how you learn to make better decisions, either by crashing and burning or because things worked out well.
Life is a balance of the two, I think. While I hope and pray that she has more “things working out” and less “crashing and burning” what I know is that she’ll have her fair share of both.
The truth is, after raising two kids, I honestly do not believe that conventional school is necessarily the best thing for children. I do believe we need a highly educated populace and I do believe we need kids who are well socialized to interact with others, but I wonder sometimes if we’re going about it the right way as a society. It hasn’t worked well for either of my two bright little buttons and they both have had to forge their own paths around it.
If she passes, she’ll be going on to community college as a freshman next fall. If she doesn’t pass the test, she’ll still be at the community college next fall, but enrolled as a concurrent high schooler and she’ll just take her classes at the CC for double credit. I’m okay with things going either way, frankly. What matters to me is that she’s being educated, and that she’s genuinely interested in the things she’s learning. I am not necessarily married to the idea of her doing things in a certain progression or way, though I’ve definitely had to work through my feelings of maternal failure around why neither of my kids could deal with public school.
Given the issues with public education here in California and the way we’ve dumbed things down for our kids, perhaps I need to look at it as a maternal success, instead. Both my smart girls took one look at it and said, “Oh HELL no.” and that was that.
This weekend was certainly yet another lesson in letting go gracefully.