I can't believe I'm typing this.
This week, I attended a session with Patrick on how to fill out a course request sheet for freshman year. It's a frightening prospect, having a high school freshman here at home. It seems to me that when *I* was 14 or 15, I was into all kinds of trouble and had a rotten attitude with everybody. Most of the time, I don't see that in Patrick's life. He's actually a good companion despite his constant monologuing about the Nintendo Wii. His friends don't seem to be the "wrong sorts" of people, either. They all get together and have conversations about the best opening moves in a game of chess and other similar topics. When I type "other topics," I really just mean the Nintendo Wii...
I'd always known that Patrick's involvement in symphonic orchestra will be very helpful when he goes to apply to college. I had never fully thought about PATRICK, "going away," and "college" all in the same sentence. Not fully. When I've gotten a glimmer of that sort of thought in the past, I'd remember how many pennies were in my bank account. Ahh... just enough to not qualify for aid, but not enough for college. Then the thought about his going to college would dissipate rather quickly, and I'd envision the child just selling matchsticks at the corner so that he could help with household expenses... I could imagine his living in my basement at age 50 playing the Wii with his wife and six children of HIS own ...
During our session on freshman classes this week, I discovered that if Patrick uses his brains and organizes his homework so that it actually gets turned in instead of simply "done" (another story, guys...), he can get into "AP" classes and get college credit. Yay!
There is this "A Plus" program in which Patrick could tutor children, do a few odds and ends (like registering for selective service and not getting convicted for drug and alcohol violations during high school), and then qualify for two FREE years at a community college.
He can be a highly-qualified matchstick seller when he gets out, folks!! The only real "catch," at least for me, is that he has to stay in school. In PUBLIC school. In this district. Which makes sense because the whole A-Plus program sounds like it's designed to reduce the dropout rate and make more tutoring of younger children available.
Next year, though, he'll be requred to take health class, which details... you know... sex stuff. I let the principal know I'd like to opt him out of those parts and he was very gracious and said they get requests like that "all the time." I was glad that even as a parent of an OLDER child, I was still respected as the deciding authority in his life. An attitude like that makes me want to be more supportive of Patrick and the teachers in his school.
Ideally, I'd pay zero taxes and have full control over Patrick's education, but I will admit that this is the next best thing. I hope it works out well.