Last year was my first year with a high schooler.  I spent the first half of the year in wide eyed wonder of the experience he was going through. I helped him navigate through changes in circles of friends and classes that were more challenging than he had experienced before. Then I realized in the second half of the year I was actually stupid to all things high school.  Sports? Volunteering? Honors classes?  Clubs? I decided there should be a high school boot camp.

This year I have two high schoolers.  A freshman and a sophomore.  The freshman has begun the wide eyed wonder stage.  All things are wonderful and the honeymoon in full force.  He has spent nine years fighting against an invisible wall of learning where he is confined by the limits of his classroom.  So far, two and a half weeks in, he feels like he is spreading his wings for the first time.  He is taking charge and moving as fast as he can.  Or maybe that is just what I want to believe he is doing and thinking.  All I know is that most days he comes home with a smile and stories to tell about his teachers.  An optimism about tomorrow I have not seen in a long time.

The sophomore could possibly be in the beginning of the most important year of schooling he has had yet.  Over the next two years he will build on a stellar freshman year to develop a picture of who he is and where he wants to go as he applies to colleges at the beginning of his senior year.  Sports? Clubs? Volunteer hours? Honors classes are worth how many points? When do we apply for special programs?  This year is important and I began it just as stupid to all things high school as I apparently was eight months ago.

I have spent the last two weeks asking more questions than I probably did in  their combined 30 years of life.  I have probably put a bulls eye on my back and my emails are probably met with rolling eyes.  I probably have created a persona of myself that is the mom with all the outlandish theories.  But the most important thing I have learned by accepting that those things might happen is that no one is going to answer these questions if you don’t ask them.  But how do you know the questions to ask if you have never navigated this road before? How do you know what you don’t know?

There needs to be a high school parent boot camp.

What questions do you have about high school? What do you need to know to make sure that your child has every opportunity that they need to create the person that they are going to become?  I am not afraid to ask them.  There seriously are no bad questions.  They all need to be asked.

There needs to be a high school parent boot camp.