Today was Luke’s last day of ninth grade. Going to Saint Ignatius is challenging. Going from ten years of couch-schooling to Saint Ignatius– quite a transition. But I can only imagine. Luke is one of those people who’ll probably be a leader because he keeps himself buttoned up in the aura of Stonewall Jackson.
Those first weeks were killers for me. I wondered all day how he was doing. Was he comfortable in those hard chairs? (we school on the couch, often wrapped in comforters munching on Cheez-Its) Was he making friends? Was he feeling any of the homeschool weirdness that homeschool-defectors do? I’d like to homeschool, except I like having friends. was actually fielded by a friend of Luke’s when she joined highschool soccer. Luke and pretty much every homeschooler I know have friends just like their counterparts. Still, it felt like I was sending him into the lion habitat.
And now here he is– finished! He worked harder than I’ve ever seen him work. That three hours of homework I thought must have been boasty-nerd exaggeration, wasn’t. He’d spread his papers out on the dining room table and be working when I went to sleep (which did make me feel bad, but I got over it). We drove downtown on regular days at 6:55 and on soccer days at 5:55. The last few weeks were downright life-sprints. Luke had 8+ soccer practices per week and traveled out of state every weekend four weeks in a row. Would have been five weekends in a row but he got whacked in the forehead with a hockey stick (thank you, gym class) and couldn’t play one weekend.
Also during that travel stint, Luke took his World History AP exam. He used his time in hotels to study; he used his car time to study; he became a master at time management. I was astonished by him the way one is astonished by a magician’s trick. However did he do that? Which is why I’m writing this. I don’t want to forget. That’s my banner, right? Write it down before you forget. I will blink my eyes and Luke will have graduated. This I tell myself often.
What I most loved about Luke’s time at St. Ignatius is they allow, and encourage parents to allow, the boys to fail. At one point, Luke’s lowest grade was in gym. Gym! Luke! Failure teaches empathy and plumbs our diligence. The principal’s parent meeting in which he told us in no uncertain terms not to do our kid’s laundry, (or perhaps it was not to iron their clothes– either way, I listened!), not to bring his forgotten homework to school, not to micro-manage… I wanted to run up and hug that principal. Really? I have your support to let my kid do hard things?
And they even meant it. Luke’s not the same person I dropped off in August. Way to go, Son.