Julie Bogart

My oldest son, who alternately makes me breathless with his brilliance and angst-ridden
when I think about his "future" (whatever that is, anyway...), is suddenly soaring and I think
I'm beginnning to "get" the power of this unschooling lifestyle on another level.

I know, I know. You are probably all nodding your heads and rolling your eyes. I have to
process everything OUT LOUD. But thanks for your indulgence anyway. I'm hoping my little
exclamations help someone else less extroverted to feel sane.


He is 17. This year he is totally at home with no expectations on him from us. I think we
really have always been gently nudging him (even when I didn't think I was...). He is more
susceptible to "nudges" than I realized. He struggles to balance my "good ideas" against
what he really wants to do and it undermines him. I took acceptance of my ideas as
personal interest on his part and am just noticing now that that was not the case.

I have been worried about stuff like organization, a sense of direction, an ability to see his
future, etc. I also worried that he was not engaged in enough activity that looked like he
was learning... (I know, I know)

Well, in the last two months, it's like he has blossomed in spite of me. Now that he's been
totally out of school, decided not to play lacrosse (even after I put subtle ::cringe::
pressure on him to play again... I'm such an idiot), and there is no expectation that he'll go
to college next year, he is doing the coolest things!

1. He got cast in the lead in our city's professionally directed high school Shakespeare
company. He is loving this! The training is fabulous and he's totally dialed in to rehearsing,
studying lines, learning all about Shakespeare poetry etc. We are astounded at how much
Shakespeare he has memorized for fun that we didn't even know about.

2. He auditioned for a band and got the part of lead guitar. I didn't even know he knew a
band and I never see him practice. He told me he practices in the middle of the night with
the amp unplugged. He's gotten good! He also plays piano, though he plays Rachmaninov
instead of heavy metal...

3. He's reading again. He went through a period of not reading much (I realize now that
for him, his obligations to "school" - just one class per day - and sports depleted him of
that energy). Last night he walked around with Plato's Republic... I have no idea why. :)
He's got a stack of books out including Hithchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. :)

4. He's working at a job he LOVES for the first time (Starbucks at B&N).

5. He suddenly has a social life and lots of friends (this was a big concern of ours).

6. He's driving our third car and taking such good care of it. He calls me about cheap gas
whenever he finds it, and hasn't had to be asked to check the oil (after just about ruining
his car over the same problem).

7. He bought milk for us this a.m. because we were out without asking for money or if I
would get it. :) He is managing his money beautifully for the first time-has real goals and
is keeping to them without any support from Jon or me.

8. He is learning to be a Magic level one judge.

I could go on and on. This is like a complete turn around in his life since January. Some of
these things were sort of in place in the fall, but it's like his life is suddenly really rich *for
him* and I have virtually nothing to do with it except to chat and hug and laugh.

He's getting along great with all of us (parents, kids) and none of the signs of mild
depression I thought I saw there before.

Can I just squeal for a minute?! Eeeeeee.

Mostly, I am happy that I got out of the way. Thanks for all the good ideas and support
around here.



> 4. He's working at a job he LOVES for the first time (Starbucks at
Those places are so *awful* LOL - since they put in places like
Starbucks, with beverages and edibles, in bookstores it's really
hard for me to LEAVE the store - and many of them have seating areas
with soft chairs - I could LIVE there!

But seriously it's wonderful to hear that things have picked up
nicely at your house. It's cool for those of us with little ones (my
DS is 6 1/2) to hear about life with teens.

Pam Sorooshian

Wow. Cool stuff. Thanks for sharing all that - I'm really happy to hear
about it.


On Feb 9, 2005, at 8:04 AM, Julie Bogart wrote:

> Mostly, I am happy that I got out of the way. Thanks for all the good
> ideas and support
> around here.