Back to School

I find parenting such an interesting mix of penalty/pity, love/loss. The kids went back to school today, after a year at home with me; we had lots of reasons for home schooling them for the year, and lots of reasons went into the decision to send them back this year (by in large Isaac asking to try his freshman year at school was a deciding factor.)


It was so hard to send them off today. I know I am very protective of Emmie particularly (she’s our Disney Princess; she’s all sweetness and light, doesn’t really take much very seriously, and will break into song with forest creatures without warning…)


But she is looking forward to her 8th grade year with her usual enthusiasm (this year she’s got home ec, art, her favorite science teacher, and she’s on yearbook, so life is good as far as Emmie is concerned)


Isaac has me freaking out a little, as he is a high school freshman this year, and I worry about his fitting in with big kids. I guess all mom’s probably worry about that.


He’s taking 2 honors classes, an AP class, geometry, biology, Spanish, and computer animation…..


He also wanted to run away and not let me take his picture this year, so I guess we are at that stage…


He’s not quite as tall as his dad yet, but he is totally creeping up on me…(I’m 5’9″ for reference)


The apartment was so empty today with them being gone; but it was nice to have a little peace, and to not always have to be “on” and actively parenting/teaching every minute of the day.


In that vein, the kids broke my netbook screen the other day (one who shall not be named took it from the other by the screen and was *surprised* to find they cracked it in the process….) The kids are getting to the age I am finding myself really having to be VERY reasoned and thoughtful in my approach to dealing with them when there’s a problem. They are too big to put in time out, and punishments have to make sense and be seen as “just” or I have an indignant teen on my hands.

Now I actually never use my netbook anymore, and don’t really need it, but it was being used at the time without permission, and got snatched and cracked in an act of unnecessary silliness, so I needed to make sure they answered for the “crime” in order to learn about being respectful of other people’s possessions. I bought my netbook a few years ago at a Black Friday sale, so I only paid $125 for it, so I thought “surely it will be less than that” now a few years down the road. Try $399 on amazon for the exact same netbook……ugh..


The kids have enough money to pay half each (in their Thailand piggy banks,) but I REALLY didn’t want a new netbook for $400 worth of principle, especially one I never even use! BUT I also didn’t want the kids to get off Scot Free or have to pay me some arbitrary sum that wouldn’t send the message that they need to make things right. Parenting at this age is hard. (Well for me anyway, I am sure there are parents out there who know exactly what to do…)

I did a little research, and found a YouTube video on replacing a LCD screen, found a website that had the screen I needed (it came with the tools and everything.) So I ordered a screen for a total of $80 including shipping, and told the kids it was their job to divide blame and percentages of cost as they saw fit. They both came to me with $40 each of their own babysitting money, and said they were really sorry that they both played a part in breaking my screen. I really love that they split the blame 50/50 (especially since it really was more the grabber’s fault it got cracked, but the other took blame for having it out in the first place) I was still a little bummed to have to spend $80 on it, but I think the value was more than just a screen, since the kids were learning to make their mistakes right.


Hopefully they won’t feel the sting cutting into their spending money this November when we go to Thailand, but maybe feel it just enough to remember the lesson? I don’t know. What would you have done in the same situation?

Anyway, I only thought of it because I got the screen in the mail today, and it was surprisingly easy to fix (I have a new profession waiting in the wings now if this whole mom and wife gig doesn’t work out) The kids watched me replace it the whole time, thanking me for saving them $160 each (I guess that’s the pity part of parenting 🙂 ) I am looking forward to this new year of school with a little excitement at having a little break, but also with a little sadness at turning them over to someone else’s care.

We are at less than 12 months left in Korea now, it’s hard to believe how fast time has flown, we still have no idea what’s next, and it’s beginning to make me nervous!

  9 comments for “Back to School

  1. Michelle
    August 26, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    It sounds like you handled it appropriately and fairly! Mine are significantly younger, but I’m grateful to learn from others’ experiences, especially as it relates to discipline. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. 🙂

    Good luck with the school adjustment!

    • cathgrace
      August 27, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks so much, I feel like parenting used to come much more naturally to me, now I’m just waiting for the kids to call my bluff!
      cathgrace recently posted…Back to SchoolMy Profile

  2. August 26, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    I would have handled it the same way! I have a Freshman also (girl, though) and a 3rd grader. I feel it is important for them to learn to take responsibility for their mistakes/actions. We are all held accountable, right?
    I think I may be more nervous about my teen starting High school than she is. LOL

    • cathgrace
      August 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      I am definitely more nervous for my son in high school than he is!
      cathgrace recently posted…Back to SchoolMy Profile

  3. August 27, 2014 at 5:50 am

    They look so sweet and excited to be off to school! I also love both of their outfit choices 🙂

    It sounds like you found the perfect solution to help them understand making silly mistakes through impatience can be costly- they seem like such nice kids and I’m sure they’ll be more careful in future xxx
    Katie recently posted…If I never see another paintbrush again, it will be too soon.My Profile

    • cathgrace
      August 27, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Thank you so much Katie, I am pretty fond of them 🙂
      cathgrace recently posted…Back to SchoolMy Profile

  4. Sally
    September 3, 2014 at 4:20 am

    They do grow up so fast and I find my heart strings tugged more with my teenagers than with the toddler stage. I have a junior, 8th, 6th and 1st and it’s the one talking about college that almost gets me to tears. Such is the life of a mother I guess.
    And your solution was very wise indeed…I’m sure it will be a lesson that stuck.

    • cathgrace
      September 5, 2014 at 8:46 am

      They really do grow up so fast! I have no idea how I am going to handle college prep!
      cathgrace recently posted…Back to SchoolMy Profile

  5. March 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    In Brunei I = kediaku (informal). There’s a list of ” I” pronoun when addressing higher ranking people.You = kita/ abiskita (for someone older than you) or “kamu” between friends or people you are comfortable with. As pointed out the lists of pronouns in Malay are &#0&i8;2nfinite2#8221;.

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