Dear 15


You are such a cool kid. Really. I know I spend a lot of time right now lamenting your seriously lacking study habits, but you are otherwise still a joy to be around (most of the time). You laugh easily, have a great sense of humor, still like watching tv with me and generally talking about tons of things openly. Other THAN formal school work, you show a desire to learn and take advice pretty well (from everyone but your parents of course – check that – sometimes you even take advice from me!)

But after having a not so glorious night of homework nagging & arguing with you, I have to admit (and I am not prone to this type of sentimentality but…) I really really miss this kid:

Love, me

Dear Betty Lou


I’m pretty sure 15 is going to drive me to stow away on a cruise ship soon. Preferably one heading someone warm with fizzy umbrella drinks being served hourly.

Probably one of the biggest issues I’ve noticed with him is his lack of ability to develop good working relationships with his teachers. He acts like talking to them and asking for help and or asking for clarification on a grade (or lack of one) equates to a death sentence.

He will constantly tell me what’s WRONG with his teachers of course, but he will never address anything on his own. According to him – moms of teens say it with me – they all suck! They hate him! Blah blah whine whine.

Even with me being on top of his assignments to the best of my ability, he is still getting zeroes on homework. Homework that he actually DOES! How the eff does that happen? I watch him do it, watch him put it in the proper subject notebook (with his damn name on it yes) and STILL that goddam red box appears.

When I tell him to ask about it – “Oh, I don’t know what happened but it’s too late now because excuse excuse excuse…” Argh! How can he just accept that?!

Well, I don’t and today I emailed two teachers about those – I’m waiting on a response but really..I don’t get that it is so hard to ask them while he is there? “Hey Prof, I showed you this on Friday – see, you stamped it – why is it a zero on the gradebook?” Why so difficult?!!

What I need to do is get him to think of his teachers as football coaches.


Because he LOVES them! He develops relationships with them! We saw his football coach while we were at the school Saturday watching a baseball game – no hesitation but he was right up there giving Coach a fist bump and chatting away. He’s TOLD me about times he’s spoken with him about improving his skills. He mentions when coach tells him he ran a good route in practice. All through Pop Warner he had no problem talking to Coach Wolfie.

WHY can’t he apply those techniques to his teachers???!!!!!

I’m telling ya – Bahamas – here I come – and don’t try to find me until he graduates. And if he doesn’t? Fine – just send sun screen.

Love, me.


At least he’s studying….


Studyin' studyin' yeah!

Online class is in session!

Of course, studying can’t really happen unless there is music in his ear. So, he has my old iphone 3Gs which is now basically an Ipod touch on steroids – it still has all the apps and music on it from when it was mine. His own phone is off to his right. He was working on an assignment from the online English course and had no idea I took these photos with my new iphone 4s. Gotta say I really like the camera upgrade I got on that one! Also – Siri rocks. She’s helped me setup reminders while I was driving home – because we all know that it is only while sitting in traffic that our brains engage on all those little things that need to get done – which we promptly forget when we reach our destinations.

Anyhoo – that’s it for now. Between making sure he stays on task with regular classes & online, and doing taxes and web writing, I’m spent.

Oh – Alex and I are running a 5k on Sunday. Both of us will not be nearly as fast as we were back in October. This course is much hillier and on asphalt vs sidewalks. And we have no clue what it looks like. The girls are running in the half marathon part of the event. They are nuts!! But, we will all have fun I am sure. My goal last time was to break 33 mins and I did it in 30.5. This time? If I do it under 40 I will be happy – if I can reach it around 35 I will be REALLY happy. My best hilly 5k time around my house is 37 mins.

Oh – and if you think that Alex is electronically overloaded while studying (the music really helps him focus as it always did for me too) – well – check out what was going on Super Bowl Sunday while I watched the game with the girls:

Super Geek Bowl

One ipad, and technically 3 iphones (the one I used to take the photo). Yes, we are NERDS!



Thanks to many wonderful suggestions after my post last week, I had a few productive conversations with Alex.

He clearly needed to see a pathway for himself. A concrete reason to go to college, otherwise he wasn’t going to care – ever – about high school. I didn’t have one big lecture session – instead I had short conversations mostly with me asking questions and not reacting or passing judgement. On his own he announced that maybe he should give in to the obvious nerd side of the family and focus on math and science to possibly study computer science or programming in college. Hallelujah! A goal!

So that lead to some discussion on HOW he could achieve that. He spoke about being frustrated that he hadn’t take the right series of math classes and how his school didn’t offer anything BUT an AP version of pre-calculus. He knew that given his Math Analysis grade (c) he would probably not be able to qualify for pre-calc in 11th grade. He also talked again about wanting to take Chemistry (2nd lab science which is required) in summer school. Which, again at Torrey Pines, they don’t have summer school. In other words – any time he would perhaps focus on what he might want to do, he felt there were immovable obstructions so – he shut down.

As we talked, my brain finally woke up  – hello world – I have worked at National University for 26 years. Almost 10 years ago now, the company launched an affiliate school – National University Virtual HIGH SCHOOL!! Lawdy. How dense was I? NUVHS has fully accredited classes for both the minimum UC (University of California) WASC, and NCAA accreditation. Classes aren’t free of course, but they are also not wildly expensive. With my staff discount and splitting tuition with his dad, it is completely doable. He can finish a semester course in 8-16 weeks online. If he takes to the format, he could meet his goals as far as class load. On his own while we talked to the counselors today he volunteered to give up a spring sport (he was going to try track instead of baseball) and focus on his 2nd semester grades and taking a VHS class at the same time. Aggressive approach, but he knows he needs to kick start things academically sooner rather than later.

The best part is that the less than helpful college counselor situation at Torrey has been resolved. VHS counselors will support him all the way whether he is full time or not. He will get the one on one support he needs to get the class load and grades he needs to meet his college goals.

The worst part is – he starts with English as soon as next week. Because he failed 1st semester which we saw once we came home from our meeting 😦 Not quite what he had hoped since we had talked about starting off with Pre-calc, but that will have to wait until summer now. If he is really serious, he can possibly take 2 classes at once and still knock out his science and bring his math up to the level he wants. We’ll see. One class at a time. At least HE is the one showing an interest and coming up ideas and plans he can live with.