These are fairly random thoughts, in no particular order:
1. Each school has its own culture and you have to learn the underlying culture.
2. All of the Freshman are just as confused as you are.
3. There is more to life than grades, but doing your work has to be a priority.
4. OTOH, doing your work should not become your LIFE.
5. PTSOs, PTAs, etc., etc. should be about more than serving food and should have activities that can include both SAHMs/SAHDs and working parents. We need BOTH types of parents involved in our schools. (See Soccer Mom in Denial's post on this - it got my blood boiling).
6. Teachers are not gods. They need to remember this when dealing with their students and the parents of those students.
7. Parents are not gods, either, and should remember this especially when discussing sensitive issues with teachers.
8. Good teachers work far, far harder than most people give them credit for. And for those lucky teachers who actually CAN take the summers off - they usually deserve/need it.
9. Every school should have some good "mama" (or papa) figure that the kids can go to when they're feeling lost. Often that's someone in the front office. They're jobs are very, very hard. Be kind to them! (And our very own Jenn in Holland is one of those folks, among the many other hats she wears).
10. Just because they're teens doesn't mean they still don't need lots of help/guidance from mom and dad. In fact, there is research out there (which of course, I can't find right now) that support parents staying home for high school students, even more than for elementary students, particularly if you have boys.
11. First romances can be joyous times to live through, but also some of the most devastating.
12. Whatever obnoxious thing your child is saying, try to remember what it was like to be that age. It was very confusing, wasn't it? If you want a perfect portrait of 14-year-old boythink, read The Buckets.
13. Stay involved, even when your son/daughter claims they want you out of their stuff, heads, business, whatever.
14. Yes, they probably CAN handle it, but double check anyway (whatever it is).
15. Breathe. And keep whatever your drink/drug/extracurricular activity of choice is handy... and remember this mantra: it's only 10 months, it's only 10 months, it's only 10 months.