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Showing posts with label college. Show all posts
Showing posts with label college. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Are we done yet?

My son got his college diploma in the mail yesterday!  His GPA is good.  His GPA for his Major is impressive.  I know I've said I would not hinge his post homeschooling success on his homeschooling, but ... it is hard not to.

He was homeschooled.  He went to college.  It was hard.  But he finished and finished well.

Now, the question is what kind of job will he get.  All sure-fire possibilities are close to the college in a town he does not want to live in... so the search begins.  Also, his dad and I are trying to get him to consider grad school.  30 credits to a Masters degree.  He's thinking about it.

Actual graduation is in December.  He'd like to skip it.  We are going and acting a fool.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

One done with College, One to go

Not a little boy anymore!
As a former homeschooling mom, I should probably mention that my son is done with college.  Official graduation is December, so he is seeking an internship in the meanwhile.

So proud.  3.45 GPA... after having a slow start, this is nothing short of miraculous.

Homeschooling did prepare him for college, but I can see where he would have had a better start had we done some dual enrollment to prepare him for the AMOUNT of work that was required... once he got acclimated, he was great!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

This college thing is tricky for homeschoolers

All my kids' friends are college age right now.  Some about to graduate, and a few still to enter college. From my own kids' experience and observing and inquiring into the college journey of their homeschooled friends, I have come to the conclusion that college can be difficult for homeschoolers, and while many make it through completely unscathed, very many become disillusioned quite quickly and struggle or drop out.

Just starting with the fact that they are homeschooled and used to doing things in a way that makes sense to them and only them, bending to a teachers whims and quirks is off-putting and difficult to maneuver. In short, the freedom they experienced as homeschoolers, can cause problems when it disappears suddenly when they reach college. All of a sudden things that have never counted, and probably should not count are deal-breakers.  My own son was penalized greatly for things like, not using the plagarism check tool correctly and thus losing a grade point, not taking a screen shot of a completed test, and therefore failing an important test that the program somehow glitched and deleted, And while he was a genius (if I say so myself) at computer art, he had to prove himself in craftier art classes, and that didn't go well either.  It's all very confusing and can be unfair to these kids to jump through hoops that just don't make any sense at all.

Then there's the old college fit. We spend years perusing lists of homeschool friendly colleges, and finding a schools that feel like a good fit for the kids, only to find that our kids are unhappy.  That christian college we thought would nurture our kids doesn't quite feel so Christian in practice.  Those scholarships offered now have unreasonable strings attached. Or it could just be that since you and your kid were more inseparable than most mom-kid pairs, and now they are not happy not being home or not being with you.

The good news is that about 60 percent of homeschoolers I know, at least, have gone to and remained in the very same college they started in.  The rest either left altogether, or transferred at least once in their college career.  This percentage is no better or worse than the rest of the population though, so that's good.  Be encouraged.  College is a crap-shoot for everyone, it just feels more painful for homeschoolers when things aren't quite right because we tie our self worth as parents and homeschoolers to how our children fare when the leave the home.

So don't get freaked out if your kid asks to transfer at the end of their first or second semester.  Don't flip your lid if your kid fails or almost fails a class or two. Don't fall into despair if your kid tells you they don't want continue in college but instead want to get a job.  At the same time, don't rush to bring your kid home if he or she tells you they are struggling, and don't let them lay around and do nothing if they withdraw from school.  They are adults now. They have to have a game plan if they are not going to college, they have to be making forward progress.  

Finally, I said this before, but it surely needs repeating... don't tie your success as a homeschool parent to your kids' academic success post homeschooling. At the same time, don't lord you child's post homeschool success over other homeschoolers, because that's not fair either.  Just know that you did your best to bring out their best qualities, because as homeschoolers, that really is our goal isn't it?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Children are happily deposited at college

The kids are at their respective colleges and I am in the process of reclaiming and reorganizing our home.  As this is the youngest one's 2nd year at college, I feel comfortable infringing into their space a little, where necessary, and working to make the house work best for my husband and myself.

For example, my son pretty much has the entire basement to himself, and I will be reclaiming the exercise room as a storage room to get rid of clutter all over the house.  I am also thinking of claiming an area for sewing, and of course what exercise equipment I don't give away, will go in the large space outside his bedroom. I will also be putting some of my daughters items in said storage room to make her room more presentable and buying a bigger bed for her room for the occasional guest when she is not here.  (Not really planning any guests... ever, but it is nice to know I have an extra clean bedroom if the need arises.)

In the meanwhile, I posted about the set up of the kids dorm rooms on my website. You can find them here. and here.

I will be posting soon about the re-organized areas of our home.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Packing and organizing for back to college... still

I am still buried in packing bins (plastic boxes from Walmart), Ikea Bags, and Space saver bags.  My daughter asked me to help her organize her belongings, but at the same time, she is also calling me anal retentive. The good news is with careful packing, unpacking becomes a breeze as the items are organized intuitively and can just be slid into drawers or set in it's appropriate place.

This is all of the hanging clothes I am sending
out... less than half from last years amount,
even though she has twice the closet space.
The hardest part is preventing her from bringing all of her clothing to college.  So I insisted on X number of pants, shirts, dresses, skirts, etc... enough clothes to last 3 weeks, which is plenty if you do laundry twice a month.  I put each type of clothing in either a dress bag, or rolled it military style and put it in a space bag, then in a bin (all the non hanging clothes fit in one bin!)

Then there are the bins for all the other stuff.

  • One for stationary, books, and crafts. 
  • One for organizers, hooks, cords, and tools needed to set up the room
  • One for shoes... (there are also shopping bags for boots)

Then there are a couple of drawer storage units:

Monday, May 12, 2014

They're still homeschoolers at heart

I'm really happy to have my college age kids home!  As much as I want them near me, I was dreading the tornado that was sure to accompany their return.

But believe it or not, I came in this morning from the gym to find a clean kitchen.. and now they are organizing their college bins and belongings in the basement until August when they leave again...  #proud.

I need to get my job done now and get them materials for the CLEP & DSST exams they plan to take this summer, so they can get to studying.   I wish they had taken more of them during their high school years, but they just weren't ready.   Well, they're ready now! After comparing learning from a professor vs learning on their own...  wherever possible, they would much rather learn on their own.

Good for them... they're still homeschoolers at heart.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I've been hovering.

I talked about how homeschooling is all done and I'm ready to move forward, but am I really, really, ready to move forward?  I honestly and truly want to help them navigate their way through college.

When I was in college, I wasn't exactly first generation in my family, but I was the first person to not go to the college down the road. I was the first person to strike out on my own, and the first person to live with roommates, and the first person to not get financial aid, and so I had to also work my way through college.

I amassed a lot of information during that time, and I made a lot of mistakes and miss steps.  I would love to be able to help my kids with this and to help them ask the right questions, so they can navigate better, and even then ask the right questions for their own kids in the future.

Hovering looks different where my two kids are concerned.

Let's start with the oldest.  He's all business.  He's serious.  He's hard

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A snapshot of things to come.

What an adventure!  So daughter and I went to NY for her college spring break.  I don't know how many times I have left to get her all to myself, so I grabbed onto this opportunity while she is still under 18.

We saw Lion King, and If/Then, a new play starring Idina Menzel (Adele Dazeem per John Travolta).  We also met with some friends, had dinner with my dad, and shopped until we literally dropped.

The thing that stood out to the most in my week with my daughter who is 3/4 of the way through her freshman year in college is that she is all grown up.  She makes decisions easily. She navigated NY like a pro, dragging me along. And thank goodness, her sense of direction is better than mine. She makes wise food and shopping choices, and she's got a quick wit and off-beat sense of humor.  I love being around her.

I know that our week was just a snapshot of things to come because she fully  intends to move to NY when she finishes her degree to get a MFA at a NY theatre program. She is already making a list of schools, and our next trip to NY will be mostly to look at programs.  Scary, but I know she can handle it.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Adjusting to having college kids

It is tech week.  That means my daughter is in a play, and she has been in dress rehearsals all week, followed by numerous showings from Thursday through Saturday.  Normally during tech week, I fill up my car with gas, and prepare myself to fill it for a second time.  That is followed by buying tons of fast food as she will be "living" at the theatre that week, and also helping out with the productions costumes.  In the past, this also meant that my son was living in the tech room of the theatre, and so they were involved in the same activity.

This tech week it is something else entirely, as it has nothing to do with me.  Yes, she is living at the theatre, but I am not driving her anywhere.  I am not buying fast food. I am not working on costumes... at the single most crushing aspect that I am having a hard time to swallow- I am only going to see the show once!  Normally, even if there are 5 or 6 shows in 3 days, I see every single show and make it a point to  sit at a different spot in the audience each time so I can soak up every detail.

But not this time.  Instead, I am sending supporting texts, hoping that she will read them before each show.  I am crossing my fingers and toes for "good luck", and I am waiting until Saturday when I can use my comp tickets (for parents), to see her on stage.  Hopefully, I will also get a chance to stop by my son's college to give him a hug before going to my daughter's show.  And... not only is my son not working on the show, but he "doesn't have time" to see it either.

So enjoy the homeschooling years while you can.  They do eventually grow up.

In the meanwhile, I am officially, "homeschooling" my nephew for the next 6 months as he is studying for the GED, but also wants a portfolio to help him get into college.  I think the positive peer pressure of seeing his little cousin (my daughter) enter college is making him want the same thing.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Having kids in college is wearing out my nerves

... And I thought teaching them was taxing. From dealing with son's financials, which are a mess due to late application and etc over the summer, and dealing with daughter's roommate issues, I am exhausted.

Son's money is straight now and he will have his cash for the semester shortly.  Next year, I will just save up money over the summer and skip the loan.  I'd rather be broke for a minute than to be treated like I am trying to get a handout when I am still paying back the stinking loan, so that is that.

Daughter's roommate moved out before you can say "hello, my name is..."  As a mom, I was pretty unhappy, seeing as they met last winter, hit it off, and decided to pair up.  But ex roomie wanted privacy, and they are still friendly, so that is that.

Hopefully new roomie will be quieter than my kid suspects cause little homie has a scholarship and needs quiet study time.   On the plus side, my kids are having an easy time with academics so it's all good.

Now I need to get a life, so I can stop hyper-focusing on theirs.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Did I just edit my kid's college essays?

Yes, why yes I did.

I guess a homeschool mom's work is never done.

Last year when my son started college, I introduced him to my Grammarly account which I use to help me with editing.  Since he is an intensely private person, I knew he didn't want me reading his papers, but I knew that he (we all) could use a second set of eyes on his work.

This year, I instructed daughter to use the college writing center, as she would gladly let someone else look at her work, but since they are not opened yet, this early into the semester, she sent her papers to me for an extra set of eyes.  Instead of making a correction for her, I used a tool in Microsoft Word that let's me make comments on the side of the page. This way I could point out grammar issues without changing the meaning or intended meaning of anything she wrote.

I really enjoyed being called upon for a little help from my girl, though I realize these requests will become fewer and further apart over time.

I don't know if this is a symptom of helicoptering or not, but at least I didn't re-write or change anything, wanting her to be responsible for her own edits.

Friday, August 23, 2013

I miss your face (update on college kids)

I am talking to my kids daily at this point, so I still feel pretty connected, but as I said to my daughter last night... I miss your face.

It is a line stolen from an online news personality, who at the end of his news updates says "I love your faces", and my daughter and I love the sentiment, so we have made it ours too.

I am going to visit them tomorrow because they forgot stuff (yeah... because they forgot stuff), but mostly to see their faces.

Meanwhile, I am still not crying, but hubby is a wreck!  He has talked the boy, now 19 into taking his road test so we can get him a car... just for our own peace of mind that he's now hitching rides from crazies.

That is all.

Have a nice day :-)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The parent's orientation

The day you drop your kids off at college they hand the kids an orientation schedule and they hand the parents an orientation schedule. A big part of the parents orientation is THE TALK. 

It goes something like this.  

Your kids are adults now. 
Your relationship with them is going to change. 
It is not going to be easy but they are going to be fine. 
They also advises us on FERPA laws that state we need our kids' permission to access their information. 

Where the talk from each school differed is in the level of involvement they want from the parents. At son's first university last summer, they told us to back off... Give them space. Don't visit too much.  Don't expect or request phone calls. They are our responsibility now, and we will take care of them..

We listened, and for my son... This was bad advice. He is now at a new school. 

His new school said, talk regularly and gave us advice on how to phrase questions to make sure every thing is OK.  They encouraged us to not stop parenting just yet... And that made me happy because it felt more in Sync with what I as a parent felt was necessary. 

My daughters school was similar and invited parents to partner with them in taking care of the kids and gave advice on weaning them off us and onto the proper resources for different situations. Also great advice. 

Unlike last year, I feel less ripped from my kids and a lot happier that the schools aren't figuratively driving a wedge between parents and kids.  Unlike last year kids are being advise to talk with their parents and vice versa. Unlike last year, I have a really much better feeling about this school year. 

My advice for anyone going through this process to hear what the school has to say and then weigh the advice with what you know about your kid. But last year I was dealing with sending my first kid to college, and now I know better.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

College update

So I got up again at 6am this morning, and drove 2 hours to my son's new (State) college to make sure his money was processed.  Honestly, this issue could have been handled by phone, but they are seriously short staffed, so I drove all the way there, wrote my name on a piece of paper, after a bunch of other people, waited an hour and 45 minutes, and then we got to speak to the financial aid counselor.

I am going to stop here and say something that might sound elitist.  There should be a separate office for people getting loans than the one for people getting state grants.  Firstly, the knowledge base is different, so there should be different specialists.  Second, the demeanor of the clients is different.  Most of the people getting free money were showing out, when the people getting loans sat calmly and waited their turn.  Yes, I know who was who, because everyone was being counseled out in the open where you could hear their business... but I digress.

Like I said, we should have been able to have this conversation by phone, but coming in - in person allowed me to literally draw pictures and circle issues in orange marker which seemed to help the counselor working with us. It also forced them to deal with our issue instead of brushing us off, which had been happening to date so far.

I'm still not 100% sure that everything is handled, but I have to trust that the college administration isn't entirely clueless.

Daughter's situation is completely different.  It seems that everything has practically been done for us, way in advance, and she is ready to move in.  Most of her items are sitting in my foyer right now, waiting for Saturday morning to come.

Meanwhile the boy hasn't packed a thing. Sigh.

Either way, at this point, I am expecting to caravan 2 SUV's two hours south this Saturday morning and complete the chore of sending my two homeschooled kids off to college.  For one, this is her first time spending more than a week away from home. For the other, this is his second year, though at a new college.  Somehow I am more worried about the older child, but I know his little sister will look after him.

I think I'm ready for him to find a wife.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Buried in college paperwork

Please excuse my absence.  I have been up to my eyebrows in taking care of college stuff for my eldest who has transferred from a private to a public college.

I can tell you this though.  Private colleges make the payment and financial aid loan process soooo much easier.  Based on working with two private colleges, and one public, I feel like the public college is completely clueless and non communicative.

Right now I am fearful that classes and dorm rooms will get cancelled because of some paperwork that did not get processed correctly, and I am seriously exhausted trying to figure it all out.

Sooo.. if you are looking at a public college for your kids, I will first say start early, very early to make sure all the t's are crossed, and i's are dotted.  Then, keep checking on things because stuff can blow up at any moment!

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Has my homeschooling been successful?

I have been in a bit of a tizzy this week because my son has had some issues in college.  In my mind, success of homeschooling would be based on success after homeschooling.  This means I have tied the job I have done, and even my self worth to their success.  But life has a way of kicking you in the butt doesn't it?  So when son announced that this semester was not going as well as he thought and that a school transfer might be in order, it was as if someone had punched me in the gut.

FAILURE.  That was all I heard.  Not my son's failure, because he wasn't doing THAT bad, he wasn't on academic probation or anything.  He was just having a hard time. But was the failure mine for not adequately preparing him for college.  That's how I felt.

When I decided to homeschool, it was clear to me that if the kids continued on the track they were on that they would never-ever even make it to college.  This particular child had taken to not speaking at all in school (selectively mute), and the other was being forced into ADHD testing.  The boy ended up in college with scholarships, and the girl is right behind him, so that is not failure on my part, at all.

Still, I had to ask myself if I overlooked something I should have anticipated???  I will honestly never know.  But asking that question, and putting his issues on myself would have been the same as expecting the schools to take credit that I, an "A Student" in high school completely flunked out of Fordham University after my first semester and had to start over at a community college.  For some kids, the transition to college is just hard.  It was very, very, hard for me... it is a challenge for my son... and we have the same learning styles.  Fortunately, I can help him turn it around just like I did.

I have also seen some blessings in this experience.  Son has had a year to find out what college is actually like.  He has a better idea of what he likes and does not like.  His perspective on what is a good college and what is a bad college has also changed.  He is educating us on his discoveries. He is looking at schools he had not considered before and measuring the finances vs. the prestige.  He is making a bold decision to weigh where he is against a school he would have never considered before.... and in all that a new and more appropriate major (for my son) has been added to that school he is considering.  It is starting to look like a blessing in disguise, that he could transfer into a brand new program that is more suited to his strengths and more in line with what he wants to do with is life.  Prior to this, the only 2 schools that offered this new major were very, very expensive.

So, in the end, I can look at a young man who is able to make a decision for himself before a decision is made for him.  He is able to weigh the pros and cons of a situation, and is working on a measured decision, and not something that is impulsive of knee-jerk.  He is not emotionalizing the situation like I was starting to.

 When I look back at why I chose to homeschool I know that THIS IS NOT FAILURE.  The statement I made then was "I don't know if I can do better than the schools, but I can't do worse".  I know I have met that goal.  He is well ahead of where I was at his age, and more confident too... and let's not forget that the schools were in much better shape when I was his age.  When I compare him to his same age relatives, he falls into the middle of the pack.  Some are the same or better, some are behind.  I will take my comfort in having met the goals we set.


Saturday, May 04, 2013

Changes and a flat tire

Son just cut off about 10 years of hair growth (10-20 inches).  No more long carefree braids.  He has a professional looking haircut now.

After the haircut we spent the day driving to a state college to check out the campus.  It was pretty close to the school my daughter is going to, so we then drove a couple of routes to see how long and what was the best way to get from one school to another.  Chances are (though not definite) that my son will transfer colleges for fall.  Filling out application now.

The transfer will be even cheaper then where he is, even with scholarships.  The only reason the school was not considered before is that the program had been a 2 year program for a AA in New Media, now it is 4 years, with a BA in New Media.

The school is so inexpensive in fact, that we may be able to swing a car that they can share if he actually changes colleges.

I hate that he is transferring so soon, but he was just tolerating his current school, and didn't feel like graphic design was the right fit, it was a close, but not exactly right for what he foresaw himself doing.  Plus the campus is beautiful and modern, which is more of his aesthetic.

On the way home, after stopping for food, we  realized we had a flat tire.  The guys changed the tire to a donut-spare, and we had to drive 100 miles at 50mph.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Homeschooling the college student

My son's freshman year of college is almost over.  Hubby and I drove up the the school yesterday to bring home a load of items that he would not be using this week, to make our Wednesday run to pick him up easier.  We discussed grades and GPA and he admitted that he struggles with the size of his course load.  He would like to take some CLEP exams over the summer to knock some of the liberal arts classes out of the way, allowing him a smaller course load next year.  I am in agreement, and called the school to check it out.  He just needs his advisors permission, so that is almost settled.

With summer jobs scarce in my area it is more likely that my college bound daughter, and my college boy will be homeschooling over the summer, taking CLEP exams that their school allows so they can have an easier time next year. I doubt they will need much help from me, or any nagging at all, but it is good to know they still have a little homeschooler left in them.


Monday, April 08, 2013

Don't do this, do that... It pays better

I've had the pleasure of noticing a glut of articles and email list advice about guiding children to the "right" majors and careers.

 It kind of floors me that homeschoolers have also jumped on this bandwagon. I know we all want to make sure our kids become financially secure, but career engineering, in my opinion, will not help our kids. (Yes, I am biased. I am a creative person and so are my kids, so do with this advice what you will.)

 Still, If we point all of our kids to the top 10 college majors for top earners, within 10 years that career choice will be overpopulated. That is just the obvious problem. The other problem, as I see it is that not everyone is wired for those top earning jobs. This means they won't be competitive in their field. They will be at the bottom of the pile professionally and financially. That also won't do much for their emotional well being either.

 Meanwhile, that kid that was wired for one of those touchy-feely careers (and majors) and actually follows their heart, is more likely to be a superstar in their area, putting them at the top of their profession and their income bracket.

 This is why I am not trying to engineer my kids career based on stats and opinions of what sells. I am letting them follow their own instincts so that they can be the best at what they are interested in, no matter how insignificant it may seem to the outside world. I just don't think that by choosing a more financially secure profession will make them any richer than doing what they are naturally good at, so why try to change their direction?

 I will never understand why people homeschool when they still follow the crowd.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

She's chosen a college

This has been a crazy month.  We began with a serious illness for both of us, and her Flu turning into a sinus infection that made it near impossible to sing.  That sucked big time because she had competitions coming up and kind of dictated having a voice.

The first competition was a bust, but the scholarship competitions went well.  Both colleges awarded enough scholarship money to cover tuition, leaving us with only room and board.  One college however, (the parent's favorite) is less expensive, and there are some additional smaller awards that will take the balance all the way down!

So we are done for now.  She is going to a Women's college with an intimate drama program to give her more of the grounding we think she needs to compete on a higher level.  At some point in the