Monday, October 28, 2013

Here I go taking a first step into a pile of possibilities.

Okay, first look at colleges has been completed.  Five different types of campuses and programs, all in the same geographical area.  It was a really helpful first look.  My daughter did a great job of observing during each visit.  One college had a program that she thought may fit well but not very nice facilities.  Another had good facilities but was all girls.  Another had a good program and nice facilities, and is a good focus to move toward.  The fourth had good facilities and good programs but no programs of interest.  Finally, one was an art program.  And, tour guide and admissions presenters ranged from well spoken and knowledgable to low talkers with little agenda.

Let's go back to those steps...

What did she want to be when she was little?
How does she spend her free time?
Who does she look up to?
If she could do any job for one day, what would it be?

What type of experiences has she had that really felt exciting or interesting?
Is there something she finds herself returning to again and again?

Which classes does she find easy right now?
Which classes does she find more challenging, but she wants to do well in?
Which classes do not click?

I asked these questions, and received these answers, and you know what, THIS IS NOT A SIMPLE PROCESS.  But, it is an important process and well worth the time and effort to follow through.

I take a step back, and use the meditation breathing I have been working on, and remind myself that this is not MY journey but one that I am trying to help with because I have been around a bit longer.  And, I pull out one of my valuable, handy dandy worksheets (The Art of Mindfulness -- Living Your Life as if it Really Matters...thank you Thomas R. Plunkett) and read that



 and my personal favorite LIFE IS SHORT SO WE MUST MOVE VERY SLOWLY (Thai Proverb)

Hey, it is all about the fit.  I am working with one wonderful child right now, and another wonderful child is in the thick of his first year.

College is the right path, right?  That is the next question on this journey...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Walking up and down the steps

I have been developing a lot of appreciation for people who are moving from one career or job to another.  Shutting down an office or long-standing project and moving onto the next is not for the faint-hearted.  And, it must be amazingly terrible if that came about because of a layoff or shutting down of a company.  I am trying to go through home-school materials and figure out what can be used as I transition (morph?) to the next step.

Life happens in steps; steps of all kinds.

  Some lead from one level to another, some lead in an ever moving circle,

but they are all steps.

And, sometimes the steps lead to a jumping off place where we try out what we have been learning on the steps.

So, after lots of steps and quite a bit of angst

I realize I really did accomplish some things with home-schooling our children, and teaching others' children, and organizing classes, and putting together two conferences (because I thought they should happen).   Our children may have different thoughts and feelings about this adventure, and they should because they were right there the entire time.

But, how to translate this into transition?

I tried to set up a Meet Up session at the suggestion of a very good friend this week.  It was going to be me speaking to interested parents about deciding if home-schooling is a good idea, and then how to set the ball in motion.  No one signed up, which is fine.  I am going to reschedule and try it again.  Guess what?!  These people have no idea of who I am, and no reason to pay $30 to come hear what I have to say.  This is a wake up call as I transition from my small, vibrant group to the bigger world.  HELLO!

Yesterday, I wrote a short article, for a neighborhood magazine,

about what is happening (in a limited way) in the education world, and what I am contributing (my game and blog).  Will they think it is self-promotion?  Who knows?  It is my small step toward saying something to the larger world.

So, back to the steps toward helping teenagers preparing for college.


"Whenever someone makes a decision the brain is awash in feeling, driven by its inexplicable passions.  Even when a person tried to be reasonable and restrained, these emotional impulses secretly influence judgement...The simple truth of the matter is that making good decisions requires us to use both side of the mind." (How We Decide by Johan Lehrer, Into, xvi)

Why do we think choosing a college should be based on SAT/ACT scores, grades and coached essays?  I am heading out for a first look at colleges with our daughter.  More steps and more will be revealed...