09 October 2018

One Journey Ends, Another Begins

This is a post that should probably have been written last year, when the homeschool journey was ending. But life. Both girls graduated from our homeschool and are thriving in college. Whitney is now a senior at UMF, she's been captain of the snowboard team since her sophomore year, involved in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and on the leadership team, found a great church, and is doing well academically. Sarah is a sophomore at Roanoke College, participates in Young Life and is a leader at the middle school, also has a great church, and is ditto on the academics. Both girls made the transition from homeschool to college pretty easily. I think the independent learning I encouraged here as they got into high school really has helped them in college. Because they were used to managing their time they have done well planning their time to fill it with clubs, athletics, social events and still have plenty of time to go to class and study. We are thrilled with the young women they have become.

The transition to the empty nest at home was both easy and not so easy. If you look online you see all sorts of articles and facebook posts about the angst and sadness about sending the kids off to college, especially the youngest or only. Sending ours off was easy, although a little harder with Sarah but definitely not the drama you read about. They're off doing what they should be doing and we're super proud of them. We're also enjoying the empty nest, getting out and doing adult stuff by ourselves, vacationing just the two of us.

But the empty nest isn't all fun. I think the transition was harder on me than the girls. It really started when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when they grew up and suddenly last summer that time was here. I was hoping to have the summer to go through the house and do a good cleaning, some painting and organizing. That didn't happen partly because Bob asked me to work part time for him when his intern asked for time off then quit. I'm still trying to figure out what's next; one possibility is starting a bookkeeping business. I really like the idea of working for myself so that I can work around family needs, we'll see if I can work it out.

26 April 2017

The Light is Getting Bright

That light at the end of the tunnel? Yep, it's getting pretty bright these days. Our days of homeschooling are almost over. Sarah is almost done marine biology and government, her college class has only a couple more meetings, and then there's math...we'll still be doing math for a while, but it'll get done before graduation. Her official graduation day is May 27 but her party is on May 20. We've slowly started planning and I'm just hoping for a nice day.

The million dollar question is what's next? I'm not exactly sure but I do have some ideas rattling around in my head. Whitney has a year and a half left in Maine, then she's going to chase her snowboard dreams. I plan to go see a few more of her races this winter than I've been able to get to the last couple of years. Sarah will be starting at Roanoke in the fall which is close enough that I hope to visit a few times. I'd even like to spend some time in the area, sightsee, hike, and do stuff even if I don't see her. I haven't spent much time at all down in that part of Virginia and it's really pretty there. I can see Bob and I going down and doing some camping in the mountains.

I will be looking for some part time work, perhaps with the county or at least in our county. Traffic is stupid and I don't want to waste time in it if I don't have to. I'm tossing around a couple of ideas to earn money so we'll see what gels. I need to spend part of the summer cleaning the house, doing some painting and yardwork, and getting out with Bob for some fun. We got a mini-pack of 6 games to the minor league baseball team so that will be fun. And the tickets are cheap enough we can always pick up some more games when the girls are home.

We have a busy end of the summer, getting both girls ready for college. Of course Whitney needs to leave the day Sarah has to move in so she'll be on her own this year. I'm bummed about that but it can't be helped. I'll try to get up and see her the next weekend or something. I need to figure out how, in the little bit of time they both are home this summer, how to get Whitney down to see Roanoke. I think in September Bob and I will try to get away somewhere and I'm going to Maine sometime with my mom and there's parents weekend at Roanoke so it'll be a busy time.

15 March 2017

Snow Days

Snow days are an interesting thing here. Our area gets enough snow that the public schools build in about five snow days every year. Most years they use a few of them, sometimes all of them, sometimes more.

It's a bit different at our house. When the girls were little they would get up, dress themselves, and be outside playing by 7:30am. They'd come in, get breakfast and hot chocolate, warm up, do some school. By that time their neighborhood friends were up and ready to go out to play. They'd gear up again to head outside for a while with their friends. When they came in it was time for more hot chocolate and to finish school. In a sense they had the best of both worlds, they got to keep moving forward with school but they also had plenty of time to play. The big advantage was that come June, they were done when I had planned it while their friends that went to school may have had a day or two added to the end of their school year to make up for days that they missed.

So off goes Whitney to college. In Maine. Where they get snow. And cancelled classes. She's had several days so far this semester where they've closed early, opened late, or cancelled all together. She still finds it really weird to have snow days. She's not really sure what to do with herself on those days. Yesterday and today were two of those days. Yesterday the campus closed early and she missed her night class again, for about the third time. Today it opened at noon, which worked fine for her since her first class was at 1:10. She also enjoyed the chance to sleep in a bit since she's still trying to get over her jet lag from a trip to Oregon. Hopefully this will be the last snow day for this year now that we're in the middle of March. They have a week and a half before spring break #2 so hopefully no more snow in that time and after they get back to school it will be April and spring should be here, even in Maine.

The snow that Whitney got that cancelled classes started here. We had some snow then sleet and the public schools were closed yesterday and today. Sarah got all her work done both days. This wasn't a fun snow, not even fun to take the dog out in to play.  I definitely understand why the schools were closed but it didn't stop education from happening here.

We'll see what happens when Sarah goes off to Roanoke. It's in the mountains so she may get a few snow days. Guess we'll find out next winter.

01 March 2017

Another Decision is Made!

Sarah has made her decision and I think we're all happy about it. She plans to go to....Roanoke College in the fall.

She was invited to apply for the scholarship competition and we went down a couple of weeks ago for that. Bob even rearranged his schedule and took the day off to go down with us, his first trip to see the school. Sarah did her thing - a student panel with freshmen and sophomores, an interview, and a writing session. Bob and I did the parent thing - a student panel with seniors, a presentation by the financial aid office and about the curriculum. We had lunch together along with another presentation, then took the campus tour again, mainly for Bob's benefit. Sarah had been leaning towards Roanoke and going down again sealed the deal. We dropped the deposit off while we were there and she's gotten her welcome letter. She also accepted the service leadership fellows position. I think she'll have a great four years there!

outside admissions after we dropped off the deposit

10 January 2017

The College Hunt

Looking at colleges has been a very different experience this time around. Whitney wanted to go to a small college where there are good winters which meant New England or Colorado/Utah/Nevada. Sarah wants to stay in Virginia. At first she wanted to go to a college larger than Whitney's but still not too big and she wants to be in a smaller town/more rural area, not a city. We talked about quite a few Virginia schools and a few more that are out of state but still within about 4 hours. It's interesting the schools that made the cut since two are smaller than Whitney's and one is in a very urban area.

She applied early decision to Roanoke, Emory & Henry, Mary Washington, and Christopher Newport. So far she's been accepted to all of them but hasn't heard from CNU yet. I think the decision is coming down to Roanoke and E&H. We toured all the schools last fall and have been to CNU and Roanoke twice. More visits likely to Roanoke and E&H to come.

Roanoke - this was her favorite from our first step on campus. We were the only ones on the tour when we went and the campus is beautiful. We've made two visits, the first one in the fall to take a look and for an interview. We were impressed. Sarah applied for a Service Fellows position and we went back down for the interviews. They also had a parent session that morning and I really liked some of the programs they have there. They are very active in getting kids to the career center and focusing on what comes after college. They have a program to help with the transition to college. She hasn't heard back yet about it but hopefully will soon. Sarah was also encouraged to apply for the scholarship competition, which she did. Hopefully we'll hear about that soon and that will require another trip down in February. They have given Sarah quite a few scholarships so although the tuition is high it's looking doable. Hopefully she'll be invited to the scholarship competition, do well, and get more money.

University of Mary Washington - they were our second tour. We really liked the campus; it felt very "Virginia" to me, lots of brick buildings, trees, very pretty. I was impressed with some of the technology stuff they had. Sarah liked it but thinks it's too close to home and too urban although it seems very separate from Fredericksburg. She was not offered much financial aid but I guess that's the difference between a public school and a private one. I think they've fallen to third on the list.

Christopher Newport University - the third, and at the time I thought last tour. Bob was with us for this one since we were going to Williamsburg as well. Sarah liked the campus but I didn't (guess it's good I'm not the one that will be going there). It seemed like a bunch of big block buildings; although they were all brick, they all looked the same and have no uniqueness to them. We ran into a friend there, someone who had been in the youth group ages ago when Bob was leading it. She was so surprised to see us! There are some good things about the campus although it's very much in an urban area which Sarah didn't like. She's still waiting to hear from them although it should be in the next week or two since she applied early decision. I doubt that we'll get much financial aid, another state school.

Emory & Henry - this was a late, last minute add to the list. She scheduled the tour and I was pretty sure, especially since we'd already seen the other schools, that we were going to go since she had said she'd go but she was going to say nope, not for her. I was pleasantly surprised that it moved to the top of the list with Roanoke. We went for the tour and there were three other students. Another very pretty campus. The school feels big but it's a small school. Sarah had gotten an email from the admissions office and they said that since we were coming from so far they wanted to make the most of our time there and did she want to sit in on a class, meet with anyone while she was on campus. She said she'd like to meet with the golf coach so after the tour we did. This fall will be the first season of women's golf there (as well as at CNU and UMW) and the coach was very excited once he started talking to Sarah. He said he would love to have her on the team. After we talked with him we met with her admissions counselor and she did her "interview" which was more of a conversation (and interesting to watch). Sarah said that she loved the college but wished it had some a capella groups. That got her counselor all excited! He said that she should come there and get a group started. Fast forward to this weekend and she got an email inviting her to audition for a music scholarship. Um, she's had no musical training. I think she's going to apply/audition but we have some work to do. There's no harm in trying, right? She's gotten some nice financial aid from them which is good since it's a top contender. The one downside is the location. Yes, it's in Virginia but it's five hours down Interstate 81 so it's pretty far.

We'll have to see how things shake out. Still waiting on lots of information, from Roanoke about the Fellows spot and the scholarship competition, from E&H she'll need to schedule and audition and wait to hear about that, and from CNU waiting to hear if she got in or not. I really think at this point it comes down to Roanoke or E&H for her and financially I think one of those two will be the best option. Official decision day may still be a ways off but it would be nice to have the decision made.

08 January 2017

First Semester Done

First semester, high school senior year and college sophomore year is done. Both girls did well and are happy to have had some time off from school. Sarah has already started school again and Whitney heads back to Maine tomorrow but classes don't start until Jan. 17.

Half of Sarah's senior year is done. Hard to believe we've only got a few months left. Soon it will be time to start thinking about her graduation party, ordering her diploma, and enjoying the last summer at home before college starts. This has been a much different experience with her applying for colleges than it was for Whitney. I'll share the details of that later but she applied to four schools and has gotten into three and is still waiting to hear from the last one. She is doing well in her classes at home and finished her first college class. We went to register her for spring classes the second week registration was open but Spanish 102 was already full. She was put on the wait list but never got notification that there was a spot for her so she missed out on Spanish. She did get into college composition so that's good and that class starts on Tuesday. She had a full fall finishing up a few things from last year and starting this year's work. With Whitney still around it's hard to get back into our regular routine but I'm ready to jump in and plow through the next few months.

Whitney is done her third semester. She's heading back to school early to get in some snowboarding and she's got a race next weekend. This past semester was tough with five classes, one of which was a class she really disliked but she's looking forward to this semester. She's got three professors she's had before, one of whom she loves, and a schedule where two of her classes only meet one day a week. She'll have plenty of time for snowboarding around her classes and studying. Even with her more open schedule she'll have a busy semester. She's co-captain of the snowboard team, she's doing some training with the Carrabassett Valley Academy (a top notch ski/snowboard school), she got a job as a student mentor, she's still involved with IVCF, and she's got her classes. There's probably more that she's doing but that's what I know about.

She's enjoyed the mental break from school and being home. She did get in some snowboarding at Massanutten while she was here. I'm sure she's looking forward to getting back to Maine and the excellent snow they have up there. They've had quite a bit whereas we haven't gotten much and it's even been iffy for snowmaking. She'd probably like the extra week at home but she's excited to be getting on the slopes and will have some quiet time at school before her roommate and everyone else gets back.

Here's to a good spring semester!

01 September 2016

Back to Maine

On Friday Bob, Whitney, and I headed north to pick up her things in New Hampshire then on to Maine for move in. The drive to NH was really long, the usual 9 hour drive took us 12 hours between traffic and construction. Ugh. Partly, too, since we knew it was going to take a lot longer we stopped and actually ate dinner (and I think lunch) at the rest areas instead of getting it to go so that added a bit of time as well.

Saturday morning we packed up the things Whitney left at her aunt's house over the summer and made a stop at Target to pick up a few last minute things before she left civilization. We got to Farmington, checked into the hotel, then went to find dinner in town.

Check in started at 9 on Sunday morning and we were there shortly after that and well before Alison got there. We unloaded the two cars and started organizing the chaos on Whitney's half of the room. We had everything put away by lunch time and took a walk downtown after Bob moved my car and Whitney got a prime spot beside her dorm. We went to check out Reny's, a cool discount department store, and bought a few things there then went to the Farmington House of Pizza for lunch (really good pizza!).

Monday Bob and I left after a quick stop at the bookstore (side note - what college doesn't have their bookstore open on move in day?? Students need to pick up books and parents are willing to drop money on school labeled attire.) and headed down the coast to Kennebunkport for lunch. Sadly the place I really wanted to stop at was a different fancier restaurant but I still managed to find some good lobster for lunch. Whitney got right into classes Monday morning and has had a couple of club meetings so has been busy. All in all a good start.