I know you’ve missed me.

But, some days is like that. 😉

We’ve been mostly college visiting and getting the gardens ready for Spring.

We’ve visited Swarthmore, Haverford, Princeton, Goucher, Dickinson, Sarah Lawrence, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Rutgers and Oberlin, in addition to Bryn Mawr.

Le sigh. 😀

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College Visit 1, Bryn Mawr

So, here we go.

First college visit was to Bryn Mawr, a small liberal arts college on the Main Line outside Philadelphia. Bryn Mawr is a woman’s college, one of the original Seven Sisters, and the closest one to us. It remains a Women’s college, is noted for its academic rigor and supportive alumnae network, and, importantly for us, had tours and info sessions available on Friday, Tegan’s only day without college classes.

Steve took the day off from work to manage the homeschooling while Tegan and I had our field-trip. 🙂

I got SLIGHTLY lost, which meant we weren’t the requested 10 minutes early, but the tour, with our guide Leah, departed on time. There were 2 Juniors with Mom, one probably Junior with Mom, and one transfer student with buddy on our tour.

Leah, somewhat unseasonably dressed, was preparing for a research presentation later in the day. She set the tone for students we met at Bryn Mawr. They all seemed extremely capable, centered, and a bit type A. It was a very through tour, with explanations of the system whereby they share academic resources with other area colleges, a look at classrooms, dormitory rooms (lovely), science labs, the career counseling center (which happened to have a display up of individual research projects, very impressive), the fitness center, and theme dorms and traditional buildings. We learned a lot about Bryn Mawr’s heritage and traditions, as well as their current opportunities.

On our way to the dorm

Too cute, I thought. 🙂

In the great hall. We snuck back, later.

We followed our tour by a small group talk by Peaches, from Admissions, ably assisted by Liriana, a chemistry major with an interest in dance. It also was very informative, I recommend it.

When this had concluded, we were still a little early for our “Lunch With a Current Student,” but they sent two students who worked in admissions to lunch early. By this time we were down to the two Juniors with Mom. Awkwardly enough, they did NOT have a plan to feed moms. This would have been a crisis for me under usual circumstances, but I happened to have a little cash left over from the Florida trip, so was able to unpocket $10.25 and be fed.

I’m a terrible food snob, but it was excellent, even by my exacting standards – including plenty of vegetarian and vegan food.

However, the great aspect of the lunch was the presence of our new student hostesses, Liz and Mia. These personable young women answered snoopy questions, discussed their research, and laughed over their memories with great aplomb. They added to our rapidly expanding list of impressive representatives of Bryn Mawr.

I took no pictures of peoples’ personal space or students, other than our tour group. It was a lovely day.

Seeing the cloister area.

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig. First of….?

College-visiting gal gets home. 🙂

Are you all ready for a new ride?

My friends currently enjoying first steps and potty training may not believe it, but somewhere along (relatively speaking) next Tuesday you’ll be going on college visits.

With my eldest son, we did 17 visits. 😀

He didn’t go to any of those places… and it wasn’t because they were badly selected. After (and partly because of) the process (and getting offered money in serious ways, she adds proudly) he decided to pursue his dreams as a ballet dancer.

Cautious Mama enrolled him in community college while training, he got 60 solid gold credits (almost 4.00), danced with a contract. Then the company ran out of money, as they so often do, and now he’s dancing locally, while enrolled at the University of Delaware.

GO BLUE HENS!

I still remember those visits fondly… as a wonderful time to spend with my son, as interesting (and sometimes hilarious) road trips, and as a great way to learn things that have been valuable in our homeschooling. I highly recommend the process.

So, here we go again, with #2. Are you ready?

It’s not the destination

Here is a story about big ideas.

Have to tell you, I’m a fan of big ideas. I’m that gal. It’s one of the reasons I like young people, and actors, most of whom have big ideas.

Homeschooling, was, for me, a perfect place for big ideas… and they tended to get bigger as my number of students increased. However, there are a few tricks to surviving the cross connection of big ideas and homeschool, and a great place to start there is in your approach to field trips.

If you’re a homeschooler,particularly of an infant or some toddlers,  you probably know what I’m talking about. YOU are going to go on field trips. Your whole family will cross the Americas in a campervan, updating your podcast at least weekly, and compiling the material for your book. The children, all fluent in Latin already, will easily pick up other languages as you travel.

But if you’re lucky, you’re married to a man ( or woman) kinda sorta like mine, who has a rooted stick-in-the-mud attitude about steady incomes and health insurance,

My husband Steve, prior to 1st aid & haircut. Broke his head open wrestling shelves in the basement.

and you turn your attention (temporarily) to shorter field trips. It’s easy. You start a field trip co-op (unless someone beat you to it) and every Friday you meet up with the group to visit museums, historical sites, and cultural activities. On the other days you’re geocaching.

If you have given birth exclusively to extraverts, have no regular work responsibilities, and just a few children, I look forward to hearing about this. 😉 I will live vicariously through your awesomeness. However, at a certain point I had to ratchet back on the extra field-trippage, mostly because we could never find enough matching shoes to get out the door. We committed to a FEW things and occasionally made an appearance at area activities, but we live in a neighborhood where the kids have friends and activities of their own, so we did more school-type stuff during school-type hours.

We take vacations. Did I mention Disney? 😉

And last Friday we took a field-trip to the opening public day of the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011, because we have a big focus on sustainability in our curriculum and household. http://www.solardecathlon.gov/

Here we are. What do you notice? Take your time.

some days are more solar than others

I drove through torrents of rain to get there, 2 1/2 hours, most of the kids slept the whole way. My husband and I had the longest uninterrupted conversation we’ve had in 6 months, easy.  We saw a few of the houses that were open (weekdays are short, and they all close at intervals.) We got soaked through, they had to rope off areas of the walkways because they FOUNTAINED foul-smelling water when you walked on them. It took me 6 hours to drive home, in unholy conditions of traffic stopped and blinding rain.

We loved it. The building from Calgary was particularly super awesome.

on we go, Canadian turtle straight ahead

We have to go back and see all of them. Forecast is rain.

Ugly approach, I thought, but valuable idea

That’s the thing about field-trips, and much of parenting. It’s not the destination that matters.