Monday, August 30, 2010

September 2010: For Parents

The Weather: Lovely, With Change in the Air

What time of year do you view as a fresh start? For some, it is the beginning of a calendar year. For others, it may be an anniversary or family celebration. For me, that time has always been early September which means back to school. I smell the air for signs of dropping temperatures. I look through stores, catalogs and websites to see the new sweaters, boots and slacks. But mostly, I wait to see children walking to school, lining up at the bus, and sharing their nervous energy with others.

This year, I have a special challenge: the transition not only from summer to fall, but from having one child at home to becoming an empty nester. So far, it’s been a mix of disbelief, excitement and anxiety. I watch young children at the pool or in town and want to “borrow” them. I wonder what their parents are doing in terms of their education. Are they making sure the teachers meet their needs? Are they finding out what teachers are doing to sharpen math and language arts skills? When I see teenagers, I wonder if what they are doing at home and school to be better and, yes, more marketable students. Are they selecting the appropriate extracurricular activities? Are they allotting the appropriate amount of time for studying, college visits and applications? Are they using technology productively?

This fall, I’m continuing my own studies by taking my third course with UCLA Extension. The topic is Financial Aid Fundamentals, my third in a series of courses that will enable me to have another certification. Online learning doesn’t always satisfy my cravings for desks, whiteboards and teachers, but it can be incredibly stimulating, not to mention wonderful for “meeting” other motivated professionals. I recommend it!

Fall. It’s exciting for some, dreaded by others. I can’t get enough of it. The challenge will be keeping the motivation high enough to accomplish so many objectives before the leaves are off the trees.

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