Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Countdown to College Launch 1!

Apply for Rewards
Finally, you'll want to become familiar with the college application process. And as always, it begins with research. For instance, did you know that it is often easier to pay for an Ivy League education than a state university?

The 'sticker price' for the two is dramatically different, but those Ivy Leagues have deep-pocket endowments for scholarships, while the state university is primarily supported by your tax dollars. So if you can meet the entrance requirements for the highly-rated private college, your chance of getting full funding through scholarships is exponentially higher.

Finances aren't the only factors you need to consider. Your student will have better success both with an eventual degree program and with attracting scholarships if you begin by applying to a college that is a good fit for his ambitions and temperament.

The College Launch workbook contains a self-survey section to help you clarify what kind of college you will need: secular? Christian? technical? liberal arts? vocationally-focused? large? what else? It also includes resources to help you locate colleges that not only match your academic requirements, but your spiritual, social, and philosophical preferences as well.

While this research should begin as early as your student's freshman year, you won't complete it until his junior year, when you should plan to visit as many of your target schools as possible. A personal visit is especially important for homeschoolers for two reasons:
  1. Because homeschools are by definition completely unique to each family, it is difficult for college admissions officers to envision your student. An in-person encounter normalizes the selection process for the college, putting a real live person forward rather than a stereotype.
  2. Even the best on-paper analysis of a given college can't give you the feel of the place, the professors, the student body. You have spent the better part of the last two decades nurturing this young adult. Both you and your student need to know that your college choice will refine that early nurture rather than destroy it.
When your research is complete, you will want to apply for several colleges. You'll want to have three categories of applications: 1) those colleges that will be a challenge to gain admission to and to survive academically, 2) those colleges that will be a middle of the road challenge, an 3) those colleges that would be a sure thing.

The application process itself has basically four steps:
  1. Assemble the student's application, the school counselor's pack and the letters of recommendation.
  2. Send them all to each college before its application deadline date.
  3. Apply for financial aid at each college.
  4. Send midyear updates after the fall semester grades for the student's senior year have been given.
The College Launch Workbook directs you to actual college applications so that you can see exactly what kinds of records, essays and other information you will need to assemble for successful completion of these forms. It also links you to the most common financial aid forms, and helps you to sort out the various kinds of financial aid that could be offered to you.

If you would like to learn more, you can find the full Countdown to College Launch at my new Ebay store, Celebration Books and Gifts. The first ten buyers can receive a $10 discount by buying it at auction here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Thought Control

"We don't need no education! We don't need no thought control!" Pink Floyd Thought control.

The real question is not
whether our thoughts will be controlled, but by whom will they be controlled? And the irony of Pink Floyd's raw lyric is that those who have no education are the particular prey of those who have a thought control agenda.

As parents, we all want our children to be able to make up their own minds, to be thinkers who are independent of media and government agendas. If we are faithful stewards of our children, we spend a lot of time and money giving them enough background in history, literature, science, government, Bible and experience to form a stable vantage point from which to evaluate what life (and life's manipulators) throw at them.

The beauty of learning is that it will enable us to exercise control over our own thoughts and opinions. But I submit that being able to make up one's own mind isn't enough. Even the most sophisticated human mind can be fooled. If we fail to teach our children to "bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ", we will still have failed to protect them from perverse thought control.

Is it possible that there should be no thought control? No. Who should control our thoughts? Surely only the One who IS the truth.

Check Scribblings by Blair tomorrow for more thoughts on the Beauty of Learning at the Carnival of Beauty. And don't miss the Carnival of Homeschooling hosted this week by Category Five.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


"I thought about the whole notion of "reproduction," and what it really means to replicate yourself. Is it merely about the passing on of eyes and chins and hair color? Or is it, rather, the replication of the heart? Do we leave a bigger mark by passing on our genes, or our thoughts?"~ Shannon Woodward, author of Inconceivable: Finding Peace in the Midst of Infertility ~

Christmas Eve 1986. The BMW pulled up at the front door of the exclusive Washington Montessori school. A perfectly-coiffed Mom in a designer suit unfolded from behind the wheel to free her three-year-old daughter from the car seat. She cooed promises of special time together tomorrow. The little girl did not meet her eyes.

"I'll be back for Ashley around 7:30 tonight. I have to do some shopping," she informed the directress who met them at the classroom door. "Mommy will be back soon!" She crouched, reaching for a hug.

But something snapped shut in Ashley's face, and she bent to rummage in her backpack. Brandishing a silver glove, she whirled into the classroom. "Look what I've got!" she squealed, "Michael Jackson's glove! And I've got his album too!"

Like mother, like daughter.

I was that directress, and after 6 childless years of marriage and one miscarriage, I wondered if I would ever hold children of my own. But if God granted me children, I resolved to give them something better than shiny stuff in a drop-off childhood.

In one week, I will leave my eldest at college across town, and I'm assessing what she will have to brandish to her companions, and whether she'll meet my eyes as we part.

I had thought to commission her with the passage of Scripture that has been the heritage of my family for three generations:
" Is not this the fast that I (God) have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppessed go free and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?...And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations: and thou shalt be called, the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in..." (Isa. 58:6, 7, 10-12)
But then I realized that she has not waited. None of my children have. In their Teen Court service, they have loosed bands of wickedness and let the oppressed go free. They have drawn out their souls to the hungry and afflicted, raising up the foundations of the next generations by saving babies from the abortionists' knife, raising money to help women in crisis pregnancies. They have broken yokes of gossip and mockery among their peers, and enlarged our house to include young people from across the nation. They have dealt the bread of wise teaching to those younger than they who are hungry to learn music, literature, communication, Scripture...

In large measure, they already are who they will be. Our eyes meet. Every day. And so do our hearts and our purposes. We have the same heritage. We have something shiny to brandish to the world. But it isn't stuff. It's Light itself.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Countdown to College Launch 2!

Account Assets

Most of us weary homeschool moms believe in our innocence that a transcript is all we need for our child's college entrance. The fact is that if your child were in a public or private school, his transcript would be interpreted in light of several other documents that make up the School Counselor's Pack.

In other words, don't feel singled out for persecution. Even public schools need a sort of outside verification of their work.

What's in a School Counselor's Pack?
  1. Transcript (the document we love to hate)
  2. School Profile (a document that describes your school compared to other schools)
  3. School Counselor's Letter (a document that details the student's strengths and weaknesses compared to other students) and (possibly, though not ideally)
  4. Letters of Recommendation (you know about these already, and hopefully your recommenders sent their letters directly to the colleges, not through you)
The Countdown Workbook contains detailed explanations of how to develop these documents. There are tips and pitfall warnings as well as sample documents.

The Countdown Workbook also gives tips on how your student can write sizzling college application essays and follow up his wonderful application and resume with dazzling interviews. There is even a section that will help you and your student to keep your recommenders organized and to give them a clear idea of what they need to address in their letters.

These documents directly impact the amount of money schools themselves will be able and willing to offer your students.

One college financial aid officer commented to me as he gleefully revealed a most generous scholarship package, "I've never seen such a well-documented home school program. Your documentation allowed us to give the most generous financial aid package that we have been able to offer anyone for the past five years!"

Next time: Learn how the scholarship application process works in 1! Apply for Rewards

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Countdown to College Launch 3 1/2!

Acquiring Transcript & Resume Fuel

There are a few programs out there which will help you to do the things necessary to develop both the resume and the network - and will reward you with an internationally-recognized credential into the bargain. One is the Eagle Scout program, available to young men. The other is the Congressional Award program, which is available both to men and women.

The rank of Eagle Scout is respected world-wide, and continues to provide advantages like automatically advanced job-standing and salary increase, to your son throughout his life. Eagle Scout takes a good two and a half to four years to achieve, starting from Tenderfoot and working up.

The work involves a sustained record-keeping effort, which can become the springboard for your student's college entrance paperwork. The required merit badges can become career-path explorations and will develop adult level expertise across a wide spectrum of experience. The final project for Eagle is a community service effort, designed, managed and carried out by the young candidate in leadership over a group of other scouts. Each of the merit badges and the final Eagle project require the young man to connect with older men who have expertise in these fields, and who should become part of his network of mentors.

Do your best to find a scout troop with a large pool of leaders who are committed to Christian principles. These men will have a lasting impact on your young man. And they will be able to write recommendations complete with personal stories about your son, his struggles and accomplishments - exactly what scholarship committees need to see.

When your son has completed Eagle Scout, not only will he have the rank itself, but he will also have a number of critical resume pieces, which he can break out separately on his paperwork: community service, leadership (both kinds), and a variety of merit badge experiences and achievements.

The Congressional Award program is open to both men and women. It is the only award given by Congress outside of the military commendation, the Congressional Medal of Honor; and it is recognized world-wide. This program, too takes two to four years to complete, but it has six levels of recognition, which your child will be able to reference even if he is unable to complete the Gold Medal before graduation.

In order to get this award, your student will have to design and complete goals in four areas: Community Service, Physical Fitness, Personal Development and Exploration/Expedition. Progress is measured by time invested and by assessment of achievement by adult validators in each area and by their overall Advisor. Service in an elected official's office or campaign, or service in a religious capacity cannot be counted as community service, however the religious service could be counted as personal development.

The Gold Medal requires students to invest a total of 400 hours in Community Service, 200 hours in Physical Fitness and Personal Development, and a series of Exeditions culminating in a 4-day, 3-night exploration of an unfamiliar place or culture. This sounds like a daunting amount of time, but because you define the goals, you are probably already doing the things that the Congressional Award will validate and reward. The first level of recognition, the Bronze Certificate requires only 30 community service hours, 15 each in personal development and physical fitness, and a one-day expedition.

And once again, when you have earned any of the Congressional Award levels, you not only have the award itself, but you also have impressive experiences, mentors and validations that you can break out across your resume. By definition the Congressional Award activities may not be counted for school credit, so you wind up with a slate of interesting, consistent, coordinated extra-curricular activities, leadership and public service. The paperwork you do to validate these activities gives you a head start on everyone else when you come to apply for scholarships.
The Congressional Award Gold Medal opens the door to some unusual opportunities and scholarships unique to Gold Medalists. For instance, People to People offers Gold Medalists scholarships for the People to People international tour in the year that they recieve their Gold Medals.

So you have seen how to verify extra-curricular accomplishments, but how do you validate academic achievement when Mom was your primary teacher? Mentors, community college double-dip classes, testing, and your school counselors' pack for admissions/scholarship officials.

You didn't know about a School Counselor's pack? Most homeschoolers don't, but it is one of the most powerful tools for helping an overloaded application-reader decipher your records. Next time a sneak preview of the Launch Workshop's asset accounting tools.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Countdown to College Launch 3!

Acquire Credentials

Many admissions and scholarship officers will approach a homeschooler's application with a question like: "Did you ever let him out of the basement?" or "So Mom thinks Susan is a genius, eh?"

They aren't really trying to be rude. They just don't know any actual homeschoolers, and are running on stereotypes from the media or perhaps on experience with a few homeschoolers who didn't understand that you need to speak the officers' language.

So you'll want to acquire credentials that will combat the negative stereotypes and will communicate to scholarship committees in the language that allows them to evalutate your student using the same standards that they use for everyone else. They need to be able to compare apples and apples.

We aren't the only ones who have baggage. Every other identifiable sub-group faces the same problem. But what sort of expectations are unique to being a homeschooler?

  • Parents are "poor judges of academic achievement"
  • Students are unprepared for challenging curriculum,
  • Unpracticed at following another's timetable,
  • Impatient with inflexible academic requirements,
  • Socially immature,
  • Unskilled communicators,
  • Unprepared to live and to learn with other students
The passport to a first-class seat in the scholarship airship is outside verification of achievement. No matter how wonderfully your student performs, if the only ones who saw it or can say so are Mom and Dad, no scholarship officer will be able to credit it. You need to be able to convince scholarship committees that other people - people who have nothing to gain by promoting your student - have noticed and approved your student's achievements.

You will need outside verification in each of the four areas that admissions officers scrutinize and in the specific areas in which your student excels. This means that you will need to begin connecting your student with mentors in these areas who will eventually be able to write recommendations or whose programs you can reference in your applications.

In other words, as you build your student's resume and transcript, you will also be developing his network of resource people. Frankly, this is what you need to be doing for your child with or without the scholarship search. A strong resume and a loyal network are simply what your child needs to do well in life.

Countdown to College Launch workbook includes sample resumes, transcripts and templates, as well as advice about how to avoid common pitfalls and how to create documents that will be impressive and memorable to scholarship committees.

Next time: How to build resume and transcript experiences and verifications

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Countdown to College Launch 4 1/2!

This is the third in a series about how to position your homeschooled high schooler for scholarship opportunities. Read the series from the beginning starting here.)

How will you plan to impress skeptical college admission boards? You will begin by making your planning speak their language.

Many homeschoolers simply take the admission requirements of the college their student wants to attend, and use it for their high school graduation requirements. But aspirations change, so you may want a more stable unit of measure. Here, according to Richard Montauk's How to Get into the Top Colleges, is what the Ivy Leagues require:
Four years each of the "solid" subjects:

  • English
  • Math (including calculus)
  • Hard Sciences (with labs)
  • Foreign Language (at least 2 years of each language)
  • Social Studies

Plus a challenging selection of "semi-solids":

  • Journalism
  • Ethics
  • Art
  • Psychology, etc.

And electives:

  • Computer science
  • Music
  • Home Economics, etc.

The Launch to College workbook provides you with strategies for demonstrating academic achievement that every college admission board will recognize, and tools for planning your student's high school academics, so that none of your efforts are wasted. It also includes an analysis of the alphabet-soup of college entrance exams and their uses, to save you time, anxiety and money!

Community Service

This is fast becoming a watershed criterion, expecially for homeschoolers who have been painted as anti-social by the mainstream media. You may include faith-based service as well as secular projects. Just make certain that you have both, if you choose to mention Christian service, lest the admissions officer perceive that, once again, you are refusing to play ball outside your own small world.


Leadership comes in two flavors: 1) Rising to the top of an established hierarchy, and 2) Taking initative to create something new. You'll want to be able to demonstrate both.


These are activities that are outside the scope of your academic curriculum. We homeschoolers have trouble making that distinction, but you need to make a consistent division between things for which you are giving academic credit and things beyond academic credit. Colleges want to see direction and depth in these activities.

The Launch to College workbook includes tools to help you plan academics side-by-side with the other projects you need to complete each semester. You will be able to spread out the workload and the costs of these necessities. You will even be shown some creative ways to finance high school "double-dipping" into community college classes - without dipping into the government trough.

But you were not simply aiming at college admission. You were aiming at college scholarships. The Launch workbook includes three pages of scholarship search engines and/or scholarship providers. Our favorite is

This search engine tailors its search to your student's interests, skills, ethnic background, aspirations, you-name-it, and emails you a list of scholarships for which your student would be eligible. Fastweb provided so many scholarship possibilities for our daughter, that she couldn't find time to apply for anything under $5000.

Scholarship committees have a somewhat longer list of criteria. Of course, each scholarship has its own special focus, but in general everyone is selecting from among these Top Ten criteria:

  • Academic excellence
  • Community service
  • Sports participation
  • Leadership
  • Fine Arts accomplishment
  • Work experience
  • Travel
  • Clubs/extra-curriculars
  • Ethnicity

You are probably already working in most of these areas as homeschoolers. But you will need to know how to plan these resume-building activities to avoid the prejudices of scholarship committees. The Launch to College workbook contains lists of homeschool stereotypes - both good and bad - from which those committees work, along with strategies for addressing them.

Next time: 3! Acquire Credentials

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Breaking Faith

Janine Cate of Why Homeschool? posted this mind-boggling comment on my No Victims Here article encouraging Christians to re-think the ease with which we divorce.
"As part of an outreach program to encourage families to attend church, we noticed a trend. Most of the individuals who no longer attended church or who had never attend church, did so due to a divorce. They stopped going to church after their own divorce or the divorce of their parents. The third group where children who grew up in homes with no religious training because their parents stopped going to church in their youth after the grandparents' divorce. "
If this is a nationwide or even a worldwide trend, then divorce is not only devastating the family but the church as well. Surely this merits attention by church leaders, and should begin to inform how the church deals with hurting marriages. Perhaps we need to shift our focus from comforting those who have chosen to end their marriages to shoring up floundering marriages and strengthening engaged couples to prevent and to resist the conflicts that might torpedo their union.

Perhaps it should not surprize us so much that as goes marriage, so goes the church. The Old Testament is loaded with imagery that identifies God's relationship to His people with the marriage relationship. The Epistles come out and say it systematically. And we humans seem to know this even when we don't know the Scriptures.

So maybe it isn't so shocking that when marriages fail regularly, no one can hope that a relationship with God could be permanent. When marriages are a dance of selfishness rather than a dance of deference, how could God's chastisements be anything but self-serving power plays?

It seems that marriages hold in trust the heart of both society and church. What we do in marriage is not just a personal decision that affects no one else. What we do in marriage is perhaps the most powerful witness of what we really believe God can and will do in His relations with His people. Our neighbors get it. The world is watching. What will we Christians say to them?

Have any of you conducted or seen research on the correlation between flagging church involvement and failed marriages? Why do you think people who are touched by divorce leave the church?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Countdown to College Scholarships 4!

Aim for Success!

My friend, Pastor Gregg Harris, says "If you aim at nothing, you can count on hitting it." Continuing our discussion of college scholarships, after you have considered what you have to work with, you can begin to form a good idea of post-high school directions. The earlier you start aiming, the more effortless the guidance. If you wait until the spring of your student's junior year, you may have to make truly gut-wrenching adjustments in order to hit close to your target.

It may be that you will want to do something other than college. Maybe your student will jump right into a job which will train him as he goes, or into the military. Maybe your daughter wants to concentrate on building a strong cottage industry, which will be portable with her (eventual) family. You might find that apprenticeships or internships are better preparation for some of these options than college.

You will want to weigh the pros and cons of college carefully. There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. Naturally, students who aspire to be doctors, lawyers, teachers and such will find that a college degree is the only ticket to those professions. But, you may find that a college degree gives a daughter the credibility she needs to make a significant contribution to her family's income from her own home without leaving her children in someone else's care. An entrepreneurial son might find that the networking potiential of the college community will jump-start his business.

However, there are significant problems with attending college that you will need to prepare to solve or sidestep before they become destructive: lack of parental authority, negative social atmosphere, tremendous financial strain, or indoctrination rather than education. With creativity and determination, these drawbacks can be overcome, and the full Launch to College workshop helps families explore some positive alternatives.

So, what are college admission committees looking for?
Academic excellence
Community service
Extra-curricular expertise

Next time - a close-up of those college admission must-have's.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

No Victims Here

Divorce is epidemic among modern Western peoples. This is not news to anyone.

But consider this: Divorce, meant to decrease domestic violence and protect women and children, actually increases poverty among women and children, and increases violence against them. Americans for Divorce Reform summarizes:

"Children of divorce are twice as likely to be abused and to become criminals and teen moms -- even if they have stepparents. And divorce doesn't end fighting in front of the children -- in most cases, it escalates it!"


"A 1991 Justice Department survey, for example, found that more than two-thirds of domestic violence offenders were boyfriends or ex-spouses, while just 9 percent were spouses. Cohabitating women, according to one review of the literature, are four times more likely to suffer severe violence than married women."
Gallagher in "End No-Fault Divorce?" (Maggie Gallagher debates Barbara Dafoe Whitehead) in First Things 75 (August/September 1997)
And it seems to be self-perpetuating, like a genetic disease. Children who live in a divorced home are much more likely to become single parents, either through divorce or out-of-wedlock child-bearing. And this is much more pronounced if the children are exposed to divorce during their teen years.

'Exposure to single motherhood at some point during adolescence increases the risk [of a daughter's later becoming a household head] by nearly 1 1/2 times for whites about 100 percent for blacks.' " Sara S. McLanahan, "Family Structure and Dependency: Reality Transitions to Female Household Head ship," Demography 25, Feb., 1988, 1-16. Cited in Amneus, The Garbage Generation, page 240

"...teen boys from one-parent households are almost twice as likely to father a child out of wedlock as teen boys from two-parent families." William Marsigilio, "Adolescent Fathers in the United States: Their Initial Living Arrangements, Marital Experience and Educational Outcomes," Family Planning Perspective, 19, November/December, 1987, 240-51. Cited in Amneus, The Garbage Generation, page 241

The suffering not only of women and children, but of the husbands and fathers in these divorces is staggering. The cost of supporting these broken impoverished, embittered families is becoming more than the fabric of our society can bear, and society in itself does not have the answers. Even the liberals realize it.

"[Non-nuclear families can work, but] every society requires a critical mass of families that fit the traditional ideal, both to meet the needs of most children and to serve as a model for other adults who are raising children in difficult settings. We are at risk of losing that critical mass in America today." Hillary R. Clinton, It Takes a Village, p. 50

Visionary reformers on all sides of the political spectrum are working to reform divorce laws to remove the incentives for couples to divorce as soon as life together looks less than rosy. The trouble is, laws cannot change hearts.

Someone is going to have to be willing to suffer for righteousness' sake. Living in intimate circumstances with a fallen spouse as a fallen spouse is unquestionably the most difficult thing we could be asked to do - even in the best scenarios. Poster-children for the horrors that can happen in marriage situations abound. Well-meaning political saviors use them liberally to weaken family institutions every day.

But where are the poster-children for the beauties of perseverance in difficult marriages? Where are the mothers, ferocious to save their children from a future of abuse, brokenness and poverty? Where are the fathers who will sheild the women and children under their protection from the dragons of divorce, at their own peril? Battered by the brutalities of fallen men, ridiculed by the rhetoric of self-actualization, they give up the struggle - and divorce.

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."~ Albert Einstein ~ The battle to defend marriage and family is one of the greatest difficulties of our time. Yet most of us only see the blood and smoke. We cannot or will not see past the warfare to the peace we might purchase for our children and grandchildren. And those who do see it rarely have the courage or fortitude to see it through in their own marriages.

I have a dear friend whose husband is mentally ill. He is manipulative, unfaithful, verbally and psychologically abusive, and completely oblivious to any needs but his own. She makes no excuses for her husband's behavior, and tries not to soften the consequences of his destructive choices, except where they will hurt others.

Many have asked her why she doesn't just divorce the jerk. She says, " I have seen what divorce does. My husband is the way he is in part because of the abandonment he felt in the multiple divorces of his parents. There has never been a divorce among my forefathers. I will not be the one to let it in."

Nothing about what he deserves. Nothing about what she deserves. Nothing about whether divorce is a sin. Nothing about what others should do. It is simply and single-mindedly about what she has decided to do.

She has seen a strong opportunity in her suffering. She has decided to stop the ravages of divorce in the next generation of her descendants, as far as it is possible for her to do. She is willing to suffer to achieve it, but not as a victim. She has chosen this in the midst of legal and ecclesiatical freedom to divorce.

And have her children suffered as a result? Oh, yes. But who escapes suffering? Not those children of divorce. We do not have the option to escape suffering, we only have the opportunity to decide what to do in the suffering.

Interestingly, all of her children have chosen to marry. They have persevered not only in a strong faith, but through several years of marital difficulties of their own.

Trends are made quietly, one personal decision at a time. Will you see only difficulty in your marriage? Only victimization? Or will you see opportunity? And what will you choose?

Also visit the Christian Carnival for other essays on various topics of interest to those of Christian persuasion, at the Wittenberg Gate on Wednesday, August 16th.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Countdown to College Scholarships 5!

As promised (before a family funeral and reunion intervened), the first in a series of previews of my book, Countdown to Launch: a Straight-A Flight Plan to College Funding. The book is a guide to finding scholarship dollars to fund your home-schooled scholar's college ambitions.

For maximum effectiveness, you should really begin the countdown in your student's freshman year. However, even if your student is a junior, you will be able to use these guidelines to earn more scholarships than you thought possible.

Countdown: 5! Assess your starting point!
To succeed, you need a realistic assessment of the young person you are launching. What are his gifts, talents and skills? Where are his weaknesses. What is her personality and temperament? And most especially, what are his or her goals and aspirations: spiritually, relationally, academically. You and your student will find asset inventories, goal-planners and other tools included in Countdown to Launch to help you examine the assets God has given you.

Don't forget that God has also surrounded you with gifts of institutions, opportunities and most especially, other people. You will be able to take stock of those as well, using Countdown to Launch worksheets.

Consider, too, the roles God has given you. How will you help your student to be a good steward of his gifts and opportunities within the roles he has been given? How will you prepare girls and boys for their different challenges and responsibilities? Countdown to Launch helps you to bless and to cast a vision of excellence and service for your young adult.

Next time: 4! Aim for success!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Half-Million Dollar Baby

A number of you have asked how Elizabeth managed to win over half a million dollars in scholarship offers as a home-schooled high schooler. The short answer is that 1) we prayed, 2) she treated scholarship pursuit as a part-time job during her senior year, 3) we had been aiming her at a number of high-profile scholarships over her 4 years, so that by her senior year, she was competitive for large number of lesser scholarships as well, 4) we used the services of Jeannette Webb at Aiming Higher Consultants to make our documentation as professional and easily accessible to scholarship committees as possible.

Most of our journey is reproducible. I have developed a one-day workshop about positioning your student and pursuing scholarships, called Launch to College Workshop. I am now making the full-text syllabus for the workshop available to order. The workshop DVD set will be coming out in the next month or so.

Over the next few days, I'll be giving you a preview of the workshop contents. Stay tuned!


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