The crisp morning air and the cold dew on my toes have a hint of fall as I trudge across the lawn to my car for my early morning yoga class. These are the signs summer is nearing the end and the school year looms upon us. My teens greet this period of transition with mixed feelings as the relaxed days of summer change into the new experiences and challenges of the school year.
Summer has not gone without learning experiences. I am just one part of my children’s environment, and the part I want to play is as a cheerleader! Cheering my teens on to take risks, to step out of their comfort zones, and to be supported (failing, succeeding or both) in the challenges they choose is the role I enjoy most. Learning comes in many different forms and as a lifelong professed learner, I think of education and learning in an “outside of the box” way. Our summer days have been filled with such “outside of the box” learning experiences that have challenged my teens and me.
I waved goodbye to our daughter as she set off down the airport concourse to join a group of teens in New York. This group of adventurous teens is heading to Denmark as exchange students. She will certainly face her own challenges as she navigates a new country, new school, and new family for the next five months.
Our oldest son is at the Minnesota State Fair showing his market chickens in 4-H. This is his last year in 4-H and an end to 12 years of participating in a variety of projects. Each project, along with great adult leaders, have helped him to grow in different ways. He hopes to come back from the show with a blue ribbon. No matter what ribbon he comes home with from the state fair, he will have an unforgettable experience with both adults and other youth from throughout the state.
Working with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) commonly known as a drone is a career high in demand. Our sixteen-year-old son and a friend attended a free two-day UAV camp at Northland Technical and Community College in early August. This camp was a big hit with the boys. In the two days, they were able to construct and fly a drone, plus experience using virtual reality equipment. Both of the boys are now considering careers in the area of UAV maintenance because of their great experience at camp.
How do I fit into my children’s lives in supporting each of them in these “outside the box” learning experiences?
I am their cheerleader, an experienced coordinator, and a trusting parent. I value learning and I know from my own life how much more I learn through experiences rather than sitting in a classroom. Real learning occurs through the successes and failures of personal experiences. I am practicing letting go of the belief that my child has to always succeed in the way I believe success is measured. I believe that my teens are in charge of creating their own futures.
What am I here for?
I am here to cheer!
If your teen needs guidance in transforming interests into potential career options contact me via email at Kathy@wildewoodlearning.com. We can set up a time to chat about your teen and how you can be a cheerleader for his or her future plans.