Finally, a few nice--even warm--days have arrived this fall. But instead of taking advantage of it and working on the woodpile, we are in western Minnesota visiting the University of
Minnesota at Morris. Paul is considering this college, and so we packed the car and headed west for a different reason than most of our trips.
The prairie is always wonderful to see. What a contrast to our northern forest. Minnesota has so many different "faces" to it. Personally, I wouldn't mind spending a few years in an area like this. After the campus tour today, I was ready to sign up. Greg asked me what I would study, and I said "Art." He said that he would study writing and art. But we've both been to college already, so we'll encourage Paul to go, instead. We brought Addie along, as she isn't too many years away from this decision herself.
The tour of the campus was informative and enjoyable. We followed our tour guide, Ali, from one building to the next, learning about many of the educational opportunities that Morris offers, and getting a glimpse into the life of a student on campus today. Paul is pretty quiet about sharing his opinions, but here are a few of the things that I liked:
---The small campus is laid out well, is easy to navigate, and is beautifully landscaped.
---The people are very friendly--from the admissions folks, to Ali, to the English professor who
met with us, and the polite student who sat across from us in the cafeteria. I got a great
feeling that everyone cares.
---The focus on the student was good to see and hear. We've long believed that all students do
not learn alike. I get the strong sense that the faculty and staff at Morris understand
that and are willing to support a student in finding what works best for him or her.
If Paul is accepted and decides to go to Morris, we'll be happy with his decision. This seems like a good match for him. It's about an eight hour drive away, so he won't be able to come home on weekends for us to put him to work. He's probably happy about that.
It's been awhile since I mentioned Robert and what he is doing. He is in Fairbanks, Alaska, and currently is enrolled in a diesel mechanics program. I'm so happy to say that he is enjoying it. This is probably the first time in his life tht he actually likes school. I remember when he started kindergarten so many years ago. For the first two weeks, he would board the bus happily in the morning, and then tell about his day when he came home. But then one day, he told us that he was done, and he wasn't going again. He'd experienced school, and now it was time to move on to something else. You can just imagine how displeased he was to learn that he indeed was going back the next day, and for several days (and years) to come.
At that time, I had no idea that he, Paul and Addie would all come home to learn, after completing fifth grade. Robert used to enjoy telling his former classmates that he had dropped out. The homeschool years were not always an easy path, but like child-raising itself, it has been most rewarding. One of the side benefits for me has been all of the time we've spent together as a family. When Robert left home last year, I felt like he was ready to go. I can see that now in Paul. Like his brother, he's ready to experience life out of the woods. We knew this day would come, we just hoped that it wouldn't arrive so quickly.