4.      Pursue unique opportunities that demonstrate initiative and broaden your perspective of the world. Learn to write and talk about these experiences in an engaging and reflective way.


I’ve found most of the opportunities my kids have seized from talking with other home schoolers and reading the local newspaper. I’m always on the hunt for experiences that will stretch my children beyond the boundaries of an ordinary life. That’s primarily because I believe finding God’s will for our lives means being risk-takers. I don’t want my kids standing on the sidelines, too timid to enter the game.  When our children were young, we made public performances a regular part of our home-school co-op. We sang, acted, danced, etc. at local nursing homes and churches.  We took music lessons and participated in bi-yearly recitals. We wanted our kids to be comfortable in front of a crowd. Now, we’ve graduated to full-scale dramatic productions.


As a family, we’ve also been a part of starting several ministries and outreaches in our community that were organized in response to local needs and problems.  We’ve had foreign exchange students in our home. Other home schoolers we know regularly host missionaries and internationals as well.


While these experiences are noteworthy in themselves, I’ve now found college admissions committee highly value them on the resume as well.


Two main ways we can stretch our children’s boundaries are through travel and cross-cultural experiences: Let’s finish up this week by looking at each:


5.      Travel

For most of us, travel can most easily be accommodated by exploring the United States.  Deepen these experiences by first studying the region you are headed for, and then designing the trip so you sample the local culture – the food, the people, their ethnic traditions, the physical geography, the specific challenges facing that region. Help your kids prepare to write about their travels in a meaningful way later, by encouraging them to journal or scrapbook during the trip.


If at all possible, include international travel in your program during high school.  Mission trips are the easiest way to facilitate this, but foreign exchange programs are also worth looking into.  Our daughter Kayte has been fortunate that her trips to Mexico and Europe have included living with a family in each region – she has found this vastly more educating than participating in a tour. Now she wouldn’t experience another culture any other way.