One of the unique or not-very-common steps we took during our high school years was deciding on taking a gap year for our eldest daughter, Arielle. Arielle took a gap year before she finally entered college. She graduated April 2015 and didn’t go to college right away in Aug/Sept 2015. Instead, she made 2015 to August 2016 her gap year.

After a long process of evaluation and much prayer (along with another homeschool friend whose son was Arielle’s batchmate), we decided to take a gap year even if it was not recommended to us by The Master’s Academy, our homeschool provider.  We were told that Arielle might not get accepted in 2016 because colleges will have no freshman batch entering the universities all because of the K12 program. We did our own research and legwork. We went to U.P., Ateneo, and UA & P, and made an online inquiry with DLSU and asked the different admission offices if they will accept our daughter and our friend’s son after taking a gap year. We just clarified what the requirements were and it was quite a relief to know that there would be no problem at all if they went on a gap year.

Why did we take a gap year? Because we were not rushing. Mike and I were not rushing. Arielle felt she needed more time before going to college. If she didn’t take a gap year, she would be graduating college at the age of 20. We considered it too young for her to be accepted and employed by a company, if there would be a company who would hire her at that age. Also, knowing what she really wanted to take up in college and being prepared for it is better than changing courses along the way and not knowing what to do with her life! That’s even going to be a waste of time and money and stressful for both the child and the parents. We DISCUSSED ALL THESE with Arielle. There was a lot of talking, questioning, reflecting, processing, decision-making…all to let her roots grow and flex/strengthen/tone up her wings.

During her gap year, Arielle did internships (w/ Martine de Luna and Flow Surf Yoga, mainly doing graphic designs, posters). It gave her the experience of how it was to work and with deadlines. She also took basic animation workshop at Toon City Academy which made her experience how it really is to work in the animation industry and learn the basic skills. (God really works in mysterious ways. I met Roselle Rodrigo-Gonzales in one of my art playdates, who happen to be the TCA Administrator!) More importantly, she was able to prepare for her college application at SCAD: art portfolio with 20 pieces of her best traditional and digital artwork, her resume, two 500-word essay (which for me was the toughest and most brain-draining part of coaching her!). We were also able to seek professional help on how to undergo her interview with SCAD. It was totally NOT how the real interview went but it was a good experience to go through.

The gap year also gave us time to learn life skills on living independently: cooking, kitchen management, menu planning, food preparation and storage, what to do with leftovers, house chores, etc, etc! (Believe me on those etc’s…Whatever I was doing, I taught them to Arielle and gave her words of wisdom and lots of reminders!)

Back to the “default system” I mentioned in my earlier post on SOCIALIZING: Is breakfast (or lunch or dinner) always ready at your dining table? One of or the VERY FIRST “Duh?” comment we received on Arielle’s moving in day was when we were waiting for our turn at the elevator with all her pieces of luggage and a bag of rice that Mike bought last minute before moving in.  A parent saw it and said, “You’re going to cook???” SECOND, her male friends called her up one time asking her to teach them how to cook rice…in a rice cooker. Her flatmates also didn’t know how to cook rice in the rice cooker nor did they know how to use the coffeemaker…YET.  So, teaching her the life skill of cooking and other kitchen skills was one of the things I’m glad we had the time and opportunity to learn during her gap year before going to college.  These millennials are lucky to have the technology literally at their fingertips, they can just FaceTime their parents or whoever when they need a live tutorial session on how to cook real food in their dorm kitchen instead of eating instant food all the time!

Moving on to RESUMES. One important tip I’d like to share is start documenting/recording/noting down the experiences that your child had in high school and maybe as far back as grade school, if the experience shows your child’s growth and passion in an acitvity.  Do it as you go and not only when you are about to submit an application to a certain university. It would be more difficult that way. So the EXPERIENCING I talked about earlier, the resume is where they will be put into good use, document-wise.

Also, do a skills inventory of your child. Make a list. What computer programs does he/she know? Can he/she paint? Do graphic design? Does he/she know Photoshop? Can she make videos and edit videos? How about coding?

 

 

The resume that Arielle designed and submitted to SCAD (showing her varied experiences and skills and not just all art-related)

The resume that Arielle designed and submitted to SCAD (showing her varied experiences and skills and not just all art-related)

 

During her preparation for her scholarship interview, SCAD also recommended that Arielle have her biz cards ready. She decided to use her nickname

During her preparation for her scholarship interview, SCAD also recommended that Arielle have her biz cards ready. She decided to use her nickname “Arielle” instead to make it not sound and look too formal.  After all, art is out-of-the-box and goes “outside the lines”.

 

Overall, our gap year was a good preparation time for college. Emotionally, mentally, psychologically, financially, relationship-wise.  It was definitely one of the highlights of our homeschooling journey which truly made Arielle’s education intentional and personalized.

 


 

What a coincidence that I am writing this as the last of the interview series I had with Arielle and we are at the same time at the final stages of her Hong Kong student visa application.  (The final document needed just arrived by mail and we are now ready to mail out to SCAD HK all visa application requirements.) It is somehow both an end and a new beginning for her.  I see it as an end of her longer than usual and yet well-prepared college application process; an end of this interview series that gave you a chance to hear her thoughts as a homeschooled high school graduate; and a beginning of her life-to-be as an international college student in SCAD Hong Kong.

If you missed the other interviews, just click on the links below and you’ll get to listen to Arielle’s brief answers to the different questions I asked her:

  1. After the SCAD Interview
  2. Animation in College
  3. Going Away for College
  4. Being Homeschooled
  5. Plans After College
  6. Taking A Gap Year

As a finale, Arielle gives her parting message, especially to homeschooled students, and how she feels (tired and all!) after a long day with SCAD and attending the SCAD Accepted Students Reception Day.

I hope that with these interview videos, we were able to somehow share with you how we spent our gap year in preparation for college and Arielle’s thoughts as well.

 


 

I said in my last post that I have one more interview with Arielle.  I was wrong!  I still have two more and the one I apparently missed is the interview on gap year.  How could I have forgotten to share the video interview about this topic?

Gap year is not a popular option taken by high school graduates here in the Philippines primarily because, Filipinos have this mentality that the sooner the parents get to finish their responsibility in sending their child/children to school, the better. Why? Because it’s economical and their child/children can then help in sending their younger siblings to school and in providing for the family as well.

But like our decision to homeschool where we took the road less traveled, we again took a leap of faith and let our homeschooled high school graduate take a gap year.  Here are Arielle’s thoughts about her gap year experience:

  1.  How was your gap year?
  2.  Was it a good decision to take a gap year?
  3.  What did you do during your gap year?
  4.  Would you recommend taking a gap year to high school graduates? 

 

Taking a gap year, I would say, is one blessing I am really grateful for.  It is the best decision we made for our homeschooled high school graduate. No regrets.

 


 

Here’s the second to the last interview series I had with our eldest daughter, Arielle.  She’ll be leaving for SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) in Hongkong this September and will take up Animation in college.

The post before this was on her being homeschooled UNTIL high school and you can hear talk about it here.

This time, she thinks way forward (a natural trait of hers, by the way) and answers the question:

What are your plans after college?

I have one last interview with her and I hope you will watch out for that as well!


 

Sorry, this took a while to be posted.  I had to shift my attention to a personal family matter over the summer and this video series was put on hold.  Now that we’ve just started another year in homeschooling, I thought this would be appropriate.

Here’s a brief video interview with Arielle and her thoughts on being homeschooled:

If you missed the past posts on this interview series, click here, here, and here.

Hope this series inspires and continues to encourage you.  Watch out for the last two interviews!


 

It’s the 1st day of April (no, this is not a prank) and we have less than 5 months until Arielle moves to Hong Kong for college.  Up to this day, after 8 years of homeschooling her, I still can’t believe that this baby of ours is now all grown up.  The saying “Time flies” has been ringing in my ears since she like turned 10 years old!  Can you imagine the emotional parenting journey I’ve been having since?  It’s a tug-of-war between holding on and letting go, believe me.

Five months! Five months to teach her some more skills like banking, budgeting, safety, and especially cooking and laundry.  That’s what’s on my to-do list for her as her mom.  The feeling of “I have not taught her enough” continues.  And it’s also five months to enjoy being with our eldest daughter!

But what does she have to say about this new chapter in her life?  Here’s the third of this interview series with Arielle on going away for college.  In case you missed the first and second interviews, click here and here.

Let’s hear it from Arielle.  Her raw, unedited, honest (and funny!) answers.

How does it feel to be going to college…and in a place far away from home?

What are the top/strongest feelings you have about going to college?

What are your greatest fears?

What are looking forward to the most?

What do you think should we do in the coming 5 months?  What skills, DIYs, or hacks should I teach her? I would love to hear tips and great pieces of advice from other parents!


 

For those of you reading my blog for the first time, I will be posting a series of short video clips where I interviewed our eldest daughter. Arielle, who is a homeschooled high school graduate.  For this second interview with her, she talks about the following:

What will you take up in college?

Who or what inspired you to take up Animation?

What did you do to learn more about art, in general, and Animation?

 

I hope that with the short video clips that we will be sharing, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of:

  • the kind of homeschool activities we interspersed with our learning
  • the steps we took to make our learning experience more intentional and individualized
  • how the pieces eventually created that tailor-fit education and growth experience which really made Arielle more prepared, confident, and happy with “school” and her growing up years.

 

 


 

With the main objectives and tasks of Arielle for her gap year over and done with, as far as college application is concerned (More posts about gap year here, here, and here):

  1.  her college application at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

–  transcript of records

–  English proficiency test

–  (2) recommendation letters

–  certificate of funds (bank statement)

–  application fee

–  enrollment and housing fee

 

2.  Achievement Honors Scholarship application

–  art portfolio (maximum of 20 best works) uploaded to SCAD’s Slideroom

–   resume

–   500-word essay on academic and personal experience, why she would want to go to SCAD, her goals, and how SCAD will be able to help her in her aspirations

–  mock interview

 

3.  International Student Scholarship

–  500-word essay on how an international education would influence her artworks, goals, and

experiences

 

4.  Final Interview and Decision on Scholarship

 

I decided to do a series of short interviews with her on the following topics:

  • college and scholarship application process
  • taking up Animation in college
  • going away for college
  • gap year
  • homeschooling
  • plans after college
  • parting words

 

To start the interview series, I asked her first HOW IT FEELS AFTER HER FINAL INTERVIEW LAST MARCH 3.  (Excuse the quite noisy background and venue.  I wanted to catch her in high spirits after her interview and I took advantage of the time we had before going to another SCAD event.

And so, for this and my next blog posts, I hope you’ll enjoy hearing from the homeschooler herself, for a change 🙂