Sunday, May 13, 2012

College- A Natural Pursuit

Benjamin Banneker: Surveyor, Astronomer, Publisher, Patriot
I am always astonished by comments made about doing well in school and going to college in the African American community. Not that I don't understand where these comments are coming from, today there are more African American males in prison than there are in college. Yes, many Athletes forsake college for the money that being in the Pros can give them. But it wasn't always this way, I was not the first African American in my family to go to college. My grandparents went to college and moreover we have a history of intellectually superior African Americans in this country, such as Benjamin Banneker. Although, it is a nice reminder, my children don't necessarily need the pep talk about the importance of college at their majority Black sports award ceremony. The goal of homeschooling is not going to college for us, but if they do decide to travel that road, it will be a natural pursuit.

I want my children to be thinkers and enjoy learning. I want my children to work hard, but more importantly I want them to work hard together. I want my children to love God and be strong enough to put God first among people who don't put God first or don't even believe God exist. Then, I want my children to be of service to God's Creation and fulfill their life's purpose. If College helps them achieve this, then it is a likely pursuit. I do understand that many see college as the means to have the ability to take care of oneself and family financially. This is important of course, but I believe hard work combined with superior thinking skills, prepare one for financial stability more than a college diploma. There are many who work hard but can't think properly to make good decisions and there are many who are great thinkers, but do not put the work behind it to make their dreams into reality. And there are many successful small business owners who never went to college, but are great thinkers and hard workers.

There is a human condition that I am concerned with: fear. Fear can deter the hard worker and the great thinker. So in some ways, I wonder if overemphasizing the need to go to college places fear in the child that college may not be accessible to them. Or for those parents that have already planned out that their child will be a doctor or engineer, the debilitating fear of the child that they will not be able to meet their parent's expectation. Or just the fear of being in an unfamiliar place. Recently, my friend was telling me about how their homeschooled son's fear of being in a classroom with 50 students when he hasn't had the experience of being even in a classroom with 25. Children are born almost fearless, they will not walk but run in the highway of oncoming traffic. Some fear, is good it teaches our children to make wise decisions, however some fear is unjustified or an illusion. We as parents, want to protect our children, but sometimes we can put fear in them based off our own fears that can stunt their growth. So, I try to check my fear and expose them to things so that they become familiar with them. College is one of those things.

Big A has been participating in classes at Vanderbilt University. Big A, S Man and Z Man have participated in SEMAA or Science, Engineering, Mathematics & Aerospace Academy. This semester Big A took Chemistry at the local community college. And this weekend, we jumped on the chance to take our children up to New Jersey for our Cousin K's graduation. Cousin K is about 14 years Humble Dad's junior and was a child when we were married. So although, I turn most things into homeschool lessons, it was more than that, it was also us just enjoying watching this beautiful young lady's accomplishment.

Walking the beautiful grounds of Drew University in New Jersey

Proud father waves to us with his Trustee robes on.

The Graduate

Cousin K with her degree

Lil A took this picture!

The Proud Mom of the Graduate

Aunt S, Cousin B, Cousin K, Uncle B, & the other Cousin K

Our Aunt from Germany flew in.

Cousin K's cousins and aunt on her father's side.

The Male Cousins

Big A resting on her dad

 At the Graduation Luncheon, we had a good time, especially with the entertainment my Beloveds provided. It has always been said Humble Dad resembles Cousin B or vise versa, so the Beloveds placed Humble Dad's kufi on Cousin B to see how he would look. Then we told, Humble Dad to put on Cousin B's shades,  but my Beloveds put them on instead. Z Man looked the best in them, but it was Lil A that got all the attention. She would put them on, point one hand in the air, and yell "Hollywood" A roar of laughter would follow, and like many little children, she kept working her act to get as much laughter from as many people as possible.

The next day was Mother's Day and what mother wouldn't want to go a Yankees game for her holiday, ha ha ha. Although, not my first choice we did have fun with the cousins.

Lil A's doll is a Yankee Fan!
No trip to New York is complete without going to Harlem, and more importantly visiting the $1 Italian Ice carts. It is the richest, yummiest icees in the world (in my Humble opinion) and there are many flavors and carts to choose from. This time we went to the Italian Ice cart near the restaurant "No Pork on My Fork" 125th & 7th Avenue in Harlem.

The problem is they are soooo good you want to eat them fast and then you get a brain freeze.
We ended our weekend by visiting another college on our drive down to Maryland: Princeton. It was dark, so we didn't get to see as much as I would like. There is a book that I have read and it lies on my homeschool shelf: Morning by Morning: How We Home-Schooled Our African-American Sons to the Ivy League . It has provided inspiration to me and a resource to give to family members who have doubted our choice to homeschool. Paula Penn-Nabrit and her husband not only homeschooled one, but both of her twin boys into Princeton. Although, she has a different philosophy about college, our pictures of Princeton reminded me about the book and that it is time to glance over it again.

Princeton was a lively town at 10pm, many people were walking and riding bikes including families with small children & elderly couples. The place that caught our eyes with a line that could easily be out the door was Thomas Sweet Ice Cream & Chocolate.

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