Friday we got to see Calvin become a member or the City of Cleveland's EMS corps. This is a job that he has dreamed about since his jr. year in high school, and he was successfully able to stick to it and accomplish his goal.
There are a couple of things that I think we did along the way to encourage him along this path, but overall I really think that it was 100% up to Calvin, whether or not he was going to be successful in this. We provided, support, encouragement (along with prayers and worry ) and the educational foundation, but he had to apply all of that and put in the effort. Here are some things that I think helped.
1. Math and science. We used Saxon math in elementary school and a variety of science resources. I always felt that I had missed out on good math instruction when I was in school so it was important to me that my children had a good program and that they felt grounded in math. I think we accomplished that for Calvin.
2. Tackling his reading difficulties and exposing him to good writing. I wrote about our reading difficulties here. But while Calvin was unable to read for himself, he was exposed to a lot of good literature via books on tape. Although we never tackled writing the way I really wanted to because of the reading issue, exposure to good books helped him to know what good writing should be like and that was helpful.
3. Sports. Calvin swam competitively and was also played soccer. The soccer team he was on for many years went from last place for a few years to eventually winning the championship. I think that gave Calvin a sense of the big picture and the importance of sticking with something. Even swimming competitively for years helped him learn to set and meet goals.
4. Working as a soccer ref and pool life guard while in high school. Both of those experiences helped Calvin to be in the position of authority and to understand more about working with the public, especially during stressful times, a skill that comes in handy during a medical emergency.
5. Recognizing that not all paths lead to college. Calvin never wanted to go to college and knew that he didn't want a job with a lot of routine. Being a Paramedic seemed a perfect fit. He was able to get his certifications via a hospital program and since he is working now for a big city with many calls per shift, he certainly won't get bored with routine!
I'll admit that at first this was a difficult dream for ME to let go of - my generation was raised to believe that the only path to success was via college, and homeschool success seems to be measured by whether or not the student gets into college! But I think since my family has always tried to live on less and avoid or get out of debt, looking at the pros and cons of college costs made us more open to looking at other alternatives.