For twelve years, I work my butt off trying to do the best in every area. I worked so hard that I graduated with Advance Honors, #10 in my class. I even got to sit on stage. Everything to this point was outlined for me. I knew what the next step was for twelve years. My parents worked day and night to support my three brothers and myself. What they kept instilling in me was that I had to get an education. My mother started school at the age of twelve and when she got pregnant with me in 9th grade, had to quit school. She never was able to go back. My stepdad made it all the way to third grade. Never tried to go back. He always told us that he never tried and no one made him. He could not read. They wanted more for us than what they had been providing. But neither one of them talked to me about after high school or made plans with me for college. Right before I graduated my mother told me, I cannot pay for you to go to school. If you want to go to school, you will have to figure out how to pay for it. And I did. I figured it out.
Fast forward to now. I have a seventeen year old son who will be a Senior in high school next year. We have been talking about college since he was in elementary school. This is our last year of prep with him. Part of the prep is getting him ready to go out into the world on his own. What does that mean? You graduate and then, now what?
Getting your high school senior ready for freshman year tips:
1) Life Skills-Laundry, dishes, take out, etc.
We recently had a discussion in a mother's group of where our kids' skills landed. Some had never washed laundry or done the dishes, ever. Your kid will most likely move out one day. If not college, life will make him or her move forward. Do they have the skills to survive and be a good citizen? Not a sloppy, stinky, messy child in his twenties. My son has been doing his own laundry for years now. We started in his teen years. My mother never taught me how to cook because she was always working. Take time out of the week and let the soon-to-be college kid cook a meal. Cook meals together. Growing up, I filled out all of my parents' applications. Everywhere I went I was the translator. That helped me talk to people when I was a grown up. Do your kids' know how to fill out legal documents? Trust me, from this helicopter parent, it is hard to let go of the reins. We need to prepare them for life after high school. Some things my parents never taught. I was so sheltered. I do not want to make that mistake and hinder my son from his progress.
2) Money Management-Do your kids have a bank account? Do they balance their accounts? How do you think they will do on their own? A suggestion is to give them a budget senior year. They will receive monthly payments like they would in college. They will have to purchase their own necessities.(shampoo, toothpaste, etc...) This will include their spending money as well. No extra money unless they work for it. What would happen? Would they be able to have enough money the entire month? You do not have to go to this extreme but work out a plan to help them understand how finances work.
-I had a friend get their scholarship money for the entire year at the beginning at the year. They paid for the first semester and spent the rest. So guess what, no college money for second semester.
3) Goals-College is not for everyone but it gives you a better chance at bigger opportunities that may pay more. We as parents know that, but our kids listen in one ear and it goes out the other. We have sat down as a family and have decided that college is in my son's future. He wants to be a Mechanical Engineer. I am not sure how we will pay for college but that is our goal. We also discussed how this goal can be achieved. My son will apply for as many scholarships as possible, loans, and work through school. Making our kids think about the next step will help them be prepared to face those steps.
4) Relationship-A relationship in high school may or may not be what you have in college. When you are kids, a break up can be the end of their world. A strong relationship with your parents can be helpful to our kids who could easily be persuaded, misled, and misunderstood. Whether it is a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, parent/child relationship, or working relationship, it all starts with good communication.
5) Getting Around. -Most of our kids entire lives we have taken them everywhere. We have arranged rides or planned how they were getting home. Have your kids ever taken the bus, rail, tram, or driven a car? Do they know how to read a map? Their way around town.
I remember learning how to drive at age 18 and shortly thereafter getting my license. I had rarely driven anywhere must less across town.
My son cannot tell you what side of town he is on, much less guide you to find his location. He has used mass transportation before but never alone. We will be working on getting his license and driving skills too. He will have to learn how to get around.
Once I graduated and enrolled in community college, transportation was the only thing standing in my way. I do not want that to be the only thing standing in my son's way.
We still are not sure what university or college my son will be attending or get accepted to in a year. We have talked about him staying in the Houston area and him going to a near city like College Station. As parents we want them to have reliable transportation.
Toyotas have been in our family over the years. It is a trusted brand for us. The Toyota brand has many safety features that can help young or new drivers, such as:
-Blind Spot Monitor-Alerts a driver when it is ok to change lanes.
-Rear-Cross Traffic Alert-Alerts a driver when they are backing out when a car is approaching.
-Back-Up Camera-Lets a driver see and make sure there is nothing behind them.
-Lane Departure Alert-Alerts a driver when an inadvertent lane departure is detected.
-Tire Pressure Monitor System-Comes standard on all new Camrys. Alerts a driver when a tire or tires become critically under inflated.
-Dynamic Radar Cruise Control-Adjust vehicle speed to help maintain a preset follow distance and the vehicle in front of you.
-Pre Collision System-It anticipates when a frontal collision is imminent and can apply the brakes.
-Whiplash-Injury-Lessening Seats-The front seats are engineered to help reduce the risk of neck injuries.
It also has 10 air bags. The 2016 Toyota Camry has a sporty new look. It is very roomy.