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Thread: Gap Year?

  1. #21
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    Well it may or may not be a good thing. In my personal experience it would not have been good. At that age I probably would have been very resistant, especially if it was my parents' idea to do a gap year. With money being tight, I would not have been able to travel and volunteer - my family was only going to be able support me for four years (I know this because my first choice college was a five year program) and could not have afforded to pay for me to hang out at home, let alone travel for a year. As I said on a previous thread, I spent a big chunk of my savings doing a semester abroad in college. That money would not have been there if I had to pay living expenses for an entire year before college.
    I'm a work-at-home mom to three, homeschool enthusiast, and avid planner fueled by lattes and Florida sunshine. My oldest is 6 and is a fircond grader (that's somewhere between first and second, naturally), my preschooler just told me she wants to learn how to read, and my toddler is a force of nature.

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  3. #22


    I'm actually thinking of encouraging my kid to take 2 years off when he graduates (years from now). I want him to work one year at the factory his dad does, put that all up in an IRA, (and let it sit for 50 years). 1, it will give him an awesome retirement fund just from that amount gathering interest over 50 years. 2) it'll let him know if blue collar or white collar (or something in between) is for him. And then I would love for him to spend a year traveling the world and seeing what's out there. i do NOT want him going directly from school to college even if he knows exactly what he wants to do.

  4. #23


    I know my older two won't be taking a gap year. My oldest is dual
    Enrolled in CC already.

    My 2nd is following the same path, he was already accepted at the same CC for next year.

    They will graduate from High school with their AA's.

    Number 3 is tricky, we are enrolling him in the local PPP for high school, because he wants a High School diploma. (We will see how this works.) he built his own forge this year and is pursuing blacksmithing. Who knows where he will end up.....
    ~*~*Marta, mom to 5 boys.
    DS 1 ( 19, has his associates' degree and is off to college)
    DS 2 (17 and dual enrollment in college)
    Keegan (15 and enrolled in a PPP but still has home classes)
    Sully (10 years, 4th grade)
    Finn, (9 years, 3rd grade)

  5. #24


    I think I am the token parent this year of a public traditional school senior and I can tell you that he has absolutely no interest whatsoever in taking a gap year. He is ready to move on and study, finally, the things that are interesting to him. Traditional high school has pretty set classes and with the exception of his dual enrollment and electives, everyone takes the same classes. He loved being on the college campuses of the school that he finally chose, and sitting on on their economics class and their intro to analysis (math) lecture. Things that went beyond high school. He was disappointed to learn that he would not have a strong enough math background in his second semester to take the special topics class on statistically analyzing the presidential election. How cool is that!

    Someone upthread said that they thought that gap years were more for PS kids who are used to being told what to do and need a break. But from what I am seeing from the PS and private school families I know, it is not like that at all. Kids want to move on and study the things they have been waiting to study. My own son wants to take a variety of classes so he can figure out what he likes best. He has only had a small taste of everything. College is freedom for many traditional school kids, a chance to finally learn what they want.

    Many kids who do a traditional "gap year" have already applied and been accepted to a specific college. This is true of Obama's kid. She has accepted her place at Harvard. But then the student asks permission to defer college for a year, and colleges will typically grant that request as long as the student agrees not to apply elsewhere. Those who have taken a gap year, typically do not hang out, they set up activities such as volunteer work at home or abroad, if they can afford it maybe travel, maybe work and save money for the following year. But those who I know that are doing gap years, are already accepted to college and are taking time to do one last interesting thing. One of the kids from a parent forum I frequent has been accepted to Columbia but is taking a gap year in the country where her parents are from to learn the language. She applied and was accepted to a specific gap year program just for study abroad.

    From what I have read, colleges strongly encourage students to take gap years, and are almost always willing to defer admission without penalty.

    As for Obama's kid. It will be much easier being at Harvard after the election cycle is done and she is no longer the president's kid. Then she can finally just be herself.
    Mom to two boys
    14 year old/9th grade homeschooler
    Non homeschooled son heading to Reed College this fall, and proudly wearing his Reed/Atheist t-shirt.

    I spend a lot of time sitting in an ice skating rink - still

  6. #25


    Quote Originally Posted by LKnomad View Post
    As for Obama's kid. It will be much easier being at Harvard after the election cycle is done and she is no longer the president's kid. Then she can finally just be herself.
    Those were my thoughts as well.

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  7. #26


    Quote Originally Posted by TFZ View Post
    I graduated at 17 and was ready to get the hell out of the house.
    Same here. Different reasons. I am one of 8 kids, smack right in the middle (#5). [Think Brady Bunch...girls' room was furnished with bunk beds and a twin bed...shared one closet.] While I love (or at least tolerate) the members of my family, I was sooooo ready to go to college.

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  8. #27


    "Someone upthread said that they thought that gap years were more for PS kids who are used to being told what to do and need a break."

    Lknomad, that was me that said that, but not that they need a break, just the person pushing (school or parent) is suddenly not there. And it takes a while to find their own motivation. But what I meant was statistically speaking. As a percentage. I think it's more likely that a larger percentage of PS kids are not self starters. BUT, I could be wrong when you look at the fact that we (SHS's) are outnumbered by religious hsers that are also used to being told what to do??? Just a theory. You're kid has a different parent than the typical PSed kid. KWIM?

    And you also bring up a good point....the difference between deferment and a gap year. I see those as two different things. But I could be alone. To me, gap year is, "I'm not sure what I want to do so I'll wander, explore and chill out." Deferment, like you said, is more like, "I have a year before I go to school 'A'. So in the meantime I plan to volunteer/work/travel."

    IMO, there is a difference. Still, either way, in my house, the financial responsibility is on the kid. Think of it as character building....
    Homeschooling two sons (14 and 16) from day one. Atheist.
    Eclectic, Slackschooler covering 8th and 10th grades this year.

  9. #28


    Oh. See, I meant "gap year" like Malia Obama's taking it: she has been accepted by a college, she requests a deferment for a particular reason. I guess I never saw it as a suck-off-your-parents-another-year-til-the-kid-gets-her/his-sh*t-together as many of you guys seem to be considering it It's more like, I have this plan to go to X college, but...maybe now I can grow up a bit by volunteering somewhere interesting, getting to know myself a bit more, so I can best go to college with a fresh brain.
    Eclectically homeschooling 8th grade dd, who likes science as much as art...

  10. #29


    So maybe it is a valid option to do, or to not do, and it depends on the kid?

    A year-long summer vacation seems like a waste of a year to me. At an age where they should be pushing the boundaries of independence. If they want to be volunteering, they should be doing it with something that pays their room and board. Taking a year to walk dogs at the humane society isnt exactly going to grow them to independence or be an experience that broadens their horizons.

    Mormons ship their kids overseas at this age, not allowed contact with their parents for a time. I think its for that same self-reliance / growing that is the intent behind a traditional *gap year*.

    They can get a job in high school where they can show that they are reliable and conscientious. Then for gap year go find some position part of an expedition digging up dinosaur bones or measuring antarctic weather or whatever floats their boat before they go to college and commit to a career for the rest of their life.

    Im open to the idea, for my boys. But Im not going to try setting their path that far in advance.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  11. #30


    I think kids who do not have a very specific goal or is not very driven, taking a break is important. Get a job, go volunteer, go do something else. Anything else. Then come back to school when you are ready, if ever.

    Even students who seem driven, appear to get lost in college. College is not high school and for those who were the big fish, swimming with other big fish becomes a problem. Especially for those from small, rural schools.

    I really think more kids need to get out in the world. Work, do some social service. Then come back and go to school. I wish we had some tradition towards service (not military) for a year or two before college.
    A mama who teaches college writing, as well as help her 12-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.

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Gap Year?