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The Best Gift My Parents Ever Gave Me

A note from the editor for our 2017 Learning issue

Published on: September 28, 2017

college
The author and her mother, Janis

Growing up, I always knew I’d go to college. My parents made it clear that they’d make it happen for me and my sister no matter what. I didn’t really get how lucky this made me until my mom graduated from college at the age of 52.

I was a sophomore in college when my mom went back to school. After decades of waiting, she finally had the chance to do it her way: Go back, full-time. Sit in the classrooms. Do the work. Get the degree.

She wanted an education more than I’d ever wanted mine because, I realized, I’d taken mine for granted. Sure, I tested well, got good grades and, eventually, a scholarship to college but I’d never really thought about what I was doing it all for. Going to school was just something I did. It was what I, an upper middle-class white girl living in the suburbs, was supposed to do.

But seeing how my mom threw herself into her work, just as she’d thrown herself into raising my sister and me, made me realize what a gift my education is. I saw her ask questions. I saw her demand answers. I saw her learn.

And learning, as this issue proves, is what it’s all about. From outdoor preschools to online classes, college debt to homeschool co-ops, this year’s Learning offers a master class in educating your little ones and yourself. We hope you enjoy it and maybe even learn a thing or two.

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