Have you ever wondered how to steer your child through the labyrinth of education to a fulfilling career? Join Davies Owens and Deborah Allen, as they unpack the art of nurturing K-12 students toward their unique callings and the thoughtful choices that shape their future. Amidst a landscape where the value of a college degree is hotly debated, they address parental concerns, the significance of gap years, and how tools like the Highlands Ability Battery can provide clarity and direction for those pivotal life decisions.
As they navigate the pressures of an achievement-driven society, their conversation takes a heartfelt turn towards the identities of our children. They question the treacherous balance between accomplishments and authentic self-worth, probing the myth of certitude that haunts many parents and educators. The labyrinth of life demands a faithful, step-by-step approach, and we discuss the importance of fostering a whole-person lifestyle for our kids, ensuring they know their worth extends far beyond their list of achievements.
Finally, they hone in on the transition from high school to the world beyond, where classical Christian education and career counseling interlace to offer a beacon for the journey. They explore the evolving role of college advisors, suggesting an expanded focus to guide students not only to college but toward their calling and contribution to the common good. This episode is an essential listen for anyone invested in guiding the new generation to lead not just with their minds, but also with their hearts and hands.
Biography: Deborah Allen
Deborah Allen serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Society for Classical Learning, spearheading the calling, college, and career initiative. Collaborating with college advisors, she aims to enrich and expand the dialogue around post-high school options. Her approach involves weaving the liberal arts into the vocational discernment process, emphasizing essential questions of identity, purpose, and divine guidance. Additionally, Deborah maintains relationships with colleges and organizations to stay informed about the ever-changing landscape of post-high school choices. She is dedicated to empowering school counselors to assist students (and families) in charting their paths beyond high school, integrating classical learning principles with contemporary career planning.
Previously, Deborah has served as a humanities instructor and director of college advising for public and private classical schools. She currently provides consulting through Athena College & Vocational Coaching. A NACCAP certified college counselor and a Highlands Ability Battery consultant, Deborah holds a BA in Communications, an MA in Humanities, and several professional certifications.
Along with her professional accomplishments, Deborah is a master gardener and watershed steward of the Chesapeake Bay.
00:09 – Davies Owens (Host)
K-12 is a 13-year journey to educate and prepare the next generation into life, career, family and service of God. And as God has gifted and designed every student for a unique calling and purpose, how do we guide children to make wise decisions with college and careers? Preparing to graduate is far more than filling out a form. It is, as we will discuss on this episode, a sacred journey to prepare well for a deep and meaningful life ahead. Parents and educators play a vital role in this process, so join us for this conversation on Base Camp Live.
00:39 – Tim Dernlan (Announcement)
Mountains. We all face them as we seek to influence the next generation. Get equipped to conquer the challenges, some at the peak, and shape exceptionally thoughtful, compassionate and flourishing human beings. We call it ancient future education for raising the next generation. Welcome to Base Camp Live Now your host, davies Owens.
01:00 – Davies Owens (Host)
Welcome to another episode of Base Camp. Live Davies Owens, your host here. Thank you for joining me. It’s always fun to think about what you guys are up to as you’re listening. Some of you are driving down the road, some of you are doing laundry, some of you are multitasking, which is what I love about podcasting, because we do live an incredibly busy moment in time and yet we are all united around this common purpose of raising up the next generation.
I can’t think of a more important work. Seven years ago, when I started the podcast, I don’t think I really knew at the time how critical the work that we’re doing as parents and educators truly is in a world that’s increasingly pushing in against us with very powerful influences that invite distraction, usually in the form of a screen. Yet I believe that we have something far more beautiful and more compelling in the form of what is true, good and beautiful, ultimately in Christ, but ultimately through the work that we do every day in our schools and in our homes. That’s why I have enjoyed just pursuing this question of how do we explain what is classical Christian education, how do we partner well between what happens and the influence zones of our homes and in our schools and the rest of our 24-hour days. This is, again, critical, important work. If you’re feeling discouraged today, be encouraged. This is really significant work and you’re not alone as we climb up what can feel like the top of Mount Everest, which is where this whole Basecamp idea comes from. All that to say, I am always grateful to hear from you Info at Basecamp Live. Drop me a note, let me know where you’re at on the face of the earth, what you’re doing, what’s on your mind, and I would love to get in contact with you. Maybe it’s just through an email. There’s a lot of work that Keith McCurdy and I are doing right now to get on campuses. We’d love to come to your school, either myself or Keith, or both of us together. You can go to the speaking tab at the Basecamp Live website and learn a little bit more about what I speak on and training around, but certainly this idea of what is classical Christian and how do we appreciate it, engage with it and ultimately raise up the next generation even better. Always good to hear from all of you and hope to connect with you directly in the year ahead. I want to say a special thanks to those who have come along next to us as sponsors and supporters of the America’s Christian Credit Union, the classic learning test, gutenberg College and Wilson Hill Academy. We are so grateful for the important work that all of you are doing and your sponsorship here of this podcast. By the way, transcripts are available for all upcoming episodes at the Basecamp Live website, where you can also find other helpful information and details on the work that we do.
Well, I have the privilege in this episode of chatting with Deborah Allen. She has been in classical Christian education as a parent and a professional for over 20 years. She has a broad range of experience and a variety of environments. She’s taught humanities classes. She has been an academic career counselor at University of Florida. She was the director of college counseling at both Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth as well as the Great Hearts Classical Charter School in Irving, texas. She has created and designed successful college counseling departments.
Vocational discernment is one of her areas of expertise where she really wants to help students not just figure out college but really figure out God’s call in their life. That’s one of the reasons she’s certified in the Highlands Ability Battery, which is an aptitude test. You’re going to hear more about this, but I’m really excited to have this conversation with Deborah because it is a changing world outside our doors and we want to quote launch well, our students into the world that God has called them into with his plans and his purposes. So, without further ado, here’s my conversation with Deborah Allen. Well, deborah Allen, welcome to Basecamp Live. So good to have you on.
04:35 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
Thank you, davies, it’s good to be here.
04:37 – Davies Owens (Host)
You have spent so many years in this world of college readiness and career, you know, at the end of the day, k-12 folks, teachers, parents, we’re all here ultimately to launch our children, our students, into this world of 13th grade and beyond. It’s a big step and appreciate all that you’ve done, love to just jump in and share a little bit of your own journey, real quickly into this important area. And then, secondly, I’m just curious what changes have you seen of late?
05:08 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
Well, this journey started a long time ago, actually all the way back in my undergraduate years. As a student, I was involved with academic and career planning, so it started then and had a natural trajectory. I’ve always been interested in how can we help people be the best versions of themselves, and had imagined that I would do that in a corporate setting. However, as a young mom, I started thinking about how do I want to educate my children, and that’s when I was introduced to classical Christian education. And so then thereafter, my view shifted as I started looking at the curriculum. The well-trained mind was my kind of Bible back then, and I’m thinking I didn’t know this, I didn’t learn this. And so I started on my own journey of self-education and through that, just saw this beautiful intersection of answering questions that this kind of curriculum offers us, the questions that all of us struggle with who am I? What is the good in the world that I’m meant to do? How do I know God’s plan for my life?
And so really, I have been in roles of teacher of college, starting up two college counseling programs, and one of the things that I noticed was that we have this rich and beautiful curriculum, and for college counselors, they are really a teacher in a different kind of classroom. And if college counselors can pull from the curriculum and answer the questions that are asked, such as what is the exam in life, says Socrates. So yes, we should be talking about that, not only in the classroom but in the college and career space, showing that this is an education for life. So the college counselor becomes a living model, becomes I liken it to Athena and Telemachus a living model where they are helping guide students to these enduring understandings, essential questions. So the students say that this is not just an intellectual academic exercise, this is a way of being in the world. So that’s a little bit about my thoughts on the space of college and career. Classical education.
07:17 – Davies Owens (Host)
And I think you know, I think, as folks are listening, I think a lot of schools are kind of in can be in different places on this. It’s certainly this depending on the size and maturity of your school. But I think sometimes the tension is well, you know, sure, we’re K-12 and everything you just said about we are forming children to love the true, good and beautiful and using all this great literature. And then it’s sort of like oh yeah, at the end there’s this college thing. Well, really, that’s not.
Even I know schools that have said we don’t even need to worry about that, that’s really the domain and the parent they can kind of work out the college thing. And then I’ve seen others kind of maybe that mindset is well, that’s the lady up on the third floor, she’ll help you fill out that essay and get the applications in. But what you’re talking about is a completely different way to look at this. It’s, basically, we have a huge obligation to help launch, if I can use that word, our students into a world, and do so not forgetting everything they’ve just gone through in terms of the formation of their identity and their core being and making sure that that lines up well with where they’re headed next. So I think that’s a really healthy perspective that I don’t know is often presented as well as you just articulated it.
08:23 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
Well, I think there are several. As I talk to college counselors across the country, I think there are. There is this idea that we want to help our students engage in this process, whatever that process looks like for them. But they do need a mentor, they do need a guide. The family needs a guide. The family needs help so that, wherever they go post high school, they can find themselves in a thrive where they will thrive spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, socially, financially, all of the things. So it is our job to help guide our students to be. They’re going to be in the world, but they don’t have to be of the world. So it’s this balance of, as you said, we’re educating for life, but we also need to prepare them for the next step, and so that’s the place that we need to enter in.
09:09 – Davies Owens (Host)
Well, I think what you’re also describing is very much in the vein of. For a lot of our schools, I think the idea is we don’t want to. You know, we don’t hang a sign out front that says we’re a college prep school. I mean, in fact, we sometimes go. You know what that goal? That’s a given. If they want to go to college, they’re going to be academically able and ready and mature enough, if that’s the goal.
But I think you know, looking at just more broadly, I’m curious what you’re seeing. We are educating for life and career. So I love the way you pair together it’s not just college counseling, but it’s really. It’s really helping them think about career and life. And so talk a little bit about that that, yes, college, but so much more. And even including there are, you know, adding one more point for you to make in here. But I mean, I think that we’re also coming to a point of rethinking, sort of where do the common arts and the vocation fits? By fit? I mean, for so often we’ve quoted Lewis and said, oh, we’re not about the common arts and the vocation. But all of that’s changing. Talk a little bit about what you’re seeing.
10:08 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
It is changing and I’m going to go back to Athena again. Okay, bring back Athena, and there’s no one else here who’s female but?
техla speechless healthcare for ten. And the reason why is Athena is the goddess of wisdom, weaving and warfare. So all of us have a general understanding of wisdom like that. We don’t need to really unpack a whole lot. And I’m going to skip over weaving because I want to come back to that. Warfare in my mind when I think about this is its strategy. How do we help our young people come up with a plan that works for them? How do we help guide them with very practical checklists and things to do? Ok, but that’s all imbued with a sense of wisdom and wonder as we go through that process.
But the third component is weaving, and so I think of weaving in two ways, right. So weaving is, it’s a handicraft, it is an art form, and back in the day, the accolades of the Athena’s temple would weave something called a peplos. There was this beautiful woven tapestry that then was presented back to Athena as an offering of worship. And I like to think that we’re doing that with our students, that we are helping the students weave together strands of their life so that they are a whole, complete person. That whole, complete person then is offered a living sacrifice right Back to God.
So I love the imagery of that, but then also just acknowledging that weaving is a beautiful gift and a technical thing, and so creating space for our students to think about the trades and if we are promoting lifelong learning, which we are, plumbers can read Plato and you can have a life of the mind. The life of the mind does not have to exist solely in the college, although that’s the majority of where the majority of our students will go, so there’s room, and so when I’m talking to folks across the country, there are two things that I say we need to elevate and expand the conversation. So we need to elevate the conversation so that we’re again reminded of this beautiful tapestry, this whole integrated curriculum that is a curriculum for life. And we need to expand the conversation to include many different options, which might be a gap year, which might be a trade school, which might be just a different path that you did not intend. But it’s okay to expand the conversation, take a deep breath and explore those options.
12:29 – Davies Owens (Host)
Well, and I want to come back later to some of the important work that you’re doing to help students think even more I guess intimately about themselves in terms of their aptitudes, their calling. So just because you’ve read great books doesn’t mean that you just immediately have self-awareness at that deeper level. I want to come back to that, but just kind of again staying on this topic before we go to a break around just some of the changing landscape out there. I don’t know if the statistic is true that in the last year or so there’s been a I think I heard a 13% decline in college enrollment. I mean, what do you see happening? Are people kind of rethinking, maybe more broadly, about where they want to go? Or you know what are some of those maybe factors you see that are changing perspectives? On 13th, grade and beyond.
13:14 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
Yeah, I definitely think there’s some skepticism when it comes to higher education, and primarily that has to do with the huge sticker price. I mean, the investment required is a heavy burden, and so that’s something that families need to think carefully about, and they are and they’re wondering, hmm, is this worth it? So you see a skepticism in higher ed and then also, you see, I see a couple of things, I see some hopefulness. I mean, certainly there’s this enrollment decline and we know populations are shifting and things are going to become more difficult, especially for some of these smaller colleges that are out there. So we have to think carefully about where we’re going and is that place going to be around? That’s another thing. But then also I’m seeing families think about who’s my student going to be around, who’s my student going to have mentorship with?
So, looking at whether it’s a state school or a private Christian liberal arts school, whatever it might be, thinking more deeply about who are they going to become, what is it that they’re going to learn? What does community look like? And because really at this point we live in the information age, we can learn anything anywhere by ourselves, but it’s learning together. And so I’m seeing people start to think more about learning together and life together and what does that look like. So that takes a little bit more time to deeply think about those questions and go through that. So those are just some of the things that I’m seeing, but I’m seeing an openness to again gap years taking just a little breather and things like that.
14:54 – Davies Owens (Host)
Yeah, why don’t we take a break and come back? Because I want to hear more about those other alternatives. And again, what does success look like is really the question. Ultimately, we’re talking about it and I know you’ve talked about really this K-12 as part of the sacred journey, and there’s a journey continues, and so it’s not over when 13th grade gets there. So let’s take a quick break and come back and we’ll continue this great conversation.
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Now we think about the end of the journey. I think all of us recognize, as parents, that our job is not done once they walk across the platform and get the degree. And now what and where do they go? And a lot of the anxiety I think that parents feel is just that pressure of oh my goodness, I want them to launch well, and sometimes we can maybe overdo it. Talk a little bit about just what does maybe a good balance look like for parents and even educators who are kind of moving towards that graduation window. What are we doing to prepare?
16:30 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
That’s such a great question, you know. I think it’s a lot for parents. Parents get overwhelmed and I see a lot of anxiety and fear, and rightly so. I mean, to be honest, you look at the economy, you look at just the state of the world, and parents are fearful. However, in the midst of that fear, I think we need to take a deep breath and be reminded that what we’re doing is helping children mature into adulthood and being there alongside to help them flourish in meaningful ways. And again, it’s not a one size fits all thing. So just knowing that the pressure can be real I mean there’s an excellent book out right now called Achievement Culture and never enough, right, yeah, so I love that.
I love the fact that we have a secular author kind of identifying some of the stress and anxiety and worry. And really the point of the book is our kids. When they’re identity and this is what it comes back to when their identity is rooted in achievement and extrinsic values, they are struggling. And that’s not our job. Our job is parents to help each child know that they are made in the image of God, that they matter part from their transcript, apart from their resume, apart from the travel soccer team and all the things that they matter. And when they understand that they matter, they can have a sense of self and a sense of worth that will propel them in healthy ways. Because life is, and parents want and everybody wants certitude.
We live in a time I call it the myth of certitude.
There’s no such thing as certitude and really this whole journey is more like a labyrinth.
Instead of going from the highway point A to point B or Z, and it’s this linear path, really this process is more like a labyrinth and if you can imagine, back in the day, the cathedral, medieval castles had a labyrinth in them, and a labyrinth is always one step, just one step. You can’t see the final destination, but you know the final destination is the center, which is Christ. So you’re moving all the time. It feels circuitous, sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re moving fast enough, but you’re moving in the right direction and I like that analogy for this process, because we live in a hurried, scurried, frenetic pace and sometimes we just need to be reminded that just take the next step in front of you, trust that you’re doing the best that you can as a parent, the best that you can as a student, and trust that God is sovereign and you just take the next step. So I hope that there’s a sense of peace and joy and wonder in the journey, as opposed to this really stressful thing.
19:14 – Davies Owens (Host)
Well, and it’s hard to know how to take that next step. When you look around, and if everybody next to you is running this marathon you know a sprinter’s pace you start wondering. I mean, I think that’s the ultimate fear that parents carry is both a sense of shame and worry that you’re gonna make a mistake and you didn’t sign your kit up for the fifth travel league thing and therefore they’re gonna be disadvantaged when it comes to college. And so this book that you’ve referenced I guess it’s Jennifer Wallace’s book, which I think just came out right Never- enough.
Yeah, the subtitle, when achievement culture becomes toxic. And I think that even in classical Christian schools we say that we’re not about these earthly things, and yet we can sure get sucked into it pretty quickly. So I mean, maybe stay on that just for a second. Sure, yeah, I mean, what are some of the? I know that every you know again that everybody’s different and so there’s not like the answer is you need to do one AP and two of these, and I mean it’s not formulaic in that way. But I think are there some things that that we should balance out? I mean, what does I guess it matters so much?
20:23 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
as in terms of what college we’re trying to apply to For one. You know, let’s look at what a whole person, a whole person lifestyle, looks like. Are our kids having four hours of homework? Are they exhausted? Is their balance? Is their time for family? Is their time for fun? Is their time for just reading a book, for pleasure, going for a walk? So you know, looking at the whole getting off of this treadmill, it almost feels counter-cultural and I think parents do wanna do things right.
And if we look around at the rest of society and the rest of the world and they’re saying this is how it’s done nine APs, and you know you’ve gotta start your own business and you have to have a published research paper, you know, as a high school student, it’s just breathe and just think about just this moment in time. It’s a snapshot in time. And are we setting our kids up with healthy habits, habits that allow for care and compassion, habits that allow for hospitality, habits that allow for just exploration? This is such a precious time in a young person’s life to figure out who they are, their identity. But that identity has to be rooted in the fact that they’re a beloved child of God, they’re a beloved member of the family and that they contribute to the family in meaningful ways. So I think it’s a lot simpler than we’re making it out to be.
21:50 – Davies Owens (Host)
It is counter-cultural, and I think you’re right. You just have to. Again, what are you calibrating off of as a parent? Are you calibrating off of the you know, the forensic worry that’s all around you from other parents that are in college prep schools? I mean again, outside of most private school that you’re basically buying, at least the historical perception is. You’re paying all this money to get your kid into that next step, like that’s the whole point and that’s not how we think about it.
22:21 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
And so, again, and that’s really scarcity mindset. That’s a real scarcity mindset and we don’t have to operate in that. As believers, we operate in abundance, crisis abundance. So to just take a look and examine, where are we operating in a scarcity mindset and how is that that could be detrimental? At the same time, you might have these parents that are overbearing, overreaching and, you know, pushing.
And the other end of the spectrum is you have parents that are like, oh well, where are you going to college? Like it’s totally up to the student. I mean, there are over 4,000 halogens to choose from. Talk about choice paralysis.
So parents have to be involved in one form. I mean, you can’t be overbearing, but you can’t be absent. You can’t put the burden of this decision entirely on the student. So you know it’s talking, it’s having conversations with your students about things they’re curious about. You know what motivates them, what are their values, what do they love, and engaging in those kind of conversations so that you can be that guide that they need. I mean, and it’s really okay to say and it actually needs to be said, we have X number of dollars to spend on college. So keep this in mind so that you’re giving your child the boundaries that they need in order to make these decisions together and as they grow into adulthood and exploring where am I going to really flourish, I mean? So it’s this balance of not being overreaching but not being absent and kind of laissez faire.
23:57 – Davies Owens (Host)
Yeah, and I think that’s so important, you show both of those ditches you can fall into, because I do think that sometimes, in the vein of I want them to become more independent minded and to kind of own their future, and that makes sense. But there’s also you can quickly abdicate a very important decision. And then I found that you know, too often students make decisions on things like colleges based on the most flimsy, superficial things like the colleges.
24:22 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
So they have lazy ripper.
24:23 – Davies Owens (Host)
They have lazy ripper. Hey, they flew me down and gave me pizza, and you know and. I’m yeah in all these things, that that’s great 18, 18.
You don’t even know. You don’t know. So you’re absolutely I want to. Let’s take another break. I want to come back because one of the things that I know has been very significant for my own three children has been giving them an opportunity to go through aptitude testing, which is something that maybe folks are not familiar with and it’s something you’re just not going to naturally get, even in a wonderful K-12 classical Christian school. That it really helps you discover who who you are and how God’s wired you, and helps make those decisions a little bit easier. So let’s come back and just a moment and we’ll talk more about what that might look like.
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Forward slash basecamp that we were just talking about before the break this idea of our students. In spite of all of the amazing values and virtues of a K-12 classical Christian education, it’s not uncommon for a student to leave and still deeply, deep down inside wonder exactly what God has gifted them, with what purpose they’re to fulfill their calling ultimately. And so this idea of aptitude testing. I became aware of it a number of years ago. There’s a John Snow-Connor has been around for 75 years. Folks have heard me probably talk about this on the podcast before. I guess John Snow-Connor came about when General Electric 75 years ago was trying to figure out here’s how these employees are wired and here’s the jobs that pair best to that wiring and that’s kind of called aptitude. It’s not something you, it’s kind of a hardwired trait, but increasingly I’m seeing our schools say this is something that would be really helpful for students to go through and you’ve been trained in it. Talk a bit about why this is so important.
27:15 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
Thank you. Yeah, I’d love to talk about that and we use a whole person model. So with the Highlands Ability Battery and that’s the aptitude test that I use we’re looking at natural born abilities. So these are things that are really not going to change over time. Now, skills that will change because and we live in a world of skills and that’s part of education, right but natural abilities are. Imagine a fish swimming downstream You’re just going in a skizzy as opposed to going upstream. Now you certainly can’t swim upstream. It’s just going to require more time, effort and energy. So in an aptitude test, we’re looking at those things that just come naturally to you. And so the aptitude test that I use the Highlands Ability Battery it is time intensive and it’s more expensive than what most people are accustomed to. Others out there will know things like you science and some others that are relatively quick and easy and do give some at least point of reference. So if that’s just all you have that’s available, then go with that.
But I think there’s opportunity for deeper and further discussion when it comes to abilities and particularly the way that the Highlands does it, because they will group your abilities together and then you have these patterns, and then these patterns are then connected to the occupational outlook. So I can walk a student through some career clusters and some ideas and this helps a student think about what could I major in. But the thing that I have been really talking to students a lot about is, with the whole outlook economic outlook half the jobs aren’t even. We don’t even know what they’re going to be. So, really, what are the things that you have natural abilities at and how do you capitalize that on that in a world that is ever changing in terms of employment?
So I think this is going to be critical for young people as they figure out okay, what does my economic future look like? Well, here’s what I know. I know that I’m a diagnostic problem solver. I know that I’m an extrovert. I know that I have these learning channels. So it equips a student to understand how they can take that next step and even further down the road. So I’m a big fan. I’d love to see this done in all schools. It’s just a helpful tool.
29:41 – Davies Owens (Host)
Yeah, you and I both absolutely see that opportunity. I know Tammy Peterson has been on before, who you know and runs Life Architects, and I mean my vision would be every single student in every single school. I feel that strongly about it. And for the parent that’s sitting there thinking, oh gosh, one more expense, well, let me tell you that fifth or sixth year of college, because they’ve changed your major four times, because they didn’t really know anything about themselves in terms of maybe some of those hardwired gifts that God’s give, I mean I’m exaggerating a bit, but I do think that it really does help them discern better and more wisely and more economically. Even so, there’s that good reason for doing it as well.
30:19 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
I agree, and if you think of it in terms of that, then it’s a wise investment and also it affords the opportunity for the family to collectively again be part of this conversation about. Here are the things that we see in you Ever since you were little, we noticed this. So, yes, this result makes sense, and so having that kind of for mom and dad, having those kind of conversations early are great. Like who are you, what are you curious about, what is something that you’d like to try? All of those kind of conversations, in addition to knowing abilities, really helps students have a sense of their own identity, and that’s the goal.
So it’s interesting, because families are typically very happy with classical Christian education and then they get into high school and then all of a sudden, they’re like, oh yeah, college. Well, we don’t need to shift the mindset. We can actually maintain those values. We can maintain the kind of education in addition to these kind of practical things, these practical ways of guiding. So those are the things that are productive and I think families and I know families find very helpful.
31:27 – Davies Owens (Host)
And students. Well, and just to simply, I mean, for those who are like well, how does this actually work? I mean, my vision I know you and I’ve talked about, would be that every school is doing this as part of the time that you’re on campus. But the experience of my three children was doing it remotely. You can do it, you know, take the test remotely, and then you’re having Zoom calls with yourself or Tammy or others that are really, you know, counseling you through that discovery process. So it’s not that complicated, but it’s really important.
31:57 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
Yeah, so that test takes a little bit of time, it can be done remotely and most of the clients that I work with are it’s over Zoom and it’s a productive time and the beauty of it is that you have these reports for life. So when you’re 25 and you’re thinking about, or when you’re graduating from college, you can go back and revisit this information to just to get a reminder of okay, this is who I am and this is maybe I’ll help some helpful information thinking about the job, yeah.
32:26 – Davies Owens (Host)
Now, that’s a really good piece of advice. What else would you encourage if you had a room of parents in front of you right now and know we could go for a long time? But just some other points that we’ve not really touched on yet that we could say here’s just some advice, direction you might offer.
32:40 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
I would say and this might sound a little strange, but I’m going to say it I would say engage with some of the texts that your students are reading, enter into the great conversation yourself, get in a parent reading group and I know everybody’s busy but even if you could read a few essays but allow the great curriculum that your students are engaged in to wash over you and help you, and so then you can see, oh, my goodness, this is what it’s about and this is how it helps me to walk in wisdom and this is how it helps me to think differently. It’s opened a world that I didn’t know about. So I think actually engaging with the education itself is an important thing, but also talking to parents who are maybe shifting gears. Second point talking to parents who’ve gone down the pathway a little bit further than you have. What did you do with your students when they got into high school? How did you spend their summers in a way that was relaxing and productive? What kind of summer programs did your kids do? So, having those relationships with the older parents, what things work for you? What would you have done different?
I think those are valuable and that’s part of being the community, and I know classical schools have great communities. So reach out to those parents who’ve traveled down the path a little bit further and also talk to students. Have your student, your child, talk to their friends who’ve gone away. And what did you like? What did you learn? What surprised you? What weren’t you prepared for? Maybe, academically you were prepared for a lot of things, but wow, your roommate came in at two o’clock in the morning like, were you prepared for that or whatever? It might be just life. So talking to students again, reaching out to community, and saying how was the transition? What did you do to get help? How did you find, how did you figure out how to succeed in ways that were meaningful to you? So it’s about the community really.
34:36 – Davies Owens (Host)
Well, and we have such a great resource at our disposal, especially as schools that have had a number of years of students who’ve graduating gone out.
In fact, my youngest, bennett, was just back at the Ambrose School last week, as a matter of fact, that our college advisor brought him back along with some others, created a panel and just said hey, tell everybody what it’s like on the other side of the wall when you cross over. You know, which I think is invaluable to have that fellow student sharing back to you what was just everything to your point, how did I navigate the the roommate to, how did I make decisions about my major or whatever it might be. That’s really helpful. Well, so talking, you know again a lot of great advice here, deb, thinking too, just maybe for those who are listening, who are school administrators and leaders I mentioned earlier. I know for some of our schools, maybe earlier on, there was this notion that this really isn’t something that we need to put a lot of time into. I think most schools have said no, actually this is not only do we need to put time in it.
I know you and I were on a webinar week or so ago and kind of the topic came up like maybe even this term college advisor needs to change because I think the vision here is is a little bit bigger, and I think we tend to, like I said, put that person up on the third floor back in the closet and go well, you know, fill out the essay for my child. No, we’re talking about helping prepare our children, our students, for a much bigger journey that our schools need to have involvement. So maybe just talk to to school leaders here for a moment.
36:01 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
Sure, I love that and, yes, I think that the title of a college advisor is just too narrow. I mean, that’s part of what we do, but we’re really looking at calling and we’re looking at who am I? Who has God made me to be? How do my gifts meet the world’s needs? So this is about the common good. So, again, very different trajectory.
It’s not college is not about this is so cliche, but true. It’s not a prize to be won, it’s a. It’s a place where you find belonging and and to to actually engage in just more thoughtful reflection so we can work out who you are and how you’re called and what that means. And so what this means on the part of the administrators is this is who God has called us to be. This is, at the bottom line, all of this education in the classroom. It’s, it’s about this formation. And now this becomes more practical, like more personal, more concrete.
So we engage in these assessments, we engage in I have vocation, reflection questions, just thinking and reflecting. Those are just as important to classical Christian education as reading the Iliad and the Odyssey, because the students have to know who they are and how they’re to be in the world. And so we can find time and space in the, in the school, and when we do so, the fruit of that will be apparent as students make better choices and have a more confident way of exiting. And knowing that, okay, yeah, I thought about this deeply I’ve had, I’ve had the support of parents, teachers, the college and career advisor, who again is another teacher, and I can take this next step in confidence. And that’s really what we want. We want to help students go from our institutions to the next place, knowing that, yeah, I’ve done all I’ve can, I’ve thought about who I am and I’m ready to take the next step and what a gift I mean.
38:01 – Davies Owens (Host)
At the end of the day, this is what we’re here to do is to prepare them for life. So, yeah, exactly, it’s a big, big step and it’s an important one that we’ve all been preparing 13 years in the making for this big step. So thank you for helping us understand a little bit better about what’s going on today and and some of those places we need to emphasize for folks, for folks who are listening, who are thinking, oh my goodness, I’d love for my child to go through this aptitude testing. Or maybe for a school leader saying I’d love to know more about how to build a better program I know you teach a cohort group to college advisors and and talk a little bit more about how folks can get in contact with you sure?
38:38 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
well, there’s a couple ways. I work for the society for classical learning, so if you’re a member school, reach out to me. I’m here to help you out and I’m just starting in that role this summer, so we’re doing. My goal this year is research and relationship building, really coming alongside and helping schools really address these questions. So that’s one way through the society of classical learning. And then I also work with Athena College and vocational coaching, so you can look me up on the web and contact me that way as well. But yeah, there’s lots of resources out there. I’m just one among many, but I encourage everyone to go to their immediate school and counselor and start there and then branch out. But there’s lots of resources and people who want to help students really walk in the fullness of who they’re meant to be.
39:28 – Davies Owens (Host)
It’s fantastic. Thanks so much for the great information and encouragement as we go about the journey. Deb appreciate it. We’ll have to have you back on and continue the conversation at some point. As I know, this world is continuing to change and it’s so important that we send our students out ready and prepared, and I appreciate all that you do.
39:45 – Deborah Allen (Guest)
Thank you, davies. It’s a pleasure to be here.
39:48 – Grant Wiley (Announcement)
I want to thank America’s Christian Credit Union, gutenberg College and the Classic Learning Test for supporting Basecamp Live. If you haven’t yet, please go onto your podcast provider and give us a rating and let us know what you think of the podcast. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at info at BasecampLive and we’ll see you in the next episode. Thank you.