I received an odd call the other day on my business line. The woman on the other end said that she had seen my class Get Organized, Stay Organized in UMKC’s Communiversity catalog and that she also did professional organizing.
“Are you certified with the National Organization of Professional Organizers or some other organization?” she asked me.
“No.” I told her, “I’ve been organizing my whole life (well, starting at the age of nine and organizing my bookshelf alternately by author, title, or descending height) and realized one day that it was a needed service that I could do, so I began teaching classes, offering one-on-one organizing sessions and eventually wrote a book on the subject.”
“Oh…” she seemed stumped, “So no certification at all? I mean, you didn’t go to school for it? Because NAPO offers a certification and so do several others.”
I replied, “I imagine you can get a certification in just about anything if you pay enough money and jump through enough hoops. I’ve just never seen a need for it.”
“So…do you do this as a business or just kind of ‘on the fly’?”
I will admit, I was a bit irritated by the question. If someone is a professional organizer, has written a book on the subject, and teaches classes about becoming more organized – would you ask them if they were doing things ‘on the fly’? I tried to not let the irritation show and instead I laughed and said, “Oh yes, it is definitely a business.”
And with that we wrapped up the call. I’m guessing it was probably someone who considered me competition and was trying to scope out what her competition had in the way of certifications, et cetera. There’s work enough for most anyone – there is a big population to work with here in Kansas City!
In truth, I don’t get a large amount of organizing clients, mainly because I am busy with other things and I limit my appointments to weekends only. The point of my bringing this up is the whole idea of certifications and higher education in general. I’ll agree that, when it comes to brain surgery, I want a doctor who has spent YEARS getting training – hands on training at that – my brain better not be the first one he lays his hands on!
But certifications for becoming a life coach? Or a certification for professional organizers? Honestly I have to admit that most of my learning has come from two sources – books and hands on learning. I can do that on my own, folks. I don’t need someone training me, talking to me, or assigning homework for me to become a life coach or professional organizer. And while I do not have certification to do professional organizing, I did pay my money, jump through hoops, study and become certified as a life coach. And afterwards really questioned how much the program had taught me that I couldn’t have learned on my own.
As I mused later about the phone call, dissecting it, wondering what information she wanted from me, it occurred to me that it seems we have way too many certifications and not enough common sense. We often lack the self-esteem to recognize our own worth without some special paper telling us (or others) we accomplished something and we often lack the questioning/curious nature that compels us to learn about the subject on our own in the first place.
At least, that’s how I felt after years of schooling.
All of this brings me to dwell on the subject of college. After years of struggling as a single mom and attending college a class or two at a time, I finally earned my Associates degree in 2004. Then in 2006 I returned to college, the amorphous idea of receiving a dual Bachelor’s in Psychology and Creative Writing in my head. That was put on hold when I found myself pregnant with Emily halfway through the first semester.
I wanted to be there, with her, during her infancy and toddlerhood. I didn’t want her in a daycare, paying strangers to care for my child instead of doing it myself. I’m glad I did it. Those were years well spent, and even now, I see no reason to employ others to care for my child when I enjoy her company so much…and that obviously extends to her schooling.
Two years ago, when my husband announced he was going back to college (after a 20+ year hiatus) I found myself missing it. I pulled up UMKC’s website and looked at the programs they had listed and nothing struck me with that “oh my God, that is JUST what I want to do with my life” and so I closed the page and settled for supporting my husband in his endeavors and focusing on what I wanted out of life.
Education, as most homeschoolers come to understand, doesn’t occur exclusively within the walls of schools, but in life and in the course of pursuing our interests. I realized that, at the age of 40 (now almost 42), I was satisfied with my ‘academic standing.’ I don’t need anything above an Associates in college. Instead, my focus is, as it always has been, on self-education – and in my case – beekeeping, gardening, cooking (you really should check out my adventures on The Deadly Nightshade), and of course all of the facets of homeschooling I find myself involved in.
My goals these days include writing daily non-fiction (my two main blogs) as well as progressing on my fiction projects and becoming a published (I’m currently self-published) author.
My eldest is in college and quite determinedly pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies. She seems quite interested in it and motivated – and so I am supportive. I hope that at the end of her studies she has career opportunities that interest and involve her – although I can’t help hoping that her art and her writing also take off for her, because she is so good at them and they truly make her happy.
What do you think about college? Is it worth it? Is it ‘in the works’ for your child or children? How well has your own college education served you? Or not?
Another Reason to Homeschool
Here is an article written by Wayne Allen Root, the 2008 Libertarian vice-presidential nominee…
p.s. And if you need some help organizing…check out my website:25th Hour Organizing…