Like everyone else, homeschoolers know the value of a dollar, perhaps even more so since the typical family lives on one income instead of two. That’s why giving gifts to our children that encourage their specialization and interest is such a great idea. The passions your children have can become subjects for credit on their transcript, or activities to list on their high school record. Passion can be mentioned in their college application essays, which can lead to money. Their passion and activities may lead to some awards or leadership positions that are rewarded with scholarship money, so give a gift that encourages their passion. When you think about your child’s specialization, think about the gifts and talents that are unique to your child, which are usually interests that last for years. When colleges see that a child has this kind of interest, passion, or specialization sustained over multiple years, it shows them that the student has the ability to commit to a college for four years in a row as well. In order to foster your child’s interests, find out what it is they really love, and then nurture that interest and encourage that passion, so it really comes to full bloom. Colleges want students with distinctiveness, not just cookie-cutter kids who are all alike. The natural consequences of your child’s passion will be scholarship money, because as they have true interest that last for a long time, they’ll be awarded scholarships, either directly for that passion or just because they have a passion. An example of how this works can be based on my children’s experience. My sons were heavily involved in soccer. You might count that as a P.E. class, which goes on their transcript as P.E. in affiliation with whatever soccer club. Perhaps they were team captain, or their team went all the way to regionals, which is recorded on their activities and awards list. When they write their college application essay, they might write about how they tried to keep their aggression in check and act like a Christian even on the soccer field. One passion, many uses. Gifts to help them further their passion can sometimes be hard to figure out. One method is to strategically place some catalogues around, including homeschool catalogs as well, maybe a science catalogue or a Sonlight catalog, just leave it around. Put all these next to the Toys R’ Us catalog, strategically placed with a pen, and let your child circle anything freely. You’ll figure out what kind of interests they really have, and you’ll be able to target those gifts to their unique areas of specialization. Think of the money you will save!