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Back to Homeschool: High School and College Part 3

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this article, I shared about my daughter’s purposeful decision not to go to college, and why we support that decision.

The arguments to this lifestyle are many, and as common as the “socialization” argument about homeschooling. Here are our answers to some common questions:

What if we have a child who desires a field requiring a degree?

I will admit that higher education has a place, but I believe it is a small place. It’s not for everyone. There are professions that require advanced knowledge, which can only be gained by several years of study in a specific field, such as law or medicine. And I would not hesitate to send one of my children on to higher education if they had a desire and conviction to go into such a field.
As in most situations, there are always alternatives. : )

Accelerated Distance Learning is a fascinating book outlining the very doable method of getting most of a college education from home. I have read it and will definitely encourage this route to any of my children who desire an advanced education. College Plus! is a wonderful organization that takes the concept of Accelerated Distance Learning and makes it possible. Many students are benefiting from this method.

College Plus! also offers a dual credit program that works exactly opposite what you’re used to: your high-school student earns college credits for the work they are doing at home, with the curriculum you are already using. “In just one semester your student can earn up to 12 transferable college credits and 2 high school credits for what they are already learning, building on curriculum you already own.” Check into College Prep.

Before my daughter made her ultimate decision not to go to college, we had two telephone interviews with College Plus and were very impressed with the possibilities.

Trade schools are also largely overlooked in today’s society, despite the demand for skilled workers and the good pay available. We have hired plumbers, A/C repairmen, and electricians at our house this past year, and they are all backed up and admit that “there aren’t enough of us to meet the demand.”

This article from Bloomberg Business Week is just one that highlights the need for less college grads and more skilled workers.

“…most high-skill manufacturing jobs require only a high school education and on-the-job training.”

“The question we need to ask bright young people today is this: Would they be better off with a college degree in mass communication, “poli sci,” or sociology that gets them a job as a retail clerk or waiting tables, or would they be better off with a real skill that qualifies them for a high-paying manufacturing job?”

And more from Bloomberg:

“Even with unemployment running at an historic high of 8.1 percent in the U.S., don’t worry if you are a plumber, welder, or electrician. There’s plenty of demand for your skills.”

“The honor of doing and going through a vocational technical program has diminished. Those who would have gone to that school are now going to a four-year university because parents and society say that is what you should do,” says Joerres. “There are not enough welders, plumbers, and draftsmen. We are seeing shortages in these areas. And the pendulum takes a while to swing back.”

Watch this YouTube video discussing the lack of “unskilled” laborers because of the big push for young people to go to college instead of trade schools.

We also value entrepreneurship highly. We believe it provides independence for the Biblical family. If Dad is self-employed, he is able to be more available to his family. If Mom is industrious, she is able to supplement the family income while still raising children. This is illustrated beautifully in Proverbs 31. The Duggars also live this out quite nicely. If our children show an interest in an area, we try to point them down a path of independence in that field.

Aren’t you limiting your daughters by training them to be homemakers only? What if life takes a turn for the worse? What will they fall back on?
Homemaking is nothing to sneeze at: Claudia models a skirt she made for Cotillion.
My answer to all three questions can be answered with one statement: God provides. No matter how well we prepare for a comfortable future, things can go wrong. Complete faith in God gives great freedom. Whether you have a doctorate or a high school diploma, disaster can strike and turn your whole world upside down. And God is there no matter what.

What we don’t realize is that fear is usually the motivator behind these questions. Fear of being poor, broke, or just the unknown.

I speak from experience. I shared my story of sudden single motherhood here, and I can tell you that my daughters and I lived with nothing for many months. When I say “nothing,” I mean that my gas tank was empty, we had very little to eat, and no way to pay bills. This situation was temporary, but it taught me more about faith than anything. God provided in miraculous ways. In fact, I began to keep a notebook of all the ways God answered our prayers and met our needs.

I had a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, but I also had a conviction about the way I should raise my daughters. Fear of poverty could have easily convinced me to enroll them in daycare and take a full-time job. But I had such a strong feeling that this path was not for us, so despite having a degree to “fall back on,” I trusted God, did without some things for awhile, and learned more about God’s love for me than ever before.

Now more than 10 years later, when money is tight or things get hard, I have no fear because I have seen God provide and I know that depending on Him is much more fulfilling than being comfortable.         

If you’ve raised your kids right, they will not be swayed by the world.  

This is the most common argument. And in theory, this is true. However, many Christian, even homeschooled, kids go to college and lose their faith. I have personally witnessed this shocking transformation several times in recent years.

The percentage of Christian students who are able to withstand constant and deliberate  attacks on their faith and lifestyle from every side is small; too many succumb to the pressure and begin to think that their family is in the uneducated minority; they become disillusioned, turn their back on God, or at least become indifferent.

Is it worth the risk?

You can’t shelter your kids.

Well, yes I can. J One of the most basic jobs of a parent IS to shelter their children, and the parent should determine when and to what degree that sheltering ends. Homeschooling is one way in which I shelter my children. And as far as possible, I will shelter them into adulthood.

Preparing them for the “real world” is my job. But pushing them out into that real world doesn’t have to happen at any pre-determined age. The longer they are sheltered from the world and given the education they need to withstand it, the stronger they will be when they do enter it.

No matter how mature my teenager is, there will still be a growing-up process that takes place between the ages of 18-25. With all my heart, I want to be there to point them in the right direction, influence their decisions, and observe as much of their daily life as possible. If we (their parents and family) are not the main influence in their day-to-day lives, we give them up to the world and cross our fingers that everything will be okay.

The environment in which we spend the most amount of time is the one which influences us the most. As we grow older, we grow wiser (hopefully) and we are able to use discernment about our surroundings and influences. But the exciting age of young adulthood brings with it such feelings of invincibility that some discernment is lost and sin creeps in to their lives. I have illustrated this point here in regards to billboards and television, and it is true in a much broader sense, as well.
Our world is growing more evil each day, and requires more deliberate parenting on our part. All of the topics discussed here (college, homeschool, high school, and parenting in general) can be summed up in this statement: The difference in raising kids who "turn out okay" and kids who walk according to God's word and His plan for them is enormous, and it is well worth every effort.

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