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