Homeschoolers value education, but also know that success is not equated with a degree. What alternatives are there to going to college?
Is College a waste of time?
I certainly don't think it is, although there are many problems with our system of higher education.
First of all, the cost. I went into debt for college and highly regret it.
Student debt is becoming a epidemic, preventing my generation from buying homes, or making significant investments across the board.
Second, underemployment is a problem, y'all. So much of our youth are pursuing a college degree then end up unable to find employment that matches their education level, both in pay and actual skills.
Third, my kids may not want to pursue higher education right after graduation. Forcing them to go will not produce a real education no more than force an 8 year old to read will create a love of reading in them.
What's the Alternative?
While I dream of all my children pursuing higher education simply for the dignity of it, I don’t desire to pressure them into it. There are many ways to create wealth, and a college degree is only one of those ways.
Option 1: Starting a Business
One of my favorite things about homeschool is the ability to use our time to encourage my kids to gain practical skills.
I would love to see my one of my kid's childhood hobbies become their career.
By making sure they develop a valuable skill, and monetizing it, I know they will meet independence prepared to support themselves either way.
We are choosing to focus on getting them to start a small business whether it be a blog, selling something like a craft or services, or something totally different.
They will learn about personal and business finance, how banking works, customer service, the actual skill that drives their business, patience in building a customer base, marketing skills, and how to deal with devastating setbacks. They will learn how building something great takes time, patience, diligent effort, and that it is rarely a linear process. Most importantly the work they put into their business will show them the value of work and the value of themselves.
I do not expect my children to become millionaires or work at this business their whole life. I simply want to give them a practical, valuable starting point.
However, I do dream of them paying for their own college simply because they love the dignity of education.
Option 2: Trade School
A trade school is usually a 2 year program. Offered through community colleges, these programs focus on only the skills you will need for a single profession. By the end, you are ready to be licensed.
The programs may also offer work experience programs like apprenticeships and job placement services.
Benefits of Trade School
Trades schools cost less, only take 2 years to complete, and are in high demand, like nurses and electrician.
You can also often use the credits from trade school to pursue more education later.
I urge you to consider that college may not be the best fit for your kids right out of high school. Teach and prepare them to make money through their own business or to consider a trade, first.
You will find this opens their homeschool curriculum to things that are probably more interesting to them, while teaching them they are capable of great things, and making money.
You will give the opportunity to fail, and raise form the ashes of that. Business is a social activity, too, so you will be ensuring they get to mingle more. Last, you will not be saddling them with debt or scraping to help them pay.
Please leave me a comment if you would like to hear more about children and teens starting a business, the college dilemma and why the answer is a trade, or kids who have successfully started companies.