It is hard to believe that my eldest is a college graduate with a BS in Psychology and a minor in music. She finished her studies just shy of her 21st birthday and is now working to save money for grad school, studying for the GRE, leading classes for homeschool students, planning her next international travel adventure, and for added fun auditioning at local community theatres.
My daughter never stepped into a traditional brick and mortar classroom until her first day of dual enrollment college classes at the local community college during her junior year of high school. She homeschooled from Kindergarten all the way to high school graduation. She was accepted into every college she applied to, earned scholarships, performed well on the SAT and ACT tests and passed the CHSPE at the ripe old age of 15.
Why do I share all of this? It is my prayer that it will ease your fears. Yes, you can successfully homeschool your child, even through the high school years. And yes, your student will be well prepared for sophisticated academic pursuits at the college level – IF he or she decides to go to college and IF it is God’s plan for her to attend a four-year university!
Statistically speaking, homeschoolers perform on average or above average on standardized college entrance exams and are accepted into top-tier universities at the same rate as traditional students. They also have the same or better university graduation rate as their traditionally schooled peers. It is clear home education prepares students for college.
But dare I say not all high school students need to go to college! Yes, I said it and I’m sticking by it! I hate the expression, “He’s just not college material.” The implication is that the student isn’t smart enough to succeed in college. Hog wash! I think the more accurate expression is “He doesn’t need college material to succeed!” Not all students need college degrees. Not all students need a college education to succeed in life and in the workforce. If your child wants to be a doctor, an engineer, a therapist, a lawyer, an accountant or a teacher, then yes, a degree and certification are necessary, therefore, college is in his future! However, in today’s modern workforce and in the age of information, many jobs, skills, and careers can be learned via internships, apprenticeships, internet, or trade schools. Experts also predict that many of the jobs our students will possess have not even been invented yet!
Ah, I hear you saying, “My son at least needs a degree of some kind just to get his foot in the door of any company or job.” Dare I say, this is no longer true. Mega companies like Apple, Google, and IBM no longer require a degree for higher- level and higher- paying jobs. Then there are companies like Nordstroms, Disney, Home Depot, and Lowes that allow employees hired at entry- level positions to move up to the highest ranks of their companies, withOUT a degree. Don’t forget about companies like Starbucks and Chick-fi-La that encourage their employees to train for manager positions and then encourage them to own their own franchises in the future. In today’s market, creative and hard- working individuals who have an entrepreneurial spirit can build a portfolio, invent a new app, start a new company, publish their own book, produce their own album, or get paid just for using social media. Some of the world’s greatest thinkers and inventors dropped out of college or skipped college altogether to pursue their dreams and passions or to develop a business model they started during their high school years.
Dare I say it again- Not all high schoolers need to go to college! It takes just as much courage to NOT attend college in order to pursue a passion or to start a new business as it takes to attend college and pursue a college degree. If your student needs a degree or wants to attend college, then go for it! My daughter loved college so much she intends to pursue a master’s degree and perhaps even her Phd. But her calling requires a degree (or two). If your student wants to pursue an acting career, a sports career, a writing career or even an art career, consider skipping college. If your student has no idea what he wants to do, or he has tons of ideas of what he wants to do, then consider skipping a four -year university. Attend community college to save money and explore options. Attend a trade school to learn a dying art or to get certified in welding, woodworking, or mechanics. Find a mentor or an expert in a field for your son or daughter to train under. Then encourage your teen to work his/her way up the ladder. Not going to college does not limit their career possibilities; it might just make the possibilities endless!
If one of the main reasons you decided to homeschool was to instill in your child a love of learning, then one option might be to allow that child to use his ability to learn and to use his natural curiosity in the workforce instead of on a college campus. If you are still not convinced it is ok to say “It’s okay to skip college” then I highly recommend you read the book Skip College: Launch Your Career Without Debt, Distractions or a Degree by Connor Boyack. You will be pleasantly surprised. Boyack does not speak poorly of college. He actually spends the first few chapters discussing how important it is to determine IF college is something you want or need to do. Then he spends the rest of the book speaking to the person who has decided to skip college. The book is full of logical reasons to skip college and great ideas on how to succeed in the workplace without a college degree.
Where is God calling your teen to go? What is God calling your teen to do? Pray, pray and pray some more! Then begin exploring other options for your teen who may want to skip college. If your teen is ready, willing and able to step onto the campus for the academic rigor of a four -year university, then be assured your decision to homeschool high school will give him all of the tools he needs to get accepted and to succeed in college. If, however, you feel God is leading your high schooler on a different track, one that does not necessarily involve the traditional college experience, take heart. God designed your teen. He knows his strengths. He ignited those passions in his heart. Be open to the fact that God’s plan for your teen’s life may not look like the plan you had envisioned. Listen to your teen’s heart. Listen to the soft whispers of the Holy Spirit. Rest assured your decision to homeschool high school will also give him all of the tools he needs to follow his passions, learn important skills, and succeed in the workplace. Perhaps skipping college is just what God is calling your teen to.
**For more information on how to homeschool the high school years to prepare your teen for either college or the workforce, attend our special weekend for homeschooling moms on March 27th and 28th. On Friday evening, our first session is “How to Homeschool High School.” Our panel of homeschool graduates will share their high school journeys, what they did (traditional and non-traditional) to meet the CA requirements, what they are doing now in the workforce and/or on the college campuses, and how homeschooling through high school helped each of them achieve their personal, academic and spiritual goals. Dads and teens are invited to attend Friday night’s session. Special Guests- Carolyn and Martin Forte.**