01 March, 2007

High School Senior Options

Has anyone else had the problem of how to answer people (who mean well) when they ask, "What college is your son going to?" or "What are your son's plans?" It is a similar reaction that folks feel obligated (or maybe it's just genuine curiosity) when we were just beginning our homeschool journey, when loved ones AND strangers asked all those (sometimes thoughtful, but other times, annoying) questions about "How do you make sure you are teaching what they need to learn?", or (love this one) "are you qualified? Will it count?" and of course "Can homeschoolers get into college?"

Please share with me your experiences. All along this journey of over 13+ years I have found that there are many, many options for learning, training and growing to be a better follower and to be a good leader in adulthood. Most folks are just so ---- bent on how you just absolutely MUST follow the traditional path and make sure your student is all ready to jump right in to college immediately.

Once again, as with those "just starting out" years, I wish people would realize that there exists a multitude of ways to accomplish education and succeed, both primary and higher education and training. Taking a semester or summer off to get some more humanitarian work under the belt is exactly what we're hoping for for our son, then he can begin courses at the community college with little cost, and begin to rack up college hours toward becoming a transfer student. He may actually take a community college course before that hoped-for humanitarian/mission trip. We will save up to $50,000 by not jumping (or forcing) into traditional college immediately after dear son comes off of that graduation stage with his certificate in that big hand of his.

It's not like we don't have a plan. I have a fluid and working sketch that is open to adjustments here and there. There are so many options that we are trying to funnel down into a more specific path, while AT THE SAME TIME allowing for some God-led guidance and opportunities to come along (which they are, by the way).

We (society) have such a rigid box of what counts for education. It gets very frustrating sometimes when folks cannot get out of that box and see the interesting and creative opportunities that abound! In fact, I so strongly believe that opportunities to become better educated for both leadership and contentment in adulthood exist outside of a traditional setting far more often than in the tradional setting. Just go back to the bio's of the most famous statesmen, scientists, and renaissance men. They were not educated traditionally. Some in modern society still aren't.

And there is not a thing wrong with allowing for more time for the student to feel more comfortable about their academic choices while getting some of the basic core subjects out of the way. How many college students or adults do YOU know who changed their major multiple times, adding on to the amount of money and time spent toward attaining a goal of a degree.

AND how many adults do you know now who are not working in the field in which they majored? I am not at all saying that a degree is not important. I AM saying, however, that giving students some time to mature into a degree or career plan while getting basics out of the way, therefore hopefully leading to fewer academic changes being made as possible (and thereby saving money along the way) is NOT a bad thing. It is even a PLAN, if I dare say such a thing.

You can probably tell...we have gotten some interesting input (or criticism) for not having all ds' paperwork in to the college/university of his choice, yet. That's because he doesn't have one yet. Community college courses and online courses are a very good option, as well as the dual-credit course option that high schooolers have. We have two more teens and one pre-teen, who can take advantage of this option sooner or later, **should it be a good fit for them.** Isn't the fit of the student to a particular college/university one of the most important things? That's what I've read, anyway.

Another point is that some students do not and cannot possibly be sure of what career they want to "lock themselves into" early in their high school career. My question is should they even have to?? It didn't work for me (I burned out badly 3 1/2 years in) and many others that I know. But that leads to a whole different subject. In spite of bombing Statistics in my Senior year, I do get to make use of my Spanish language minor :-). In spite of Dh's bachelor's degree, which was not in education, he did get to go on and become a teacher. He did finally earn a Master's degree in English.

I know we have to jump through certain hoops. I just believe that there aren't as many "must-do's" as the general public tries to make us think there are. But then, we've lived counter-culturally and unconventionally much of our lives, and have a lot of experiences (mine and others') on which to hang my beliefs.

Maybe we are just living by-the-seat-of-our-pants. Better yet, though, maybe we are just trying to live by Faith and not trust in those 'horses and chariots.'

I await to hear the experiences and thoughts of my readers. I need the encouraging words!

Javamom, handing the soapbox to someone else, now.


tootlepip said...

I am with you on this one! Our oldest is going to finish her 2 year certificate in Landscape Design at the local Comm. College this June. She didn't decide what she wanted to do until after she graduated. She did enter CC the next fall, but only after much frustration on her part. Our next in line will graduate in two years - at this point he doesn't know what he wants to do, but he doesn't think he wants to go to college. We will do some career exploration during the next year. He is very artistic and interested in automobile speciality painting, then the next minute he says being a fireman sounds interesting. So I guess the future is yet to be determined and I am not going to pressure him into any certain direction - but try to show him what his options are.

Mama Squirrel said...

Dear Javamom, you know we are going through this already and dd isn't even halfway through high school! There is an insane amount of pressure on her (NOT from us) to go to university; if she tries to explain, "I like to work with computers," people start to talk about engineering programs, which isn't what she's talking about at all. Her other career-under-consideration, hairstyling, just gets kind of a "dropout? can't handle school?" reaction from people who think she should have more ambition--this is a girl who's consistently gotten 90+ marks in everything she's taken so far at the public high school--including advanced-stream science. She's just very interested in hairstyling and cosmetics, always has been! Someday maybe she'll own her own business, and what's wrong with that?

There are so many options out there, and you can switch careers midstream as well--or pick up some wonderful new skill (like rebinding peoples' Bibles for them?). Why do people expect our teenagers to have their entire lives planned out before they even graduate from high school?--and, worse, why does college entrance have to validate our homeschooling?

Javamom said...

So very well-said, Mama Squirrel.

This question you brought up "and, worse, why does college entrance have to validate our homeschooling?"
is a very good one!''

Thank you for your passionate response!