When all is said and done, when twelve years of at-home-schooling are finished, major changes stare our kids in the face. They are legal adults, they are expected to start making some major decisions, and the world can seem like a scary place.
One of the largest choices looming before them is whether or not they are going to college. By now they have hopefully researched where they would like to attend, they have applied for grants, and things are running smoothly.
On the other hand, perhaps they have slacked off and waited until the last-minute to figure things out. Maybe they have yet to decide what they want to do with their lives.
On a completely different level are the kids who never intend to acquire a higher education in the first place. College just isn’t for them, but they have a plan for their lives and are going to actively pursue it.
As a parent, it can be hard to watch our children grow up and start to take control of their own lives. After spending years making major decisions on their behalf, we wait with bated breath to see what they will do with their new-found freedom.
As homeschooling parents, we can be doubly anxious, wondering if all our hard work has “payed off” and our children have what they need to move into adulthood.
One hot topic in the homeschooling world seems to revolve around the idea of “higher education”; meaning college. Do we plan for our children to go? Do we force them to attend? Exactly how is this all supposed to work out?
I have some friends who are absolutely against the idea of their children attending college. They are concerned about their children’s faith and not at all sure the expense of college is worth the end product.
I think there are some valid arguments against whether or not college is for everyone. Not every child should go to college. If you plan to go into a trade, why waste the money? However, if you plan to be a doctor, college is a must.
For those worried about their children’s faith, I would start questioning the discipleship that is taking place in your own home . If your children haven’t learned enough about their faith and cannot defend their beliefs, why weren’t they challenged more when they were under your care? Our job isn’t just to fill their heads with facts, but to give a reason for why we believe. (1 Peter 3:15) College shouldn’t be a worry if they have a good, strong foundation in their faith.
Others would argue that college is an absolute must! There is no way their child isn’t going to college. It is not debatable, they go or they get kicked out.
This position also seems to have problems, to my way of thinking. Again, what if the child simply wishes to attend trade school or wants to work until they can be a stay-at-home mom (in the case of girls).
For some, not only are they adamant about their child attending college, but mom and dad are picking out which school they will attend. After all, they know which are the best, and why should such an important decision be left up to the kids?
While I am sure all of these parents are well meaning, it seems to defeat the purpose in both being a parent and homeschooling. My job as a parent is to work myself out of a job. In other words, I am supposed to do such a good job training them to be functioning adults, that one day they will no longer need me and can make educated, well informed decisions on their own.
Whether or not my child attends college, isn’t my choice! Would I like for my child to appreciate my input? Yes! If I have done my job right, my child will not only want my input, but respect what I have to say.
However, the actual choice for higher education remains completely in my child’s hands. My job has always been to train them up to the best of my ability, to give them the skills they will need no matter which field they find themselves. Their job is to heed the voice of the Lord and do what He tells them, not I!
I have one daughter who more than likely will go to college and I will do my best to guide her on the path the Lord lays before her. I will help her do research, locate some colleges that might fit her major, and do whatever else she might need. Ultimately though, she is the one who will have to decide if this is best for her. She will have to choose which school is best and make those choices for herself.
My second daughter has no interest in college. She intends on pursuing the domestic arts. She wants to sew, bake, crochet, and knit. She would like to spend her time working at the church and perhaps helping in a day care until she finally gets married and “does what mommy does”. That is perfectly acceptable!
My two younger children are a little too small to know which paths their lives are taking, but I am sure with time they will begin to develop a sense of where the Lord is leading.
My point is simply this… If we have done our jobs correctly and raised our children to be mature adults, then all decisions regarding higher education are out of our hands. These are decisions that our children should be making for themselves.
Our children’s adulthood should not be something we fear, but something we look forward to with great anticipation. For years our children have been developing their wings and learning how to succeed; now is the time to watch them fly.
Are your children planning on college?