As parents and homeschoolers, we too fall victim to the assumption that we should teach and raise our children to get good grades, go to college and then get a good job. However, none of us should automatically follow that path without intentional consideration and planning centered around the interests and personalities of our children.
Let’s look at a few key aspects about college. First, the statistics related to kids leaving their faith once entering college is stifling and should make any parent hesitate and reconsider. According to Campus Renewal, their recent studies indicated that up to 70% of students leave their faith during the first year transitioning into college. Wow! Now, your first thought might be that of Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” A powerful reminder of our role as parents and full of truth. However, should we consciously put our children in that environment knowing these statistics?
Two, college is not cheap and as a result, loan debt has become a BIG problem. According to a recent article in Forbes, students graduating college in 2016 owed an average of $37,172 for school loans. That’s a difficult way to start life as a self-sustaining “grown up” looking to successfully contribute to their community. Of the $21 trillion U.S. debt, over $1.4 trillion of it is related to school loan debt.
Third, a college degree does not automatically lead to a good paying job. The average starting salary for new college grads has increased slightly to just under $50K a year. However, as good as that may sound, once we understand the Practical Poverty Level taught by Josh Tolley in his powerful book, “Evangelpreneur,” we know that average starting salary is not encouraging news.
Rather than putting all the focus on traditional college, an alternative route to post high-school education that often gets overlooked is trade school. Learning a skilled trade can offer opportunities in becoming an electrician, carpenter, plumber, welder, aircraft mechanic, HVAC tech, dental hygienist among a variety of other well-paying and fulfilling careers. Many of these paths often surpass the starting salaries of jobs taken by those graduating with four-year degrees.
For homeschool families, these skilled trades can be explored at a young age and the process can be incorporated into your daily schooling routine. Perhaps a family member, friend or local businessperson in your community would be willing to teach the skill or offer an apprenticeship to a young man or woman interested in learning their trade.
At the end of the day, as parents, we need to realize that one size does not fit all when it comes to higher education. Just because the masses go down one road does not mean we all need to follow. Understand your child’s personality and value their interests. Allow them to explore different paths. You just never know, it could lead to an amazing career.
For a deep dive on this subject, Backstage Pass Members get access to our full interview with Josh Tolley, of Purple Monkey Garage, where he talks about the importance of entrepreneurship training in our homeschools. Click here for Josh’s full Interview.
Photos by Ryan Jacobson and Pang Yuhao, Unsplash.com