We have always homeschooled. We have eight children ages 9-23. Our oldest two are married, and our 19-year-old is a senior in college. One of the questions we were asked a lot over the years is, “How will you pay for all of their college educations?”
There was an assumption that we would front all higher education costs AND that all our kids would go to college. Neither of these were true.
So is college is a must? I am going to share our approach which has worked really well for us so far. If you feel differently, that’s absolutely OK. But if you are feeling the pressures of higher education for your children, I want to assure you that there are many ways to accomplish the same goal.
So what is the primary goal? For us, especially for our boys, we want them to be able to provide for their families. We want them to love what they are doing and have a passion for it so that their work is enjoyable. (We all know that a person content in his/her work is a happy person!) That’s basically it.
What will the work world look like when your kids are grown? WHO KNOWS?? When our oldest kids were little, the idea of making money on the internet (the internet didn’t exist then) was not even a thought in our minds. Our world is so fast paced and is changing so quickly that there is NO way to know right now what the best jobs will be by the time our kids are employable.
It has also become evident that a degree does NOT guarantee you a good paying job. There are tons of people out there right now working retail and other non-degree jobs because they cannot find one in the field they are educated in. And many of them are drowning in school debt. This is NO way to start out life. The bottom line is that there are NO guarantees…degree or no degree.
We have felt from the beginning that the most important thing we can do is help our children find their passions. If they find that, and are hard working and resourceful (character counts), opportunities will open up. That requires trust. For us, that is trusting God to make a way for them and looking for open doors.
If a particular child’s passion requires a college education, then we will do everything we can to help him or her. If we are in a position to help with tuition and he/she is struggling, we will do that, but so far that has not been the case. Our kids know if they want to go to college, they have to work for it. They place so much more value on things when they have to work for them. It’s true for all of us.
Our two oldest are girls and have hearts to be wives and moms and to homeschool their kids. They had NO desire to go to college, but both of them had jobs before they got married. They are now both expecting babies. If one of them had had a passion for something that required college, we would have helped to make that happen, but they didn’t.
Our oldest son is 19. He has had a desire to work in the computer industry. He is currently a senior getting his degree in Computer Science, Game Development (this is creating the games, not playing them), and possibly a minor in Math . He did Running Start his last two years of high school. It’s a state program where he attended all college classes that also counted as credits for high school. So when he graduated from high school, he also had earned his AA degree. He did all this at a community college and now attends a local university.
He also applied for financial aid and scholarships, so between all of those, his education is more than paid for. He works a part time job as well, for extra income.
We are very proud of him, but we are also very proud of our kids who are choosing NOT to go to college.
So unless our kids KNOW what they want to do or at least the area they are passionate about, we don’t encourage them to start college. If one of our children has not found her passion by the time she is out of high school, our counsel would be to take some time off of school, get a job, and try some things first.
Every child is different. Our second son has no desire to go to college. He’s a completely different person, and I’ll share his story in my next post!