Without getting into the silly notion that a student cannot succeed in life without a college degree, let’s have a look at the fears and concerns regarding post-secondary education.
There are actually two main concerns at this point in the education of your children. The first is how you can direct them towards their futures and the second is how to prepare them for that future. I will attempt to address both these concerns in the next two chapters of this series.
Here again, the solutions are very simple. Firstly, not wanting to insult you or to cause undue stress, I must be perfectly honest regarding the first concern regarding your child’s future.
Your child’s future is, quite frankly, none of your business! Hard words, I understand, but please, bear with me as I give you a few self-evident facts.
You have virtually no idea of what tomorrow will bring, much less where you will be in a month, a year or a few years. We all assume things will continue on as they always have, but life clearly teaches us that this is false and that we are not in control.
If you cannot predict with certainty what your future will be, how can you presume to have any idea as to where your son or daughter will go or what they will do with their lives?
Our task is not to direct our children to their futures, but to prepare them for it, without knowing what it will be! We need to trust that our efforts in training and teaching them will pay off and it usually does. Indeed, if we have allowed our children to be comfortable in their own skins, we also need to encourage them to determine their own pathways. Not easy, but simple.
Our job as parents is to make sure that they have a good foundation upon which to build their lives, starting with the spiritual foundation of faith in God. If we have led our children to know God, they are in the care of the only one who can possibly know the future.
Not only that, but He is the one who truly knows, understands and cares for that child. Our very best efforts at parenting cannot even come close to what God knows and does. Seriously, is there a better manner to direct our children than to demonstrate a faith in God’s ability to care for them in every way, including what place they will occupy in the future?
Understanding this is of critical importance for both the students and the parents. Students need to have faith in the fact that, if they trust Him, God will guide them in their lives and if they don’t, God will do so anyway, as He remains faithful.
Parents need to understand that their job is to lead their children to God who will lead them in their lives and into their future.
Preparing children for that unknown future is no easy task and requires a lot of faith. It may seem like God has asked parents to do the impossible! But directing students to learn in keeping with their strengths and abilities works well as these attributes are what will ultimately determine where they end up. Besides, we have all heard that what is impossible for man is not so for God.
One of the most damaging lies fed to students by the school industry is that they can be anything they want to be. This is only true when taken in the context of what the child is good at.
A student that does not like or cannot understand math will not likely become an accountant or an engineer, even if he thinks he can. Similarly, one who does not like reading or writing is not likely to become a journalist. So, if they can read to survive, and be able to write a legible email to their mother when away, good enough!
If they want to work on cars, let them. Love playing music? Great! When they reach the point where they have to make a decision regarding their futures, they will either have what they need or will obtain what they need to carry on. That is how we raised them, so that is what they will do.
When students are transitioning to the post-secondary level, parents should only be in an advisory role. If parents need to be actively involved in their child’s post-secondary admission processes, the child is not ready, not mature enough, to survive with faith intact at the post-secondary level.
Now, I am not going to suggest that the transitioning to the post-secondary level will be without some fears and concerns. Once again, this is especially so for the oldest of the family. However, once parents realize that their influence, although profound, is not the only contribution towards the student’s success, and once they realize that God indeed has a part to play, their faith will melt these fears and concerns away.
Think about this. Your parents likely didn’t direct you to do what you are presently doing with your life. Likely, you did not do such a great job at predicting it either, but here you are! Truth is, if they had directed you to something, that’s probably what you didn’t do.
On a practical note, there are a few things that can be done in preparation for the post-secondary level and the most important is to properly document what has been studied, experienced and accomplished in the home education program at the secondary level.
Alberta residents who have registered through Education Unlimited for their home education are provided with excellent tools to properly and effectively record the accomplishments of their children. Post-secondary institutions from many jurisdictions have been very pleased with what we have to offer.
Please allow me a bit of bragging on this note. I have been called Canada’s foremost authority on the post-secondary admission of unaccredited home educated students. It would truly be worth your while to check out these web sites for these insights. Go to www.educationunlimited.ca and leogaumont.com. I hope you will be able to see why I so confidently state that students do not need high school accreditation, courses or diplomas to successfully move on to the post-secondary level.
Home educators have done all they can to give their children the best preparation possible for their post-secondary years. Every student will eventually arrive at this level, whatever that is. All you can do for them once they arrive there is to stand with them, to encourage and mentor them. Oh, don’t forget to pray! That is much more effective than harbouring fears and concerns.