Bringing things to a conclusion usually results in having to repeat oneself. Arriving at the post-secondary level in a series entitled “A Practical Guide to Home Education” is especially so.
When you consider that this is the final stage of the formal academic learning, and that it is not only the culmination of all that has transpired since “being born,” but also the point of springing into the adult world, you will understand my having to repeat things that have been brought up in the past.
After all, the points we discussed in preparation for this stage are now “coming home to roost,” so to speak.
Now, let’s get started with the end of our home education journey, so we can get on with life.
Those of you who know me will find this a bit hard to believe, but every once in a while, I will stop being busy and just relax a bit! It was during one of these “relaxing” moments that I experienced an epiphany. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, so let’s just say I had an interesting observation and subsequent thought.
I had been working on reporting my findings from a cross-Canada investigation of post-secondary admission practices for non-accredited home educated students, so the term post-secondary was front and centre in my mind. When I gave this serious thought, I realized that something was wrong with our way of describing the steps one takes in his or her learning journey.
The status quo educational system describes them this way. A child “starts learning” in play school, moves on to pre-kindergarten, followed by kindergarten, eventually “graduating” to the elementary level, then on to junior high and finally high school before advancing to the post-secondary level.
I found these steps a bit non-descriptive and confusing! I questioned how one could have a post-secondary level without having a secondary to “post” from, and if there were a secondary, it could only mean it came after a primary!
I then deduced that there are only three levels of formal learning before one embarks on his or her adult journey in life: a primary level where basic skills are learned, a secondary level, where these skills are applied, and a post-secondary level where skills are specialized for, and/or in, a particular field.
This means that “everybody goes through two main levels of formal learning to arrive at the post-secondary level.” Put another way, everybody is post-secondary bound in life. We all reach the post-secondary level where we will learn what we need to know, to do what we need to do, when we need to do it.
Nonetheless, the education industry has confused most of us into believing that something is only post-secondary if it involves institutions of higher learning. This is not necessarily true.
Photography and physical labour require specialized skills. Taxi driving is a specialized skill. Landscaping is a specialized skill. Mothering is a specialized skill. All of these things are just as much “post-secondary” as those careers requiring higher levels of education and training.
Now some careers do involve higher education, but whether a student goes through an apprenticeship to become a journeyman, goes to college for a diploma or certificate, gets a university degree, goes directly to work, starts a business, invents a widget, or starts a family, all involve specialized skills at a post-secondary level. Everybody eventually reaches the post-secondary level.
Understand that the world has a top-down manner of describing the importance of careers, thinking that the more education a student gets, the more successful he or she will be. This may be true, but only in a limited sense.
The world may see a PhD recipient as more advanced than a graduate student, who is seen as better than the undergraduate, who “towers” over the student who has been to a community college, who trumps the apprentice or the tradesman, who is smarter than the labourer, and that person, of course, is better than those at the bottom of the pile, which would be the “unsophisticated,” housewife and mother.
God simply does not see things in this vertical, top down fashion. To Him, everybody is important. There is no job or career that is more important than the other or that does not have merit. He only requires greater levels of responsibility in keeping with one’s attributes.
Think about this: Where would the doctor be if there was nobody to fix his malfunctioning toilet, or to deliver the goods that he needs to do his job, or to take out his garbage?
Nearly everybody will learn the basic skills. Most will learn to apply these skills and all will eventually learn a specialized skill set, to be employed at the post-secondary level, excepting, of course, those whose physical and/or mental handicaps prevent them from doing so. Even then, there are very few who are incapable of at least some task requiring at least some level of post-secondary skills.
God recognizes that every legitimate task is necessary and valuable. He knows that everybody will specialize in their knowledge and skills. He is the one who gave us this ability. He is the one who provides us with opportunity to incrementally advance our skills and knowledge from beginning to end.
Even if the world insists on controlling how this will be accomplished, by breaking this natural, continual process into increments, the “post-secondary level” of learning will still be a part of most every person’s learning journey. Every student is post-secondary bound.