Home Educated Post-Secondary Students: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Post-Secondary Options (Part 7)

How do the home educated end up? Are they weird? Can you tell that they have been home educated? Do they have a target on their back that says “loser”? Are they productive members of society? Can they handle post-secondary level courses?

Actually, home educated students are generally the same as those who are school educated, with one notable difference.

Like every other group, there are winners and losers. There are some home educated who swear by home education and others who swear at home education! There are some incredibly good home education stories, but there are some very sad ones too.

I would love to manipulate your understanding and tell you things are all good with home education and the home educated, but that would require me to have bad motives. The truth is, I cannot guarantee that home education will eliminate the heartaches and grievances the rest of the world has to endure. We actually live in the same world.

Home education is not the panacea or antidote to all the evils of the world, but it is the best way to at least minimize the potential wrecks we see in this world. Let’s just say that since children are made “at home” by parents, they are likely best educated at home by those same parents.

I don’t believe that any caring person wants to see students become wrecks, but it happens. Indeed, the very reason that parents decided to home educate is to eliminate the risk of wrecks. Home educating parents will never eliminate wrecks, but they will greatly reduce the potential of students making the wrong decisions.

It would be unfair to say that school teachers want to direct students into making bad decisions.

It is, however, fair to say that a system designed and delivered by a disconnected government bureaucracy will want to have students serve government rather than God. That is one of the biggest differences between the schooled and the home educated.

A solid biblical foundation of what God has decreed to be right and wrong will go a long way towards building a solid life.

This is not to say that all home educated students are raised in a Christian environment, nor am I saying that secular home educators have a greater potential for failure. I am saying that children equipped with a knowledge of the truth will make more solid decisions respecting life.

A faith foundation aside, home educated students, whether instructed within a Christian or secular environment will, on average do better, as parents are better qualified to meet the individual needs of their children.

Even the very best teacher simply cannot be mom or dad. Again, this is not to say that teachers will not influence students, whether positively or negatively, but teachers may not share a common worldview and objective with parents. Regardless, there is no replacement for the unconditional love of a parent for a child.

Home educated students are generally more confident in themselves and more certain about what they want. They have usually taken personal responsibility for their own education at an early age and generally have a better work ethic.

Not only do the home educated usually surpass their school peers in academic abilities and confidence, but generally display a higher level of overall maturity, which is that one notable difference mentioned earlier.

I have advocated post-secondary admission of unaccredited home educated students at post-secondary institutions across Canada for many years.

This longstanding direct experience has brought me to the understanding that the home educated generally do better, on average, than their school counterparts. They may initially display a need to become acquainted with the “school” nature of post-secondary institutions, but they quickly learn, adapt and rocket to the top of the class.

In fact, the most common concern I get from admissions people is that the home educated tend to be overachievers. How that can be seen as an issue has remained a mystery to me to this day!

I could tell you dozens of stories about the incredible success of the home educated.

These stories would not just be about those who have gone on to institutions of higher learning, but also about those who went to work and were quickly promoted to management, those who started successful businesses, and those who chose to serve their fellow man in some way, not to mention those who chose to advance family over career.

After over forty years of real experience in pretty well every manner and method of education I can say, without reservation, that there is no better preparation for life than being home educated.

I can also unequivocally state that my faith in God and experience in home education has led me to have no doubts about the home educated’s potential for success and there are plenty of objective studies to back this up.

The home educated are still free to make bad decisions, which does occasionally happen. But even without the government’s accreditation and approval they end up doing just fine.

Understanding College Admissions: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Post-Secondary Options (Part 4)

Once it is determined that you need to attend some institution of higher learning as part of your career plans, you will have to investigate what it will take to gain admission. I need to remind you that I addressed this issue earlier in this series and suggest you go back and review this information before proceeding.

Institutes of higher learning have rules for entry which vary from program to program. These are known as prerequisites which usually include specific courses you will need, to show you have sufficient knowledge to succeed in the program of choice.

Diplomas may be mentioned as needed, but they are not necessary, as it is not so much a requirement, as a measure of your ability to finish what you have started. Having completed a home education program is certainly proof that you can finish what you started.

No institution in Canada, that I am aware of, will refuse a student who does not have a diploma.

Every student in this province is given an Alberta Student Number (ASN) to which are attached records including a provincial transcript and whether or not a diploma has been awarded.

Home educated students who have avoided provincial programming (credits) at the secondary or high school level have an ASN like most every other student, but will not have this transcript or diploma, which is actually a good thing.

All students who have earned at least some credits will have a transcript created in their name associated with their ASN.

It is very important to understand that any transcript containing some but not all the required credits for a diploma may actually be a hindrance to post-secondary admission as it could come with the stigma of being a dropout or of not being able to finish what you started.

For this reason, we very highly recommend that home educated students stay away from public programming.

Please listen carefully! Colleges, technical institutes, universities, etc., have two sets of admission criteria: one for students who have attended government sponsored schools where students work towards credits and diplomas, (known as standard admission criteria), and one for those students who have not.

Alternate admission criteria is used when assessing any student who has not followed provincial programming, including inter-provincial, international and home educated students.

If you have followed standard government programming and earned the correct combination of credits to earn your Alberta High School Diploma, you will be assessed for admission using standard admission criteria.

If you have earned credits, but not enough to earn the diploma, you will also be assessed using standard admission criteria, but you may encounter some challenges, which are not insurmountable, as long as you have good marks in the requisite courses.

Unaccredited home educated students are not any more disadvantaged than their public school counterparts, but usually have to help admission personnel understand the need to assess them using their alternate admission criteria. This is often simply done by informing the admission person of the fact that you have been home educated.

If the institution you are applying to is a large one, it may be necessary to ask for a more senior person to assess your qualifications for enrolment. Alternate admissions are often handled by those who have more experience with registrations.

Diplomas aside, whether using standard or alternate admission criteria, every post-secondary institution will have prerequisites for entry into all their programs. Prerequisite courses are non-negotiable and they should not be treated as unnecessary.

Usually these are communicated in the language of school, such as English, Math or Biology at the 30 level, but once again, this is a standard measure of subject proficiency. It is not that they require 30 level courses, but rather a certain level of understanding of a particular subject.

Home educated students need not concern themselves with these specific 30 level requirements as you should be assessed using alternate admission criteria. However, you will have to demonstrate that you have an equivalent or better level of training.

Keep in mind that home education programs usually have a much higher level of academic rigour than school programs, so it should not be difficult to prove that you have the equivalent to school-based 30 level programs.

Once you clearly understand how post-secondary institutions of higher learning work, you need only ascertain that you have what it takes to be accepted and to succeed at the program being taken.

Registrars are looking for the best candidates to fill the limited seats in their institution. Your job is to convince them that you are one of those candidates.

General Post-Secondary Issues: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Post-Secondary Options (Part 2)

The most common educational hang ups are a result of the unquestioned authority of government over parents in education. This seemingly universal acceptance leads us to believe that unless the government has approved of our education, we have no education, no passport to the post-secondary level, and no hope for the future.

Somehow not getting a high school diploma has been equated with educational “suicide”! This is an urban legend. Please understand that a high school diploma is simply NOT necessary to advance in life.

The one and only thing that can be said of this diploma is that it took at least twelve years to get. No other guarantee given or implied!

If and when a diploma is requested by either an employer or a post-secondary institution, simply assure them that you have been well educated at home, that you are able to meet challenges head-on and that you complete what you have started. These three assurances are what is being sought for by those who request it.

Now that we have dealt with the myth of having to have a diploma to advance in life, let me repeat myself again by emphasizing the importance of not going to any institution of higher learning unless it is absolutely necessary. Many of these places are bastions of Godless, unbiblical, anti-Christian philosophies and political beliefs. Proceed with caution, if you have to.

Should you desire or need to go to a post-secondary institution, be sure that you are properly equipped with a defensible Christian worldview. You will need to be able to stand on your own spiritual two feet or you could be sucked into a godless vortex.

When you have understood that you do not require a diploma and have determined that you need or want to go to an institute of higher learning, and you are spiritually prepared for what will come your way, you will need to proceed with applying for admission. Before doing this, there a few things that you should know.

Several years ago, when we were just starting to advance the acceptance of unaccredited home educators into the post-secondary arena, I became involved with the admission process of a 25 year old student. He had been home educated, completing a program of high academic rigour and had been in the work force for several years when he decided to apply for admission to a two year technical program.

Unsurprisingly, the institution rejected him for not having standard high school credits. He then asked to see the registrar to ascertain what could be done to fix the problem.

I had a good relationship with the registrar at that time so he contacted me for advice.

It turned out that he was not nearly as concerned about the student’s academic qualifications as he was about his having been accompanied to the interview by his mother, who had dominated the conversation. He wondered if the student was mature enough to handle what was needed for success.

Really? Was Mom needed to defend her twenty-five year old son or was she defending her decision to home educate? Neither was or is necessary.

There is a moral to this story. Unless you are prepared to do the entire admission process by yourself, without the need to have your parents back you up or defend you, don’t even start.

Speaking of interviews, let me make a few suggestions for success, aside from advising you to go to it alone. A well dressed, self-confident person who knows what he or she wants, is bound to make a good impression. Be firm, yet considerate.

Insist on speaking to someone who understands home education and be prepared to back your claims to being qualified with a transcript, a portfolio or some other proof of proficiency.

Now what should you do if you are not accepted? For starters, don’t take it as a personal rejection. Failing to gain admission can be for any number of reasons, most of which can be fixed.

If the problem is not having prerequisite courses, get them. If it is because they don’t understand home education, help them. If it is because the program is already full, plan to remind them enough times to make sure you are part of the program next year. In the meantime, go get some work and earn some money towards the education you want, without amassing debt!

Accept rejection as a challenge to try harder next time. However, let’s not omit the possibility that rejection is the hand of God protecting you from doing something that is not in keeping with who you are or what you can do.

We have seen many an example of broken hearted students later being thankful for having not been accepted in a career in which they would have been miserable.

The most common mistake home educated students make is failing to make their home education known when they are applying. The second one is just giving up if initially rejected.

If you really believe that this is what you want and that it is in keeping with who you are, don’t take no for an answer. Persistence will eventually win. Just don’t quit.

Everybody is Post-Secondary Bound: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Post-Secondary Options (Part 1)

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.

Does Higher Education Mean Better Success? A Practical Guide to Home Education – Planning Ahead (Part 4)

Continuing with our bad career idea of being whatever you want to be, I want to share something I experienced while doing an East Coast circuit of talks several years ago. As we were billeted, we got a chance to have personal contact with a number of people who had organized the events.

As usual, the dialogue eventually took us to discuss what we were doing for a living.

Funny, isn’t it? What we recently talked about in a video as being the biggest decisions in life end up being what we are most interested to learn about other people, starting with our questioning their worldview perspective, then their marital status and/or family makeup and finally the careers involved.

As we moved from place to place, I started to take note of a pattern respecting the careers of the people with whom I was associating. We were billeted with a university math professor, a fisherman, a pastor, a teacher, a policeman, a music producer, a financial planner, a prosthetist and a host of other people in various positions, postings, careers and jobs.

What became clear to me was that it did not seem to matter whether these careers involved a lot of higher education, or money or prestige, or not.

The thread that ran through it all was that pretty well everybody I visited was happy with what they were doing for a living, with the notable exception of the fellow who said he made his living by shoving cars down people’s throats!

Obviously, this individual was not happy with his placement, nor was the physical education instructor at the local college who could not understand why others did not see things his way.

Both these individuals were in the wrong place, highlighting that there are only two possible careers, that being, the right one and the wrong one, which, as previously stated, is determined by the individual characteristics of the person.

So much for the school-based idea about people becoming anything they want to be!

Later on, when I asked how many in the audience I was addressing were post-secondary educated, that is, had some training, diploma, certificate or degree beyond a “grade 12”, over three quarters of the crowd indicated they had.

Asking those who had post-secondary training to leave their hands up if they were presently employed in their field of training, nearly every hand went down!

Further probing the crowd, when I asked how many were content with their present employment, nearly every hand went up, clearly demonstrating that post-secondary training, while important, seemed to be disconnected from what people ended up doing with their lives, exposing yet another bad idea about careers, which is, that more education guarantees a better placement.

I also asked one more question after noticing that there were a few people who stated that they had some kind of post-secondary training and that they were working in their field of training.

When I asked how many knew at a young age that they wanted to do what they are doing today, the same people had their hands up. Not willing to accept this as coincidence, I asked what they did for a living.

They fell into two categories. They were either tradesman or farmer and fisherman, which have one common characteristic. Both of these careers are initially learned from people doing the job. That is, the skills are learned from experts in the field.

This was interesting as folks going into these careers usually do not go to college to find them, but rather know what they want and go to college to qualify to do just that. This educational process is called apprenticeship, but we can also refer to it as mentorship.

This East Coast experience led me to question the whole idea of why the world advances going to college as the most important thing one can do respecting education. Perhaps this is why there are a number of people who, while post-secondary educated, are not actually working in the field they’re trained in.

I believe that there are two lessons here. The first is that post-secondary training does not guarantee success and that if we try to find a career by first getting the training for it, there is a good possibility of failure.

The second lesson is that we ultimately find our place, with or without this higher training. God sees to it, if we let Him.

There’s a prevailing view that higher education means greater success. Is it true that the more education someone has, the more successful he or she is going to be? No. Perhaps yes, but that will depend on whether you start by determining what you desire as a career, or simply go to college to find that.

Higher education is certainly beneficial, providing more options for possible careers, but it does not guarantee a successful placement in life. However, before we proceed further down this path, we will have to discuss what success actually is.

Alternatives to Accreditation: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Finishing Strong (Part 5)

Now that we have established that parental ignorance of the systemic use of accreditation, largely motivated by the increased funding associated with it, is to blame for the normalization of public school credits at home, I would like to provide an alternative to public accreditation.

Once the accumulation of “high school” credits is started, whether at home or at school, there is no turning back, as anything short of the full completion of all requirements for a high school diploma deems the student a dropout, much the same as the GED does.

That is, if a student earns a single credit either through school or a school-based program, a provincial transcript is created that is attached to the individual’s Alberta Student Number (ASN).

Parents should be warned that home education providers who offer high school credits usually do not reveal this information, as it is not in their best interest.

While it is imperative that parents understand that accreditation is not essential to successfully transition to the post-secondary level, it is also important to note that to seek accreditation is to embark on the most demanding and frustrating option for the secondary level of a home education.

This is due to the challenge of trying to complete a program designed to be delivered by a teacher in a school, forcing students and parents to jump through the hoops required to complete a high school program.

Parents or students motivated by wanting to outperform regular school attendees at school programming, need to consider that demonstrating the ability to do better at school work, comes with questionable benefits.

Students “schooling at home” place themselves in competition for post-secondary admission with every other accredited student. Since it is more difficult to “honestly” do better with “school work” at home than at school, students often find themselves handicapped with lower marks.

Also, if the focus of the family faith is biblical, parents should be aware that the accreditation route does not follow biblical principles.

Christian parents should, therefore, be concerned when a school claiming to be “Christian” offers public programming as an incentive to attend or register with their institution.

Parents should also be wary of schools and home education providers “pretending” to meet the course requirements in order to award credits. Although doing so greatly benefits the school, students rarely complete the requirements for a high school diploma and usually do not merit the marks required for post-secondary admission using this approach.

Whether credits are honestly or dishonestly obtained at school or at home, public accreditation returns us to the secular world for our future direction, acknowledging the state as lord of our education.

It is far better and easier to allow a student to be who God has created than fitting him or her into the “one-size-fits-all” expectations demanded by those who know nothing of the child.

Completing secondary training at home, without government accreditation, is a much better option because there is no time wasted on subjects that are not needed. Students are allowed to be comfortable with who they are, can specialize early and by the time they are old enough to drive, are usually ready for the world to receive them.

Meanwhile, their school friends are putting in time awaiting the day when they are paroled from the institution with no greater access to post-secondary options than those who chose to continue their preparations at home without the burden of meeting that which is required for accreditation.

Even though most post-secondary institutions will advise that credits are needed for admission, (due to the fact that most applicants come with a school-based education), most usually have alternative admission criteria that take alternative students, including the home educated, into account.

Alternative students following alternative home education curricula that more closely compares to first year post-secondary programs than to a school grade 12, have a definite advantage over standard school students.

When taking into account the fact that the traditional home educated, who have been given the freedom and opportunity to advance at their own speed, in keeping with what interests them, usually have a higher level of maturity and a more highly developed work ethic, it becomes easier to understand why most excel at the post-secondary level.

So, is there a need for government accreditation at the high school level? No! Alternative students use alternative methods to gain access to post-secondary opportunities, whatever that may be.

Once ready, post-pubescent students will begin to show signs of ownership and self-motivation, resulting in a great deal of learning usually taking place in a very short time. This should be the parent’s cue to back off from “programming” and allow the child to mould into their future, without neglecting to provide new opportunities for learning.

Finally, please understand that only in a traditional home education setting, can a student truly follow an individualized program which cannot be obtained through public accreditation.

What About Post-Secondary Admissions? Fears and Concerns Series (Part 11)

Students who have been educated at home come in two main “formats.” There are those who have, in some fashion, simply brought school home and have generally followed public programming, ending up with government issued credits, transcripts and possibly diplomas. These “home-schooled” students do not usually pose challenges for admissions as they are usually assessed using the standard admission criteria expected of all students.

I should, however, warn you that to have a few credits can be more damaging than no credits at all, as a few credits may generate a transcript without a diploma which can come with the stigma of being a “dropout.” Completing the GED creates much the same problem.

The “home educated” or “unschooled” students, on the other hand, have followed alternate, individualized programming and as a consequence, lack the standard credits, transcripts and diplomas.

Now, although the home educated are generally as well or better prepared for post-secondary studies than their public schooled counterparts, lacking standard admission credentials does require admissions personnel to use some form of alternate criteria when assessing these students for admissions.

If you have not followed this clearly, let me say it a different way. If you do what everyone else does, you get to be measured like everyone else is. If you are different, you must be measured differently. The standard way is measured with standard admission criteria and the different way with alternate admission criteria.

Either way, post-secondary institutions are looking for the best students and every student must demonstrate that they are the best candidates for success in the institution. After all, one must understand that institutions of higher learning are businesses that don’t make their best money on failures. It is in their best interest to find those students who will succeed and earn them money.

This is why every program comes with prerequisites or a list of “have-to haves” that must be met before a student is considered for admission.

Prerequisites cannot be argued away. If an institution says you need English, Math and particular sciences, you must show that you have what it takes. Now, under normal circumstances they will refer to government programming like level 30, but understand that this is because most people applying for admission have come from the school system.

What the institutions are asking for is not necessarily an English 30 course, but an ability to do work in English equivalent to that level. This is called proficiency. They are looking for a level of proficiency in certain subjects that you will need to prove. There are a number of ways that this can be done.

To this end, I have summarized alternate admission practices generally in use by post-secondary institutions when considering unaccredited home educated applicants in my article entitled “Summary of Post-Secondary Admissions Practices”.

We have been helping post-secondary institutions and unaccredited home educated students to understand each other, and the unique challenges that need to be addressed when seeking admission, for a long time. Please go the web site, www.educationunlimited.ca under Resources and click on Post-Secondary Admissions to see how post-secondary institutions from across Canada are willing and able to deal with the unaccredited home educated student.

We have found that our post-secondary students admitted without government issued accreditation are often outstanding students. I believe that this is due to two main things.

First of all, home educated students are usually sure of themselves, are not confused as to who they are and therefore have no need to go to college to find themselves. They know what they want, what is required to get there, and what it takes to succeed.

Secondly, home educated students have had to practice self-motivation and personal responsibility and have learned how to do what has to be done to get where they want to go. In short, home educated students demonstrate a level of maturity not often found within their “schooled” peers.

When questioned, most institutions who have admitted unaccredited home educated students have discovered that if there is one characteristic that can generally be attributed to these kinds of students, it is that they tend to be overachievers. Wow! Good news!

That’s it! Once students have transitioned from the secondary to the post-secondary level, parents have worked themselves out of a job. There will always be a need to support, encourage and mentor your now-grown-up, son or daughter, but the education part of it is done, and likely well done, at that.

The fears and concerns regarding home education that likely bothered you in the past, have now gone away. You likely discovered that you could have saved yourself a lot of grief if you would have trusted in God rather than having put confidence in man and that all the false information you were fed about the need to look like everyone else was simply scare mongering and not factual.

However, there is one more opportunity for fear to grip you in this journey. I like to call this one “Fears and Concerns Level 5” and I will talk about this one next time.

Preparing for Post-Secondary: Fears and Concerns Series (Part 10)

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.