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Alternatives to Higher Education: What’s Your Plan?

Alternatives to Higher Education: What’s Your Plan?

Parenting is a challenge as any parent will tell you.  Education is one of the parenting issues that consume a large portion of parents thought life. Once parents have gotten their child through elementary, middle and high school, what do they do about college?

Related Post:  6 Key Insights from Homeschool Moms

We will explore some alternatives to higher education.

Parents are concerned about the high cost of college, the pressure to fit in and conform, or making it through to graduation.

Interestingly, parents have held to the idea that the traditional four-year college is the only path after high school.   There are some alternatives to higher education that parents should consider.

Alternatives to Higher Education and College Debt

Many schools offer some level of scholarship or grants to students.  This is helpful to a point.  Grants and scholarships are not paid back. However, students find that there is still a gap in tuition they are responsible for.

If three-quarters of the bill is covered by grants and scholarship that leaves one-quarter of the cost for the family to come up with. If that is $25,000, that amount is multiplied by four in order to get to graduation. For most students that means school loans that will follow the student for several years after graduation.

I am not saying the students and families should not pay for education.  The cost of college is increasing at a rate that is alarming and debilitating.  Look closely at the major you want to pursue.  There may be alternatives to working in the field of your choice.

Debt looms heavy over the heads of young people long after they have left the halls of higher learning.

In addition, many students that enter college with the intention of earning a four-year degree, do not graduate. The college may not be a good fit for the student or traumatic events can cut a college career short.

Tragically, young adults are left to pay off debt that represents time spent on the college campus but no diploma. Click To Tweet Without the diploma, their chances of landing a higher paying job can seem slim.

The future looks very bleak for these students. That’s a terrible way to begin life as an adult.  Debt hinders these young adults’ chance of having a disposable income to purchase a car or home.  The pattern is a cruel one and needs to be changed.

Alternatives to Higher Education and Pressures of College Life

Furthermore, students face pressures that lead to poor decisions that impact the rest of their lives.

Students will be challenged on many different fronts:

  • time management
  • homesickness
  • drug and alcohol experimentation and use
  • premarital sex
  • situations that challenge long-held values

Parents send their children off to college with the hopes that their child will hold onto the values instilled in them but temptations often overpower solid foundations.

The cyber world provides an opportunity for young adults to dive into a dark and dangerous world. The hope is that students will exercise good judgment in this area.

Alternatives to Higher Education

Hopefully, these alternatives to higher education will give you a place to start looking for different paths to post-secondary education.

Think about what the end game is.  Young adults need to be independent thinkers.  They need to be able to take care of themselves once they leave school.  Young people should be able to use their gifts and talents in their chosen career.

I think about Charlotte Mason’s approach to education.  She encouraged teachers to include teaching a practical craft that students could then use as a possible means of earning money.  This was not the type of craft that you stick on the refrigerator door just to be admired.  These crafts had actual function and use.

STEM careers or medical licenses require the traditional college path. Many careers, however, do not need a traditional college degree.

Alternatives to Higher Education-Start a Business

In the age of the internet, the possibility of starting an online business is a viable alternative to higher education.  Think outside the box.  Your son or daughter’s natural gifts and abilities may find a place in the marketplace. Video platforms are flourishing which makes it possible for your child to teach something on their own Youtube or Periscope channel.

Alternatives to Higher Education-Learn a Trade

Many of our craftsmen are getting older and which is leaving a gap that the younger generation can fill.  Young adults can learn a skilled trade and earn a very good living. This is another alternative that may not require a four-year degree. Auto mechanics and photographers are invaluable.  Appliance repairmen command good salaries as well.  These are jobs that are valuable but do not necessarily require a four-year degree.

Mike Rowe has found a new appreciation for skilled labor.  He has written a book entitled Profoundly Disconnected which highlights the beauty of a doing an honest day’s hard work.  He focusses on the skilled labor jobs.  He is attempting to help others appreciate these jobs.  The skilled labor or blue collar jobs have lost esteem in the eyes of many of our youth.

Perhaps that is a mistake.

These are jobs that may not be glamorous but one can raise a family.  Enjoy Mike reading the preface to his book. You will enjoy the book but please, do not listen to it while you are eating.  You have been warned. Click the link at the bottom.

Alternatives to Higher Education Community College

The community college is another alternative to higher education.  If a four-year college is still a goal of your young adult, encourage them to look into community colleges for the basic courses. Students take general education courses in community college at a fraction of the cost of a four-year college.  This allows the student to save money as they complete approximately half of their college coursework at an institution that costs a portion of the four-year college cost.

Alternatives to Higher Education-Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are also great alternatives to going the traditional higher education route.  They are similar to internships in that they both offer close interaction with a seasoned skilled laborer.  This relationship allows for the expert in the relationship to give the student close instruction and supervision as the student is learning a new skill.  Apprenticeships are paid position. This is the difference between the two opportunities.  The construction industry is experiencing growth in the offering apprenticeships

Additional information on Apprenticeships may be found in companies like Echoing Green and UnCollege Gap Year.

Alternatives to Higher Education-Join the Military

The military life can be a good alternative to higher education for a young man or woman. I have written a blog post about homeschoolers and humanity and the military academies.  There are many homeschool families that may be interested in the academies.  Read the post to find out what you will need if you are a homeschool family.  They are it’s an opportunity for young men and women to dig deep and find the courage and strength to serve our country.  Students can get a sense of what military life is like by joining Jr. ROTC in high school.  The military life is one of discipline and dedication students can gain a sense of patriotism and loyalty.

Interestingly, our young adults have many freedoms they may not be ready for. They may not say it out loud, but they enjoy the structure that the military life offers.  The structure allows the young adult to mature and discover his or her strengths and weaknesses while contribution to the defense of his or her country.

Finally, it is easy to see that there are several options to the traditional higher education route.  Hopefully, this will give some insight as to what is possible for a young adult.  Are there other options not mentioned here? Do you have an opportunity for a young high school graduate?

 

 

 

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6 Key Insights from Seasoned Homeschool Moms About Their Journey.

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6 Key Insights from Seasoned Homeschool Moms About Their Journey

Educating our children is a huge responsibility as well as a privilege. Many parents wonder what’s the best way to educate their children.

Here are some words of wisdom and homeschool advice from seasoned homeschool moms. They share wisdom and homeschool tips they have learned as result of spending many years homeschooling.

What is the one thing that many parents wish they knew before they started homeschooling?

Parents choose to send their children to public schools, private schools or they might choose to homeschool. Whatever the choice, parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their children.

This post will share homeschooling tips and advice from seasoned homeschool moms.  These moms learned some key lessons they want you to be aware of.

We are going to share those lessons here.  Each mom was asked to share one thing they wished they knew about homeschooling before they started.  The answers should provide you with food for thought as well as courage as you progress through your unique educational journey.

Here are some benefits of homeschooling that you may be familiar with.

6 Key Insights from Seasoned Homeschool Moms

6 Key Insights from Seasoned Homeschool Moms

Benefits of Homeschooling

  • Freedom to choose the approach or curriculum that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. You may be thinking of Unschooling or the using Charlotte Mason approach, or something more mainstream like Apologia. The choices abound when considering the type of homeschool you want to establish. The beautiful thing is that you can make adjustments where and when you need to.  These resources are wonderful guides to help you along your way.

 

  • Students can take a deep dive into the subjects they find interesting. Take the liberty to allow your children to learn as much as they can about a subject they are interested in.  You will notice that these moms advise you to pay attention to the interests of your children.  They will do a lot in helping you figure which direction they should go.

 

  • Family time increases. This time is important for teaching the special nuances of your family.  You have particular values that you want to see your children carry.  These won’t be disregarded in your own homeschool.  You will have the ability to expose your children to the truths you hold dear.

Concerns About Homeschooling

Some of the concerns parents face along the decision-making journey include; lack of support from friends and family, financial concerns, doing it the right way and burnout.  Homeschool parents often worry about making mistakes as they educate their children.

Parents want the best for their children so they are very aware of the challenges before them.   You will notice that these moms want you to know that you can relax.  There is support out there and you can do this if you choose.

Insights from Seasoned Homeschool Moms

Several seasoned homeschool moms were asked to share the one thing they wished they knew before they started homeschooling.  As you read their insights, it is my hope that you will gain clarity concerning what homeschooling can be like for you and your family.

I trust this will serve to encourage you in your next steps.

Here is the question.

What is the one thing you wish you knew about homeschooling before you started?

Melanie Willson’s Answer

Melanie Wilson

Melanie Wilson

Melanie Wilson is a seasoned homeschool mom with 6 children. Melanie from Psychowith6.com shares her concern about college for her homeschooled children”.

Here is her response to the question.

“What I wish I had known when I started homeschooling is that I didn’t need to worry about college.  I mistakenly thought my kids would have to know specific science or history facts for college entrance exams and they didn’t.

The studying and test-taking practice they got (especially from using Apologia (science) has enabled my three oldest sons to do very well in college.  All my worry was wasted!

Obviously, Melanie prepared her children well.  She taught them the process of learning.

They were then able to take those skills and apply them to the rigors of college.  Thank you, Melanie for being such an awesome homeschool mom.

Related Post:  Homeschoolers are Entering Military Academies and Doing Well

You can catch Melanie at Homeschoolscopes.tv.  She, along with many other homeschool moms share other insights and tips on homeschooling.  This is a group of women that warmly embrace homeschool moms while sharing wisdom and encouragement.

As Melanie mentioned, her worries concerning the college years were put to rest as her children did well in college.   Stop by and visit her website or HomeschoolScopes.tv and get to know Melanie Wilson.

 

Be sure to check out her book The Organized Homeschool Life and Grammar Galaxy program as well.



She truly is one of the seasoned homeschool moms you want to glean from.

Meka Wilson’s Key Insights

Meka Wilson is a wonderful homeschool mom with valuable insights gained from her years homeschooling her two

Seasoned homeschool mom Meka Wilson.

Meka and Bryon Wilson with their two girls.

daughters. She is also a talented singer and is married to Bryan Wilson, a talented visual artist. She wished she knew “that it’s ok if my children aren’t grasping a concept initially. 

I believe we put too much pressure on children and ourselves that things have to be perfect.  They are individuals and everyone learns differently. 

I’d remind myself to not get caught up in people’s opinion of what we should do as a homeschool family”.

Meka found the wisdom and insight to allow her girls to be free to be who God created them to be. Click To Tweet The standards were the Lord’s, not some man-made yardstick for what schooling or education should be.

Her girls are flourishing and spreading their wings in the area of entrepreneurship.

 

Amy Milcic’s Answer

Amy Milcic

Amy Milcic

Amy Milcic of Rock Your Homeschool shares an important tip for parents that are transitioning their children from public school to homeschool.  This key insight is true if you are coming from a private school as well.

Amy says, “Before I started homeschooling, I wish I would have known that it’s okay to go slow when you transition from public school.  My two older boys had attended for a few years.

I thought we had to keep up with their peers.  I quickly learned that my boys needed a break from all the pressure to rediscover their love of learning.

My #1 tip: relax & enjoy this precious time with your kids.  It’s not a sprint, but more like a lovely amble through the woods with different paths to select from that all lead to the joy of a solid home education.”

Amy’s key insight is to enjoy your time with your children and discover the many different paths in the homeschool journey.  This seasoned homeschool mom makes it seem so possible to enjoy homeschool life to the fullest, doesn’t she?

Be sure to visit her website.  Amy has amazing blog posts on how to help your child be assertive as well as dealing with bullying.  There are some wonderful free printables there as well.  You can get to know Amy better at Rockyourhomeschool.net

Angel Penn’s Key Insights

Angel Penn

Angel Penn

Angel is another wise and seasoned homeschool mom with rich insight for new and aspiring homeschool parents.  Angel Penn blogs at AngelPenn.com.

She recently hosted a blog party focusing on marriage.  As a result of the blog party, she has compiled 28 days of blog posts.   Please hop over to The Journey Through I Do.  Check out the series. You will be blessed.

She shares her response here.

“ I wished someone had told me my homeschooling style/room/curriculum didn’t have to resemble anyone else’s. I felt pressured to make sure that my boys had a dedicated school area, some curriculum etc…

This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Personalizing your homeschooling experience for your family is a LOT easier when you take steps towards what works for you and not feel pressured to have it look like someone’s else’s.”

This is a great tip! Homeschools are as personal and as unique as families.  This is the way it should be. Don’t fall into the temptation of comparing yourself or your style to anyone else’s.

The goals may be similar but the way we reach that goal should be tailored to the unique personality of your family.  Enjoy the uniqueness of your children.

Amy Michaels’ Key Insights

Amy Michaels

Amy Michaels

Amy Michaels taught elementary school before she became a homeschool mom. She brings her skills and experience as a classroom teacher to the homeschooling community.

Check out her Youtube videos as she walks you through some of the resources she has put together for other homeschool moms.  Her program is called Thrivehomeschooling.

These videos contain a wealth of information and insight that homeschool families will benefit from.

Here is Amy’s answer to the question we posed.

“When I started homeschooling, I put a lot of time and energy into finding the “right” curriculum for my child. However, I quickly realized that the “right curriculum” changed in the various phases of her learning.

Now, I know meeting her where she is and providing natural opportunities to learn skills and knowledge is key for us to stress much less and really enjoy homeschooling together.

Finding the balance between child-led learning and weaving in the skills she needs to know took time to find, but it is a priceless place for authentic and life-long learning!

You can hear the gentleness in her tone as she talks about getting in tune with the needs of her children.

 

Kasha Foster’s Insights

Kasha Foster is another seasoned homeschool mom. She has two girls and two boys who have very different personalities and needs, as is true of all children.

Her insights and wisdom reveal the need to lean heavily upon the Holy Spirit.  She and I had a chance to talk about her insights and she shared that there are things that occur in families that nobody plans for.

Some of those things may make it necessary to homeschool or impossible to homeschool. Prayer is going to be key in every situation.  The Lord knows your needs and your children.  He is faithful to meet those needs so you do not need to worry.  Put everything in His hands.

Kasha’s husband Paul helped in the homeschooling journey which is another factor that can greatly enhance the journey. When both parents are involved in the education of their children there is a bond that is strengthened among all of the family members.

Paul has also co-written a book entitled Competing Realities that focuses on the challenges of living a Christian life in a world that is often opposed to the Christian World View. This book will give you insight into how to handle the challenges ahead.  You will find the link to the book below.

Clearly,  invaluable wisdom is shared. Each mom has shared what they learned on their homeschool journey.  Be sure to visit there blogs and websites to glean even more wisdom and insights.  The support you receive from other homeschool moms can make the difference in your homeschool journey.

I hope you have found this post helpful. Take advantage of the resources I shared.

As I mentioned, educating your child is a huge responsibility.  Our children are our future.  This decision is a personal one and one that should be handled with prayer.  Whatever you decide, I hope to be of help to you on your journey.

Be sure to check some of the other resources that can be found on this blog regarding family and education.

Let me know some of your insights and wisdom.   What have you learned along the way?  Please share in the comments below and remember to enjoy the journey with your family.

You may also want to check out some of these resources as you gather facts on homeschooling.

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