Unschooling College Ideas

5 Books to Help your HS Grad Make Money AND Love Life

Those of you who read my blog know that we have been exploring options that do not necessarily include 4 years in college and the debt that can go with it. Yes, I have children that have gone the college route. Yes, for the most part, it was a good move for both of them (except the mortgage sized loan and the year and a half-long job hunt that lead to a career whose monthly salary before taxes is less than is needed to pay half of that loan. Sigh.)   

Our son will likely not thrive in the college scene. Check out the Unschooling College Ideas section for more blog posts on this subject.  That being said, he has big ideas and big dreams, but isn’t sure how to get there. He knows that when his friends graduate from college in 4 years and are ready to look for a job and start paying off their loans, he plans to be in the middle of an amazing career. But the thing is, he is not quite sure how to get there yet. He has been exploring internships, but most importantly we have been looking for ways to help him think differently.  What are the ideas he needs to be thinking about to start this next leg of the journey?  I know for sure that he should NOT continue to compare himself to the college-track kids.

Here is a list of books we have put together that will help any teen get ready to choose the path to making money in their adult lives while also loving life.

1.    Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill 
This is an oldie but goodie and an absolute must read for anyone entering the work force. It was written in 1937 by a reporter who was challenged by Andrew Carnegie to study the top 100 people of their time and see what traits these successful people all have in common. I have read it myself 5 times over the years and it continues to give me new insights.  The best part is that it’s $.99 on Kindle and I have seen it for free floating around the internet.

2.    What Wakes You Up? by Justin Lafazan
This is the perfect book to help a teen or young adult get excited about the next step in their life. It is filled with ideas and exercises that will help them create a life and future path they are excited about traveling on every day.

3.    Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki
I think the tag line- What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--that the Poor & the Middle Class Do Not! – says it all.  It is the top personal finance book of all time and an enjoyable read as well. This will open their eyes to the money making patterns around them. The book is about two real-life dads.  The author’s “poor dad” was a hard working educated man who spent his life working for others and just making ends meet. The “rich dad” was his childhood friend’s father who became the author’s mentor. His knowledge came from street smarts and experience and lead him to become the wealthiest man in Hawaii. This book explores the extreme differences between how each father views money, employment, and investing.

4.    4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
I just love Tim Ferris and the way he thinks! He is constantly thinking outside the box and creating new options for handling any kind of growth and learning. The ideas in this book will help the reader explore options that allow for so much more than just a 9 to 5 for 35+ years.  

5.    The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Chris takes the reader through a bunch of ideas on how to start creating money and an awesome life on $100. He wants to help the reader “reinvent” how they make a living. This is just the book to help your young adult start their journey of entrepreneurship.  

These are such great reads! Just looking at the covers inspires me. They are perfect for the young adult looking for a different option. They are also perfect for the college bound, the career type, and even homeschooling moms.  

These books will not only help your kid (and you!) think differently about what it takes to make money, but it will set them up to be ready to enter this new and changing economy where we can’t count on “getting the great job right out of college” for financial security.  

I’d love to hear about which books you love in the comments below or in the Facebook group, Homeschool With Confidence.

Celebrate your Kids' 2015 Successes

Welcome to the New Year! A great way to get back into your regular work pattern is to reconnect with why you are doing what you are doing and learning what you are learning this year. I have a super fun 2-part exercise you can do with your kids to boost the second half of their school year!

If you haven’t already, and even if you already have, celebrate everything that went well last year. The goal here is to come up with 30 to 50 different things that your kids learned last year―you know, those things that they are proud of! It can be little things or big things, but the goal is to get them to see how far they have come and everything they have learned.

Have the kids work with you or another partner that is encouraging. Or they could get out their journals and you could be a partner to all of them at the same time, guiding them through the exercise. Start with the phrase “I am proud of…” and have them start writing down a list. It could include anything big or small that they have learned in the last year. Have them think about what they were studying a year ago, or even at the beginning of the school year, and compare it to where they are today. What do they understand or know now that they didn’t before?

Take it a step further. What are they proud of in their lives that was hard for them? How about standing up for themselves or others? Or a tricky situation that they handled well or even not so well but learned from? How about new character traits that they have developed? Or even inches that they have grown in the past year? (That is hard work too!) Did they hit any goals this year? Read a particularly challenging book? Learn a new sport, instrument, or language?

As they are writing things down they will hit a block, often at around 5 items. This is where their partner should quietly ask “What else?” You can make general prompts if they truly get stuck from the list above, but try to refrain from telling them what you are proud of. You can always do that later. 

They should write down anything that comes to mind that they were proud of over the year. Anything goes! This is their time to celebrate all of their accomplishments.

Now for the second part, take some time to cheer, congratulate, and really honor and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. Here is where you can share things you have noticed in each other! Show them how wonderful 2015 really was.

This will totally get them pumped to keep moving and learning in 2016!

Unschooling College - What’s next?

Part 2

As you may have read, we have been exploring college potentials for my newly “graduated” 18 year old son.

Was college an answer? In what ways?

Were there other, cheaper ways to gain that knowledge?

His sister’s college was $52k a year. She had a huge scholarship, but we still had loans and a huge out of pocket investment. AND. . . . she graduated a year ago, with excellent grades, from a prestigious school, with a great degree, AND is nannying to pay her bills. She has job leads and has built up a great resume with non-paid internships, but. . . .

Think about it. What would your out of pocket investment in college be for a year or for 4 years? Even if your kid got a part time job through college and was earning $500 a month and took two months off a year,that’s still a $20k investment. Then there is tuition, books, food, WOW! How can we take all of that and end up better prepared? I just want to mention that the dollar amount here is to help open your mind to bigger possibilities and options. Why are we willing to invest so much in a college education that won’t necessarily provide a great career, let alone a rewarding income, and not be open to using that money in other ways that would be more likely to get them closer to the same goal? I can tell you that when we brainstormed with a $20k budget a year, we came up with much better ideas!

We sat down and asked this question: For $20k a year, what could our son do that would get him to his goals? This question changed everything for us! The brainstorming began full force!

Some of our ideas included:

  • Traveling around and attending entrepreneurship conferences for a year
  • Internships (Do them during the school year when the college kids are busy!)
  • Get a pilot’s license
  • Start a business
  • Get a business mentor
  • Get a life coach
  • Watch amazing college courses online (Some are free!)
  • Take online courses pertinent to his career choice
  • Train to become an F-1 Driver and or Stuntman (Not my favorite, but it is not my life!)
  • Travel the world, help build schools, teach English, etc. (You can live at a higher standard of living in some countries for pennies on a dollar and pick up the language through immersion. Way cheaper than a college BA in French or other language!)

And the list could go on and on!

I heard of one guy who decided to do an internship a month for a year and kick-started a book on it to cover the expenses. He did this instead of an MBA and now has all of those business connections, a great book in process and so much practical knowledge. I can’t wait to see how far he goes!

The world is their oyster. Maybe it is time for your teen to sit down and make a brainstorm list! They can do anything and now there are so many amazing options that don’t have to mean 4 years in college and a bunch of debt.

I would love to hear about your unschooling college ideas!

Unschooling College - Figuring Out What’s Next

Part 1

This question was floating around my home for several months earlier this year. It was the topic of many conversations.

At first, my son got caught up in the typical dilemma: college or not college. He even pulled me into exploring variations of those two options.

Finally, one day he mentioned in an unrelated conversation, that he was saddened by the ending of a job contract for a high profile person and then discussed how that would be his dream job/career.

That got me thinking─ finally! We were missing that magic that made it all work!  Hopefully you know exactly what I mean. We were caught in the traditional “other people’s” options. That isn’t how we thrive!

Time for quality questions! If this is his dream career, how does he get there? What was it about this that made it his dream career? Specifically, and yes, how did it make him feel when hereached this decision? It is those feelings that we are all striving for anyway. Might as well acknowledge them in the beginning of the process!

Now we had a goal, an outcome. Now we can talk about options! And, wow! There are so many more options than choosing college or not!

Maybe it is not about choosing a job path and a college. Maybe it is about seizing a dream, a passion, and figuring out if college would even help. Most importantly, find what is best for your teen and stop doing something because it is the “next step” and because everyone says that is the “best way.”

Unschooling Graduation: What does it really mean?

Wow!  It has been a flurry of graduation parties!  My son just turned 18.  He has been homeschooled his whole life and most of that was unschooled.  Many of his friends went to school and parties are what you do, right?  It is a celebration of completing this huge part of your life.  They have been caught up in this flurry of test taking, college choosing, prom going, saying goodbyes, and celebrating a “freedom” of a sort. 

We totally got caught up in the momentum of the lives of his senior friends.  We spent a good several months going back and forth about colleges, second guessing our choice not to do the ACT/SAT route, and should he finish “xyz” like the other kids his age.  It was frustrating and confusing!  And you know what?  We lost track of our purpose! What we needed was a nudge back to what our big picture was all about.

My son graduated this year and not because of his amazing ability in Calculus or because he adequately completed 3.5 years of P.E. 

For us, it is a celebration of maturity and responsibility, of how he has lived and learned during his own extraordinary life.  He has had some amazing experiences that have all helped to create this well-rounded new adult.  I could go on with (and almost did) with a list of his academic accomplishments, but that isn’t what is most important to us. We worked hard to foster a life where he is open, curious and has a love of learning.  If we missed something on this journey, I am confident he will figure it out and quickly.  He is ready to do just that.

It is his readiness to go out into the world that we are celebrating.  We are more excited about things like his comfort level when communicating with adults and his ability to contribute as a leader and a follower.  He has common sense and he knows how to care for his body in a life long kind of way.  He knows if he can dream he can do it and there is no failure ─ only learning along the way.  He knows how to dream and he is working on what to do with those dreams.  That is just the beginning.

These are the things we find truly important. 

Yes my son, you are ready to graduate and I am so proud of you.