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.