Monday, August 12, 2013

Do Your Children Really Need To Go To College?

Right after I quit college I magically met tons of people, many successful, some not, who didn't go to college or quit college and were absolutely ecstatic about it.

Most of the happily, healthfully successful people I know now, 10 years later, didn't go to college.  It's not that not going to college automatically makes you successful or happy, just like going to college doesn't magically create financial success, intelligence or happiness.   It's more a mindset, as well as some tactical and practical components.

So what should we gift or invest in for our children?  What do we mean when we talk about a good education?  Is 12+ years of the same stuff, leveled up, over and over again, really intelligence?  Is it even education?  Or is it monotonous, inefficient and passion-killing?  Shouldn't we all, if we're really interested and capable of any given subject, be able to learn about those things, with our own effort, abilities, resources and leadership?

Should we be able to hire or trade with teachers we respect and choose for ourselves, or programs and opportunities we choose to learn from?

Maybe, instead of forcing or coercing children to go to college and guilting them into this absolute law that they must go to college or hell will freeze over.  Maybe we should open up our minds and think of the many different ways our children could use our support and experience to do things they want to do, things they could learn from in ways compatible to their own ability to master skills and information.

Maybe we should allow, encourage health, exploration/travel, spirituality, volunteering, entrepreneurship, self-led projects.  Maybe if our children are sick, we should encourage them and support them (even financially) on finding a serious health program to holistically address their issues, rather than going to school sick and occasionally having doctors appointments, going years with the same issues and just accepting ill health as a normality.

Maybe we should allow and encourage them to travel for extended periods of time, doing volunteer work with organizations like 7interchange.org, or mentor with teachers like Dr. Doug Graham, encourage them to do yoga teacher trainings or dance or acting or permaculture trainings.

If you or your children are interested in self-led education, by all means support it and if you want more support join here.  That's what this website is all about, d.i.y education and work/careers.  Rather you want to teach, learn or explore topics that aren't covered in the pre-designed schools or programs you or your children are taking, or you want support in creating and carrying out your own program.  Let us know!

11 comments:

  1. I appreciate your opinion on college- for me, it was just an automatic thing- I never thought twice about going to college. But my brother, though raised with the same thinking, also went straight to college, only to quit a year and a half later. So, I think it's up to the individual to decide what the best path is for them, regardless of what their parents taught them or thought! Great post!

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    1. I understand Amanda...I think since it's so very engrained in our culture, if you go to school or even watch TV...that you have to go to college...it would be difficult to think about not doing that unless you didn't like school already, had some sort of passion that you wanted to do, right then and there, or some other plan for yourself...or perhaps if you had some sort of barrier that made it extra difficult for you to actually go to college. Everyone should definitely be allowed to make their own decision. Thanks for your comment.

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  2. This post is amazing. I have 3 young boys, and I never drill into their heads about college, because I know that if they don't want to go and find their passion in something else, I'm going to support them. As an adult, I have found my passion in blogging, which allows me to teach, inspire, and to educate people. You don't need a degree for this. But you need discipline, and connections, and LOTS of self-motivation, etc. And if one of my children said they had other plans for their life, then I will support them, no matter what (as long as it's not damaging their life!) Thanks for sharing! GREAT POST!

    Serena @ Get Your Life Straight

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    1. That's also Serena, I'm so happy to see this response and so glad you enjoyed the post...good luck with your boys.

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  3. I have two grown children and one still at home. My oldest did not go to college and has a very sucessful career with a retirement package. My middle child did not go to college and has a good job that she loves. My youngest will graduate in 3 years. He does not want to go. I have a college degree and a very good job that I could have had without the degree. College isn't for everyone. I agree that everyone has their own path in life. Great post, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Stacey I think your children learned what they needed to be successful from their first teacher...you! The success of each of your children going on their own path and your respect and support for that is truly what everyone needs to be successful on their own as an adult. Maybe you should teach parenting young adults classes! ;)

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  4. I totally agree with you. Parents do not need to spend their hard-earned dollars on putting children through college, especially when it's not necessary. I have a series on college and I will be posting more on this topic. http://catherinegacad.com/?s=college+series

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  5. Thanks Catherine, that is a great series you have there!

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  6. This is something I'm struggling with. My youngest son is 15 and I haven't prepared well for college. On the other hand, we've had three generations of family who have not gone to college (or at least haven't completed college) and we are all doing just fine. We all have great jobs that we enjoy, nice house - though not McMansions, good relationships and mostly happy lives.

    Do our kids have to struggle a bit with balancing their budgets and earning enough money - sure, but I don't think that's really such a bad thing. As long as they aren't having to go without anything major like food, shelter or transportation, I think it's a good life lesson for them. I totally agree with you on the broken nature of our education system, but I don't know if I should ramp up and try to get this last boy into college, or if we should route him into a trade school-type program like both his brothers? It's a puzzlement.

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  7. College was drilled into me from a very young age. I went, graduated, and the best paying job I had didn't require my education because I had enough prior work experience. My education has opened up other opportunities for me, but will I push my kids to do it? Nope. First of all, we have 6 kids between the 2 of us. We live off one income. There's no way we can put all 6 of them through school. If they want to go, they'll have to work their way through. Secondly, my husband is the manager for a retail store. He get stacks of applications from college graduates who can't find jobs for the starting minimum wage jobs they have open. These people are trying to pay off tens of thousands of student loan debt, car payment, rent, food, utilities, etc on $8 and hour.
    My oldest son will be going to the military-his choice. My middle son is going to go to college-also his choice. He's choosing my alma mater so he can get a large alumni child scholarship. With his grades, I'm expecting him to get more scholarships. My 11 year old has a lot of time to decide, but I think he'll most likely become an entrepreneur while still in high school. It's his nature. The 5 year old-it's too early to tell, but we won't push him into anything.

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  8. No, my children will go to Baller Status School AKA the real world.

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