American schools are famous for producing graduates who know a little about everything, and a lot about nothing. Since the little that they DO know, is the same little that the rest of graduates across the country know, their education is absolutely worthless.
And when I say “worthless” I don’t mean figuratively, I mean literally!
Schools offer students nothing that will earn them a penny above the minimum wage. After graduation, students don’t have a single marketable skill. Even if they earned straight A’s, the payday would only come on game shows, like Jeopardy. This is one of the grave tragedies of public education.
It is good to know a little about a lot, but essential to know a lot about a little. If an education is to hold true value, outside the artificial world of academia, it must not be so broad; it must focus. It must give the individual student a unique, and practical, skill that most others do not possess.
About now somebody is likely to scoff, “That is what college is for. Public school lays a general foundation and college is where students focus their energies.”
However, that objection is only true because public schools do such a bad job providing a valuable education. Meaning, students must buy an education later (college), because the education their government provided was so insufficient.
Ask anyone where you will work if you don’t go to college, and they will tell you, “McDonalds!” That isn’t really true, but it shows you the low expectations we have for those who only receive a public school education.
To me, this represents the height of educational negligence. In 18 years, there is more than enough time to provide a general education, plus a few marketable specialty skills. It is cruel to send young adults out on their own without a means to provide for themselves, and it isn’t fair that they should have to amass large amounts of debt, to buy the education that they should have received as young adults. And we, the adults are entirely to blame, we forced school on them, wasting their precious time, instead of giving them the tools that they’d need to succeed in the real world.
Now, I’m not pretending that anything I could say will change the course of public schooling. In fact, Common Core is proof that schools are only going to get worse. But, I do wish to breakthrough to homeschoolers. There is no reason that they should follow the route of our lost schools.
So, what course should homeschoolers take? I never say for certain, because I recommend that homeschoolers plot their own.
However, I would highly recommend from 13 on, that the focus of education shift from general to more specific. There is no need to pick an occupation for your children. Just set aside a certain portion of the day for professional skills, but let them pick the skills that they pursue.
For some it will be wielding, others art, others construction, others computer programming, or medicine. Really, there are endless possibilities, and young adults could even choose to pursue several. The purpose is two-fold; discover what they would like to do professionally, and develop some marketable skills, so that college is an option, but not the only option!
If your kids are planning to attend college anyway, discovery is even more important in high school. It is crazy how many kids blindly pick a professional path without ever working in the field, sink tens of thousands of dollars into college, and waste 4-years studying, only to discover after graduation that they hate their job.
I almost made this mistake. I once thought that I wanted to be a lawyer. I had no reason to think that, having never stepped foot inside a lawyer’s office. In fact, my perception of what lawyers do was formed by television.
Had I followed through with my intentions, I might be a few hundred thousand dollars in debt, doing something I hate. And after investing so much time, money and energy into a degree, it would be painful to trash the degree and pursue another career.
For kids who choose not to attend college, developing professional skills early is just as important. Once young adults leave home, their options shrink. Their focus becomes paying bills. While a young adult still living with his parents is able to work as an apprentice, for free, if need be. He trades his time and labor, for a professional education. Then when he leaves his parent’s home, he does so with marketable skills and no debt. He’ll be light-years ahead of his peers.
So, whether your child is college bound or not, I would highly recommend including professional training as part of his middle school and high school education.
Need a solid foundation? Check out our early learning curriculum for grades PreK – 3rd grade.