Off Topic · parenting

College, Tech School, Work, OH MY!!!! What to Do What to do??!!

Focus today’s post on the contrast between two things. The twist? Write the post in the form of a dialogue.

Interesting prompt today.  Also today I read a blog post from someone else who wrote something about preparing for their children’s future education.  I have been thinking along these lines for a while now, as we have several kids who are college age.  So my contrast between two things is going to be a discussion about going to school vs. not going on to school.

Here is the conversation that starts somewhere around freshman/sophomore year in high school.

“What is it you want to do when you finish high school??”  In general the answer is usually, “I don’t really know Mom.”

“Maybe you should be a Doctor or a lawyer.”

“Mom, I am failing half my classes and the rest are tech ed classes!!”

“Ok, so maybe not a doctor or a lawyer.  How about a rocket scientist?”

At that point usually a loud, whiny “MMMOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM!!!!”  ensues along with a door slam or a huffy retreat to some other room in the house.

We always want our kids to have the big jobs right??  Aim high right??!!  Well, guess what? It doesn’t always work out that way.  Realize that not everyone is ready for 10 more years of college and HUGE amounts of debt.  Yes, I want the best for my kids.  Absolutely though I want them to be productive members of the community and happy with who they are and what they do for a living.

Most of the time kids really are not so sure what they want to do when they finish high school.  I understand that we are taught over and over again that in today’s market, you have to have a college education.  Its been the mantra for quite awhile now.  But what exactly does that mean?

I am not really sure.

Do we really need everyone to go straight into college right after high school?  Or is a technical school more appropriate for some?  Maybe no schooling is more appropriate for others?  Some people can go right into the work force and do very well on that route.
I have 4 college aged kids at my house.  The first chose to go right to work with no schooling.  He had already been working there for 2 years and liked what he was doing so he stayed on.  There is opportunity for growth and a plan for the future.  He had no interest at that point of going on to college.  He is finishing up now an apprenticeship through that same company and will have his journeyman’s card for tool and die.  His company has paid for his schooling.

The next has gone on to school.  She has worked hard and is finishing up her degree.  She also spent some time working and learning at a missions minded program in Texas.   Together we paid off that bill and she has completely paid her own way through her formal college classes these last 2 years.  For her, a college education was completely appropriate as she needed a business degree for her chosen path.  She is completing her schooling with no debt and worked her way through.

Our third child wasn’t sure what she wanted to do.  Still isn’t completely sure what she wants to do but on her way, she has done an apprenticeship for dog grooming and makes pretty good money doing that.  This is something she can use to work her way through whatever schooling she decides to go through and yet she could easily support herself on her income if she chooses to not continue with school.  She is an animal person and her paths focus around caring for animals in some way.

The fourth went straight to work for the hubby.  He is extremely talented when it comes to vehicles, just like his dad.  He can fix anything or figure out how to.  He doesn’t necessarily need to go on to a formal schooling, but will and does take classes through the car care centers that they work with.  These are college level courses and many do count as college credit.  At some point, I would like to see him also take some more business oriented courses but for now, he is fine doing what he is doing.

The fifth- is still in high school but thinking about colleges and tech schools and the like.  Someone mentioned to him that he could start with a tech school and then work and THEN move into a more focused degree.  We are still not sure what route to take with that one and will have to spend more time researching the path for him.

My contrast of two things is a bit more complicated and lacks much dialogue I realize.  But I wanted to lay out the option that I am seeing more and more as a parent of young adults, that college isn’t necessarily the way for ALL young people to go as soon as they finish high school.  Not everyone is immediately ready to go off to school and that first and potentially second year can be an extremely expensive mistake!!

Take your time if you or your child is not sure the route they want to go.  If you are totally set on them going to school, have them take a few classes at the community college.  They can get their prerequisites done and also find out a bit better the route they really want to go.  Most of the time its much cheaper and the credits will transfer to most of the same state larger universities.

Have the discussion with your child.  Set a plan in motion for that particular child’s future.  Don’t be afraid to set that plan aside however and make a new one if need be.  And Don’t even get me started on the whole paying for schooling!!

That will be another post for another time.




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