Wednesday, May 7, 2008

COLLEGE AT 14: What's The Rush?

Tina made an excellent comment in the College At 14 comments over at The Mom With Brownies.
I think this is a post worth repeating here as it pertains to High School Homeschooling.

She asked a pertinent question...

Tina's comment:

"It's a very interesting topic. I am not familiar with the college school system here in the US because I was educated in the Philippines. We usually go to college at the age of 16. But I realize that the school system tries to give as much employable skills to the students because alot of them are not going to college. College at 14 take a level of maturity on the student's part and it's really case to case basis.

My question is what's the hurry on going to college at 14? From a long term perspective, what's the rush to get through college earlier? So after college, they get a masters and then a PHD degree? Then what?

My daughter is in Kindergarten and she seems to be ready to learn things that are not yet covered in her little Kindergarten class. So I'm looking to ways that can satisfy her learning thirst which the school system seem to fall short on."


My thoughts...

That is a great question. The answer is that there is no hurry. It is indeed a case to case basis and should be weighed with much thought by the parent(s), and the teen who will have to attend the classes.

The great thing is that The Option Is Out There! :-)

One of the first concerns that many people voice when learning that their family member will be home schooled is the question of a High School Diploma. The thought that a parent could print a diploma from their home computer and call it "real" is ludicrous to some people. However, Homeschool diplomas are printed on home computers every day, and they are very real.

That being said, Getting an employer or our homeschooled student's peers to appreciate that is a whole other story. The option to go to college during what would otherwise be high school years is a pretty substantial step in squelching those nay-sayers who poo poo homeschool diplomas. The option to squelch the nay-sayers is important because it translates to job opportunities and successful employment for many home educated people.

The added security for the home educated student is a huge blessing. Whether the student begins their college journey at 14, 15, or later, just the knowledge that they are able to go to college and get a "real" diploma can help in attaining a job and respect from those who would otherwise toss their application in the trash.

Beginning college at 14 allows a home educated student to have "bragging rights" if you will. It is an immediate interest to peers and employers and establishes on the spot respect. That reality will travel with the student for their entire lives. The "brag" if you will, holds weight and thus potential for economic security as they age and navigate their life's' path.

Graduating from college at the age of 17 or 18 gives the home educated student an added bonus in their life. They will be more able to be hired at a better wage, younger. This could very well help them to attain the experience needed in their career while still young enough to focus on the task at hand. They will not have a family or college debt hanging over their heads so the pressure of a new career will be lighter and more enjoyable.

Many employers offer paid tuition for their employees. So, while they were able to pay small bits for their two year college education over a 4 year period they are again able to save money that would have been spent for higher education because their employer is now picking up the bill. Not only can their bachelors degree be paid by their employer but they are gaining valuable experience and making money also.

In a nutshell, beginning college at the age of 14 allows our children to have a HUGE leg up in life. It gives them a running start that could very well carry them through their entire lives.

I always joke that if my boys want to join the circus or tour the world as hippies after they leave our home, it is fine and dandy because I know they have that needed degree when the time comes to settle down.

No matter what path they choose, my husband and I have done our best to make their life a little easier while we have them in our molding care. In the end, allowing our children to attend college early has given us, and them, peace of mind.

It is a choice that is offered to the homeschooling community that offers dividends that pay off for a lifeti

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