I don’t have any proof of this, but I really think that College Admissions People make up complicated rules just for the heck of it.
Recently, Darren and I attended a local informational workshop on preparing high schoolers for college. Throughout the presentation, I found myself imagining College Admissions People’s strategy meetings going like this:
“Guys, guys, I thought of a new requirement! Ready for this? We already say we want students with excellent grades in all math, sciences, and languages . . .”
“Yeah, I think that’s what we said.”
“Okay, just making sure we were on the same page. Go on.”
“But THEN we say we also want in-depth involvement in their chosen field . . .”
[Laughter.] “I just love Jim’s idea to make kids choose their entire future career at age 18.”
“But wait, there’s more. Next, let’s say that they also have to have a working knowledge of airplane mechanics.”
[Uproarious laughter.] “That’s great! I’ll write that up after lunch!”
All right, so I’ve never seen a requirement for airplane mechanics. But I get lost in the maze of AP tests, SAT tests, SAT2 tests, when to apply for scholarships, which classes to take at community college, and how nothing really works the way it used to. Darren is in charge of most of our high schoolers’ education, so he understands the process a little better; but even he was scribbling notes and question marks on his handouts.
On the ride home, we hashed out a few ground principles of what I think of “launch-pad homeschooling.” We agreed that:
- We will do what we need to so our children are academically prepared for college.
- We aren’t pushing our children into college immediately after high school. If they’d rather take some time to work and save money, while taking some community college classes, we’re fine with that.
- We don’t assume that all of our children will do the traditional college route. Some may go for specialized training that doesn’t require a four-year degree.
- Related to the above, if they do decide against college, we want to have a solid alternative plan in place. (A bit of personal history here: I didn’t attend college because of the influence of a then-popular homeschool leader who insisted that he could provide whatever education we needed to be successful later in life. He was lying. I’m now 41, without a degree or any specialized training that would help me stay afloat if something happens. I’m not going to burden my own children with this insecurity.)
- As parents, we aren’t making sure that our children can achieve their dreams. That’s their job. We just want them to have a good foundation to launch from.
The next few years are going to be crammed full of decisions, classes, and careful consideration of the future. But as confusing as this process is, we’re not giving up. Nice try, College Admissions People—we’re going to play the game. It’s what we signed up for when we chose to homeschool.
So. Anybody know of an airplane mechanic we can talk to?
By the way, if you’re like us—with two high schoolers in the looming shadow of college—you’ll want to start with HSLDA’s High School Consultants. They provide HSLDA members with information and answers to help you figure out where you need to go. Highly recommended!
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Anna Soltis