This post is sponsored by Praxis.
One of the greatest concerns of homeschool parents everywhere is that their teens are prepared for real life after graduation. After all, we pour our time and our hearts into educating and training our children to the best of our ability.
The stereotypes from the general public are many and varied–and almost always discouraging. The outlook of society is that homeschool graduates are socially awkward and poorly equipped to face the educational challenges of college.
If your child chooses to pursue a path that doesn’t include college, it seems to invite even more criticism. The general consensus is that you have somehow hindered your child from any chance at success in life . . . and all because of homeschooling.
But really, is college an absolute requirement for career success?
Most people are aware that a college education no longer guarantees a better-paying job–or any job at all, for that matter. In this day when many employers are down-sizing in an effort to stay afloat, a college education no longer means job security for employees at any level.
In addition, college graduates are often burdened with huge loans to repay. At the same time, the job market may not be open to new employees, leaving the new graduate with a mountain of debt and a job that could have easily been secured without that coveted diploma.
Our Family’s Approach to Preparing for a Career
In our home, my husband and I encourage our children to pursue their own goals, whether or not those goals include a college education. We stress to our children that we will support and stand behind them if they choose to attend college, but that a college degree could never increase our pride and love for them.
Our bottom line:
- If a college degree is necessary for our teens to reach their goals, we will encourage them wholeheartedly to pursue further education.
- If a college degree is NOT necessary, we will find an appropriate alternative to help them prepare for a successful future without college.
Quality Alternatives to College
1. Vocational Training
Vocational training is skill-based training for a specific career or trade. Vocational training typically focuses on practical application of skills through hands-on learning, with little to no emphasis on unrelated academic topics.
Since vocational training often begins while a student is still in high school, teens have an excellent opportunity to complete their training and begin a higher-paying, skilled job immediately after graduation.
Homeschoolers are often eligible to participate in vocational training without charge, just as public school students do. Check with your local school district for more information.
Apprenticeship is another way to gain vocational training in a skilled trade. Apprenticeships typically combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction; programs may require as many as 4-6 years to complete.
Apprenticeship differs from standard vocational training in that apprentices do not pay for their education, and are actually paid for their time spent learning the trade. This is an excellent option for recent graduates who desire to learn a more highly skilled trade while at the same time earning a reasonable income.
Some homeschool families pursue an “unofficial” apprenticeship in which their teen learns marketable skills by working regularly with a skilled tradesman. While this option does not offer an official certification, it can provide an excellent foundation for a future career.
3. On-the-Job Training
On-the-job training is an informal method of vocational training provided by an employer. On-the-job training is often offered to both new and experienced employees as a means of increasing their skills, particularly in the manufacturing field.
On-the-job training is most often accomplished by pairing the new or less experienced employee with a more experienced worker. Ongoing educational classes may also be offered.
Some employers are very student-friendly and willing to train young employees with absolutely no experience. Homeschool students have the unique advantage of a flexible schedule, making them more attractive to potential employers.
Our family’s experience with on-the-job training:
My oldest son, a high school senior, was able to find a manufacturing job with an employer who is accustomed to hiring students. On-the-job training is enabling him to learn many different skills while also earning a full-time income–all while completing his senior year of high school.
4. Distance Learning
Distance learning offers a flexible means of obtaining a wide variety of job skills. Whether online or by mail (correspondence course), students have access to the same course materials that would be used in a classroom.
Praxis offers a unique type of distance learning with intensive training and real-world career experience for young people who are interested in learning business skills.
Praxis is an intensive one-year training program that is an excellent alternative to college. In fact, this program actually surpasses college in many ways.
Students complete a two-month bootcamp, where they actually build a website and prepare for entrepreneurial training experience. The next ten months combine paid work at a startup with intensive personal development and education.
This program is an unusually affordable alternative to college. Tuition is currently $11,000-$14,200, depending on the payment schedule you choose. According to Praxis, the student actually earns this entire amount, or more in some cases, during the internship.
The overall cost? $0.
Connect with Praxis
I encourage you to find a way to stay in touch with Praxis. Even if your children are not yet approaching high school graduation, that time will come faster than you could ever imagine. (All parents have found that those little ones grow up far to fast!)
Take a minute to sign up for the Praxis newsletter (find the sign up form at the very bottom of the page). This is an ideal way to stay current with any Praxis updates and also to plan ahead for your child’s future.