So...earlier this week I read a blog post written by Matt Walsh titled, Thank God I Wasn't College Material! and decided to share it with my Facebook friends. Well, things got a little hot in the comments of my post until I pointed out that I just wanted to share Mr. Walsh's ideas with my friends, not tell them his educational path was the one and only way to go. After things calmed down I started to wonder when education decisions had moved into that category of things we don't talk about, things like religion and politics.
I've never really been the kind of person who tries to force my opinions down other people's throats. I think sometimes people misinterpret my motives because when something really makes an impact on me, I can get a little too excited in my sharing. In the last few years, homeschooling, organic eating, and running have all been high on my list of things I want to share with others. When I get interested in something new I spend a lot of time reading everything I can find on that topic. This results in my perceived need to talk through my new knowledge to help me better understand what I am learning. Just ask my husband. He has been the target of this out-loud organizing of thoughts.
My quick summary of the Matt Walsh post is that college may not be the answer for all kids. In fact, maybe it's not the answer for most kids. I agree with him that certain careers obviously need to start with a degree. But are we really doing our kids a service pushing college as the 'best' path? As someone who has already pulled her kids off the normal educational highway by homeschooling, I am familiar with the doubt that comes with such a choice. So far, that move has paid off for our family. Now don't get me wrong, I plan to continue to prepare both boys for the possibility of college. I will make sure their writing skills are up to par, I will sign them up for the PHAA diploma program, I will help them work on their organization and study skills. But I will not tell them college is the only option.
I look at JT and see a kid who has always excelled in everything academic until now when he's really starting to struggle with the application of some concepts he's learning in early Algebra. It's a foreign language to him. Of course, he can get through it. But I wonder how much of it is really making sense to him and how much is just him learning to imitate the examples shown in the videos. I was an excellent math example imitator, but after Algebra, that skill stopped working and I had no idea what was going on most days. I see him approaching math the same way I did. It's a completely different story for EM. He just takes one look at his math book and can apply what he's seeing and it makes perfect sense to him. But EM doesn't want to write a four sentence paragraph because writing is not natural for him. Yes, I know they both have time before the college years are here. I just don't want them to think when the time comes, they have only one option, even if that option doesn't fit them well.
We've come this far off the beaten path. Who's to say they can't continue down the road less traveled?