Taken from a 2018 Facebook post…almost exactly 4 years ago…still so much here to encourage parents!
I have found that with Fun-Schooling, or Delight Directed Learning, and intentional unschooling, many children rise to a much higher level of focused learning and accomplishment… sooner than kids in school, and seem to be ready to start their careers at much younger ages. I notice that by about age 14, once they get through the “brain dead stage” the young adult is ready to start trying out their careers in the real world from the safety and support of home. It’s no longer about LEARNING, but DOING!
Let me explain:
When my oldest son was 16 he scared me. He said, “Mom I want to study music, film and create documentaries, be a sound engineer, do voice acting and a little bit of publishing. I don’t want to do any math that is not related to my goals…”
He was sort of asking permission, and sort of letting me know he was ready to take charge of his life, mind, learning and goals.
So, I did all I could to equip him to reach HIS goals and I let go of mine. He spent two years (at home) focused on the things he needed to become great in HIS field, not some random set of educational goals drawn out in 1955 (or whatever) by people who wanted more obedient citizens and good employees in the workforce.
Once a young man or woman has their heart and mind set on what he or she wants to become, get everything out of the way that could be a distraction. Empower him or her with every tool they need to become the best at what they want to do. If what they want to do requires college, they will be motivated to study for that track and build a portfolio. If they want to start a business or trade, they can just do it.
What if he had the option of dropping everything else and focusing entirely on being an expert in Social Media Marketing and Travel Vlogging? Just think of all the debt he can avoid if he builds a business now, rather than paying for a degree.
I set my son free and told him that if he decided later that he needed college he would be entirely responsible for all the entrance requirements, and I washed my hands of it. He is no longer one bit my responsibility. I put his education into his hands at 16. He was able to start doing everything he wanted to do with his life. And he did it well. He did it without distraction. He did it without me forcing him to take calculus and biology. He had two full years of living at home and starting his career before needing to have an income to support himself… and future family.
He’s enjoyed his life on his own, and now with his wife, and is just fine at generating income, he has no debt. He is a traveler and volunteer, does music, film making, and makes stupid Jazz Memes. He and his wife are happy, and when they needed more income they did what they needed to do, and fell back on the skills that make money.
Parented, directed education ends when the child knows that they want to become and is willing to start doing it. At that point we become facilitators.
I have older children now that are no longer “schooling” and have already embraced their own futures and are living them out. They are not just preparing to “someday” become something. They have all started their careers and are actively working at becoming great, while still at home. I know that my teens need time to perfect their skills, and now they may be only earning a few hundred dollars a week at their trades, but it is something, and they can learn to reinvest it. At this time they don’t need to put that money into rent and food, so a little becomes a lot. Imagine having $300 a week, no expenses and no debt! How would you use or invest that money? Mine put it back into their trades and invested in their own businesses. At times some of my kids have made hundreds of dollars per day. They are not bogged down by education, they are DOING their dreams now, and doing it from home.
I respond to their needs so that nothing will hold them back. My daughter seemed to have one or two big clients coming to the island every week to do photography with her because she was so good. She made her work affordable and was attracting many new clients, and she’s nice and showed up on time, even without a car.
My other two spent time in many different parts of the world doing music professionally, and were overseeing a recording project that about 30 – 40 music artists were working on. It was so good that some very well known musicians got involved and contributed to the work. My daughter Rachel taught harmony parts to people who have graduated from theater and music school. My kids are confident and don’t feel limited.
I really believe that when a child is ready to become who they want to be, they are willing to pour their hearts, minds, energy and effort into that passion. I am becoming more and more fearless as I trust the way my children were designed, as all children, to thrive. Every one of them works hard to learn everything they need to do their meaningful work very very well, and I am not going to fight it, I’m going to encourage it, and get all the nonsense out of the way.
If any one my kids decided that they do want to go to college and need high school credits, I’ll work with them to get it done, I’ll buy the books and sign them up for online courses, send them to a tutor… but the motivation, responsibility, results, and work is THEIRS.