I grew up in a generation that was told college was the answer. College was the key to personal and financial success.
It was even used by my high school teachers as a carrot and stick:
Take this class so you can get into college!
If you don’t learn to do this, you’ll never get into college!
So I took the right classes. I passed the AP tests. I went to college. It was great. I have no regrets.
When I really think about what success actually means, and what I want most for my children, college doesn’t make the list.
Here’s what I want for the progeny:
- Strong personal integrity
- An ability to repent and change when necessary*
- An ability to forgive and heal when necessary*
- A happy family and home life
- Employment that enables them to provide for self and family, keeps them perpetually learning and growing, and affords them freedom to maintain integrity to what they believe is right.
- A desire and ability to be constantly learning and growing intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
That’s pretty much it. And all of that is just as attainable for an electrician or plumber as it is for a physicist or biochemist. In fact, I would submit that these goals are more tenable in technical vocations than they are in certain advanced fields of study-where “being intelligent” is often equated with having the *correct* opinion. Academic consensus does not always equal objective truth, and when one’s life is steeped in academia, this can be a slippery concept to hold on to.
But I digress.
The goals of homeschooling are the above mentioned goals with one more:
Prepare the children academically so that they are capable of rising to the challenge of whatever they wish to do.
If they become physicists or doctors or firefighters or stay at home parents, I will be equally pleased.
My only goal is to hand them the tools and habits necessary to build whatever they want. And if that whatever includes no formal schooling beyond a technical certificate, that’s fine with me.
True achievement has very little to do with degrees, and everything to do with what we build personally.
I would sooner see my sons become uncelebrated blue collar worker- faithful husbands with happy marriages than Stephen Hawkings with broken ones.
I would sooner see my daughters be barefoot, stay at home mothers with their daughters trusting them than Alice Walkers with estranged and abandoned progeny.
And if my children become great, both in the eyes of the world, and in the arms of their families, wonderful. If they are only great by the work they do in their families, equally wonderful.
There is one real goal here.
There you have it. There are those who think that my hopes for the progeny set the bar too low, but they are mistaken.
These hopes sit on top of the highest bar there is.
*Quite Possibly the Most Important Thing Ever.