requirement for some careers. For many
people and for many reasons, college is
the next step after high school.
It’s a challenge for homeschooling parents, however. We spend much of our
homeschool years explaining to people
the reasons we keep our children safe at
home. Those reasons don’t change when
our children grow up. Instead, it’s our
children that change. In fact, they become adults. The Bible says:
When I was a child, I spake as a
child, I understood as a child, I
thought as a child: but when I became
a man, I put away childish things
( 1 Corinthians 13: 11).
Adults must interact with a fallen
world on a regular basis. Firm in their
faith, adult Christians are able to negotiate the contrasting world views with their
own beliefs intact. At some point, your
child will be ready to “become a man” (or
woman) and move on into adult life—
and that may include college, depending
on the purpose God has given them.
When our children are grown up, it’s
difficult to cope with them leaving the
nest. Our job is not to parent our children
forever. Our job is to train up children in
the way they should go. When they become adults, we are to encourage them to
engage the culture and change the world,
as Jesus said.
. . . Go ye into all the world and
preach the gospel to every creature
(Mark 16: 15).
The Great Commission comes directly
from the Lord. That verse just screams
for our attention. It doesn’t say “Go into
all the world, but not college.” It doesn’t
say “Preach the good news to everyone
except to those on college campuses.” If
college is in your child’s future, prepare
him to face challenges as a mature adult.
Don’t be afraid of college. If that is the
Lord’s calling, he can proceed with faith.
Parents don’t throw their children into
the lions’ den either. Mature Christians
don’t generally choose to hang out in bars
or clubs for fun. In the same way, you can
carefully choose their college, weighing
the options. A Christian college, or a college with a strong Christian presence, can
provide an adult challenge for your adult
children without overwhelming them
Our History and Their Future
College plans can materialize out of nowhere. As parents, we know what we
know, and we know the plans God made
for our own lives. Sometimes we forget
that our children may have their own
plan and mission for the future. If college didn’t make sense for us, it’s natural
to think it won’t be a fit for our child.
But if college suddenly becomes the next
step, you’ll be thankful their high school
years prepared them. Instead of focusing
on your academic history, focus on providing flexibility for your student’s academic future. Preparing our high school
students for college will help them to be
prepared for anything.
students for college
can help them if
they go to college,
and it can also help
them if they don’t.
For reluctant students, consider this
strategy I learned over the years. At some
point along the way, teenagers will usually stumble on some career idea that
might require some college. When they
mention an idea like that, try to grab on
to it: “You want to work in finance? That’s
a great idea!” Then explain how their goal
might require some college. Even if they
change their mind, you can still encourage them, “Honey, just in case you decide
to work in finance again, let’s get prepared for that.” Encouraging teenagers
to focus on their loftiest career goals can
keep them focused on college planning.
If they used that preparation to go to college, that’s great! If they don’t go to college, they are still well prepared for any
career in their future.
Always Be Prepared
Preparing your students for college can
help them if they go to college, and it can
also help them if they don’t. Some chil-
dren waffle back and forth before deci-
ding about future plans, and rigorous aca-
demics can help you be prepared. You can
prepare your children for college as part of
your homeschool, taking to heart the Boy
Scout motto, “Always be prepared.”
Providing a college prep education is
not terribly complicated. You can continue
to homeschool the same way you always
have, learning with reckless abandon. You
don’t have to change your curriculum or
give tests in every subject or chain your
student to a desk. Homeschoolers of every
stripe have been successful with college
admission. Don’t change what has always
worked for you; just set your eyes on col-
leges so you have the ultimate flexibility
when your student graduates.
Preparation Is Harmless
Plan for college and provide rigorous
high school academics. If they use it to go
to college—great! If they don’t use it for
college, does the hard work go to waste?
Not at all! College preparation can help
your child be a better employee or entrepreneur, a wiser citizen, and a more confident homeschool parent. Preparing for
college can’t hurt your child, and it can
provide flexibility for the future.
Each year in the spring I get phone calls
and emails from panicky senior-year parents. “Help!” they cry. “I haven’t prepared,
and my daughter needs to go to college!”
It’s a difficult situation that can catch parents unprepared. Instead, consider the
other parents who contact me for help.
Parents with students in seventh, eighth,
or ninth grade nervously reach out for
information and find out it’s not as difficult to prepare their children for college
as they may have expected. When I talk
with nervous parents who have students
in middle school and early high school, I
can almost guarantee they will be successful. Starting college preparation early can
allow time for mistakes and restarts. Gaps
can be filled and dilemmas solved easily
when you have the luxury of time. Preparation can only help. It will do no harm.
Live without regrets. Be prepared for
anything because with teenagers “
anything” can happen!
Lee Binz is a veteran homeschooling mom
of two and the owner of The HomeScholar.
Her mission is “Helping parents home-school high school,” and many of her services are free. You can sign up for her free
email homeschool newsletter, The HomeScholar Record, and get your daily dose
of wisdom via email from her homeschool
blog, The HomeScholar Helper. Visit her