I notice that lots of people use college admission as evidence that homeschooling works. Here’s an example of a mom who says college is proof of her homeschooling success.
This is shocking to me. While homeschooling is controversial, ditching college is much less controversial.
There are lists of wildly successful people who did not graduate college. The New York Times is publishing essays about how starting one’s own business is more important for lifelong success than going to college. And because of the insane costs associated with higher education, the topic of how useless college is has entered the political debate as well.
It’s becoming pretty clear that college does not prepare kids for adult life. In fact, college makes a mess of adult life because it saddles kids with huge debt. So, yes, it’d be great if every kid could spend four years in ivory towers, but only trust-funders can afford it. And please, don’t tell me college is important for grad school, because in almost all cases, grad school is an absolute waste of time and resources. (Here are the voices of the defenders of grad school, and me crushing them.)
For people who cannot imagine life without a college degree, going to a cheap school is really important. Because college debt is ruining the lives of young Americans, and where the degree is from is largely unimportant.
But homeschoolers should be different. We are not used to participating in the messed-up primary education system. We are accustomed to telling people that kids learn just fine without institutions. So why would we strive to prepare our kids for college when it is so clearly messed up as well?
Harvard graduates do better than most people in the workforce. Sure, OK, fine. But there’s a great study, by Alan Krueger from Princeton University, that shows that going to Harvard is not an indicator of success in adult life. Applying to Harvard is the differentiator. Because kids who apply see themselves as high-achievers and they are ambitious and they reach high for their goals.
That should be the measure of success—get your kid to have ambition and confidence to strive for what they want. Believe me: going to college is no big goal to reach. Going to college doesn’t show anything except that the kids or the parents (or both) got scared and gave up on the idea of individualized learning at the most crucial point in a kid’s transition to the adult world.