This month’s cover of Boston Magazine features a photo of a proud young woman behind the title “Homeschool got me into Harvard” which leads to their feature story about homeschooling. I found the story itself biased but otherwise unimpressive, which is not surprising because that’s how mainstream journalists usually report on issues they don’t fully understand. It was the cover title that stopped me in my tracks and inspired me to write this post. Unlike most people, I wouldn’t be so proud if my kids got into Harvard, because what Harvard (and liberal arts college education in general) stands for contradicts our unschooling and life philosophy.
Unschooling and college contradict each other
What’s the point of unschooling if the end goal is to send the children to college? Unschooling is all about giving children freedom to explore and learn at their own pace through a variety of real life and work experiences. When children get into college, they have to comply with an established curriculum, so their freedom to learn on their own pace and through their own experiences is severely restricted or cut off entirely. College has now become similar to a four-year expensive resort where students don’t learn as much as they entertain themselves. The college experience if far from real, which is why it contradicts the unschooling philosophy.
The usefulness of college is overrated
Some people claim that college education helped them become successful. Depending on individual circumstances, it may or may not be the case. Had some people not gone to college and learned through alternative venues or worked instead, chances are they could have achieved the same or even greater success.
Having gone through college ourselves, my husband and I don’t think college is that useful. In fact, what we’ve learned in college has almost nothing to do with our current entrepreneurial occupations. To become successful in our businesses, we learned most of our skills on our own or through occasional classes. Needless to say, we never got any MBA degrees and still managed to become successful entrepreneurs.
Having observed many young adults who, after graduating from expensive prestigious colleges, move back to their parents’ homes and get some mediocre office jobs or wait tables without any idea of what to do with their lives, I highly doubt the usefulness of college. Again, it may be useful or it may not, but I wouldn’t bet on it and I wouldn’t want my children to spend four years of their lives and ridiculous amounts of money to find out.
College is like school
Lifestyle flexibility was not the only reason why we chose to unschool our children. The primary reason is that we resent the school system, with its police-state control of the children and its brainwashing and liberal indoctrination. Well, colleges have increasingly become a logical continuation of schools, implementing the same policies, the same political agenda, and other ideological nonsense that has nothing to do with academic learning and has everything to do with controlling students’ minds, lives, behavior, and thoughts. Colleges take those children who are already brainwashed by the school system, and continue the job of molding these children into docile individuals who are unable to think critically and who are sheltered from real life.
I have always found it ridiculous that many colleges force their freshmen to live on campus. I could never understand what living on campus had to do with academic growth, until I realized that it was all about the management and control of student lives, not about their education. When I was in college, my professors already made their (usually left-leaning) political agenda obvious based what they taught and what kinds of assignments they made us do. Since then, it has gotten much worse. There are numerous examples of colleges penalizing students for speaking up their minds even in private settings or on their personal social media accounts. There are many stories of colleges enforcing ridiculous policies and promoting questionable agenda. Those who search with an open mind will have no difficulty finding stories like these.
Ivy league schools such as Harvard are especially known for that jaw-dropping liberal nonsense they preach to their students in the name of “education.” Usually, it’s the conservative and libertarian students who suffer from penalties and ostracism on campus. We are raising our children as libertarians and I wouldn’t want them to be silenced and to be forced to sacrifice their values and their beliefs just to appease their college administrators.
I also doubt that colleges provide much academic value. Sadly, the saying “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” does reflect the situation in many liberal arts colleges that are dominated by career professors who teach full-time most of their lives. No matter how hard such professors may try to bring their teaching closer to reality, their students still remain clueless about most of the challenges that await them in the life outside of campus walls. Going out into the real world, getting your hands dirty, and learning from professionals practicing in the field is the best, and cheapest, way to learn.
Who will pay for it?
It’s no secret that college education has become a lot more expensive than it was even ten years ago. I have all reasons to believe that in the next ten years, when my oldest will be approaching college age, higher education will be even more expensive. Undergraduates typically don’t get full four-year scholarships, unless in exceptional cases (which usually involve students having some “special” background or belonging to some group, which has nothing to do with how smart they are). Considering our attitude towards college and our firm belief, based on articles in Forbes and other resources (that you can research on your own), that college education is overpriced due to inflated demand and prices, we are unlikely to waste our savings and business income on college funds because we don’t believe that college is beneficial for our children. And I wouldn’t want my children to take loans, because I don’t want them to start their lives as young professionals already being laden with huge college debt.
While getting my homeschooled kids into Harvard may bring me some publicity and bragging rights, I’d rather invest money into my children’s business ventures and set my children off to a debt-free life.
Instead of college, what would we want for our children?
We want our children to become entrepreneurs, and for that one doesn’t need a college diploma. Frankly, college diploma is not necessary for many jobs and occupations. Employers have seen their share of incompetent college graduates, so now there is a growing trend to hire not based on college grades or Harvard connections, but based on rich and relevant work experience. And the truth is, work experience can only be gained through apprenticeship, internship, and entrepreneurship – it’s not taught in college.
The mainstream choice that most parents want is for their children to spend four years in a brick-and-mortar college, pay loads of money for their undergraduate degrees, and in the meantime subject themselves to all kinds of psychological and political indoctrination. I’d much rather have my children spend these four years developing and growing their businesses and investing money in their ventures and in their professional development.
What if my children determine they need college diploma? No problem. Undergraduate degrees can be earned through online education. Online degree choices are growing, and prices and quality are becoming better and better. As a viable alternative to a brick-and-mortar college, virtual education is cheaper, more flexible, and doesn’t involve campus political agenda and mind control.
Later, if my children specialize in medical, dental, or other field that requires them to physically attend graduate school, I will have no problem with that either. Graduate schools are not as oppressive as undergraduate colleges are, and hopefully by that time my children will be mature individuals able to withstand any ideological pressures, and they will have enough income and good money management skills to finance their graduate education responsibly.