"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Goals, Plans, and Heavy Equipment

Spencer is fourteen at the time of this writing.

I love having a teenager. What's that you say? What about the sullen, rebellious, eye-rolling teenagers that sitcoms would have you believe are the norm? Not in this house. I like my teen, and find I'm enjoying being around him more than ever. I've so far enjoyed all of my kids' ages, but there's just something really cool about someone who still plays with legos, but can laugh at and appreciate a sophisticated joke that goes over his younger siblings' heads. Or a person who can equally enjoy both Tom and Jerry with his three year old sister, and Law and Order: SVU with his parents.

As he's gotten older, he's naturally started thinking and talking more about the future, and about what he sees himself doing as an adult. For the past few years, (and really, longer than that, since his fascination with construction vehicles began as a toddler) he's been interested in going into the field of construction, and learning to operate heavy machinery. Yesterday, we spent a long time looking online at different schools, training programs, and apprenticeships. We talked about all his different options, and what he needs to do to get there. He is so excited.

One of the questions I get a lot about unschooling is, "How will they get into college?" Now, I can personally think of about 7,492 better ways to spend the tens of thousands of dollars that college costs (especially when you don't want to go into a field that legally requires a certain degree), but that aside, an unschooler gets into college just like anyone else... they find out what's required for their school/s of choice, and they do it! It's no more simple nor complicated than that.

In Spencer's case, he has no interest (or need) for traditional college, but will have to go through a rigorous, and largely on-the-job, training and testing program in order to learn what he needs to know, get certified, and be able to work on his own. First he'll need a driver's license, and a high school diploma or GED. We've been researching that too, and there are more and more high schools that grant diplomas to homeschoolers for life experiences and/or after taking a test.

Most of the programs he's looking at also have an age requirement of 18, which means that he has four years (at a minimum... no one is telling him he can't decide to do it when he's 20. Or 34.) Four years to live, learn, think, plan, and do what he needs to do in order to earn his diploma and meet his own goals. Considering that a motivated and eager person can learn everything that is taught between K through 12 in a matter of months, I'd say he's in darn good shape.


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