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Whether in good economic times or “bad,” many American parents stubbornly saddle themselves with a needless and frequently counterproductive financial burden. Fortunately, it’s a burden with potential to be significantly minimized and that homeschoolers can shrink drastically. American Vision wants to help.
This dollar drain on families is the ransom that Darwin-based, Darwin-dedicated, 100% “politically correct” U. S. colleges and universities extort annually from habit-blinded parents. For $25K per year for four years or more, the schools sell a shoddy product that no longer commands the respect it once enjoyed either here or by prospective students overseas. That one tenth of a million dollar sheepskin in impressive Latin script does not bring surefire job guarantees much less honoring Bible edicts saying that true education calls for enrichment of minds and souls. Thus, AV is here to remind you that for about one tenth the cost, your self-disciplined teenager (your goal in the formative years—right?) who sees college as more than a “13th grade, fun & games, no-more-curfews” street party, could have learned as much and more at home, online— working part time and/or interning—while advancing in love of learning, perseverance, critical thinking intellectual growth, and in adult-quality responsibility traits. Life is such that even a small town holds within it all this “real-life” potential. Don’t let anyone kid you otherwise.
What prompted me to rethink all this (and what most institutes of higher learning think of as their “dirty little secret”) was last week’s article in the Wall Street Journal, “For Most People, College is a Waste of Time,” by influential scholar Charles Murray. “Most people” is a lot of people and a lot of money, and I think Murray is on to something here even more than he knew. His thesis is this: Rather than persisting in the myth that the four-year BA degree is the last word in academics plus a sound gauge for measuring job qualifications, a much better way to test job competence is the CPA exam model used to validate public accountants. It’s a very tough test and no BA is required. If you “pass” you not only pass, it’s likely you’ll be a good job candidate and employee.
Murray, interestingly, noted that outside the realms of medicine, science, engineering, etc., two-thirds of all BA degrees come from studies in other fields and that potential job competence there (why not in law as well?) could in theory be effectively measured using nationally recognized “certification” tests with no BA required. Initially, I’d guess that the testing agencies ought to be competitive, for-profit, private and that test-takers would apply based on the related job field. The Underwriter's Laboratory approach is similar. UL either grants or withholds their “seal of approval” based on a product’s reliability. Similarly, as with cost-conscious appliance purchasers, a passing score on an intensive, CPA-caliber “certification” test (plus the applicant’s actual score) would give employers key information.
What I wish Murray had also stressed is that our famous American spirit of entrepreneurship has been deliberately stolen from government dumbed-down (and feminized) U.S.boys. Real national economic viability depends not just on truly educated people but on how many of them can turn a key component of a nation’s wealth—natural resources—into consumer products. Which is, by definition, what most entrepreneurs do. The myth that the U.S. has shifted to a “post-industrial” “service” economy whereby we take in each other’s laundry and get all our durable goods from overseas, masks all sorts of unsound, even evil agendas. We need more homegrown Edisons, Fords and yes, even Rockefellers, to turn ideas, sweat and natural resources into worker-employing businesses yielding a standard of living for all that honors God and advances His kingdom. It happens that the homeschooling environment offers the best path for entrepreneurial resurgence as I’ll explain, but others of you can add and adapt based on the homeschool model.
While homeschooled girls are being shepherded in the direction of their natural bent, which is to become Bible-class moms, wives and helpmeets, boys need to be nurtured to think vocationally and—especially—that they should seek to become self-employed. Also to be emphasized is the exciting prospect that they might one day establish an inter-generational family business. The adage is a good one that says if you can turn your avocation (hobby) into your vocation, your prospects for lifelong job contentment are wonderfully enhanced. And, who doesn’t want that? This process of parental pre-vocation encouragement and guidance for sons depends on continuous assessment of natural gifts and interests. These discoveries are advanced every way possible consistent with the rule that what’s done has to be done to God’s glory – even the fun parts.
“False starts” are acceptable during this ten-year quest because between the ages of 5 and 15 most “missteps” won’t be fatal and time is on your side. But, hopefully, by age 15, depending, he has shunned computer-game type impulses and is moving in an adult direction. In fact, he may, by himself or with family, already be creating modest products or services for sale. As this process proceeds he can be thought of as an apprentice. The next logical step would be to try and link him up with a master in the field; exactly the approach used by forward-looking business-people-to-be over the centuries—with world changing results. If online studies or career-allied courses at a local community college work out to further the profession of choice, or even conclude with a BA, then fine. The goal is to see the apprentice become, first, a journeyman and finally a master.
It’s likely Murray’s national certification proposal in hundreds of professions is a long way off. But the principle is there for us to use. As the home-discipled boy’s career direction takes shape, both he and his parents can be contacting, directly and indirectly, experts in the field. You discover their “check list” of practical/theoretical tasks and solutions that a newcomer must work towards achieving if he is to gain “master” status, and most important, to become an entrepreneur of note. It’s clear that out there in the world of knowledge and experience these collective bits of professional wisdom are available for preparatory self-study and practice application. When mastered, the boy has not only “self-certified” himself, he’s head and shoulders above others who only have a BA or who, at age 23, arrive one day at someone’s office, bright eyed and bushy tailed saying; “Here I am and I’m ready to learn.” Our truly educated homeschooled lad is already light years ahead and is probably well on his way to starting his own business.
A young friend—not homeschooled and not much “into religion”— treasured a lifelong dream to produce a specific product. He discovered after one year that college wouldn’t help. Ten years later he was a BA-free millionaire and ended up hiring his dad. Not the perfect ending to my story, but except for a God-dedicated aspect, it would come close.