Like all parents, I want my children to be well prepared to be successful in their career choices. What I don't want is for my kids to get pigeonholed into a "career" that carries a stigma of success, while they are miserable in it. I want them to be able to do what they love, and have peace knowing that it's ok.
There truly are some people who know from a very young age what they want to be when they grow up. However, I think most teens, and even adults if they are honest, want to try life, experience a few things and then see what's a good fit. Not everyone is bound for college or the white collar world. Some people truly love working with their hands, getting dirty and coming home physically tired at the end of the day....and there's nothing shameful about that.
I've been muddling this around in my head for the last few weeks. I've been trying to decide if I want to follow the "force feed them higher education" route, or if I want to give them liberty to pursue passions, or at least minor interests without squelching their interest. In my muddling, I stumbled across this interesting article about a law making it's way through the Virginia General Assembly.
Interestingly enough, back in high school (and yes it was public school) there was more than one path to success. There was the "advanced diploma" path that included the higher maths, foreign language and chemistry with a lab. Then there was the "standard diploma" which meant you took the regular classes (language arts, biology, basic math) and then you either went to vocational/technical school for a trade, or took shop, home economics and general studies.
Do you want to know a secret? I've never had "higher math", not even pre-algebra. Shocking right? Instead, I took the business classes that were offered, including shorthand (gasp), typing, business math and the like. For the six years following graduation I did various jobs, before deciding to go to business college. I graduated the top of the class, landed a job with the largest civil engineering firm on the east coast, working my way up from receptionist to office administrator...and I loved it.
I say all that to say this, I don't know that at 12 or 13 my child (either of them) has the slightest clue about her future. I certainly don't have it all figured out either. What I do know, is that if I equip her with the desire to learn and grow, and give her room to spread her wings she'll figure it out. If I force feed her facts, formulas and figures and make her doubt her abilities, she'll flounder and settle for whatever life hands her.
That's not acceptable as far as I'm concerned. What does that mean, and look like in reality? I don't know, truthfully. It may mean that we cram a lot of academics into 9th and 10th grade and then allow for more exploration in 11th and 12th. It may mean the opposite, or perhaps it'll be more relaxed all four years?
I'll spend some time praying about it, and consulting with the husband, and perusing the options available. My curriculum picks for the upcoming year may be a bit late this year. Time will tell I guess.
What about you? Are you in the more academically strenuous high school camp, or the more delight driven or do you land somewhere in the middle like me?