True Education is Not About Making a Living

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There is so much more to education than "employment preparation".  Give your children a LIFE!  Homeschooling is a perfect opportunity for this - do not squander it! | RaisingArrows.netYears ago, I picked up a used copy of Clay & Sally Clarkson’s Educating the Wholehearted Child.  I was fascinated by the content and implemented as much as I could in our little homeschool.  Since that day, I have recommended this book to homeschoolers everywhere, and even given it special mention on my Homeschooling page here on Raising Arrows.

About a year ago, I picked up a copy of the new edition.  I could readily see there was more content and I knew I needed a refresher course.  Finally, during vacation this year, I was able to begin reading.

Boy, did I need the words contained within those pages!  Ty and I spent hours discussing what I had read.  The kids and I spent hours discussing what I had read!  There was so much to chew on.  I am continuing to chew even today!

One discussion that came from my reading was concerning a sidebar comment on page 98 entitled The Education Nation:

“Secular public education in America has evolved into what is essentially an elaborate employment preparation and social indoctrination mechanism.”

And I realized even I was getting caught up in the mindset of “employment preparation.”

You see, I have a 16 year old who is very close to finishing up all of his required high school credits in our state.  The natural conveyer belt of our society says the next step is college, but Blake isn’t sure he wants to go to college.  He’s a very intelligent, very driven young man and although I wanted to respect his decision, I felt myself lurching inside.


Would he be able to get a good job without a college education?

Isn’t every smart child supposed to go to college?

How would people react to him not going to college?

(notice how that last one is all about MY pride?)

Government education has truly become a system of institutionalized thinking.  There aren’t many “outside-the-box-ers” these days.  The goal does seem to be to get a child through high school so they can get through college, so they can get a better job than their parents, but if you look around you will see a lot of college graduates struggling to do just that.  And often, their answer is to go BACK to college for another round.  Piles of information, good test taking skills, and very little to show for it in the way of real world experience.  In the words of Kevin Swanson,

“It’s like taking 12 years of bike and never getting on one.”

Common Core is supposed to help change some of this, but all I see there is more of the same…fill heads with information they won’t retain and teach a test so hopefully they’ll get a good enough grade to get into college and…then what?

As I continued to read in the Clarkson’s book, I found myself deeply convicted to stop secretly wanting my son to be like everyone else (I say secretly because I would NEVER have admitted that I even remotely wanted any of my children to be INSIDE the box) and use these young adult years to give my son even more opportunities to become who God has created him to be because “true education is not about making a living but about making a life.” (<— this is a topic explored even more within the pages of Educating the Wholehearted Child.)

How we educate is important.  It runs much deeper than filling heads with information.  It runs much deeper than college prep or employment skills.  It starts when you child is very young and you allow them to be children full of wonder and curiosity for God’s great grandeur.  It continues as you cultivate a home environment that is full of love and respect for the individual image-of-God child, as well as plenty of free space and time to explore personal interests and and God-gifted leanings.  And as your child nears the end of childhood and adulthood is in sight, it becomes a time in which you guide your child toward using those interests and leanings where making a living becomes a reality because they’ve made a life.

Might I gently suggest you look into not only Educating the Wholehearted Child, but also a website I have mentioned before that goes hand-in-hand with what I am saying here:

10K to Talent free ebook and courses to help you give your child the opportunity to not just make a living, but live their dream! |

This website is full of information and guidance to take your child’s leanings and help them build a “real” life from those talents.  Using the principles we have learned from Jonathan Harris, our son has taken his interest in airsoft guns and built a website.  He’s learned to work on airsoft guns, produce and edit quality videos, and write with passion and clarity.  Our daughter is also working on her videography and photography, as she moves toward her own 10,000 hours of talent. offers courses to guide you and your student into using your homeschool time wisely by building a curriculum around their uniqueness in Christ.  This isn’t cookie-cutter homeschooling, and it will revolutionize how your entire homeschool paradigm!

I encourage you to really pray through all of this and catch a vision for how amazing the homeschool experience can be in the middle school and high school years!

16 Comments on True Education is Not About Making a Living

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16 thoughts on “True Education is Not About Making a Living

  1. Love this. I was trying to put this into words a few weeks ago when discussing homeschool goals with my husband. Thank you! I think I need to reread the Clarkson’s book as well :)

  2. Thanks Amy, I really needed to read this. My oldest is 12 and going to be starting 7th when we begin our homeschooling year in September. I’ve really fallen into the doing things like everyone else rut. I’ve been talking college and my daughter isn’t even sure she wants to go.

    I don’t want to be just like everyone else. We are homeschooling for a reason and our actions should reflect those reasons.

    I think I need to read the book you recommended! I’m going to check and see if the library has it.

    Thanks again!

  3. I don’t think a 16 year old can truly understand how invaluable a college education is. I don’t think he is prepared to make the decision of, “I am not going to college.”

    Whether we like it or not, it is EXTREMELY hard to financially succeed in America without a college education, especially if he’s planning on keeping the faith and supporting a stay at home wife and children some day of his own.

    I’m curious to know, if college isn’t for him, then what is his game plan towards success? Handiwork/trades are continuing to be outsourced, and any manual/physical labor he may take up now, he may not be able to sustain as he ages.

    Alternately, if he’s planning on starting a small business, he needs to be equipped with the proper tools/knowledge on how to do so. Sure, he may be able to learn these skills on his own without college, but when applying for grants, loans, and trying to make a name for himself in the world, how will he compare to his peers, if they all have the same profession, but one has a degree under his belt, and he doesn’t?

    I’m not trying to be accusatory, so please don’t take it as so. I’m just trying to think realistically about your son’s future.

    “Secular public education in America has evolved into what is essentially an elaborate employment preparation and SOCIAL indoctrination mechanism.” <— Why this may not be what you want/like to hear, I'm just saying that the reality is that this how America is currently functioning, and unless he "plays the game" I'm not sure he'll be able to financially support himself & his future family. He can still go to college and be "IN the world, but not OF the world," if that is his true desire.

    May I also add that I hope you're considering college educations for your girls, too.

    I enjoy reading your blog and appreciate the time you took to listen to my thoughts. I am not a Christian myself, but just enjoy reading about your life and the perspective by which you live your life.

    • I appreciate a good debate. I am surprised you don’t know people who have been able to financially provide for their families without a college education. I know many skilled people who have done well providing for their families. In fact, I just read an article that said the fastest growing job market are for skilled labor. These jobs provide a good paycheck and will never be outsourced. A computer will never fix a toilet or inspect a pipeline. Of course, we would all say we would like a “better” job for our kids than being a plumber, but how is an engineer better than a plumber? What constitutes a better job? Are we living to make a living or living to make a life? Is the miserable engineer better off than the satisfied plumber? (not that engineers are miserable, mind you, but I do know several who are, thus the analogy 😉 )

      And while “playing the game” may be the current train of thought, that does not mean we should sit idly by and continue to feed a system that isn’t working well. We seriously need to be encouraging our children to stop playing the system in order to think outside the box and become innovators rather than just-getting-by-yet-never-satisfied employees.

      And being a Christian does not factor into college versus no college. It may for some, but it does not for us. Ty and I both have degrees. While he has a job that requires a degree (any degree), he is not using the degree he received. I have never held a job that required a degree, yet I use mine every day (English/Lit). That said, learning should be a life-long process – pursued with excellence. College may be a part of that, or it may not.

      And to answer your question about my daughters…my oldest (13) currently plans to be a deaf interpreter, so yes, she will need college to get that certification.

  4. I’ve gone to university twice now – firstly at 18, and then as a (slightly more) mature student to train as a midwife, which is what I’m doing now. From my experience and observations of other students, it is often better to go and study for a degree as an adult rather than a just-out-of-school teen, because you’ve got a better idea what you want to do and are more in control of your life. Moving out of home is a huge step on its own, I frequently ran out of clean clothes or food in my first year!

    So if your children don’t know if they want to go to college, that doesn’t mean they never will. If they decide to go later in life, when they’ve already had some time making those big steps into independent adulthood, they might even be better off. They surely won’t be worse off!

    Also, my brother decided he didn’t know what he wanted to study so he didn’t go to university. After a year working in a supermarket he got his act together and applied for an excellent job which provides alongside training and could well mean he’s got a career for life now. Definitely the right choice for him! He’s only 20 and is in a position to consider buying his own home.

  5. Hi! Thank you for this encouraging post. I read a little on Johnathon’s blog about 10K to Talent but I’m not sure which resource to order to begin. Nor can I find contact information for him. Can you point me in the right direction? This sounds like a fantastic resource! Blessings!

    • I would encourage you to email Jonathan and ask him. They are very available and ready to answer your questions and would be much better at doing so than I am.

  6. I just jumped over to the 10ktotalent website and looked into buying his e-course, but it states that your child should be 12-16. My oldest is 9. Is this is a program that you use with your younger children, or wait until they reach age 12?

  7. My dh has an MBA. The best he can make with that degree is a little over minimum wage, and he has to put up with serious religious discrimination and sexual harassment to make it. He quit that rat race and is now earning his CDL. That starts at about 40k per year and goes up from there, especially in the oil industry. Welders and diesel mechanics make good money too.

    I’m a sahm, but I used to be in the workforce and have a BA. As soon as I graduated, I became unemployable. Suddenly, my prior work experience no longer counted for anything, and I couldn’t use my degree without experience. My degree was the worst mistake I ever made.

    College is entirely overrated.

  8. We love the Clarkson’s! I used to attend the Whole Hearted Mothers Conferences every year. Speaking of college and real life, you have got to read A Different Kind of Teacher by Gatto. Have you read it? John Gatto was a public school teacher for 30 years, and agrees that ‘getting an education’ is not the same as preparing for life. It’s the best book I’ve read this year, and is a huge encouragement for this scenario/dilemma we face today.