Monday, January 08, 2007

"They were questioned"

On my other blog I mentioned a grilling the older children received from a relative this weekend about their career plans and choices. It occurs to me that it might be useful from a home ed point of view to blog some more about their answers and opinions here, because I know that this is one of the big fears about the decision to 'go autonomous'.

My three teens have had a good seven years of complete autonomy in education (and everything else) and are at the stage, at 17, 16 and 14, of working out how to earn a living. Two of them have already started, to some extent. The conversations they had this weekend with one of our elderly, very conventional relatives on this subject were fascinating, I thought.

"So what are you going to do with your life?" Ali was asked.

He looked puzzled before answering: "Oh, you mean for money? More of the same, probably. I do some web design and some internet coding. It pays well enough when I put the work in."

"Oh! And have you done a course in the subject?"

"No, I looked into courses a couple of years ago thinking I might, but I couldn't find any course tutors who were willing or able to teach me anything I couldn't already do. I've learned through trial and error and reading online manuals instead."

"So how do you get work if you don't have qualifications?"

"Well it's been reputation and word of mouth, so far. I haven't had to advertise. People see what you can do by looking at what you've done and they employ you to do more of the same for them."

"Oh! Well! I suppose that's the way of the world nowadays."

"It certainly is in that field, yes."

"So do you think you'll ever go to university and get a degree in the subject?"

"If I thought it would be useful I might. But so far I'm managing fine without it."

She turned to Tom and asked him what his plans were.

"Not sure yet. I helped someone with their shop for a while and they wanted to take me on one of those apprenticeship business management schemes but I didn't fancy it to be honest."

"Oh, why not?"

"Well I worked for them for over a year and having seen what was involved in doing that for a living I decided it wasn't for me."

"Oh! So what will you do instead?"

"Well I think I'll probably travel a bit at first and just take bits of work to earn what I need to fund it."

"Can you get work like that?"

"Yes, I already do, for a local builder. He offers me odd days and if I need the money I take the work. He wants me full time but I don't fancy doing that permanently either. It's quite fun just now and again though and it pays well for the hours I do."

"You don't want to settle into a specific career then?"

"No, not until something really interests me enough to want to do it all the time. I'd rather be sure about that before I get stuck in a rut with something I might not enjoy."

"Oh! Well, I suppose that's good thinking.."

She turned to Zara and said: "And do you still want to be an electrician, Zara?"

"No, I'm into philosophy now instead."

"Oh! Well! That's a bit different! And will you go on a course to study that?"

"I might do if I'm still into the idea when I'm 16. I'm just reading books about it at the moment to learn more, and online forums and websites."

"Well! You can't learn much about philosophy just from reading books, can you?"

Ali was heard to loudly snort at this, and Zara diplomatically changed the subject before things got too embarrassing!

It was very interesting for me to listen to all this, because of course I never question the children like that. I love their attitude towards working and money though: that they'll do things they enjoy and things that interest them, and they're quite confident and able to earn enough money in that way when they want to.

I suppose it's no surprise after the kind of upbringing they've had, but none of them sees the need to earn a lot of money, only enough to facilitate the things they want to do. I can't, at this stage, imagine any of them ever becoming unhappy wage slaves although I guess that might change if they make bad decisions along the way. But I *think* (hope) they're fairly clued up in that respect too.

I'm not complacent because of course life can throw anything up at any time, but from what I knew already and heard them confirm this weekend, I'm very happy with the way things are going and the worries other family members expressed to me about our decision to go autonomous 7 years ago look set to be proven unfounded, if they haven't already been.

In the car on the way home Ali asked, "Why does C think you can only learn things at college?"

"I dunno," was my nonplussed reply. "I guess she's never had chance to consider the alternative."

"That's really narrow-minded of her."

"Um, yes. I suppose it is! But structured education has been her whole life, so she probably didn't have much choice. Very strict parents."




Blogger Tibetan Star said...

O/T: HI Gill, I was wondering if you can help - my blog disappeared (appears online without any posts) - any idea how to fix it?

10:14 am, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Hmmm that happened to Rosie too, didn't it?

No posts on the dashboard either?

Erm.. You could try the internet archives at

Oh I just did and it's not there.

OK, maybe it's in the Google cache then - yes, here it is:

I asked Ali if there's any way of quickly restoring that to your blog but he said he can't think of one other than reposting it, though he hasn't done a lot of work with Blogger so he's not 100% sure.

I know that Rosie at restored her blog this way, so I'd recommend that as your next port of call! Good luck :-)

11:09 AM, January 08, 2007

11:10 am, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Allie said...

Thanks for this post, Gill. Every now and then I do wonder how it will be for our kids when they are in their mid-teens, especially as they will be surrounded by cousins who will likely be acquiring lots of qualifications. Of course, mine might do that but I suspect that 10 GCSEs won't be high on their list of priorities. Your teens sound very calm about the whole earning money/work thing. I hate the way there is an aura of panic and rush about the teen years in our society - like if they don't get all the magic bits of paper they will somehow have missed the boat to a good life.

3:15 pm, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Qalballah said...

I've tagged you :P

3:44 pm, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Tibetan Star said...

Hi Gill
Thanks for that! I managed to get it sorted - I suddenly thought of starting a new blog, and copy and paste its 'brand new - not yet messed up' template code onto the 'problem-blog' and it worked! What a relief!!! I'm soooo attached to it! Scary... Anyway, now I can relax and read your post calmly

4:31 pm, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Tibetan Star said...

That's a great post, as I'm going through all that at the moment, with my parents expressing their anxiety about my decision to home educate.
So, thanks for that!

4:52 pm, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Elle at Ellesfuntimes said...

Lovely to have come across your blog. I enjoyed reading your post as, like Allie, the idea of what road the kids follow often crosses my mind and it's often brought up in conversation too by some of my relatives. Thanks very much. Elle

7:31 pm, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Allie, I think in many cases getting the magical bits of paper has the opposite effect! But not always, of course :-)

Paula, glad it helped :-) I tagged you with the 6 weird things meme, but my comment went into moderation. I'm assuming you know you have it set to do that? I'm only asking because I didn't know when I had mine set that way and wondered why everyone was ignoring me! Doh.

Elle, hi! Glad you found it useful too. Oooh what a lovely new blogring toy, I'm off to read your blog too now, and the others I didn't know about :-)

10:07 am, January 09, 2007  
Blogger Carlotta said...

Thanks for the link, Gill...very interesting and encouraging indeed.

6:29 pm, March 29, 2007  

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