Zero Tuition College, taking unschooling to the teen years. - Mothering Forums
Unschooling > Zero Tuition College, taking unschooling to the teen years.
marimara's Avatar marimara 06:12 AM 06-02-2011

I just came across this while reading my morning blogs, thought I'd share what an amazing idea this is.

TED talk ZTC


My dd is only 4 but I'm keeping this in my back pocket for later.  Loving this idea...I also saw something on the news about this the other day but I can't remember where it was.




frugalmum's Avatar frugalmum 03:32 PM 06-02-2011

Those are interesting, and I have often found myself in a similar mindset, but in the "11 Great Reasons" article the author admits right away that anyone who wants to be in a licensed  field will need to be certified-- in other words, they're going to have to get degrees ranging from 2 to 10 years of college.  Pretty much any job in education, health care, social work, law, home construction, finance and so on requires certification of some sort.  So the advice in that article is only good for someone not interested in a licensed profession.


I have mixed feelings about sending my kids to college.  I don't like the idea of the expense, pressure, shaky promises about "good jobs," doing academic work just to get the degree ("required courses" in the name of a "well rounded education"), but it seems like society has put people between a rock and a hard place requiring degrees and certifications for many rewarding professions.


I know my daughter would make an AMAZING teacher but she's going to have to be certified for most of the jobs out there, even though I totally do not believe that certification really means much. 


Qalliope's Avatar Qalliope 04:42 PM 06-02-2011

I agree you have to think outside the box in terms of profession if not going the traditional college route.  There are jobs in all the fields you mentioned that don't require a degree or certification, as well as untapped markets for businesses that could grow out of unique skills acquired as an unschooler.  Teenage unschoolers often take on volunteer work or internships in fields that interest them, which could lead to low-level positions in a desired field, and could then, if desired, work toward a degree through an online university or working adult program for less cost and wind up a graduate (around the same age as their peers) with extensive actual work experience in the same field as their degree, which would give them an edge in the real world.  Starting with the ZTC method at least lets them try before they buy, so to speak. 


If your daughter ended up being interested in teaching, she could start with preschoolers, teach English overseas to adults, tutor students of any age online or in person, or become a mentor at a Sudbury, democratic, or free school. Heck, she could even open a free school or learning cooperative if she wanted to. Those are all opportunities she could pursue without a diploma. I'd be willing to bet there are more.


I hope to help my kids avoid the paralyzing fear I have seen other young college students experience as they work their backsides off for a degree in a field they're not even sure they want to go into. Once you've committed to that path, it's hard to escape if you find it's not for you, and I don't think anybody should ever feel trapped in a life they don't love.


As of now, DS wants to be an engineer/designer of some kind. He's 7 so that'll likely change, but it may not.  We've discussed how a person might get to that place. Different colleges that cater to that type of career path have come up (he thinks MIT would be awesome, in part because he loves Boston), but we also talk about building skills, networking online and IRL with people already in the field, and keeping a portfolio that showcases your ideas.  While there are many jobs, particularly industrial, that would require a degree, I suspect he could get a job with Lego or Henson or somewhere else in a more entertainment-oriented company with enough evidence of ability/determination/charisma. He's got those last two in spades btw, far more than I do. And even if he couldn't, there are a million and one entrepreneurial directions he could take electronics, construction, and programming skills with or without a degree.

mom2ponygirl's Avatar mom2ponygirl 07:37 PM 06-02-2011

When I saw this, I thought that this was what I'd like for our daughter's high school experience now. LOL  She has great projects, but I have trouble digging up some 'Mages' for the occasional bit of direction.  It will be interesting to see how the Mage profiles develop over time and if many stay free or low cost.  There are a few already with pretty steep fees.