Guiding your child with their college and career planning when sports or music is their passion can be difficult. It is also very necessary. Things change a LOT with sports-minded and musically-inclined kids over time. A simple injury can change the trajectory completely. I encourage you to guide your children as if they will go to college at age 18, applying as normal. That way, when they are 19 they can apply for college but also take a gap year for their special ability or other major events. If their plans are stalled, for whatever reason, they will be able to get a degree while they wait to return to professional careers.
It's normal for public school children to graduate at age 17, 18, 19, and 20. Once they turn 21, they are no longer allowed in public schools. So graduating high school at different ages is somewhat normal. Remember that you can continue to change your mind about when you will graduate your child until you declare them to be a junior for purposes of the National Merit Scholarship. Even then you can still "graduate early" if you decide they were a junior and then change your mind and graduate them a year early.
When young adults become about 18 years old, something changes inside of them, and they want to be an independent adult. It's almost impossible to homeschool an independent adult (try it on your spouse sometime and you'll see what I mean, LOL!). So although you might want to homeschool past age 18, that may not work out. In fact, it's very possible (perhaps even likely) that the sweetest, most compliant 15-year-old will turn 18 and then very sweetly, compliantly, and gently refuse to be homeschooled. It's not a sin, by the way, it's just the way God made kids - we have been raising them to become adults. It's almost impossible to imagine this situation until it happens to you, so think about this issue carefully.
If this is the direction your child is leaning towards, it might be most helpful to suggest a business degree when looking at college and career planning. Look at it this way: if there is a likelihood they will succeed at sports, the thing they will need MOST is good business sense. They will need to earn money, raise money, manage money, market their abilities, and then keep their money.
So what I often tell moms in this position is to have a conversation like this with your child: "Sweetheart, of COURSE you are going to be famous. Because of that, we need to plan ahead for your long term success. To be successful for the next 10-15 years, you are going to need a college degree in business to manage the business side of your athletic career - so you can manage your money and read a contract."
You can also consider a gap year after graduation. Normally it's used for something meaningful, and significant (spectacular!) events with sports, music, mission work, and others could certainly qualify. It's definitely something valuable to consider in your college and career planning, and it just might fit the needs of your student well.
Read more here:
Article: Gap Year for Homeschoolers
Coffee Break Book: Options After High School: Steps to Success for College or Career
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