A college conundrum

A long time ago (12 years, more or less) in a place far, far away (well, a few miles, at least), we had to make some decisions about the education of our children.

Society said, “Send them to public school. The state will educate them and mold them into fine citizens.”

Most Christians said, “Send them to a private, Christian school, if you can afford it, or to public school if not. Be sure to send them to Sunday School at church each week for religious instruction.”

But a few said, “Have you thought about homeschooling?”

So, we talked about it. We prayed about it. We talked to others. Then, we took the plunge. After attending Kindergarten at a private, Christian school, Matt was kept home, to receive his education from his parents. Lu taught reading, writing and arithmetic. Science and piano and music. History and worldview. We were introduced to Bible quizzing and math clubs and homeschool band and other edifying opportunities. Our goal hasn’t been merely education, but discipleship. We’ve spent nearly 12 years immersed in the concept that we could teach our kids. We’ve tried to be family-oriented, working and learning and serving together. There have been some bumps, but we’ve tried to face them as a family.

Now, 12 years later, we have another decision. What about college?

Society says, “The purpose of secondary education is to prepare the student for college. A college degree is necessary to succeed in today’s world.”

Most Christians say, “The purpose of secondary education is to prepare the student for college. A college degree is necessary to succeed in today’s world.”

But a few say, “Is college really the best way to reach your goals?”

So, we talk. We pray. We talk to others. But we’re still unsure. What are some of the issues that we’re thinking about?

  • We are committed to family activities: learning, ministering, serving. With this background, it is odd to consider sending our son off to college. Yet we don’t want to hold on, if God’s plan is different. Of course, the Bible does talk about a man leaving father and mother. However, the occasion is not college, but marriage.
  • We recently visited Taylor University. The night before our visit, we drove through the campus. My first impression, as I saw groups of students walking around, was that college was an artificial environment, separating young adults from their families and putting them in an environment consisting almost entirely of other young adults.
  • Is the college environment, whether a Christian college or not, the best environment to receive the training that Matt desires? Or can it be received through independent means?
  • Many Christian college campuses include various events to encourage dating. Some of these events are simply goofy (like this one), but others are just downright bad ideas.
  • How do we best weigh the benefits of attending a Christian college away from home vs. attending a secular (anti-Christian) college in town?
  • We don’t measure success the same way that society does. Life isn’t about making lots of money, gaining fame, etc. So, decisions about post-homeschooling education shouldn’t be about success as others measure it.

The bottom line is that God has a plan for our family and a plan for our son. There’s no need to panic! (But a few answers would be great… :)).

One Response to “A college conundrum”

  1. Mike Cook says:

    Preparation for boys to become men and fathers is different from preparation for girls to become women and mothers. A choice about college, I think, follows with that observation.

    A man will have to provide for his family, and so he should prepare himself for that. What training and education will prepare him to provide financially for his family? That’s a different decision for each individual.

    Having only girls, I can’t suggest a route. However, home-college seems to be working for us. I’m still unsure what I would do if I had a son. College most likely, but the choice is not obvious.

    Apprenticeships might be helpful, but they seem to be limited in this day and age.

    Let us know what you finally decide, whenever that is.

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