Friday, August 21, 2009

College, homeschooling, worldview, and stuff

Sigh, I can't even come up with a good post title. I am sitting here with a huge yellow mug of decaf coffee and a vanilla candle recently lit to infuse the room with a calming scent. We found out this morning a very good acquaintance had suddenly passed away. We will miss him.

Christopher's check from the University arrived yesterday to purchase his books and other necessities. We stopped by the bookstore to pick up his books, which had been put on hold. He also needed to drive to Best Buy for new ear phones (his ADHD challenges are audio and he must wear earphones that block noise to study).

I perused the books at Barnes & Noble and realized I hadn't been there in ages... much coveting was involved... and sniffing the aroma of Starbucks coffee. :)

Christopher had to return to the Financial Aid department at the University over twenty times. There were that many problems, including being kicked completely out of the computer twice. His diligence paid off as his complete Sophomore year is paid for with a combination of grants and scholarships from his good grades at the community college.

He has merged into college, taking his senior year of high school (homeschooling) and his freshmen year of college at the community college and then transferring to the University. His hard work in math and science has paid off with acceptance into the School of Science (which is difficult to get into) and minoring in engineering. It is quite amazing since this is the kid who took over two years to finish Saxon 1/2 and despised math. All of a sudden... he got it.

I have been asked by a few people around town why I would encourage him to attend the University when so many "Christian" kids come out of four years with no faith intact. Well, for one thing... if our kids are going to be salt and light in fields such as science, engineering, medicine, law, education, business, and math... they require a college education.

Now, I grew up near this world renown university, worked there, attended college there, have one child graduated from there, and I've known dozens and dozens of young people who have attended this and other major universities. All I have to say is... they can be a pit... on the level of Sodom and Gomorrah. I kid you not. It can be very, very bad. Liberal professors are the least of my concerns.

I have already found the contact people for the Navigators and Inter Varsity (Christopher has met the contacts for Campus Crusade for Christ) and forwarded them to him via e-mail.... and he lives at home!

At the same time, my husband and I decided to prepare him for the University and what he would encounter by teaching him... worldview. We used Cornerstone Curriculum's Starting Points Curriculum, which was fantastic. It can be one semester or one year (we used it as a one year curriculum).

It says it is for ages 12 to adult. We used it around the Sophomore-Junior years. We enjoyed teaching this and Christopher loved the books he had to read. I mean... how bad can it be when Mere Christianity is one of the required books? :)

They also have a three year worldview high school course which you basically only have to add math and science separately. This course is based a great deal on the works of Francis Schaeffer and is a quite demanding classical education.

We used their math curriculum the first half of elementary school classes... one of my few regrets is not staying with it through sixth grade.

Their website is... here. Even if you don't homeschool, the Starting Points material would be excellent to study with your teenagers as a family project.

My greatest desire for my children and grandchildren is to have a relationship with the very real Christ of the Bible. My second greatest desire... for them to walk in the path for which God made them.

Picture: Waterbaby;


Anonymous said...

Great post!! We did much the same as you are doing with your son. Our youngest due to health issues and the effects of meds (she was on antibiotics nearly continously the first 10 years of her life...I could write a book on that alone) and later told me while on them her brain was always "fuzzy". I almost dispaired of ever getting her taught how to use money!! I began pretty young too...she could count, but remembering what coin was worth how much. She, now almost 26 works for an engineering company as a tech, that develops fuel cell technology. In this little town we live in, in a nondescript bldg that we did not even notice. The Jr. college we sent her to, sent her there a few months after she graduated, to try out for employment. She beat out 14 others. Graduated in math and science with a AS at 4.0...would that have happened if we had not homeschooled her...doubtful. She would have missed way too much school to be able to have learned much. By doing it at home year around, when she was able...well, the results speak for her.

I wish someone could point us to a TRULY Christian school. At least with our children, not only could we not afford for them to attend, we could not find one that was not PRETENDING to be something they no longer are!! Sorry, but that is the truth these days. We figured that the world will be everywhere, why not keep them close to home, or at home and they know they are going into the battlefield. Two of ours weathered that well. One did not...but frankly, this child would most likely been the same, no matter. She does not see nor think as the rest of us do...and she recognizes that too, as we do now. I do think she had issues we did not see then...and did not even have a name then. It is only since about 1990 or so that Aspergers has been recognized. Because she was very smart, we did not think of her having anything like this. She has accepted the athiest teachings for now...but she is alive, so we yet hope. The final report card is not in yet on any of us yet living. I have been reading a great deal on this syndrome and I am not sure today if anything we could have done would have changed the outcome with her. We were certainly not perfect parents, though we loved her and did try. But what I also faced was a husband who no doubt is also Aspergers...sigh! And an ill child as the last one, at the same time. So, my hands were very full...but we have grieved a lot anyway, as you can imagine. And we are grateful for a gracious FATHER who loves all of us more than we could possibly love each other.

Thanks for sharing so openly here. It is a great encouragement to me!! Blessings on you!!

carla said...

Almost 2 years have passed since I discovered your blog. I may have commented only once or twice before, but I enjoy reading it and your book recommendations. We have a lot of things in common: age, books, faith, homeschooling, length of marriage. My husband had a mild brain injury after a car accident. But anyway, after several years of homeschooling, our younger son entered the local community college and had to take remedial math. Because of an art class project (in which he had to do some calculations) he discovered a great love for math. He received a partial scholarship to the local private university and graduated with the senior scholar award in math. He was then awarded a full scholarship in the PHD program at Dartmouth. He attended two years and dropped out. By this time he had not only abandoned his faith, but became an advocate for atheism and dope smoking. After working in the corporate world for 3 years he's back at another graduate school. All this was to say that it's surprising how an interest in a subject seems to come from nowhere, and also that we are experiencing the down side to modern education. My husband has a degree in physics, I have about 2 years of college, but I wish our son had never gone. He seemed to have a strong faith when he was a teenager. It sounds like you anticipated trouble and tried to prepare your son for university challenges to the faith, which is was the right thing to do. I know that some kids graduate with their faith in Jesus even stronger and I hope your son is one of them. He sounds like a great kid. I realize that this is way too long to post, but since you moderate the comments, you can delete it. Thank you for your sharing your blog; it is bookmarked in A Blogs- my favorite ones.

matty said...

As a community college professor, I feel compelled to share my experiences with students, homeschooled or not, and how they evolve at the cc. The one thing that is really evident to me is that homeschooled students, most of the time, come well prepared academically, but are completely unprepared for the social aspect of the community college. I have seen wonderful kids lose their balance and fall out of love with their faith. However, these are often the students who have been so insulated that they have no idea how to deal with all the bombardment, visually, intellectually, physically, and morally. They get lost in the world.

Then, there are the students who have been 'in the world', so to speak, and are more than capable in dealing with the challenges to their faith they have experienced.
Often, I have seen non-believers become believers because of their relationships with other Christian students. These are not the preaching students, but the ones who are open, accepting, fun, love to laugh, and non-judgemental. Their happiness is contagious and students want to know why.

The one common element I see in those students who keep their faith is that they have friends with similar values. They hold on to each other, socialize together, study together, and take classes together. As a teacher, I try very hard to pair students so that they help each other, not only intellectually, but spiritually as well. It is a delicate balance, but I have seen more than once how a positive student can redeem a less positive student.

I know that where I teach, we don't have much of the 'out of faith' teaching going on. However, note that I am in 1) in the South and 2) in a small (4000 fulltime students) community college. We still have prayer at the flag pole and "Students for Christ" club. We raise food and money for the homeless and we pay attention to those on our campus who have less. We are fortunate that our leaders, faculty and staff, believe in service to our community. This isn't to say that we don't have our disagreements, but we all manage to keep our eyes on what we do and how it impacts others.

Families are the core of any one's life. Having a strong family connection, support and encouragement as well as a loose lead line to explore and question, helps students as they transition to college or university and then into the world. Having home to return to without yelling or threats gives them the confidence to see the world, but to know that home is safe haven. It is natural to question life; home should be the one place we can talk and explore without fear.

Please understand; my son went more than a little wild for a few years and he still has what he calls no faith in God. However, I choose to let my life be his sermon rather than my mouth. He leaves for the Air Force in a few days (you can imagine how this Quaker mom is dealing with that one) and I fear that he has no relationship with God. However, I believe that the good seeds of faith I planted when he was a child, along with my prayers to his Heavenly Father, will bring him home and keep him safe.

So, I guess all this is to say, have faith; hold your worries up to our Father and let go. If we have been the parents we have hoped to be, we have done no harm and our children will come safely through their questions and explorations and find safe harbor.

Thanks for the rant time, Brenda!


Margaret's Ramblings said...

Don't be too worried. I homeschooled both of mine in the 1970s/80s in New Zealand and they have grown into responsible adults. Even if they sidestep to look at other ways of life I have found once their interest is quenched they return to their oen values.


Becky K. said...

That is on our agenda for this final year with our boys. I hope they love it enough to continue the series even when they aren't officially schooling anymore.

I bought it for last year but felt our middle one wasn't quite ready for it yet.

Our Michael is planning to take a two year program at a very evolutionary based Public Garden. He is very grounded already but I figure this will be the golden addition to his preparation.

Thanks, Brenda, for your encouragement here today.

Becky K.

scrappy quilter said...

Awesome post!!

Anonymous said...

Hooray for Christopher! I am truly glad for him and for you. Mark another victory for homeschooling!

Friend Debra

Anonymous said...

I homeschool both of my daughters 15 and 12...they did go to public school for a short time until God revealed to me to homeschool them:)

They are smart and I could even say worldly smart because they have been in the world (public school) so they know how other kids and adults act. I am not sure if they will go to college or not and to be truth I am not really concerned about this...God is incontrol:)

Many Blessings,

A Great Post!!


Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Out of 13 cousins on both sides of the family, only three (including my 1) were not homeschooled. I am a career woman, thankfully given my circumstances, so school was something we needed. My son weathered it and college and the world very well with his faith intact. I wish I could say it was something I did. I did try to instill faith in him, realizing after a while I could do nothing of the sort. That is, really, between him and the Lord. I tried to model a relationship with God--including shaking a fist at Him occasionally while He indulgently smiled down at me. My son saw all this.

I think we can't take ourselves too seriously in this department. WE just have to do the best we can--which is what it sounds like you and all these commenters are doing. In the end, however, our children must respond to God in their own way.

And, for those of us whose children stray for a time, let me say: "Don't despair too much." Many is the time I have seen this happen and the child stray right back some years later.

But, being "salt and light" is our job. WE can't stay hidden...must mix. And I refuse to give over education and learning just because someone is not a believer...chew the meat and spit out the bones. It is all education.

Thanks for this discussion. C

Anonymous said...

Reading the remarks here...and thinking on what Matty has posted. I do not know how anyone would be able to totally keep their homeschooled child out of the world if one participates in church and other organizations (we did 4-H and Civil Air Patrol)...sadly my daughter, in her defense, fell prey to one of the worst kinds of "queen bees" who was at all those places too. Small town. We should have moved away...but jobs were not easy to find and also, we had such large health bills with our youngest especially, that we could not chance moving and THEN find a job! (Right now that same daughter has an infant that is crying all the time, because he has severe reflux problem. They and the docs are working at it, trying to find a way to stop it, or slow it down. But it is a HARD experience for her. I know the FATHER is trying to soften her heart towards HIM, etc. in this experience too.)

At 9th grade we allowed our older 2 to take some classes at the local high school(which we did not do with our youngest after what happened to our older daughter). In all these situations, our son had a best friend who was the best kind of friend; they balanced each other out, plus drew other students to them. Our daughter did not find many other girls to bond with, either in church or in school. I cannot say it is just her, as when she went to a huge university, she had a crowd of friends around her. Not people I would choose, yet not the worst sort either. It is important to find a place where each of your children has a buddy. We did try and for our other 2 kids things were fine...then it becomes, do you move elsewhere when things are good for most of your children? My parents faced the same sort of situation (but did not homeschool) and my middle brother had much the same life as our daughter. He too went wild for many years until he married a lady with "GOD hunger" and they are now following GOD with all their hearts. However it took till his mid-30s for him to begin to come back. I still do not know what a family should do. One friend moved for problems for one son. It worked out so well for that son, but she lost another son (who is to this day a druggie etc). GOD will have to somehow iron out all these problems.

Matty, I want to encourage you. My friend whose son retired from the AIR FORCE just a couple years ago says that there is a MUCH higher number percentage-wise of real strong Believers, at least in the USAF, than in the rest of society. Her son found MANY others to pray and study with there. It may be that this will be an excellent place for your son. My husband was in submarines in USN and let me tell you...almost NO Believers there in our day anyway. My mom used to say raising kids is a real minefield. You hope you get through it intact and them too.

Blessings, Elizabeth (feel free to delete this if too long)

Anonymous said...

My children are grown but I take lot of interest in homeschooling. I enjoyed also the good comments here. There is a lot of good information from those who have been in the trenches. Matty as a college professor was very enlightening. I sure wish there were more helpful professors like Matty. I could see the information given here and relate it to the experiences I have seen homeschooling families have. Teaching the worldview has sure been a help and is also a good study for any church adult group. Our church has had several sets of such classes and it is an eye opener for the older adults too. Jody

carla said...

The private university at which our son finished his B.S. required a religion course for graduation (believe it or not, the school is still under the umbrella of a major denomination). The class was taught by an atheist. His class (required) on the middle east was taught by a man from Pakistan. Guess what that professor's view of Israel was?

Even though home-schooled from the age of 11, our son was not insulated from the world and we tried to live our faith openly. In some areas, we failed. And I know that ultimately it is his own decision but that does not change how a mother feels to have her only 2 children anti-Christian.

Something that I have found through these long years is that we have had less support from other Christians than people in the world have for each other. There seems to be an attitude (especially if their own children are under the age of 10 - when parental control is much stronger) that if a child goes wrong, then it's the parents' fault. They think it has to be. Therefore, their own won't go wrong because they are going to make sure that they, as parents, will do everything right.

If I had it to do all over again, I would raise my sons in the wilds of Alaska rather than lose them to the culture.

matty said...

Thank you, Elizabeth, for the encouragement. The days are getting harder as his departure date nears!

Brenda, your blog is a blessing! Look at all the wonderful people who spend time here! What a gift!

marie said...

Our kids have to live in the real world. We can pray that their light will shine. We do the best we know and then have to let them go to be free.

Clif said...

I agree with you. You do have wonderful people who come to your blog and leave marvelous comments. However, I had to smile at the ones that were longer than your post. LOL If these people don't have a blog they need to get one. They write good "stuff." Does this come from teaching school at home?

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I agree, some of these people who don't have blogs need to start one. :)

Lots of writing talent there.

Jonam said...

Coffee tea books and me.
Its good

Anonymous said...

Brenda, do you think you could send me the notes you used when you taught the worldview class for your coop? I'd be happy to pay for the extra copies and postage.

Lorrie said...

I'm spending time reading through your blog today in between doing laundry, some housecleaning and getting ready for a family birthday party this evening.

I wanted to comment that we raised our three children overseas, they went to a mission school for most of their education and then we returned to Canada. All three have graduated from university, and believe me, it's the most ungodly place. Yet even there, we prayed that they would be salt and light and be protected from evil.
Our oldest two married strong believers and are active in their churches. The youngest is on her own and she too is living out her faith.
I tied this post together with the more recent one on Fear - the Max Lucado quotation. I think that so often we as believers fear what might and could happen (and does sometimes) to our children when they face the world. But fear as a motivation for keeping our children from influences that are evil is not a proactive way of living our faith. Instead, I believe we need to equip them, as you have done with yours, to live in this world and shine as lights for God.