Within the first 2 weeks of college, my children had completed all the required reading and finished all the assignments they possibly could. They spent the next 6 weeks learning how to be lazy and get As without trying. On the bright side, the community college did have an honors program. If they completed additional coursework (taught a class, gave an extra speech, wrote an additional paper) they could add "honors" to their course. That helped a bit.
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What a great topic! My daughter and son have both attended a variety of programs. My son is at a local vocational school during half the day and does traditional high school work the other half. Our daughter primarily attended public high school, but was accepted into our local community college at at 13 because of a very high ACT score. We opted not to send her, but she did attend a regular college summer session at age 16 at Colorado College through a program called Southwest Scholars. She lived on campus, ate her meals at their student union and attended classes in Chemistry and Chemistry Lab. It was a very positive experience, but I can certainly see why parents are concerned about these environments. She outpaced almost all the college students and came out of the course with a high "B" grade, which later transferred to her own college transcripts. Thanks for starting this post!!!!
Wonderful thought-provoking article and comments. My son has signed up for 4 local community college courses so far. He is 17. I felt there were a LOT of hoops to jump through to get him in and that the 'counselors' did not communicate with us well at all...seemed very disorganized and made me feel quite unwelcome. On our first day on campus a bright, neon,moving sign welcomed in large letters any homosexuals or bisexuals to a support group. The two math courses he has taken have gone well. The writing composition course had a long time professor whose every other word was a curse word, much to the amusement of most of the class. He made the decision on his own to drop that course immediately. He has one more math course to take this coming spring semester. That has been our experience with the local community college. It has been nice for him to get dual high school/college credit for free but the books still run about $150. a course and are not included in the 'free' part....so clepping out may be more cost effective for some learners even when you need to pay for the test.
You lost me when you equate having a political science class taught by a Marxist with a professor using the F-word.
If a student disagrees with Marxist theory, there's no better opportunity to exercise that disagreement than scholarly debate in a class taught by a Marxist, and I've never met a Marxist who wasn't willing --if not eager--to engage in such debate.
On the other hand, a professor using crude language is creating an unpleasant and professional atmosphere, to everyone's detriment.
As a student, I would feel free to complain to administration about cursing, examples involving sexual positions, etc. but I didn't homeschool my kids so they could run scared from Marxists or nudity, thanks.
It is unfortunate that your children had such a series of bad experiences with community college! How long did they attend for? Was there a reason why you opted to continue past the first semester when it was such an unsafe environment for them?
At age 15 my son took 2 semesters of foreign language at our local 4-yeat state university. There were a lot of hurdles to jump in getting him accepted (as a non-degree-seeking student) but it has been an excellent experience for him. He says he feels he has finally found educational "peers". :-)
It is a bit of s special situation, though, as the language he chose isn't a traditional one (no major or minor available for that language) so the students taking it are there because they are especially interested in learning it.
He plans to take 2 more semesters next year which, (unfortunately) is the last level they offer. He also plans to take a Programming class--we'll see if the students are as eager to learn there, or not ;-)
Thank you so much for sharing such concrete examples from you own experience! I really appreciate you explaining what has happened to your students and friends. Good tips!
My oldest daughter is at a community college now. She has been very pleased with her classes and teachers. She is a dancer and artist. The only trouble has been that one of her art classes had a nude model on time. She managed to sit where she could only see the back of the woman. She said it was uncomfortable.
Another family I know, has two children at a different community college. They have been pleased with the education they are receiving.
My son's godfather is an instructor at our local community college. He said that the problem is some of the students...using drugs in the bathroom. Some of the teachers don't like having high school students in their classes and will make life rather hard on them. There is a charter school on the campus of the college so high school students are a pretty common thing.
I think something else you need to keep in mind, colleges are mostly liberal. I happen to be Catholic and if you want a solid, conservative, Catholic education, you have to stay away from most of the Catholic colleges out there. I went to a Jesuit run university for a while, and I didn't even realize that one of my professors was a priest until halfway through the class. He had us call him by his first name even.
You are going to get the good with the bad anywhere. Just because it has a Christian or Catholic name on it, doesn't guarantee that it is going to be worry free the same way that a public institution automatically means that it is going to be a bad experience.
Making sure you do your research, just like Lee describes in one of her talks, is so important. Walk around and see how the students are dressed. I think that is one of the most telling indications.
Oh, yes, we encountered much of the same thing you're talking about Lee. The plus of so many home schooled kids in the Jr Colleges, is that you have a base of knowledge to pull from. We were able to locate the conservative teachers, like you did, and skip some classes. The online classes were a big help too. And yes, not many advanced classes so it made my son's college education last much longer than it would have otherwise. I believe Harriet's experience must be quite rare. I've never heard anyone who has had a similar experience in 10 years of inquiry.
Our experience was absolutely opposite of the one you had. With a younger student we've encountered absolutely nothing negative in several years of college courses. Faculty and students have been uniformly respectful and kind. The one thing we may have done differently is to be very careful from the beginning in our selection of courses and faculty.
While it is unfortunate that you had a negative experience I hope that your readers won't conclude this is a typical or universal experience because what you are describing is very different from what I've heard from every single parent I've spoken to about this issue. For MANY, MANY homeschooling students college in high school is a great way to allow them to go further, to be challenged and to cover subjects in a way that would be difficult at home.
When my boys started at the university, it was significantly better. They go to a small liberal arts Christian college, and we love it. The community college they went to was a public school community college. Thanks for your comments!
We are at a liberal arts college on Ohio with a Christian background and our son, now 15 has been taking computer programming classes. He started taking the classes at age 13 and he has not had the problems that you have mentioned but maybe it is partly the subject. Thank you for letting us know about these possibilities. I never imagined it could be so bad! Besides his computer classes we are planning on enrolling him in a chemistry class. Our main concern about sending him to college is pushing him too hard and stressing him out. Since these grades apply to his college transcript we are concerned that they could bring down his college GPA. On the other hand, we don't know where he will go to college and are not sure what credits will transfer so we are trying to only choose classes that will meaningfully augment his high school curriculum. Thanks for the chance to share these thoughts! We don't know many in this same situation. It is very new to us!
Oh my goodness! I went to the most liberal university in the state of Texas and didn't encounter anything nearly that bad with the professors and other instructors!!! Many had "interesting" views, but for the most part, they were great teachers. Among the students, true jerks were the exception to the rule - even some of the most "interesting" students were by and large civil. Whenever people at our church in Texas found out my alma mater, I always got gasps and horrified looks. I wonder what they'd say to all this?
I'm terribly sorry you had those experiences at community college. They sound like experiences friends of mine have had at major Florida universities and currently one very well known Christian college in California. (Now that story is really shocking to me. A Christian teaching secular humanism, telling sexual jokes, etc... It's crazy!)
Our own personal community college experiences have been a mixed bag. I had really good teachers in some classes with VERY hard working students...and they were extremely difficult classes. There is no way students would have been able to read through a book and then do nothing for the rest of the semester. I can't even fathom that from the experiences that I had in CC.
The students in most of my classes were hardworking and we would often get together to study...in a productive manner. (Unlike my husband's experience at the University of Florida...where study sessions were sometimes a disguise for a party. He quickly learned it was best to study alone.)
But I also had some poor teachers...one who was foreign, couldn't speak clear English and verbally chastized his class for not being able to understand him. I dropped his class quickly.
Overall, we've had good experiences. All of my husband's cousins graduated from the local community college and went on to a four year university. (In Florida a community college graduate is immediately accepted into the university of their choice.) One cousin rose to be the president of a bank. Three other cousins are teachers. My dearest friend graduated from the community college with an R.N. degree. The local program here is very competitive and known for it's rigor. She graduated and has done very well. She is an oncology nurse at the local university's cancer center.
So Lee, I think community college can be a mixed bag...just like all schools. Community College is not always "where people end up when they can't get into a real school." Sometimes they attend because parents don't think they are ready to go away and be completely independent. Or perhaps it is to save money. Perhaps a student is more average and unable to win a scholarship? In that case, it's perfectly acceptable for them to attend a community college to save money.
After thinking about this a long time, I think it boils down to following God's will for any particular family. Parents should be diligent, prayerful, asking lots of questions, visiting, speaking to department heads asking for their best instructor's names, etc... Even before registering for a class, I would often ask around, "Who is a good teacher and why?" But I found the best way to a great teacher, was to ask the department head.
I'm looking forward to hearing what other's might say on this issue. Great topic, Lee!