Hello, my name is Elizabeth Brook. I am a recent home-school Graduate. (Class of 2012) and because of a mom of a home-schooled friend, I found your article about sending your child to community college. I will start by saying I am not offended at all, I just wanted to tell you my story to add to your knowledge, so when you discuss this topic with others, you can have more information.
I am the youngest of 3 children, and we were all three stair-steps. My brother was 15, my sister 14, and I was 13. My mom felt like there was no really good curriculum out there to teach us a foreign language, so she sent my brother and sister to our local community college to take Spanish. My brother discovered languages were not his thing, but my sister got an A in the class. But we had discovered an amazing resource. My brother continued taking classes through high-school, which not only allowed him to graduate from high school early, but let him get his bachelor’s in computer science, when he was 19 because of the 90 some credits he had earned at Sinclair (Our community college). My sister also continued taking classes as well and by the time she graduated high school, she had 50-some. Both of them went on to other schools.
For me, I was not interested in Spanish, but I thought the American Sign Language program looked interesting for my foreign language. I started when I was 14, feel in love with the program, and American Sign Language interpreting is now my major. It is a 4 year program, but because I started early, I will be able to graduate sooner. Throughout high school, I also took a few classes not related to sign language, like English.
After telling you our success story, let me address a few of the issues that you brought up in your article.
R-Rated environment- I have never had a teacher do anything like what you described, so obviously it depends on the college. My classes have never had crude material in the text book or in the lesson plan. (The only exception being the class that I have to take learning sexual and profanity signs, but I know what I am getting myself into). Even when discussing Freud in psychology, none of the information was explicit in the least. The other students can be crude, of course. But I was never taught to expect non-Christians act like Christians, so really, I expected it. A few of the teachers swear occasionally, but it has never been overbearing.
I think you brought up a good point by saying that “Your children need to be sound in their faith.” And my siblings and I were. We had grown up in church, and our faith was our own. We had also attended Worldview Academy, an intensive week of lectures about our faith, witnessing, and how to defend your faith against those who would try and disprove it. So when in my English class, my professor asked anyone who believed that gay marriage was wrong to raise their hand, and I was the only one who did, I was okay with that. (Disclaimer: The teacher wasn't trying to ridicule anyone's faith; we were talking about a persuasive paper) My point is, I wasn’t afraid to take a stand because it was my faith, and I knew what I believed.
I guess what I am trying to say is that if you have a high quality college like Sinclair; you can get a great experience. I have never regretted going to Sinclair, if anything it has helped strengthen my faith. Also, I am getting a sense of the “Real world”, while still living in the safety of my own home where I can discuss any issues that come up with my parents. This is not intended to try and force anyone to go to a community college, this is just a different perspective. If you would like any more information about my family’s experience, I would be happy to tell you. Thank you for your time.
Elizabeth Brook in Ohio
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Thank you for your article, it has been helpful to me in deciding whether I should allow my 13yr son to begin CC next year. I'm actually looking at Sinclair for him and would love to speak with you by phone or email about which campus (Dayton, Huber, Englewood) you attended and if that would make a difference on what he would be exposed to. I am planning on having him take only online courses to start.
I hope Elizabeth sees your comment, but it's been three years since this article was posted, so she may not. Lee wrote more about the CC environment in this article: Facing the Community College Fad
I hope that helps!
Assistant to The HomeScholar
I was not homeschooled, but I do now homeschool my children. I attended an elite women's liberal arts school on the East Coast, and while I received an excellent education, I do think I heard more swearing and vulgar language there than ever at the community college or state university I later attended to complete my degree. (And a LOT more ideological proselytizing from professors.) So, it depends on the school, and like others have said, it also depends on who you associate with. I feel very fortunate to have attended a school where I was a religious minority (one of four LDS students out of 1200 undergraduates), because I had many chances to explain what I believed, and also to evaluate my own beliefs and why I held them. I also was very blessed to get to live for two years on my own before I started college - because it helped me learn to stand on my own and to stand for what I believed in.
Teenage years and young adulthood are fraught times, because there are so many opportunities to make wrong decisions, and the consequences can be with you the rest of your life. I would love to have guarantees that my kids will never do anything foolish or willfully wrong, but all I can do is my best to teach them, and trust them to God. I'm grateful to see His hand in my life.
For a discussion on whether to date non-Christians, I recommend "Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage" by Lee and Leslie Strobel, (Zondervan: 2002), which also includes discussion about dating Christians, non-Christians, and Christians who do not hold to the same level of observance or belief as yourself (whether higher or lower). Being equally yoked is SO important.
My 16-year-old daughter took classes last year at our local CC. The first semester was great - just an English Lit class that she loved. Second semester she chose Cultural Anthropology, which turned out to be an apologetics class for evolutionary thought.
It was very stressful, but it was an awesome opportunity to put into action what she had recently learned through the book we had studied, "Countering Culture." She was the lone voice for the Judeo-Christian worldview (including another homeschooled, "Christian" girl), and while it was frustrating for her not to have her questions answered reasonably, she was able to put her own apologetics interest to use. We spent an hour or two each week looking for the underlying faulty assumptions her class was based on, and finding ways to answer essay questions in an honest way that didn't compromise her beliefs. Overall, it was an excellent experience. (And she got an A!)
Wondering about the dating issue...is it tempting to date a non Christian, or someone with opposite values? (unless has a Christian club on campus...) Also the drinking/drugs temptation...
We have friends whose daughter is a mess now after attending public college. Though I think Worldview Academy is a great way to prepare a student to know what they believe and why...isn't there an online video course similar to Worldview camps? maybe Answers in Genesis?
Gather experiences from other homeschooling families about the school you are considering. They can be very different. Of course, individual experiences can vary dramatically in the same school. How well the student can handle potential issues is the most important factor to consider. We have personally had mostly great, and no horrible, experiences with the CCs where we live.
We are starting with a foreign language at CC also. I do think that there are different types off CC's out there. It's best to find out from others who the best teachers are at CC before registering for classes.
Thanks again Lee for another great homeschool help.
Hey there Elizabeth!I too attend Sinclair and I must say, you've been rather fortunate! I have had multiple R-rated experiences, too many to count! I've encountered professors who've utilized explicit language on multiple occasions, along with students who look (and unfortunately, act)like they came straight from a ghetto. Good Lord, the stories I've heard. I realize these experiences are often dependent on which classes you're taking and who you associate yourself with, but it often seems as if the whole student body is corrupt, with multiple professors to boot! Just my two cents. c: