Because many states pay for community college tuition for qualified high school juniors and seniors, a lot of homeschoolers are jumping on the community college fast-track to a free 2-year degree. It’s all a pretty attractive opportunity.
But homeschoolers need to be aware of the potential pitfalls, as well as possibilities, of a community college education, free or not, before they send their children into that environment. As much as many public universities are very out there, liberal, radical, and sometimes offensive, a community college can be even more so. (For more information about the environment, read Facing the Community College Fad.)
If you do decide that community college is a possibility for your student, here are some strategies to make life better:
- Use the buddy system, which is what we did when our sons went to community college. We waited until they were both ready to take classes, and tried to always have them in a classroom together or with one or two other friends.
- Evaluate the professors ahead of time. www.ratemyprofessor.com is a good place to find helpful information. Make sure to look at the comments as well as the ratings, because some students rate professors highly because they don’t give homework, or because they show inappropriate material in class. Make sure that you check the actual reviews at that website.
- Read the course textbooks in advance, as this will give you a sense of the philosophical bent of the teachers that you’re dealing with. When he was at community college, my son decided to take a class in music improvisation. He got the textbook and read ahead, and said, “Mom, I can’t take this class.” I frankly thought that he was just blowing off a little teenager steam, until he said, “I’m serious. I can’t do this class.” When I asked why, he said “You’ve got to read this in the book.” I looked at the passages in the textbook that he pointed out. In this textbook the author said that he would always capitalize the word “Self” throughout the book because ”you should always capitalize the name of God.” He went on to say that since only God could create music, that meant you were, in fact, God. So check those textbooks, and be prepared!