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.
We have had a mixed reaction to our child's CC experience. The thing that worries me is how I see her changing. And she doesn't see this. She claims she isn't. But she is. She's become a feminist. And while most wouldn't say that is something to worry about, I do. Now I wonder what a liberal arts college will do to her faith. She still prays. But for how long? Praying for all the teens in college these days.
I'm so sorry! I have watched SO MANY of my homeschooling friends go through the same thing! It's disheartening, I know! Homeschoolers are getting a hefty dose of humanistic theology every time they step on campus. I'm with you---I pray constantly for our children---and I have one at a university now myself. The enemy desires their hearts! There are two things that give me peace: 1) The Lord loves our children more than we do, and 2) the time we invest in them will not return to us empty. We must continue to love on them in an every day, in-the trenches-with-them sort of way! I'm praying for you, sister!
Assistant to The HomeScholar
I'm sorry you had such a rough experience with community college. My daughter started taking math at the community college in 9th grade. We sat down with the professor ahead of time and talked with him about the class; at the end of our conversation he said, "You know, it just occurs to me - if I'm going to have a 14-year-old in my class, I might have to change some of my stories!" And he did. She went on to graduate with an AA degree before she graduated from high school, and her experiences were overwhelmingly positive. She loved her government class, and went back to take political science from the same professor. She took four history classes, and the one on the ancient and medieval world was taught by a fellow who also taught church history at our local conservative seminary. Her literature class was a bit difficult, but we waited until she was a junior to take that, and then figured if she might go to a secular university, she probably needed to get a taste of that while she was still at home; we did talk about it in detail and I feel like she grew spiritually and socially as a result of dealing with those things. (We did drop the one economics course she started at 15 that required a group project, with students randomly assigned to groups meeting outside of class time, when almost all the rest of the class was men over 20! We also dropped an English composition class where the teacher was a very liberal woman who wanted them to write all kinds of papers on topics we did not agree with. She went to the class the first session and liked the prof, but when we looked at the syllabus we decided it would not be a good choice for her.)
As you can see, I did monitor her class situation closely, asking plenty of questions, working through issues with her, helping her figure out whether a class was a good choice at the very beginning, and so on. I definitely don't recommend parents just put their kids in community college and wipe their hands, figuring they've done their job. Dual enrollment, in my experience, is still a part of homeschooling, and I monitor it just as closely as I would any other outside class. My child is still a child, after all, and I am responsible for her education. I wouldn't hesitate to pull a child from a class, even if it cost me money, if things were happening there that were inappropriate. In the early years, I dropped her off at the classroom door and picked her up when class was over. I also encouraged her to be different from other college kids; if they were being lazy, that didn't mean she had to be - and she excelled, graduating "summa cum laude" from the community college with a 4.0.
That said, my daughter is enrolled today at a small Christian liberal arts college, and she is loving it. Community college gave her just enough of a taste of the world that she is thrilled to get an openly Christian perspective in all her classes, and to have the spiritual input from professors and friends. Her community college classes prepared her perfectly for college and she is doing well. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again, with the community college my daughter attended (and in fact, we are getting ready to go through the process again with my younger daughter). But it's not for everyone, and not every community college is like ours. If you're going to do it, do your research. Talk to other homeschoolers in the area and find out if it's a good school and who the good professors are (a good prof can mean the difference between a good course and a terrible one). Stay involved in every single course, every single semester, and don't hesitate to pull your child out if problems develop.
Oh, I'm so happy to hear you say that! You give really good examples of how to prepare your child for classes, and assess whether they are a good fit / growth opportunity, and how to navigate class content! Well done!
Assistant to The HomeScholar
I am amazed by so many who don't want their children in public middle or high schools, but then send their children to community college at a young age. Two of the main reasons that we choose to educate our children at home is to provide them a Christian education and an academically challenging one fitting to them. Obviously, this will not be provided at a government-run, secular institution. I know there are exceptions out there. It really depends on the specific college and instructor and class. I can see where a child may be able to take a couple of classes (that might be fitting to them) with success. But it is tough for me to see that a full dual enrollment at a community college would be the best for them.
Thanks for sharing your experience Lee!
It sets my resolve to keep my kids out of the CC. I have heard several similarly disturbing stories from friends.
1) A Humanities class with a book on beastiality as required reading.
2) 30ish year old men making frequent advances on young teen daughters.
3) A Social Studies class during election time where the class was asked to line up on opposite sides of the room based on their stand on a controversial vote and those who were voting on a conservative side were ridiculed and harassed for their opinions.
4) Nudity in Art classes.
I know of a couple others who had negative experiences (traumatized kids) but who did not want to share details.
I'm glad to hear that some kids have positive experiences but the risks seem to outweigh the benefits, especially for sensitive kids.
Thanks for the article. I am attending community college in the Pacific NW & have had similar bad experiences. As an adult from a liberal state (California) & secular upbringing, even I am surprised by the amount of foul language & vulgarity I've encountered. However, I was also surprised to find how "tolerant" my professors & fellow students have been with my outspoken faith. I speak openly and have even included Bible verses, Bible references, and the name of Jesus in oral presentations and written essays. I've befriended a couple of gay/lesbian women who know that I'm married, a conservative christian, and homeschooling my 5 kids. I don't know if someone who wasn't a minority (ethnic minority as I am) could get away with being so outwardly Christian. It didn't seem to be as well tolerated when I first attended this same college 20 years ago. In all honesty, I wouldn't want my husband or children to attend this school, but my oldest is considering a 4 year bible college that has it's aviation training program at this same CC. It may just be the route God will take him on before he hits the mission field as a pilot. We're praying and trusting God as he'll most likely encounter much worst on the mission field. I think I'm tough enough for this environment, but I wouldn't recommend it for most of the home schoolers I know unless they were thoroughly prepped in advance.
Just want to share a different experience: my daughter went to our local community college for 2 years, taking 1-2 classes each semester. She did experience the lazy student, the emotionally unbalanced student, the politically too-passionate student, etc, but she loved 2 of the professors and liked the 3rd. (Each time she'd tell me about these other students, it gave us opportunity to discuss the issues involved and I think helped her be better prepared for life.) She loved being part of the discussions in classes; her professors each wrote her glowing recommendations for college, and we just found out last week that the 4-yr univ. she's about to attend has accepted all 17 hrs that she took! Definitely a positive experience overall.
So sorry that you had poor experiences at CC. The experience of our three boys was excellent. Of course, a few instructors were less than stellar, but most were very dedicated and quite talented. We have been thankful that we could get so many credits in such an affordable way as they transitioned into higher ed and the "real" world.
We had an excellent experience sending our daughter to community college. However, we only sent her for one class per semester. She took computer programming at the local technical college beginning her freshman year of high school. She loved it. She loved being around people who were older and not involved in teenage snottiness. The people in her classes were there to learn to get a job, not just because college was their next step in education, so they were a pretty motivated group. That said, I don't think it hurts a kid to be exposed to some possibly unsavory language, images, or ideas. Kids need to learn there are other ways of being and thinking. That kind of broadening of their little world is good. Difference needn't be scary or shameful, nor should sex. And if young Christians want to do any mission work, they need to move out of the choir and into the streets. Better they know what they're getting into, and what better time to expose them to the streets than when their parents can help guide them through it.
Thank you so much for showing the "bad" side to college classes! Some folks in our area really push those dual credit classes -- which to homeschoolers, means you travel to the college and take classes there. Yes, many times the classes are full of homeschool students, and many teachers are good. But we've also had some families have very bad experiences!
When we lived in Idaho where there was not a state funded high school completion program that allowed students to go to a Community college for "free", our daughter had a good experience with her community college. The classes were small and the teachers took a lot of time with the students.
In Washington state with the running start program we have been appalled at the standard. Our daughter did a very poor job writing a paper and got an "A"...her standards have gotten lower on her academic work.
My dd is using our community college system, and it has been great. The teachers, for the most part, are excellent, and concerned people. I have found the environment educational as well as the classes. Yes, some of the students don't study, but that has brought up discussions about the diversity of ability - both innate and self-perceived. Some of the students don't speak up in class, but that brought a discussion about why and what he wanted to do as an individual, not a follower, what his choices are and why he would want to exercise them.
As far as issues with vocabulary, and content which might/is inappropriate, well, soon these 'children' will be adults, and out in the world. I think that CCs are a good, safe training ground for them to decide how they want to handle this stuff.
As for felons on campus, the truth is that felons are everywhere. Teaching our children how to handle themselves in various environments, knowing to call for help, avoid areas, use security guards, and police, etc. are valuable tools we could all use being reminded of. I recently called the police to ask which was the best route for my son to walk from the campus to the train station. The police told me that he should take a cab. Stunned, I later learned that none of the areas he would have had to walk through are safe.
Anyway, my son is enjoying his Cc experience, and benefiting greatly from it. I would strongly recommend using this system.
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 ;-)