The Case for Christian College - Part 1
- Friday, December 07, 2007
Like many homeschooling parents, my goal for my children has always been to provide them with a strong Christian foundation, to educate and enlighten their minds, and to prepare them for a life of service that will most likely extend beyond the fours walls of our home. I have homeschooled five children for over eighteen years and this year watched the third child cross the threshold of high school graduation and go out into the world of adulthood where homeschooled students are inevitably faced with the question, "What now?"
For our family, so far, each of the children has chosen the course of Christian college education. Both my husband and I received a superior education at good Christian liberal arts college and strongly urged our children to consider that option, though we were supportive of other options as well.
Our primary goal was for them to prepare for their inevitable collision with the outside world yet still retain the faith of their fathers. We wanted their college experience to teach them independence of thought, but we also wanted them still to have a nurturing, supportive moral environment with clear rules and boundaries that limited the temptations they would encounter. We wanted them to examine the world they would be destined to face through the lens of a Christian worldview. We wanted, in short, to have them learn the skills that they would need to have to survive in the secular world, yet to gain this knowledge in an environment that would closely mimic the education they received at home.
Clearly they would not get all that at a secular college. My husband, who is a pastor, had attended a state college for a while before attending a Christian college. He knew firsthand that Christians were often mocked, ridiculed, and even threatened because of their faith. I had also heard that many secular professors consider it a personal challenge to break down the faith of young Christians and to impose a humanistic worldview in its stead. My suspicions of this were confirmed when I interviewed Professor Mike Adams for an article for TOS a couple of years ago. In his book Welcome to the Ivory Towers of Babel: Confessions of a Conservative College Professor, Adams, a professor of criminology at a state college in North Carolina, reveals the seamy underbelly of a system designed to lead young people to support a liberal, immoral, and antigodly vision of the world. (The article can be found in the archives of the TOS website.)
It surprises me to see how many Christian homeschooled families choose secular colleges when the risks are so great. Why do so many parents carefully nurture and protect their children throughout their childhood only to throw them into Vanity Fair when the ink is barely dry on the diploma? Secular colleges offer more temptations and dilemmas, both physical and spiritual, than most Christians will face in a lifetime after the college days have ended. Sex, pornography, and drug and alcohol use are considered rites of passage by many college-aged students in our culture.
However, a good Christian college can be an excellent transition for the important journey a child takes into adulthood. All this effort can be rewarding, for Christian college attendance has several advantages.
Some students find that they benefit from the competition and deadlines that college attendance offers: these pressures keep them more focused and on track with their studies. Also, though distance learning is available for a number of college degrees now, many majors still require group settings, hands-on participation, or direct teacher instruction. In addition, few students actually are set in their career choices when they begin their college career. Often students find that the college experience broadens their horizons and leads them to career possibilities that they never even knew existed until they encountered them in their college studies.
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