One of the advantages of home education is that, once your child has made the decision to pursue college, you can begin to tailor his or her schoolwork around their intended major. For instance, if Joe says he's going to study engineering, have him start calculus as soon as he's able; if Jane wants to go for literature, make sure she's read enough of the really important classics beforehand.
These, however, are only the academic concerns. Modern colleges (even Christian ones) aren't the virtue-instilling and Christ-honoring institutions of the past by any stretch, and while there are a few that retain that core, most have given themselves over to humanism, liberalism, and moral relativism. If you want your kids to make it to the whole graduation thing still professing and actively following Christ, you'll need to shore up their spiritual defenses.
We're not just doom-and-glooming here, either. Christian kids in secular and many Christian universities and colleges find themselves assaulted by man's "wisdom," which denies the supernatural realm, mocks religion, and generally seduces young and old into a mindset that puts self at the center of the universe and calls sin by less threatening names.
Fortunately, Jesus Christ is on our side, strengthening those who trust and serve Him to be lights and witnesses in a dark and nameless world. If we do our job as parents and instruct our kids from birth in the fear and admonition of the Lord, chances are that once they get to college they'll not abandon their first love; still, there are things they must do to ward off the attacks of the enemy.
A lot of kids get to college and think they're suddenly free. If they're servants of God, they're never free, at least in the sense that they can do whatever they want without fear of consequences. One of the first concerns of Christian students is to find and join a local church assembly, somewhere they can be involved, serve, and be held accountable. No one has ever been given enough instruction or guidance to allow them to float free; kids need a strong church body to anchor them.
Another important consideration is that of housing. If they're going out of state or simply too far away to make living at home feasible, you'll want to make sure they have other godly young people (of their own gender!) to live with. Dorms are about the dumbest idea ever: a bunch of hormonal teenagers and early twenty-somethings with too much time on their hands and no direct supervision. Even at a Christian college, dorms are a bad idea.
Finally, don't let your kids go to college without a firm goal or purpose. Let them be flexible of course—it's certainly no sin to change one's major—but if they're spending thousands of dollars just to figure out what they want to do with their lives, shennanigans are sure to ensue, and not all of them will be harmless. Vision for education is as necessary as vocational vision and goals.
Then there are all the little red-tapey things you'll have to do: making transcripts, collecting records, perhaps even retroactively assigning grades to work your kids did two or three years ago. These are important, but only up to a point; the details have a way of settling themselves, and while you certainly want to put your best foot forward when working with administrations, your kids' spiritual health is more important than their dotted i's.
We discuss the pros and cons of distance education elsewhere; here, we'd simply like to suggest again that you consider Christian college. Not all of them are created equal, but places like Wheaton, Hillsdale, Corban, George Fox, Covenant College, and New St. Andrews are still committed to presenting the truth of the Gospel alongside a solid liberal arts education. Sending Joe and Jane to Christian college won't alleviate all the dangers, but it will make things easier for them, as they won't be assaulted by a constant barrage of secularism from the professor's lectern.
For many, college is a necessary step. Exodus Books has employed several college graduates over the years, and all of them came out the other side with a stronger faith than when they went in. Part of this success, however, was due to parents who drilled into them the necessity of faithfulness. The resources you'll find below are for both parents and students to prepare for upper-level education as Christians.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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