This post concludes my discussion of Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn along with the Classical Mamas Read group led by Amy at Living and Learning at Home.
Chapter 15 – The Finishing Level: Ages Nineteen and Onward
I thought about not writing a word about this chapter and pretending it did not exist. I have done a very good job up until now about remaining open minded and accepting the authors’ different views on a lot of topics because we shared so many views related to the main topic at hand. This chapter, however, made me downright angry. A boy’s goal is to develop a livelihood and a girl’s goal is to be a homemaker? Are we still in the 1800s? I’m sorry, but I certainly hope that B’s dreams are bigger than that alone. I am the girl that grew up never planning or imagining her wedding nor picking out the names of her future children. I am the girl who dreamed of being an astronaut, jumping out of airplanes, and climbing mountains.
Then there were the “reasons for going to college” that really got twisted into “reasons you don’t necessarily need to go to college”. Granted, there are a lot of kids in college today that don’t need to be in college at all or would be better off going a little later in life. However, it is insulting to put down institutions of higher learning. They are not perfect, but they serve a purpose. I’m not even getting into their reasons for not going to college because those just come across as completely absurd.
1. College teaches discipline. Yes, homeschooled students should have learned this already. However, college gives them a chance to practice this without a parent looking over their shoulder.
2. College furthers your education. Yes, you can learn by picking up a book and reading it, but have you tried learning a truly advanced subject like differential equations, econometrics, architecture, computer engineering, polymer science, etc. on your own? Yeah, good luck with that.
3. College will get you a good job. Corporations would welcome innovative hard-working homeschooled students? Sure. For better or worse, however, they are also going to want to see that college degree. It’s just a fact of life.
4. College offers the best teachers. Now, I will be the first to tell you that not every professor is great. They are not all necessarily leaders in the field and not necessarily the best teachers. Yet, there are many of us who are those things. Don’t diminish the years of hard work it took for us to get here and the effort we put into research and teaching.
5. College gives you respect. Credentials are extremely important in today’s society. They are an initial barrier one has to pass. No matter how much I knew about my field of expertise, there is no way I would be hired into my current position without a Ph.D. The credential gets you in the door. You stay there based on what you know.
6. College is the only way into licensed professions. Two state bars allow you to practice law without going to law school? That is supposed to be an argument in favor of not needing college? Really? Do you want to go to a lawyer, dentist, doctor, architect, or engineer who has not been to an accredited institute of higher learning for training? I sure don’t.
7. College provides socialization. I agree that this can be disregarded. Have we not already made the argument that this whole “socialization” thing is irrelevant?
8. College provides an escape from a bad home environment. I hope if you care enough to read this book and devote yourself to the education of your children that this is a moot point. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same was true for me. College was the first time I was free to just be myself.
9. College will find you a wife or husband. Seriously? Again, what year is this? I actually do hear this thing from a lot of college kids in the South, and frankly, I don’t get it. God will bring your husband and wife into your life at His time and in the place of His choosing. Forcing it to happen in college could just equal heartache and disappointment. Use that time to grow and become the person you are meant to be.
10. College will give you direction in life. This may or may not be true. I entered college totally set on getting a Ph.D. in geology and being a professor. After a year that changed to geophysics. By the time I graduated I knew there was no way I would survive a doctoral program in geophysics. My heart was not in it. College will not necessarily give you direction. What it will do is give you the tools you need for the workplace and maybe help you discover what it is you don’t like and don’t want to do. That is valuable direction too.