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Will Secular College Undo What You Have Done?

A homeschool mom wrote the following:

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“Our daughter has just finished tenth grade. The Home-Designed Form+U+la has been working quite well for us. Our daughter is thinking about college. Her passion is horses and at this point she wants to prepare for a career with horses. On her own initiative, she wrote to twelve colleges asking about their Animal Science courses. Seven of them have answered her. My concern is that neither of the only two colleges in this region that have a program of Animal Science are Christian colleges. Should I insist that she go to a Christian College, even though none of them have the program she wants, thereby making her change her dreams and goals? Is allowing her to go to a secular college contrary to all that we have done by homeschooling her? Will a secular college undo all we have tried to do with her? … These are hard questions. I am praying for God’s guidance and am asking advice from godly counselors.”

The questions this mom asked, while very good ones, are ones that only she – with her daughter – can answer. And it sounds like she realizes that. But I can give them several things that they needs to consider in making their decision. Section 2 of my new revised Form+U+la will give much more to take into consideration, but one thing I didn’t I really address in the chapter is the question of whether secular college will undo all you’ve tried to do with your children.

One of our purposes in homeschooling is to prepare our children for “their future stations in life” – whatever those may be, and which will obviously involve many different kinds of “preparation,” depending on what the specific “future station” will be. This may or may not include college – Christian or secular.

Any way you look at it, they will be going out into “the world” which is full of ungodly influences. The only thing that will save them – or any of us – from succumbing to the world’s ways and influences is a solid, deep, passionate relationship with Jesus. That’s why discipling our kids (to Him) has to be our main focus, not merely “academics.” This is what – the only thing that – will help them stand against the tremendous temptations at college. So looking at your child, deep into their heart, is this established?

They also need to have sound biblical world view thinking to not succumb (or be sucked into) the worldly philosophies presented at non-Christian and even Christian colleges – or I should say, woven all through everything presented! Is this firmly in place?

In light of all this, you can see why only you, as the parents, and your child will know if and when he/she is “ready.” I believe our children should definitely follow the dreams and goals God put in them, but only when they are ready.

This may mean not sending a child to college, secular or Christian, until we have a strong sense that they are ready, and that it is God’s timing. Do we fear what the world will think about this, or the fact that they will “lose time” or be “behind” more than we fear them losing God’s absolute best for their lives? If so, we are doing them a much greater injustice than we would if we merely attempted to keep them abreast with the Jones’ kids.

We did not feel our son was ready for even a local community college (secular, of course) right after graduating. He was ready in his heart as far as his values and relationship with God, and in his integrity, and his walk with God – all of those were very solid; but we felt that his thinking – his worldview – was not quite solid enough to withstand the worldly influences of secular college. And “not quite” was just not enough…

If you don’t quite make it to the terminal at the airport, you don’t leave with the plane; you either do or you don’t make it; “not quite” doesn’t work. Of course when it comes to the condition of a person’s heart, mind or understanding, it’s not as measurable as getting onto a plane on time. But still, while we saw a great deal of maturity, we just didn’t feel he was “quite ready” for secular college.

That’s why we suggested he do a year of “independent study and in-depth discipleship.” He also worked to earn the money for college the following year, so it was a very full and profitable year in many ways. This was much more important to us than “getting done” within any certain familiar timetable. We felt strongly that we needed to operate on Tory’s time-table, according to God’s values and priorities for his life. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world (or his college degree) but lose his soul?”

And that’s exactly what he did. We saw a very deep and solid growth in him through that year. Everything was present before, but we feel that that year did much to solidify it. Of course, it will actually take a lifetime for God’s entire work to be complete in him, the full fruition of which will only be seen in Heaven, but we are pleased with his progress at this point. And, by the way, as I write this, Tory just completed his first quarter at our community college – his first “total experience” in this educational setting. And we are very pleased with it! He had a few challenges going into that mode of schooling, but he faced them very calmly and confidently. He got a 3.0 (I just know you’re wondering!), and we’re very pleased with that, but mostly we’re pleased with who Tory is: the man of integrity he is, and his growing love for the Lord.

Sisters and brothers, if we want to have all that God has for us, we have to lay down at the cross our fear of what the world thinks. We must be willing to do it God’s way, even if it means feeling insecure, and even if we get some raised eyebrows along the way. We need to choose to succumb to the “fear of God” and His will, and let our “fear of man” die as quick a death as possible! God tells us:

“My ways are not your ways,”

This applies to every area of our lives, even, if not especially, what we think and do about college.

Copyright by Barbara Edtl Shelton.
Used by permission from the author.

The Sheltons operate a home-based ministry to homeschoolers from their home in Longview, WA, primarily through the books that Barb has written. All of Barb’s speaking and writing is on topics of vital interest to burning-out as well as brand new and wanna-be homeschoolers. Barb’s resources reflect her “lite” approach to homeschooling that is based on the verse in Matt. 28:11 in which Jesus says “My yoke is easy, my burden light.” With vulnerability, humor, God’s Word, Barb’s heart is to inspire parents to pursue God’s unique plan for the education of their children, and she offers much practical help in doing so. You’ll be challenged, irritated, and moved to laugh, cry, think and re-think your views about education, and best of all, get set free (or freer) in Jesus! They may be contacted via their website:

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  1. If by secular they mean “not Creationist”, then I hope that it will. I can’t see their daughter achieving very well in her chosen field unless she understands where the animals she is studying came from.

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