by Barb Shelton


excerpted from

Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la


Okay, so maybe we can choose subjects that are comparable to a typical high school's line-up of subjects, [which is presented all through Form+U+la], but what about college?  How can we know if we are choosing subject content that is "college-preparatory"? 

First, don't (as in do not) let this issue of "college" intimidate you. I can sense, even as I write, that blood pressures are escalating a few points with each mention of the words "college" and "requirements."  I bring tidings of great joy! not nearly as life changing as the tidings brought by that renowned band of angels 2,000 years ago, but I guarantee they will profoundly affect your high school world and lower your blood pressure!  Hark!...

There is FREEDOM!  But to gain it you must first be willing to let go of all your preconceived ideas of what your student ought to be doing after high school.  College may be in the picture, but it may just as likely not be!  Is college truly where God is taking your student?  I don't know, and at this point, if you want to know what God has to say about it, you have to be open to "No" possibly being the answer, otherwise God will not be free to speak.


You will save yourself much wasted time and money if you start out with the assumption that God actually has a plan for your student that may or may not include college rather than starting with the assumption that college is automatically God's plan for your student!

Next, some states give a suggested course of study for the college-bound or "advanced" student. You may or may not want to check into that. 

Next, from yet another perspective, Cafi Cohen wrote a book for homeschoolers called And What About College that many have found very helpful. (We do carry it in the Sr./Jr. High section of our catalog.  Also, there are ample resources by other authors
(than myself) available to help you "college-prep-ize" your classes, also in that section of our catalog.  They are Homeschooling the High Schooler by Diana McAlister and Candice Oneschak; The High School Handbook by Mary Schofield' and The Curriculum Manual for Sr./Jr. High by Cathy Duffy.
As we all know, there's more to succeeding in life than doing well academically, whether this is at the high school or college level. Preparing our children to enter "the real world" is a challenge we have taken on, having joyfully accepted it from God.
At any rate, no matter what you do or don't decide to do after high school, if you already know that college is definitely not in the picture, you have no reason to be one bit concerned with college-prep courses or with any particular graduation requirements, other than your own. You should not feel you have to be bound to any requirements set forth by man's law, unless you believe God is leading you that way. 


God entrusted the education of children to the children's own parents, not to the state; it is the parents' calling, not the state's. True, it has become the state's business, but only because parents, wanting more time for their own pursuits, or needing to work outside the home (which I personally think is not a true "need" in many instances) gladly handed it over to the state, one chunk, one law at a time, over a period of many years. But that still doesn't make it the state's calling.
If your teen is unsure about their future (as it relates to college), and you think there's a good chance that they will go to college, it might be a good idea to be on the "safe side" and plan, at least for now, as if he is, unless you don't mind having to do some cramming to get caught up in the later years of high school, or at least before or upon entering college. 
But then again, it might not be so "safe"! There's a trade-off! To fill up those precious hours with college- prep work leaves less time for studies and activities that might be more fulfilling and preparatory for life for your student. You have the freedom to pick and choose only what you consider to be valuable and enhancing to your child's education, not to mention the most interesting. (However, Diana, Candice and Mary do a good job of incorporating plenty of the "interesting" aspect.)  How much of that freedom are you willing to relinquish for the sake of being "maybe safer"?  
Consider the Colfax family in California. Not one of their four sons ever took a single "college prep" course, yet all four were admitted to Harvard!  And this was a direct result of the education their parents had provided mostly allowed and encouraged. Their acceptance was based on portfolios they had assembled that highlighted accomplishments in areas they had time to pursue and become experts in because they weren't preoccupied with "college prep" courses. And if you suspect "superior genes" as being a prime factor in the boys' intelligence, guess what two of their four sons were adopted!
If you do choose college-preparatory work for your courses, you can be more confident that your student will do as well in college as any public or private school student, but you also have to ask yourself if it's worth the time which will necessarily have to be taken from somewhere else. Only you can answer that. (Again, oh God, we need to hear your voice!)
I personally am not overly concerned about all this. Maybe I should be, (I certainly used to be!), but I'd rather send my budding adult out into the world equipped with a character-fortifying, real-life-preparing education than one that merely prepared him for college.
I haven't come to this place of "rest" naturally. I'm so glad that I we have a "Master Curriculum and Career Counselor" who is able to guide us into what will be best for our student and our situation!  I firmly believe He has a specific and good plan for each one who earnestly seeks Him.  If we ask our Father for a loaf of curriculum, will He give us a stony reply instead? 


Just for the record, I want to establish that I neither recommend nor "dis-recommend" college. However, I do admit that in many cases I would lean away from it. I believe there are many other more valuable paths to choose from these days. College was once viewed as being the "ultimate" direction to take after graduation. No other choice was considered nearly as prestigious, wise, or ambitious. This attitude still exists, but to a lesser degree, at least from what I have seen and heard. As our economy is shifting and college graduates no longer always get the higher-paying jobs they once did, the trend is changing.

And I am glad because I believe that, while college is the best option for some, it is not for others; and is turning many unprepared students away from God. How does that verse go? "For what profit is it to a man to gain the world
['s credentials], but lose his soul?"

More people are becoming aware of the wide range of options including vocational schools and apprentice ships. The tremendously high costs, for which many remain bound to paying back for years after graduating, also make one think twice about whether this is really what God has for them. 

Also, as the world's values and morals continue to spiral (plummet) downward, the chasm between the values of Christians and those of the world has widened dramatically. God has an abundance of work for His people in these latter days and perilous times! I believe we need to be more concerned with preparing ourselves and our children for His work and finding out what that is for us than with preparing ourselves to merely attain a high-paying career or gain entry into a prestigious college.


I'm not saying that God can't use college to prepare us for His work. Nor am I saying He doesn't desire to prosper us. What I am saying is that if we are clinging to "old wineskins" when God is trying to pour "new wine" into our lives, we need to stop and listen to His voice, and let Him have those useless, cracked old wine skins!  Are we considering college for perhaps the wrong reasons?  


"Let us study (through these high school years as well) to show ourselves approved by God," not man! 


That is the "ultimate option" for every single person who calls themselves a follower of God.


If any of you are finding it difficult to consider anything but college as being a valid option, I gently encourage you to take this matter before the Lord. There is so much more to consider than merely a degree. Especially if "just" getting further education is your goal, consider that college is not necessarily the best or the only way to get it. 


Allow the Lord to examine your heart about this matter and let Him breathe truth and life into your perceptions, values and goals. I can guarantee you, only because the Word of God guarantees it, that you will thoroughly enjoy the peace and secure confidence you'll receive as a result of letting God have His way in your and your child's views and life. 

"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? ... I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert,...for I give water in the wilderness, drink in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself, that they might declare my praise." (Isaiah 43:1821) 




As I read Helen Keller's observations about and experiences with 

college in chapter 20 of her book The Story of My Life, I found that she

expressed my very thoughts about college.  These are in the

"Insights on College" article in the Article Chart.


This is excerpted from Section 2 in

Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la,

so there's more on this topic there!




I got the background at:


....and I got the animated diploma at:



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