Published in Home School Digest, V18, N1.
James Burtchaell, in his book titled ‘The Dying of the Light’ demonstrates that the best year to attend a Christian college is during its first year of existence -- before the founding godly convictions are diluted by the pressures of accreditation, finance, and the larger faculty & student bodies. If that is true, then perhaps the best way for every student to predictably enjoy the best of a Christian college experience is for each student to become the founder of their own personalized Christian college experience. Such young home college founders typically only need the occasional fellowship, encouragement, and instruction from like minded people - just as every growing Christian does. But what should a young person look for and expect from his supportive church or community in providing input to his or her home college experience? And how about all those questions that the grandparents, friends and employers will ask about such a peculiar path for the higher education experience?
Here are some answers to the frequently asked questions:
1. Are you accredited? The short answer can be “yes,” if you have used some form of accreditation process. By accrediting the student instead of the institution, the cost of the education is reduced by about 90%. Families can be encouraged and enabled to accredit the specific programs of their own children. Where accreditation is desired for a particular program, families can form a review board for each student, consisting of the student's parent(s), pastor(s), academic advisor(s), and profession advisor(s). This essentially combines the value of a graduate school committee, accreditation team, and church leadership under the authority of the parents. Of course, acknowledging the authority of the family and church are key to the highest quality and most effective accreditation. For more details on accreditation, see “The Snare of College Accreditation,” Home School Digest, Volume 17, Number 3.
2. Do Home College students get the jobs they want? Yes. To ensure that each student has the best opportunity to obtain the job they want, students can do the following on their own or under the guidance of someone who has experience in these things: (a) Detail the body of knowledge and experience which the student wants and needs to accomplish, which can also be obtained from professional societies, (b) Identify and begin working with academic and professional review board advisors as mentors, (c) Learn how to document and present student accomplishments to attract certain employers and or businesses, (d) Obtain written endorsements for their body of knowledge and experience from desirable employers, and (e) Outline the career ladders typical of people who accomplish the student's desired body of knowledge and experience. Even before the student accomplishes his or her body of knowledge, they can identify employers willing to hire them and include them as review board professionals. Students may also choose complementary apprenticeships, internships, coops, summer employment or entrepreneurship opportunities to open doors to employment.
3. Are degrees required to obtain a job? No. While degrees give the appearance of student interest in an area and academic accomplishment, most employers understand the limited nature of the modern degree and hire based on genuine character, demonstrated abilities, and the potential to contribute to their enterprise. Degree requirements in a profession are evidence of a cartel that undermines the free market, lowers quality, and increases consumer prices. Job alternatives which fulfill a person's gifts and calling in influential and Biblical ways are always present in those cases.
4. How can a concourse of home colleges provide an experience that compares with the traditional college experience? The traditional college experience occurs independent of the family and church. A concourse of home colleges can involve the family and local church in the student's academic, professional, and Biblical pursuits. All the social, networking, inspirational, technical, and knowledge resources of institutional higher education can be made available to the student through a concourse of teachers, friends, courses, libraries, resources, journals, conferences, internships, meetings, projects, and centers. The student simply chooses his or her level of involvement, just as with a home school support group.
5. How could we know that local or other people are qualified to teach their respective courses and how does this compare with the preparation of traditional college faculty? Teachers can be qualified based on their academic learning, professional experience, Biblical character, and the communication skills needed to teach the course(s) which they propose. In a free market, a family does not need to discriminate between teachers by age or secular credentials, but can encourage and benefit from all knowledgeable teachers in the Body of Christ who share their gifts through appropriate courses at all levels. Exact teacher qualifications can be conveyed to the students in the syllabus of each class. All teachers and students need to agree to give diligence to coursework, resolve disputes quickly, and support Biblical thinking.
6. Do the home college students receive paper degrees? A concourse providing support to students pursuing home college studies does not need to issue degrees because that role is primarily to encourage and support private Christian parent-directed higher education. The authority for acknowledging student accomplishments remains with the parents. Just as with home education, parents may choose to acknowledge student accomplishments in a transcript or curriculum vita or portfolio that is also useful to employers. Many professionals agree that student learning and the resulting student capabilities are minimized when the paper degree is the goal of learning.
7. Can a person pursue home based college studies if he or she previously attended public school? Yes. The home college experience will prove exceedingly valuable to students who have previously attended public schools. Understanding and implementing Biblical views in subjects will prove to be a great blessing and very different from secular educational means and ends.
8. Must I sign a statement of faith to begin home college? No. Remember it is your college. When working with others, it is important that the student give diligence to coursework and support Biblical thinking. Evangelical leaders from every major denomination and theological perspective agree on the essentials of a Biblical worldview.
9. What is meant by "thinking like a Christian" and "Biblical worldview?" Everyone has an understanding of the world which was formed by family, church, school and media experiences. The Bible presents God's understanding of the world. Little by little, Christians learn to understand the world as God does. The term "Biblical worldview" indicates the worldview God demonstrates in the Bible. In a similar manner, "thinking like a Christian" indicates thinking about a subject with the same worldview as God (Christ) demonstrates in the Bible.
10. Who teaches the courses to home college students? Most learning occurs without a teacher present, through parent-directed student personal study, writing, projects, networking, apprenticeships, and entrepreneurships. A concourse of teachers supporting home college students can provide courses and projects to supplement the students’ other studies with specialist inspiration designed to help students launch into new subjects with a Biblical approach. Look for teachers that are Biblically minded Christians who are appropriately qualified by their academic learning, professional experience, Biblical character, and communication skills. Exact teacher qualifications are typically conveyed to the students in the syllabus of each class. All teachers, as students, agree to give diligence to coursework, resolve disputes quickly, and support Biblical thinking. Look to your family and local church first for qualified teachers.
11. Do home college students affiliate with one denomination? No. Evangelical leaders from every major denomination and theological perspective agree on the essentials of a Biblical worldview. Like home education, parents remain in authority and select the courses, resources, and experiences that are consistent with their theology.
12. Is there a procedure for high school students to earn dual-credit toward home college? Yes. Juniors and seniors in high school are encouraged to get an early start on their college education by planning to select and incorporate their upper level high school course work products into their portfolio to show indisputable competence in any chosen subject.
13. What are the problems that Biblical worldview leaders are seeing with Christian colleges? Even in the best Christian colleges, where the faculty has Biblical worldviews, the students are graduating with secular humanism worldviews. The reason for this is that the Christian "college experience" cannot replicate the Christian family. The Biblically minded family has a multigenerational view for faithfulness to God and family convictions which require long-term parental discipleship. Even the best of Christian distance education does not purposefully involve the family in the learning process, nor purposely couple with individual family convictions. Christian colleges cannot provide the follow-on life and business context for implementing the knowledge gained. These shortcomings stem from the tendency of institutional colleges and universities to operate according to worldly business principles, rather than family and church fellowship principles in real life contexts. Christian colleges have essentially been made in the image of secular colleges.
14. Do I take the courses on-line or through correspondence? Each teacher typically chooses how to best convey their subject material. Many use a combination of conference calls with paper materials. Some post materials on their website for downloading. Others have complete courses and quizzes loaded into web based courseware. A few can only offer their information in person locally until they publish their book or video.
15. Can I become involved with a group of families pursuing home college studies without taking courses? Yes. Home college students are expected to develop and accomplish their own unique personalized curricula. Where specific courses are not needed, there is often an interest in connecting and being involved with a broader group of students pursuing home college studies. Being involved in a home college “campus” atmosphere can be stimulating, valuable, and encouraging. Often, unique opportunities arise from the intercommunications and project collaborations (i.e., fellowship).
16. How do I enroll in a course? Simply pick the courses of interest from wherever you find them and contact the teacher or organization promoting their course. Email the office@BiblicalConcourse.com to enroll in Concourse courses or curriculum.
17. How many weeks do courses span? The number of weeks and number of weekly meetings vary by course and teacher. Home college teachers can customize the time span to that most efficient to learning their subjects.
18. How is grading or assessment accomplished and reported? Teachers can evaluate and provide verbal and or written feedback to students for all assignments according to academic, professional and Biblical standards. Ask the teacher before you take the course for specific procedures to expect.
19. Is there a minimum age to begin college? Only that determined by the parents. Home college educators are mostly home school parents and understand that home education allows students to be ready for college studies early.
20. How many years does it take to complete home college studies? Diligent students could plan to complete a four year body of knowledge offered by a traditional institution in three years or less. Just as home educating is more efficient than institutional schooling, so parent-directed higher education is more efficient than institutional higher education.
21. Do you have a specific group of courses that you recommend for a defined area of study? Yes. Some courses are recommended to all students because they help build a foundation in Biblical thinking. Other courses are recommended for people interested in certain occupations. Home college students save about a year of time by directly studying Biblical perspectives on a broad range of subjects to the degree they have an interest versus spending seat time in “core courses” where they do not have an interest or that would undermine their faith.
22. Can a Christian go to a secular university and not be influenced by the anti-Christian worldview of the professors? No. The student becomes practiced in the religion of secular humanism through professional details, thereby engrafting a lifelong pattern. The student violates the commands of Scripture by learning to not acknowledge God in any subject, promote socialism through the receipt of federal funds, oppose individual liberty through the standardized education which views humans as machines, puts the state in God's place, and pays much more than it is worth on the free market. Secular education is not encouraged anywhere in the Bible. For a Christian to choose to be educated at a secular university is like a driver placing a car in reverse and expecting to go forward. Christians in secular institutions have been carried there by the influences of the world system and a student will have a greater influence on the world if Christians chose an education based on Biblical principles.
23. Could home college courses be used as a college preparation program? Yes. There are many good courses and opportunities which are designed to build a student foundation in Biblical thinking and could be taken as preparation for a traditional college program.
24. Does a student need to leave home for classes or other home college experiences? No. Just like home schooling and the traditional college campus, most of the learning is accomplished individually. A concourse of home college students could be arranged to function as a “campus” to bring the supporting activities of a traditional campus to your home through video and telephone conferencing or outside activities.
25. Is the student accountable to his or her parents or the teacher? Both. The teacher holds the student accountable for the details of course assignments, while the parents hold the student accountable for the accomplishments done in the home education mode.
26. How will the students be kept on task? For courses with teachers, the teachers schedule assignments with deadlines as usual. For the personal curriculum features, the student can learn project management techniques to manage and accomplish his or her chosen body of knowledge. Students choosing to have review boards have additional accountability.
27. Who makes the curriculum decisions? The student and parents. Individualized curricula is the norm. God, parents and the student are in the best position to make the final decisions on curriculum matters. Teachers and others have the role of recommending resources and courses to parents and students for their consideration.
28. How long have people been pursuing home college studies? Probably since the sixth day of creation. After all, we are only talking about extending home education to its logical conclusion, and perhaps undoing the massive marketing and centralization of college education in modern society, which has contributed to the secularization of culture.
29. Can work experience be incorporated into one's curriculum? Yes. Most students incorporate apprenticeships, internships, entrepreneurships or other work experiences into their curriculum by documenting the respective learning.
30. How are home college students tested? Teachers test each student's accomplishment using traditional verbal, written, and demonstrative methods in conjunction with video or teleconferencing and supporting softwares.
31. What are the completion requirements? Students complete their college experience upon completion of their personal curriculum as determined by their review board (if they choose to assemble a review board).
32. Are parents at liberty to supplement the courses with their own materials? Yes. Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and your entire extended family and church have much of the knowledge base that a typical college student needs. Students are encouraged to discover the hidden riches of knowledge within their extended family and church and incorporate them into their personal curriculum.
33. What does it cost? If you choose to become involved with the Concourse, there is an application fee and fee for each contact hour. The overall cost of completing one’s education in the home college mode is estimated to be one tenth of a four-year public in-state resident college or one 20th of a four-year private resident in-state college. This approximation is based on the 2003-4 Annual Survey of Colleges by The College Board and the student spending $2,000 per year for courses and communications plus $800 on books and supplies. No federal funds would be needed or wanted. The student work experiences can be embedded in each curriculum which eliminates the need for loans.
34. How are parents involved with their young adult's home college education? Parents choose their amount and type of involvement based on their interests, capabilities and available time. Parents may want to: (1) Serve as the final authority in the formation of their student's review board and its approving of the student's personalized curriculum. (2) Monitor student curriculum quality and progress using an accreditation checklist. (3) Update the student's transcript based on a review of work accomplished and any corresponding teacher, pastor, academic advisor, and discipline professional feedbacks.
35. What if the law requires homeschool parents to have degrees? Gaining useful knowledge and experiences chosen and supervised by the parents and student will still be the most desirable education. Review boards give parents the basis for acknowledging student accomplishments in a paper document that is useful for employers and other legal purposes.
36. How can home university studies be converted to credits at an institutional college or university of my choice? As evidence of the monopolistic aspects of institutional higher education, you can simply demonstrate that you already know a subject and then buy credits which can be used at the university of your choice. (Notice that no value is added to your education, only funds transfer to the educational institution.) Any previously learned knowledge and or experience can be converted to degrees by purchasing credits via: CLEP, DSST/DANTES, online programs, Excelsior College, Thomas Edison State College and others.
37. How can advanced college laboratories be completed at home? You can simply buy self-contained kits designed for distance learning college students in chemistry, biology, physics, microbiology, geology, and anatomy & physiology and more.
38. What is your position on Creation? Our position on creation is the same position as historic Christianity. The earth is young and the world was created in six literal 24-hour days. Straying from this position occurs when Christians place more authority in fallible science than the infallible Word of God.
39. What is your refund policy? No refund on applications. Course withdrawals are refunded at the full price of the course minus one ounce silver when occurring after the first contact hour and before the second contact hour. No refunds are given when withdrawals occur after the second contact hour.
40. What are others doing about home college? The answer is here.
If you have other questions about how to make home college practical for your situation or would like to add to or improve upon these questions and responses, simply send your thoughts to the firstname.lastname@example.org.