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Conferences as an alternative to college for the homeschooled child

Tuesday, 28. February 2012 by Renee Ellison

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Instead of sending your high school graduate off to a godless college, consider sending that child to conferences that are focused on targeted areas of interest. Convention-type learning is different from college learning in a number of positive ways. If your child attends a worldview conference, such as are offered by Summit Ministries, for instance, he or she benefits from advanced training in a focused area of interest but also has the benefit of being influenced by mature believers who have thought DEEPLY in a number of areas and ARE currently influencing the culture.

One advantage is that conferences are often with ADULTS, whereas college surrounds your high school graduate with peers who are hugely influenced by the godless anti-God culture. Summit’s sold-out 50th anniversary adult conference is in full swing in Colorado Springs this week, and every minute is packed with challenging content delivered by top intellectuals who have character to match their brains. At college, your young adult has to endure the lifestyle of those peers, and their immoral uncouth rashnesses, while attempting to “learn.” At a residential college (yes, even at many so-called Christian schools), your child is sleeping and living in the midst of distractions that could entail having to hear loud rock music, enduring the results of others’ drinking and carousing, their night escapades, and their bouts with drugs, foolishness and wickedness. Young adults who are college residents chronically have to live around and absorb the fallout of the CRISES of the guys or gals around them—whether that means a struggle with anorexia or last night’s loss of purity. This can HUGELY take up YOUR high school grad’s time and not advance HIS life one iota.

Second, conferences are infinitely superior to college in that they gather the finest speakers from across the land all in one place for a short period of time. Colleges have scores of duds of professors, with perhaps only ONE good one in a particular area of study. You get far more for your money by having a collection of EXPERTS gather in one place to deliver their finest speeches in a short spurt, rather than to sit under countless duds for a year.

Third, conferences give young grads a burst of personal growth that they take with them. There is a famous quote: “Next year we will be the same people we are today except for the books we’ve read and the people we’ve met.” Think of how expanding it was for you when you went to a special conference, sometime in your past. Your life is richer in insights and people for having done so. Compare that week to that same week lived at home. Home is wonderful for the BULK of our lives. Nonetheless, attending conferences every once in a while, with their mix of new ideas and refreshing people, can expand our home life for the rest of the time.

Fourth, periodic intense learning through conventions, seminars, and conferences widens a person’s horizons and then real life solidifies those concepts. On the other hand, four years of an ivory tower existence without ever getting a chance to TEST the new concepts results in FORGETTING them. Further, much of THAT curriculum is jumping through hoops of someone ELSE’s mental agenda for us, involving scores of additional coursework in areas we aren’t even interested in, or is downright brainwashing from the liberal left.

Fifth, we are meant to challenge our high school grads’ thinking ongoingly, not JUST by their remaining at home, and conferences can do that for us. The normal Joe Blow only uses 1/10th of his brain. The fact that we HAVE the other 9/10ths IMPLIES that we are to move out into our mental muscle as much as is possible. Our Creator wants us to use our minds to the hilt. The bigger and the more exposed a person we become, the further distances we can take our own next generation’s children into refinement, sharp thinking, and fullness of life. Consider if your grown daughter were asked to be the First Lady of the White House tomorrow, entertaining dignitaries, knowing world events and complexities and historical decisions that have been tried that didn’t work, etc. Could she do it if she only had a fourth grade education with no awareness or understanding of the big wide world? Chances are, she would not do very well. Think, on the other hand, if your grown daughter had read VOLUMES of history and been the “First Lady” of your community already—might she then be BETTER prepared for INCREASED responsibility and INFLUENCE in the world?

Education can be attained solely by continuing one’s studies in the home, through copious zealous reading (after all, every book is a conversation with an expert!) or by wisely selecting how to YouTube videos that train people in acquiring a skill (cautiously, though, recognizing that anything tied to the Web can lead into dangerous territory). Abraham Lincoln read at HOME for years and years. He gained a wide education solely by reading next to his fireplace every evening, and emerged a leader of men. However, attending carefully selected conferences can HELP with augmenting that process if and when the time is right, once in a while.

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