Written by Sam Blumenfeld
What do Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg all have in common? They all dropped out of college and pursued their interest in computer technology so that today they are among the richest men in the world. They proved that a college degree is not necessary for success in our high-tech capitalist economy. But what they did have was ambition, intelligence, inventiveness, perseverance, and a total commitment to what it was they wanted to do. These facts should be of interest to homeschoolers who have reached that point in their education where they must decide whether or not to go on to college or a university.
Of course, in making that decision there are a number of factors to consider. First, the individual must determine if the career he or she is pursuing requires a college degree. If your goal is to become a lawyer, nuclear engineer, marine biologist, or medical doctor, attendance at a graduate school will no doubt be necessary. Entry to a graduate school may require four years of prescribed preparation at a college. Thus, it’s wise to investigate well in advance what kind of preparation is needed. It may be possible to do a lot of the undergraduate work at home.
As many homeschoolers already know, it is no longer necessary to attend a college in order to get a degree. There are now many accredited schools that offer bachelor's, master's, and even law degrees by home study. Modern computer technology has made home study a very convenient and effective way to earn a degree in virtually any subject area. For example, Auburn University offers an almost totally nonresident MBA and Master of Engineering degrees in such fields as aerospace, chemistry, computer science, and industrial engineering. The courses are videoed in the classrooms and mailed or downloaded to distance students who are required to maintain the same pace of study as resident students.
Regent University at Virginia Beach, Virginia, offers a Master's degree in business administration or management with only two weeks of attendance on campus. There is even an online university that reaches students all over the world: Kaplan University. It offers over 125 degrees. It also has learning centers around the country for those who need to sit in a classroom.
There are now about a half-dozen books on distance learning on Amazon: How to Earn a College Degree Without Going to College by James P. Duffy; Bears’ Guide to College Degrees by Mail and Internet; Bears’ Guide to the Best Computer Degrees by Distance Learning; and others. These books list hundreds of accredited educational institutions that offer home study courses leading to degrees. These include Boise State University, Brigham Young University, Colorado State University, Skidmore College, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Oklahoma, and many more.
There has been an explosion of educational institutions with nontraditional, off-campus programs offering degrees in just about any subject you might be interested in. And no doubt we shall see more and more such off-campus educational opportunities for several good reasons. First, it is no longer necessary to sit in a classroom in an ivy-covered building 500 miles away from home just to listen to a young instructor repeat knowledge that can be found in a textbook. Few full professors actually do any teaching anymore in person. They operate at the graduate level. For undergraduates, they may be available on a CD or DVD.
Second, attending college can be very expensive. An education at a prestigious university can cost as much as $30,000 to $39,000 a year just in tuition. It is common for many college graduates these days to start out their post-school life with a student-loan debt of $120,000. That kind of debt can become a very heavy burden when one is getting an entry-level salary.
Third, not every homeschooler has to or ought to attend college. Basic liberal arts subjects, such as English literature and history, can be studied at home. And in this era of high unemployment, home businesses provide plenty of opportunities to develop work and entrepreneurial skills. Apprenticeships and Internships can be sought out for valuable work experience. Also, there are jobs for highly competent homeschooled high-school graduates whose knowledge is certainly equal to if not better than that of many of today's college graduates.
Most liberal arts colleges have become arenas of mindless social activities involving binge-drinking, partying, experimentation in sex and drugs, interspersed with boring classes taught by '60s radicals, feminists, and deconstructionists promoting their own political and social agendas. It makes no sense to be homeschooled and then waste your time and money at such an institution in order to be brainwashed by the humanists. If you desire a social life, you can find it among local homeschooling groups, at church, or in political activity.
The best way for homeschoolers to gain the equivalent of a liberal arts college education is to read those books that the liberal professors don't want you to read, books by Von Hayek, Von Mises, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, R. J. Rushdoony, and others. For example, if your aim is to become a teacher in a private school (public-school teachers generally need a degree in an “accredited” politically correct college of education), read those books critical of progressive education, books by Rudolf Flesch, Beverly Eakman, and yours truly. There are dozens of wonderful books critical of the public-school curriculum and the federal programs aimed at creating a dumbed-down population easily manipulated by the ruling progressive establishment.
Today's liberal professors teach evolution as fact. You can counter them by reading some of the very fine books by creationists who are critical of evolution. You won't have time to read those good books if you're at a college and forced to read only the politically correct books required by your professor. The same goes for such controversial issues as climate change and global warming.
The essence of homeschooling is educational freedom. Which means that you can choose what you want to learn, read the books you want to read, and choose a future career that reflects your own desires and talents. There is no reason why those principles should not apply to college level education. Look through the course catalog of a good university. Check out the courses you would like to take. Examine the books required for the course, and get books critical of that particular discipline. You will probably learn more by reading the critical studies than the mandated texts.