From the February 27, 2013 issue of THM:
Getting Ready for College
This topic whisks me back in memory to the days I was packing a steamer trunk (!) for college … but, of course, I don’t think that is exactly what is meant by today’s topic. Getting ready for college is far more than what clothes to take, isn’t it?
With that in mind, here are my top three suggestions:
- Cultivate curiosity
- Rehearse resource-gathering
- Walk winsomely
Cultivate curiosity … One of the most powerful tools a student can take with them to university is an interested and questioning mind. Not being content to merely take in facts as they are presented, a motivated and curious student will consider what is presented, dig deeper, and even challenge her professors. I learned from anecdotes from my children, from professors, and others that homeschool students are the most likely to ask for more information during and after class–even if it meant there would be more on the test.
Another way of describing this would be to say that kids who actively engage their own education will be the ones who derive the greatest good from it. And that, my friends, is important to know, regardless of when or if your children go to college.
When kids actively engage, that means they are no longer passively moving through the textbooks, workbooks, and classes to take a test, to get a grade, or to complete the course. It means, instead, that at some point, they become fascinated by what they are learning. In an enthusiasm motivated by deep curiosity, they quickly pack in vast amounts of knowledge and stay hungry for more.
So, cultivate this kind of curiosity now. Encourage questions: what-ifs, why-nots, how-comes, and how-we-knows.
Asking questions is the first point.
Answering them is the second.
Rehearse resource-gathering …This means to practice finding answers. Simple, yes? Well, sometimes it can be simple, but other times it can be incredibly complex. In fact, when you look for answers, you might find yourself right smack in the middle of a hotly-contested controversy. And that is one of the best reasons for helping your children learn to look things up while they are still living at home with you. Learning to recognize a good source, watching for nuances as well as overstatements, and grasping the difference between fact and theory are the ways a student gets to the heart of learning.
Walk winsomely … Our children will face extraordinary challenges at college, including challenges to their faith. My encouragement is to live your walk of faith openly and transparently before your children, so they can see the faithfulness and goodness of God in your life. Pray together, share God’s answers with them, and let them see the reality of faith. This living faith–not a politicized faith, or a them-and-us faith, but a love-the-Lord and love-your-neighbor faith–is one of the best bulwarks against a corroding and growing atheism in our nation.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the saying, “Until they know how much you care, they don’t care how much you know.” It goes double for your adult children. Show in your day-to-day life the winsomeness of Jesus, and your kids will receive a strength to stand.
Remember, stay relational!