August 31, 2010

Update: Homeschooling Doesn’t Stop When College Starts

willowtms *This is a continuation of a previous post found here.

My oldest son Michael (a recent homeschool graduate), had a dilemma in his World Civilizations course in college.  Students were required to read a historical fiction novel that was sexually graphic (both hetero and homo). 

We purchased the required book and I started reading it, with the intent to mark the offending parts for my son, so he could choose to skip over them. 

Within the first 5 pages, a man’s genitalia was described twice - I marked those lines in the book.  Later the same man tried to force himself on his wife with vivid description, as she begged him to go be satisfied by his “young boys” -  I then started marking entire paragraphs.  Soon thereafter, the same character then verbally assaults his wife and calls her horrid, foul and profane names, and was physically violent with his young son.  By page 15, I had circled entire page numbers and I felt like throwing up.  I have never read such filth in my life.

I forced myself to read through the 15 pages thinking I had to help my son with this because there was no way he was going to be able to read this filth.  I was very upset when I had to admit there was no way this book could be edited to be a decent read.  I grieved for our moral-lacking society and for my son, who was going to have to make his way in it. It took a couple of days for me to be more in control of my emotions to even talk to him about it.

I sat down with my son and told him what I had encountered in the book. I reminded him that he is an adult,  I could not go talk to his professors and make things better.  He had to decide what he was going to do about this situation.  Immediately he said “I won’t read it!  I’ll just take a bad grade.”

I was proud of my son, for not backing down from doing what he knows is right.  However, I didn’t know what step he should take next.  Should he write a paper based on the same figure but use a different book and hope his grade doesn’t suffer?  Should he drop the class?  Should he just not write the paper at all and take the failed grade on that assignment?  Should he request an alternative book?  Should he approach the teacher about it? This was not a simple choice, his academic scholarship could be affected.  I encouraged Michael to pray and fast about it and do what the Lord wanted him to do. 

Last Thursday, during World Civilizations, the professor encouraged the students to begin reading this assigned (required) novel.  After class, Michael approached him and asked if there was an alternate book available since the assigned book was so sexually graphic.  The instructor said he’d never had a student object to the reading but that Michael's request was reasonable and he would try to find a replacement for him over the weekend.  We were hopeful.

On Sunday, Michael fasted and prayed that his instructor would be able to find a suitable replacement.

Today, he returned home with not one, but over 30 other book options. These options are now available to any student who requests an alternate book to read.

My heart is so full!  I feel so blessed that my son stood strong and was willing to stand alone and take whatever the repercussion might be for not submitting himself to something he knew was not appropriate for him to read.


  1. Way to go Michael! (and Michael's momma)! I hope that will be able to guide my own children to have the strength that Michael has just shown. I admire your restraint in not telling Michael how to handle the situation...before your post I probably would have told my child to talk to the professor or to drop the class. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Good for him! I had to do something similar in college - Ricks College, in fact - I was scared to death but things turned out well.

  3. WOW! It makes me so happy to hear that there are level headed professors out there who will respect someone's right not to have filth in their mind.

    I asked my teacher for a different book my senior year of high school for the same reasons but was denied. Admittedly, it wasn't nearly as graphic as the one you mentioned. But it was enough.

  4. What an encouraging ending to a horrible scenario!! Praise God!!

    I've just recently found your blog (it is SO CUTE!!) and had a little time to look around today! I can't wait to read more!

    Have a great day!

  5. Great job!!! :) I found most of my college professors (in IL and MI) to be pretty reasonable and respectful. I took a senior seminar arts class and the professor said from the very beginning that we could opt out of any performance we chose, but we would have to write a 3-page paper explaining why we were opting out of a particular performance. I only had to do it once (we were advised ahead of time that it would contain large amounts of nudity). :)

    Thumbs up!! :)

  6. Wow! That is it. WOW! I hope that when my children reach that age (or even before) they are just as strong and faithful. What a wonderful example your young man is.

  7. Way to go to both of you. It really makes you wonder what these places of higher learning are thinking when they assign books like that. I would have done the same things and I hope and pray my children would have too.

  8. Ok, I hate to be the black sheep amongst your commenters... but I think 98% of the best part of college is learning stuff like this for yourself.

    I mean, woudln't it have been MORE amazing if he'd started the book {filth and all, because let's not pretend like he's not going to have seen it somewhere else} and then realized he'd like another option?

    I can't imagine my mom reading a book for me in college. I can imagine my dad raising an eyebrow and saying that was an interesting choice and asking me to tell him what I thought of it. But my mom marking out certain sections?
    No way, nope. College is time to put on the big girl panties and be a grown up.

    Kudos to him though. I hope he can make a similar choice entirely on his own one day.

    {I hope you don't find this offensive, it's just the first thing I thought when I read it}

  9. Hilary, My son has Asperger's Syndrome. He needs a support system when he encounters new situations. In addition, he is especially sensitive to things that offend the spirit.

    Your comment "let's not pretend like he's not going to have seen it somewhere else" is making a pretty big assumption. At nearly 40, I had never encountered filth like this prior and neither have my children.

    I realize that when a child turns 18, throwing him out the door on his own is common in our society, but it's not what we do in our family. The next time Michael is faced with inappropriate literature, he will have a prior experience to look back on to guide his decisions. I feel good about that! I guess I am not a sink-or-swim kind of parent.

  10. Yeah, I think I get it more... but I really believe if you're old enough to go to college, you're ready to take on those kinds of challenges. Realize that it's offending him and figure out how to fix it. And you being there for a good sounding board.

    To each their own though. I really enjoy the lit reviews on this blog.

  11. Good for the both of you! I love it when sisters graciously say no thanks to the world. Sometimes, people deviate so far off the course of decency, they don't realize how far they have gone. The fact that the professor suggested 30 alternatives, makes me wonder if his conscience didn't get pricked a bit?

  12. I think that you are doing a wonderful job with your children. This is amazing I'm glad that your son had the courage to go up to his teacher. Just because someone is old enough to go to college doesn't mean they are ready for everything that will come their way in college. Just do what you do and what the spirit tells you and all will be well.

  13. Anonymous2/15/2012

    Wow, I just came across your blog and read this post. I homeschool our children as well, they too are passionate about things that offend the Lord. However, we've raised our children to know the difference between right and wrong, and ensured them they will come across things that are offensive. We told them they will need to learn how to make adult decisions, we will be here to help guide them, but not to tell them what they need to do as an adult.

    I would have never thought of pre-reading a book for our daughter whom is in college, matter of fact I don't pre-read any of the books that come into our house. She would have never asked either of us to pre-read any material for her. I was shocked to read that you actually not only pre-read the book, but you marked for him as well. I am curious, if your son took Humanities, how does he encounter nudity in art or discussions that have to do with rape, incest, etc without you in his class?

    History in itself has a lot to do with nudity, rape, incest and death, after all I know I've read about these things in the Bible. I'm not sure how you've never come across such information. History is just that, it's history it happened and should never be hidden. To me, that's like stating the Holocaust never happened.

    We are not the sink or swim type of parents, nor did we throw our daughter out of the door as soon as she went to college. She is attending a local college due to her own health issues. Yet, we make sure not to hide reality from our children, they will be exposed to it as some time in their life. We openly communicate about everything.

  14. Dear Anonymous, my child was NOT an adult when he started college. Yes, he later took sociology and other college classes that had offensive material in them and did and does his own thing. He doesn't accept smut just because it's popular and acceptable by many.

    His professor said no student had ever voiced a problem with that selection before... so sad that more kids read that smut than being brave enough to stand up for what they know is right. Perhaps they were desensitized by reading so much smut prior.

    I do monitor material that comes into my home and I always will. That is MY job. My children can choose what they let in their own home when that time comes.

    Regarding "hiding" history. To be aware of the terrible acts of others is totally different than reading a glorified, detailed, deranged and perverse account of such.

    We believe in being led by the spirit in our parenting and don't rely on the ideas of the world. Obviously we disagree.


Thanks for visiting our blog. Feel free to leave me a comment.