Tag Archives: College

When schools fail…

I received this email:

After reading several blog posts, I am wondering (again) about Henle. Yes, I admit that I am also one of those people who HATE Henle. I find it cumbersome, confusing, limited (vocabulary ), and just plain aggravating. Our son has struggled with Latin at Classical Conversations and I have several times considered jumping ship. However, if I reveal this to anyone in CC, I am quickly put down and told to just keep pushing through. Our son is a freshman and he is a math/science guy. He has convinced himself that he will always struggle with language but to me, Latin actually seems like it would be the easiest language for a logic minded kid to tackle. I think we just need to find the right curriculum. Perhaps I am wrong in thinking that. What I do know is even if that may be true, he needs to fulfill his language requirements for graduation. Nonetheless, we can neither take Henle nor Lingua Latina because of co-op and a math class that conflict with both times. Could you give us some guidance?

Here’s my reply:

Ugh.  First of all, I hate that you are being belittled for not studying Latin, or for wanting to stop studying Latin.  How absurd is that?  Very absurd, in my opinion.  Good grief.  People are weird.

I have met many happy people who have never studied Latin. So have you. Life goes on without it.

That said, you have the same problem we all have with high school. The law of the land says that we have to take two years of a foreign language.  After all, government bureaucrats know best.  That has worked well.  Most Americans are fluent in several languages.  (Read that last sentence with a sarcastic tone.)

I strongly suspect that your son’s difficulty with Latin is caused by First Year Latin by Robert Henle.  My suspicion is based on hundreds of emails like yours that I have seen over the years.  I am not simply mad at First Year Latin by Robert Henle.  I am basing my suspicion on feedback.  Lots and lots of feedback. 

The worst part is that your son now thinks he is no good at languages.

No.  School is no good at teaching languages.  THAT is the problem.  Of course, in this country, when school fails we blame the children.  And then…  we ask them where they’re going to college.  

I grew up in Europe. I have met many Europeans who are fluent in multiple languages and who are also good in math and science.  So, there goes that argument.  The problem is the schools.  The problem is not the human brain.  In other words, the problem is not your son.  

Actually, you can still join my classes if you like. I record everything I teach.  I rarely take those classes down.    I have quite a few students who use the previous classes only.  In fact, many prefer this as they can move at their own rate.  Students are always welcome to contact me if they have any questions. 

And, by the way… a subscription grants access to every live class I teach. It also grants access to every recorded class on my site.   This means that he can still take First Year Latin by Robert Henle with me, if he wanted to finish the book.  On my site, you don’t have to choose between classes.  You have access to them all.

Let me know if you need more help!

Student Patterns

It’s popular to attend college in America.  Either we all go, or think about going.

I went to three colleges.  I attended Pensacola Christian College for a year.  I majored in pre-law.  Decided that wasn’t for me.  Transferred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Paramedic school for a year.  After becoming an EMT, I then transferred to the University of Montevallo and finished with a degree in history and business.

After graduation, I began teaching Latin.

In other words, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

You know what I wish?  I wish someone had sat me down and said, “Let’s look at your strengths.  Let’s look at your passions.  Let’s look at your gifts.  Let’s find out what you are good at… and then let’s head in that direction.”

I love Europe.  Absolutely love it.  I love the history, the languages, the people and the food.  To me, it’s home.  Given a choice, I would have formally studied European languages in school.  Or, I would have started some sort of travel company.  And, then there’s cycling.  Oh, man.  I love being on a bike.  Lately, I have been thinking… I wonder if I could lead bike tours of Caesar’s battlefields in France.  I would be combining French, Latin, Europe and bikes.

I would be as happy as the spaceship building character in the Lego Movie.

But, no.  That is not what I did.  Instead, I was like the man who hopped on a horse and rode off in every direction.

I can tell you from experience, that is a powerful way to waste a lot of money.

Before you go to college, Before you pick a degree, take some time to figure out what you want to do with your life.  Take some time to figure out what you’re good at.

Here’s the problem.  If you’re not sure what you want to do, and if you’re not sure what you’re good at, there’s a very good chance you are not exactly sure how to find the answers you need.

That’s where this week’s tip comes in.

Go check out this site: https://studentpatterns.com/.

Seriously, the site is worth your time.  I spent some time on it and discovered some truths about myself that I had not been able to articulate.  Turns out, I probably do not belong in the classroom.  I really do belong in a bike shop, or outside exploring.

I had some of my kids test the site out.

Sure enough, it helped them identify things about themselves that they were unable to articulate on their own.

My son should probably skip college and get right to work.  My middle daughter, on the other hand, would likely do very well in college.  Like me, she would do well studying languages.

I should only send my son to college to study languages if I hate money and need to find a way to get rid of it.

I don’t like wasting money… and neither do you.  Before you spend thousands of dollars sending your kids off, take some time to help steer them in the right direction.

Student patterns will help you do that.  Go check it out.

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas

P.S.  Student patterns will help you answer the college/major question.  But, as my wife has pointed out multiple times, it also helps you learn more about your kids.  She looked at the results and found herself saying, “Oh. That’s why the kids act that way!”

If you, like my wife and I, need help figuring your kids out… then: Student patterns.

Every Saturday, I send out a tip of the week.  I also include announcements, upcoming classes, and so on.  If you would like to hear from me every weekend, sign up for my weekly updates here:

Tip of the Week #107. Get a job.

Every Saturday, I send out a tip of the week.  I also include announcements, upcoming classes, and so on.  If you want to hear from me every weekend, sign up for my weekly updates here:

This time of year, there is a lot of talk about college.

I am a teacher.  Over the last 20 years, I have spent much of my time talking with students.  Naturally, many of those conversations were about college.

Many people think I am anti-college.  I am not.  I am anti-debt.

The cost of college has risen exponentially.  Considering the product these factories are producing these days, the price of college has become a joke.

Or, worse.  Since debt is a form of slavery, and since we are loading the young with debt, perhaps the cost of college has become more than a joke.  For many, the cost of college has become the introduction to slavery.

To misquote Patrick Henry, “Our children’s chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of campuses everywhere!”

Debt is slavery.  Debt is strain.  Debt is stress.

Early on in my marriage, well-meaning, older, “wiser” Christians pressured me into buying a house.  The condo we were living in was “too small”.  I was a teacher in a private school.  Teachers in private schools don’t earn much money.  I couldn’t really afford the house.

(Teachers in government schools do just fine, but I refuse to work for the government.  If you take the king’s dime, you are the king’s man.)

I foolishly left the condo we were living in.  I bought the house.  This dumb decision on my part sent us into a downward financial spiral that lasted years.  Three years later, after trying for almost two years, we sold the house.  We sold it at a loss.  We moved right back into a condo.  Even though it is “too small” we still live in a condo today.

That condo that was “too small”?  It is now worth twice what I paid for it.  Someone else’s profit.

That house debt locked me into a bad employment situation.  I couldn’t get out because I was locked into debt.  I had to pay the bills.  That house and that debt strained our marriage.  We have never fully recovered.  The cracks and fissures and strain are still there today.

I can’t believe that, as a culture, we allow students to walk into the combat zone of debt.  Worse, we encourage them to do it. “So, kid?  Where are you going to college?”  What are we thinking?

It took twenty years and way too much strain, but we are now debt free.

I am thinking of getting a job at a local bike shop when I return to Tennessee.  I do not need the job.  I do not really need the money.  But, I have always loved mountain biking.  I wish I had gotten a job at a bike shop when I was younger.  By, now, I am sure I would own my own store.

Before you go to college, before you go into debt, try hard to identify your passion.  If you can, get a job inside that passion.  Love working out?  Get a job at the gym.  Love biking?  Get a job at the bike shop.  Love eating healthy food?  Get a job at the smoothie place downtown.

In other words, do what humanity used to do before we all started believing in the college fairy tale.  Become an apprentice.   At least for a while.  If your career choice requires college, then go.  Just go later.

And, please.  Read this before you sign that college application: http://files.stansberryradio.com/files/50_colleges_GA1LLNJBSZ.pdf

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas


Thanks, School.

According to Voddie Baucham, school does a great job teaching at least one skill.  School teaches children to stand in line.

My wife and I homeschool our children.  We do it for many reasons.  Reason #1?  Freedom.

I pay my taxes.  I understand that, as an American, I owe taxes to the American government.  I understand that I must render to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar.

The images of U.S. presidents reside on my dollars.  They smirk at me with the constant reminder that, ultimately, they belong to the U.S. government.  The image of Caesar is stamped on my money.

Read this.  Pay attention to the bold words (pun intended) of Jesus from Luke 20.

 So they watched him and sent spies who pretended to be honest, in order to trap him by what he said, so as to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose head and whose title does it bear?” They said, “The emperor’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to trap him by what he said; and being amazed by his answer, they became silent.

Whose image is on my money?  Caesar’s.  Whose image is on my children?  God’s.  My children are made in the image of God.  The state cannot have my children.  The state cannot educate my children.  The state cannot train my children.  The state cannot use bread and circuses (football) to seduce my children into submission.

On Tuesday nights, my family and I are attending Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  My children are learning to manage money.  They are learning to budget.  They are learning to avoid debt.

By the way, debt is slavery.  According to Proverbs 22:7 (NIV), “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” When Dave Ramsey was confronted with this Scripture, he had to really consider who was right—his broke finance professor, who taught that debt is a tool, or God, who never has anything good to say about debt.  You can read more about that here: http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/the-truth-about-debt

During this class, I’ve been thinking about school.   What is school forgetting to teach us?  Worse, what is school teaching us?

Here is what school is forgetting to teach us:

  1. We are created in the image of our creator.
  2. How to get along with people of all ages.  Classrooms are segregated by age.
  3. How to learn for yourself.
  4. How to get and keep a job.
  5. How to stay out of debt.
  6. How to save money.
  7. How to file taxes.
  8. How to sell something.
  9. How to advertise.
  10. How to manage time.
  11. How to set and live by goals.

I could go on, but, you get the point.

Here is what school does teach us.

  1. Obey the teacher.
  2. Obey the authorities.
  3. Stand in line.
  4. Do as you are told without question.
  5. Memorize.
  6. Repeat what you memorized.
  7. Pledge allegiance to the state.
  8. Conform.
  9. Conform intellectually.
  10. Conform socially.
  11. Go to college so that you can extend this training by four more years.
  12. Go into debt so that you can go to college.

(Nervous yet?  You should be.)

According to Dave Ramsey, college debt is now the number one reason students drop out of college.

Let me explain.  No.  There is too much.  Let me sum up.

School teaches us to obey.  Debt is slavery.

Go to school.  Go into debt.  Obey your master.  Welcome to slavery.

I have a better idea.  Fight for your freedom.  Graduate from high school.  Learn some skills.  Start your own business.  Serve your customers.  Make their lives easier.  They will reward you with money.  Save your money.  Spend it on college if you want to.

I am not anti-college.  In fact, I am thinking of going back to college to get a master’s degree in Greek and Latin.

I am not anti-college.  I am anti-debt.  I am anti-slavery.

Find out if a local church is offering a Financial Peace University class.  Get in.  Break your chains.  Fight for your freedom.

Find our more here: https://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/