SS#139 – A classical college education (with Andy Patton!!)

Parents are rightly disenchanted with the average college in our culture. They see kids casting off their religion and morality while also graduating with crippling debt.

The reactive response is to say that “college isn’t for everyone” and then promote apprenticeships, entrepreneurship, and tech school.

While we agree college really isn’t for everyone, the classical homeschool community may be losing a vision for classical college, what it is for, what it can do, and why we need to have a certain percentage of Christians who develop their intellectual lives in a college context.

Although some maintain that self-education can be equivalent to a classical college education, Scholé Sisters believes college is distinct and important.

Listen to the podcast:


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Liberal Arts Colleges Are Valuable

  • [3:08-14:24] Scholé Everyday segment
  • [15:06] The shifting college scene
  • [15:30] Is college for everyone?
  • [18:47] Do liberal arts apply in the real world?
  • [21:29] What is success?
  • [25:55] Andy’s story
  • [32:45] Work ethic, character, and college
  • [37:47] Liberal arts vs a classics major
  • [45:54] Grappling with fundamental questions
  • [50:08] The value of specialization in college
  • [54:33] College, liberal arts, and the 21st century

Today’s Hosts

Brandy Vencel
has a son at a liberal arts college – New College Franklin.

Mystie Winckler
has a son at a liberal arts college – New St. Andrews.

Guest: Andy Patton

Andy Patton joined New College Franklin as President in 2023. He has served for nine years on the Board of Directors, including the last five years as Chairman of the Board. He has taught courses on Dante as well as Economics.

Prior to joining New College, Mr. Patton held various roles in healthcare technology and venture capital. As an entrepreneur in the healthcare space he built and successfully exited his first company. He has also started and currently owns a company in the construction industry. Before going into business, Mr. Patton spent his early career as a high school teacher of Latin, Greek, music, and math.

Mr. Patton is an avid musician and fly fisherman. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Katie, and their five children, James, Liam, Angus, Edward, and Elanor.

“But to the question of whether or not someone with a liberal arts degree can get a real job and provide for a family: The answer is certainly yes.”


Scholé Everyday: What We’re Reading

The Brothers Karamazov
The Andromeda Strain
Imitation of Christ

Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky

The book comes up yet again! Mystie is rereading it for a local book club and finding the characters uncomfortably relatable.

Andromeda Strain, Michael Crichton

Brandy is reading some dystopia with her teens.

Imitation of Christ, Thomas aKempis

Andy Patton wins the Schole Everyday segment.

College-Level Liberal Arts in Today’s World

Even if we reject utilitarianism in our homeschools, we are still tempted by it when we choose a college.

What is the purpose of a college education? Who should (and should not) pursue the liberal arts in higher education?

Can our sons still provide for a family after a liberal arts college major or will they have to get further education? Why should we consider a liberal arts college for our boys in particular?

As we consider options for all our children, we want to take more than economic concerns into account. After all, those who find good job opportunities and make good money often are not doing so because of their degree, but because they were the kinds of people who would have anyway.

As a paper from state universities begin to matter less and less in the real world, a liberal arts education no longer has to compete on the value of its prestige and paper. The question is, how well-developed and prepared is the graduate? Will he not be head and shoulders above his peers at whatever he sets his hand to?

Mentioned in the Episode

The Didascalicon of Hugh of Saint Victor: A Guide to the Arts

The Didascalicon of Hugh of Saint Victor: A Guide to the Arts

This treatise, produced in the early years of the twelfth-century Renaissance by one of its most important theologians and educators, offers a vision of human knowledge as an integrated whole person. It is a crucial text for those in the Middle Ages, in the history of schools and pedagogy, and in the survival of the classical tradition in the West.
More info →
Buy now!
The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid

The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid

ONE OF THE PREEMINENT translators of our time, Robert Fagles’s interpretations of these epic poems give new life to three seminal works in the Western canon. The Penguin Classic Deluxe Editions of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid are collected here for the first time in a specially designed gift box. Each volume contains a superb introduction by renowned classicist Bernard Knox.

More info →
Buy now!

Want to talk about the ideas presented here? The conversation is happening inside Sistership.

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