Are you considering homeschooling your teen, and are wondering about the college option?
We are a homeschooling family, and our 18 year old is a newbie college freshman this year. We homeschooled her, all the way, including high school at home, and my husband and I are so glad that we did! But at first, I was nervous…All those buzz words could be a little overwhelming….like SAT, ACT, PSAT, admission requirements, Common Application, etc, etc… I wondered….
Was it possible to homeschool towards college without stressing out?
You see, my daughter wanted to go to a four year college, and I didn’t know how to go about doing that. How did the whole admissions process work, anyway, for homeschoolers? And the thought of knocking on the college’s door, as one homeschool family, seemed daunting to me.
After much prayer and family discussions, my husband and I decided to give the college option a try. So, one day, we got the computer out, and began researching. I found that each college had information about admissions on their website, including for homeschoolers! Many colleges wanted self-motivated, independent learners, like our homeschooled teens. As I continued my research, I began to feel that it might be possible. And, later, probable! By taking the process, one step at a time, I was able to help my daughter to apply to four colleges. And she was accepted into all of them! Be encouraged.
I also found that I could still keep our nurturing homeschool style, while aimming towards college at the same time! So, if you are contemplating college for your teens, I’d like to share are six tips for homeschooling towards college. When we began our college planning, our first step, of course, was to research our college admission requirements. These became our spine for our high school planning.
1. Balance out Your Courses.
For us, we knew we needed to do Language Arts every year, and the rest of the subjects required from 2 to 4 years of study. So we omitted Science when we did Foreign Language. That kind of thing really helped us to keep things workable, and at a good pace for my teen.
2. Include High School Electives
Your teen’s high school electives can be based on their interests! Electives can be a great way for your teen to explore their gifts and talents, and show the colleges that they are motivated learners. For us, we did photography one year, then later made a homemade course in video production. Another year, my daughter wanted to try her hand at novel-writing, so we did a semester of fiction writing. Some teens do volunteer work, that can count for elective credit, and others do apprenticeships, another way to explore an area of interest.
3. Determine the Number of Credits Required
Each college require a certain amount of high school credits from their applicants. One year of study, in homeschool, equals one high school credit. The total of credits required can vary from college to college. This can be found on the college’s website, for their freshman admissions requirements. Our college asked for 22 credits, so that is what we did.
4. Scheduling the SAT/ACT
Most colleges require either the SAT or the ACT test for their incoming freshmen. The ACT is more of an achievement test than the SAT. Here’s a brief description of each test:
The ACT includes all the basic subjects – English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. It also has a writing component.
The SAT “is designed to assess your academic readiness for college” and focuses more reading, writing and math. and doesn’t include science.
It is helpful to schedule the SAT or ACT during the junior year of high school. That way the colleges will have the results in a timely manner, for scholarship consideration. For us, my daughter was nervous about this testing, I also signed her up for the PSAT.
5. Consider taking the PSAT for Practice
Whether you choose the SAT or the ACT test, I recommend practicing with the PSAT first. In our state of Washington, this practice test was given each fall. The PSAT gave my daughter helpful practice in test-taking, which really helped with the actual test-taking later.
6. PE & Fun Activities
With all the details involved in aiming towards college, we always made sure to make time for PE. We often did this together, as a way for both of us to exercise, and bond, too. My daughter took dance classes, we did a walking/jogging program together, and we made sure that something PE-oriented happened every day.
I also recommend taking a lot of nature study breaks together! We often did nature walks, my daughter and I, and we also stopped by the beach or the park as often as we could.
What helps you to recharge? Getting out in nature helped us to restore, refresh, and connect as a family, while doing high school at home, aiming towards college.
Betsy is a writer and blogger who offers homeschool help, and most importantly, is mom to her 18 year old, who is now a newbie college student. Betsy homeschooled her daughter all the way, from preK through high school, using hands-on approaches and lots of unit studies. She blogs about everything homeschooling at BJ’s Homeschool, sharing Our Steps to College, and all the fun of the Early Years too. Betsy is also an OT and a former preschool teacher. Follow her on google plus at + Betsy Sproger