Homeschooling may well be full of ups and downs, but we need to remember that like all education, it is only a means to an end. And for many of us the next stage for our homeschooled kids is the big step to college. It’s not uncommon for parents (and young people) to view this milestone with anxiety and concern, but in fact the evidence is that homeschooled kids are actually very well placed to make a real success of this transition.
Homeschooled kids are well prepared for transition
Firstly, bear in mind that homeschooled kids probably already have many skills that colleges particularly value and require. Qualities like flexibility, self-discipline and motivation which are all part and parcel of homeschooling will translate well into higher education. Homeschooled students may also have had an opportunity to study their favourite subjects in more depth than a school student would have been able to do, particularly in a large class. For these sorts of reasons, colleges nowadays are very unlikely to be cautious in offering places to homeschooled applicants. Indeed, prestigious institutions like Harvard and Princeton are happily accepting homeschooled students and are even actively seeking them out!
Brush up on the extracurriculars
It seems then, that it is all good news. But ensuring your child gets their chosen college is somewhat trickier. It’s true that nowadays colleges are open to homeschooled applicants but there is no substitute for obtaining the required grades. So maybe you do need to sweat a bit over those ACT or SAT scores! Parents should also think about extracurricular activities your kids may or may not be involved in. Any homeschooler will know the idea of their children being socially isolated and ill at ease with new people is a myth but it is a great advantage if students can cite some extracurricular experience where they interacted with large groups. Sport (especially team games) is one obvious area but music, charity fundraising or environmental projects all offer a chance to impress an interviewer too.
Consider studying abroad
And while you are thinking of college applications you might want to consider studying abroad. It may seem like a big step, but there are many advantages such as mixing with people from all over the world, the chance to learn about a new culture and maybe even learn a new language. Many homeschooled students are used to experiential learning and will certainly be able to take advantage of the graduate programs a new country has to offer.
As with any big milestone, it’s a bittersweet moment when any child leaves home. But when your homeschooled son or daughter sets off for college, you can also be pretty proud of an educational job well done.
What advice you would add to this list?