January 13, 2010

Homeschool to College

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
...Robert Frost
We have ventured into new territory.  Michael (age 17) starts college on Friday.

I've gone to college, my husband has gone to college, and is currently working on his PHD.  College is not a new thing for our family, but the leap from homeschooling to college is indeed new for us.

Background on Michael:
Michael is 17 yrs old.  He is brilliant and loyal and true, and he loves the Lord.  He also has Asperger's Syndrome. When we took Michael out of public school after the 5th grade, he was on stress overload.  Although he made great progress academically there, he struggled with sensory overload, random social rules, and the enviroment- including bullies, and mean-spirited peers.  We were happy to leave that behind and begin our homeschooling adventure.  Within a short period of time, many of his 'ticks', awkward behaviors, meltdowns and tears were a memory.   Through homeschooling, Michael has thrived!

We've made adaptations for Michael's schooling.  One major one was regarding Biology.  While studying Biology, Michael was in tears having to look at pictures or diagrams of cells, blood platelets, etc.  This was not a new reaction.  While attending public school, he once went to the bathroom and stayed there for over an hour to avoid watching THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS espisode Inside the Human Body.  I knew then, and have been reminded many times, that Michael is not going to be a doctor. ☺ So I ordered an educational coloring book on Biology (not a kiddy one) and he worked through it. Then we moved on.

When we first started homeschooling Michael was using a Math program that I thought was great. His younger siblings were using MathUSee.  Michael wanted to use MathUSee as well.  Even though Michael scored better than 98% of his peers with his standardized testing Math portion, I still had him take the placement test. It was apparent watching him that he had a gap in his Math learning. So I backed him up 3 whole books from where he would normally be learning. I haven't regretted it either. Eliminating frustration in math is so important. As far as math goes, Michael , according to some's standards would be behind. However, I knew I was building mastery, that would prove beneficial for his whole life.  We've encouraged talents, and strengths and dove deep into some studies and lightly touched others; there are some we avoided all together.  We've acknowledged areas of weakness, and adapted for those. 

In addition to his individual learning at home, he has participated in group classes for homeschoolers - Writing, Chemistry, and Ham Radio. He has also attended a homeschool group that meets weekly for various reasons.  He has made true friends.  It has been a blessing.

I'm not one for busy work or regular testing. Much of Michael's learning came from reading.  I highly recommend good literature and living books.

College Prep:
Last year, I had Michael start studying for the ACT.  He went through the common study books, which our library had plenty of.   He took the ACT and on his first attempt, he scored a 25 composite (enough for an ACT academic scholarship)  His lowest score was in math because he hadn't finished Geometry or Algebra 2 or Trig yet.   

How does one enroll a homeschooled kid in college?  Should he take the GED?  Will he even be accepted?  These are questions many homeschooling parents have, if you are one of those parents, I hope I can lay some worries for you aside.

First I found out that the college Michael is going to has what is called concurrent enrollment.  This means he will be considered a high school or homeschooled student who is taking a college course(s).  The college credit he earns will apply to his degree when he is enrolled as a full-time college student.  We did not even consider a GED, and it was never brought up.  This may be a benefit of enrolling concurrent verses a "normal" student, I'm not sure.  Even though Michael qualifies for an ACT scholarship now, and could have enrolled as a full-time freshman, there are benefits to the way we enrolled.  The only difference is what is required to enroll, and the opportunity to take the ACT again. There may be a maximum number of hours a concurrent student may take during a semester. Again, we didn't encounter this, so I don't know.

I contacted the college and told them my son was a 17 yr old homeschool student, that wanted to take a course or two.  They directed me to the person over concurrent enrollment.  She informed me through email, that I needed a transcript, a letter of permission from the superintendent of his school, and a completed application.  I emailed her back and explained that he was a homeschooled student.  She called me later that day and said  "If he is homeschooled then enrollment is EASY"    Really?  I was thrilled!  All we needed was the application, and a list of courses he's taken through homeschool over the past 4 or so years.  When I confirmed that he would still be able to take the ACT, she informed me that his score already qualified him for a scholarship but he could easily bring that up for a better one.  Really?☺

Since Michael first took the ACT, he has gotten alot more math under his belt. I'm certain he can bring his score up. 

Here is the ACT scholarship breakdown for inquiring minds:
ACT score = 25-26/or SAT 1130-1300 $1500 per semester
ACT score = 27-28/or SAT 1210-1280 $3000 per semester
ACT score = 29-30/or SAT 1290-1350 $4500 per semester
ACT score = 31-36/or SAT 1360-1600 $5250 per semester
*also listed for each is a cummulative GPA of 3.25 which is waived for homeschoolers. These amounts may vary from school to school, I don't know.

Can you see why enrolling concurrently is so beneficial?  Once you are enrolled as a typical student, you no longer have the opportunity to retake the ACT.  This could mean $$$$ for education!

I'll post updates on Michael's college journey.  We are so excited for him!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the information. Our oldest is only twelve, but we're starting to eye the college finish line, with a little trepidation :)


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