Grades are in and Michael has indeed survived this semester of college. And he survived very well, I might add! I do have to note here, that Michael did not really have a “C” at midterm. He was required to attend two theatre productions and write papers on them sometime during the semester. He took care of those after mid-term (Hamlet and Wicked).
Last semester, Michael attended a different University, part-time as a concurrent student. This means he was still considered a high school student (homeschooled) but was taking a college course. This was of great benefit to Michael and I am so glad we gave him that experience. He was able to get a feel of college work and deadlines without the pressure of a full load during finals week. Just this week, he completed his first semester as a full-time student.
Michael was homeschooled from 6th grade on. He is a smart kid. He is true and has a strong testimony of The Lord. He also has Asperger’s Syndrome. I don’t mention that here to define Michael by a label, but to offer hope and encouragement for others who have children with challenges to work through and adapt. We have been greatly blessed and guided on this journey. We KNOW of God’s love for his children.
I believe homeschooling really offered many benefits to Michael regarding success in college. I thought I’d share some benefits and also some challenges that we encountered thus far in college.
Benefits from Homeschooling:
- Michael was totally grounded morally before attending college. He was not swayed by immoral, ungodly attitudes and perspectives presented in the college environment.
- Michael knew/knows the purpose of college. He is there to get a degree to open doors of opportunity for him in the future. While he will learn some valuable things in his course work, there are many things that he has to be subjected to that are less than worthy of learning. So the goal is not to go to college to learn necessarily, but to obtain a degree. The learning will come and happen as he deems worthy and relevant to his life.
- As a homeschooler, Michael read more - much more - than his public-schooled peers. He learned so much from reading. He is a great writer; I believe it is because he is so immersed in the written word.
- Michael understands the appropriate bounds of authority. What I mean by that, is this - He has learned that just because someone has a title or is in some position of authority, does not mean that he/she is incapable of error. Michael is a very respecting young man, but he also knows he can respectfully disagree with a professor if it is warranted. He knows he can use his agency how ever he sees fit.
Challenges possibly from Homeschooling:
- In college, Michael had multiple project deadlines within the same week, sometimes on the same day. He would get quite stressed over it sometimes. We did not have many deadlines while homeschooling as he worked at his own pace. I don’t think this is unusual for any college student, whether homeschooled or not, he just had no experience with this up to this point.
- Michael had a difficult time in his College Algebra class. He didn’t recognize the terminology in the initial portion of the text and assumed because he was homeschooled, that he “missed” something. I found it interesting that when something was difficult, he worried that it was because he was homeschooled and that his peers would already know the material. He actually performed well above his college peers in the class. It had nothing to do with his education, but a college instructor who didn’t want or know how to teach her subject.
- Taking notes and preparing for tests was a whole different experience in college. We did not take tests regularly in our homeschool, except for the annual mandatory standardized testing. Figuring out what each college professor deems of value on a test was frustrating sometimes. Michael had no experience with this. Lectures and taking notes were also a challenge, but more because he is not an auditory learner and has fine motor struggles due to his Asperger’s.
- Keeping up with due dates and assignment requirements was our biggest challenge. In this area, Michael might have had more experience with this had he attended public school. He has no organizational skills - except in his writing. We tried using a calendar, checking in with professors after each class. etc. This challenge also stems from his Asperger’s and We constantly have to work on this area.
The challenges I mentioned aren’t isolated to homeschoolers, which is why I listed them as challenges that are possibly from homeschooling. Any challenges we encountered during this semester of college, were tackled with something we learned through homeschooling. For example, When a class was mainly auditory, Michael would try to study in a manner that was more suited to his learning style.
Given the new insight from this semester, I don’t feel the need to drastically change the way I homeschool my younger two to accommodate the challenging areas. The only changes I see in the near future, would be having them calendar assignments and work within some timeframes.
I am a very proud Mom. We are going to enjoy Michael’s month plus break from college. We’ve missed him during the day. ☺