When College is Just Around the Corner!

collegelogosYou look at your sweet 5 year old learning her ABCs and college seems light years away.  Truth be told, it’s just around the corner!  Here are 4 real-life homeschool families and how they prepared for college.  This article was entitled College Prep: Selecting Classes for College and was written for The Veritas Tribune by Noah Dexter (http://my.hsj.org/603045).  It is re-posted here by permission.

The Veritas Tribune connected with four homeschool families who have helped their high schoolers prepare for college to help them pass their experience along to other homeschoolers who will be undertaking this journey in the future.  Tim Tanglin is a homeschool dad who recently helped his son Caleb get ready to attend Liberty University in Virginia this fall.  Kristi Schrampfer prepared several of her children to go to college once they had finished their homeschool educations and Amy Wilson’s daughter Emily will be a sophomore at Wheaton College this fall.  Deborah Eisbecker’s son Ethan graduated from high school last year and attended a Bible college is Colorado during the 2012-2013 school year.  These are some of the insights they provided into preparing a homeschooled student for college.

1. What are some of the main methods and courses that your kids used to earn their high school credits?

a. Tim Tanglin: Caleb did a mix of courses: at home, group, and online courses. By group courses, I am referring to classes that were done with other students/Co-ops (Example – Starting Points, Chemistry, Physics, Economics, Spanish etc….). We live in Kimberly, so we used Kimberly High School’s course requirements for graduation as our base to follow. We then looked at the requirements of colleges and finally at Caleb’s interests/gifts/talents to determine high school courses.

b. Kristi Schrampfer: We planned our high school curriculum so as to fulfill all of Wisconsin’s graduation requirements. In addition, we made certain we included the entrance requirements of the colleges my students were interested in. (Those requirements can be found on the DPI website, as well as any local school district’s website. Colleges also post their entrance requirements on their websites.)  We used a variety of resources to homeschool high school. For fine arts credits, my students took music lessons, and participated in dance and theater.  I think the particular methods and courses are less important than the quality and comprehensiveness of the books and resources used.

c. Amy Wilson: Emily used mainly AP courses (with the corresponding tests) to earn college credit while in high school.  We are fortunate enough to live in the Appleton school district which has an eschool online.  She took many of her AP courses through the eschool.  She also took a few with online curriculum providers (like Potters School and Lukieon Project).

d. Deborah Elsbecker: We used The Potter’s School, an online school, for English, Starting Points, Government and High Scholars, a world view class, in which they also earned 24 college credits.  Along with math at the local High School, Apologia Sciences, and piano lessons,

2. What was the most unique class that one of your children gained high school credits from?

a. Tim Tanglin: (Caleb Answering this) One of the unique benefits of homeschooling is the ability to be flexible, and to even design custom classes. This year, for PE, I was able to join a bowling league, which has been a fun experience. In past years I was also able to take a C++ Computer Programming course, and a College Prep course I took counted for credit as well.

b. Kristi Schrampfer: Probably our fine arts “classes.” My son took piano at Lawrence for several years. My daughter was a member of Makaroff Youth Ballet. Another daughter was in the Fox Valley and Green Bay Youth Symphonies. For these activities, they received credit, since they spent a great deal of time involved in them.

c. Amy Wilson: Emily received 8 college credits for her AP Latin course.  She was the only one taking the exam.

d. Deborah Elsbecker: The worldview class was most unique because they were able to have discussions with other like-minded students, study solid literature and art while combining writing and geography.  The teachers were ground Christians and spent many hours preparing the curriculum.

3. Did you tailor your childrens’ classes to what they felt they were lead to do in the future, or did you find it best to take a general approach to cover all basic topics?

a. Tim Tanglin: We live in Kimberly, so we used Kimberly High School’s course requirements for graduation as our base to follow. We then looked at the requirements of colleges and finally at Caleb’s interests/gifts/talents to determine high school courses.

b. Kristi Schrampfer: None of my children knew at a young age what career path they wanted to choose. So I tried to give them a broad variety of courses and outside experiences to help them find their gifts.  I geared their electives toward their interests: for example, one child was a gifted writer, so she did a lot of creative writing. Another was interested in computers. He took a programming course at UW-Fox. Another was interested in the history of Christianity, so one of her electives was Church History.  You have a lot of flexibility homeschooling high school, as long as you get the state requirements covered.

c. Amy Wilson: We did a general college prep curriculum.  However, she did pick and choose a few of her classes (for example:  American Lit vs. British Lit and then a few electives like Economics and Physics).

d. Deborah Elsbecker: We would like to tailor their classes to their future; however, they were not too sure as to the direction to take. So we had them continue in the general classes especially math and science since this was an area of strength.  We also wanted them to have a strong Biblical worldview. This was most important.

4. Did you have any trouble with colleges being reluctant to accept a homeschooler’s transcript?

a. Tim Tanglin: Caleb only applied to Cedarville and Liberty University. Both schools accepted his transcript without any hesitation.  His ACT/SAT test scores were just as important to them as his transcript.

Regarding the ACT and SAT – there is an old wives tale that colleges frown upon students who take these tests too many times. I researched and found this to be false. Colleges will only consider their highest score and disregard all lower scores. They encourage students to take the test as many times as they can, if it allows them to raise their score.

b. Kristi Schrampfer: Not at all. The important thing is to be able to back up your transcript with comparable test scores (SAT, ACT, etc.) that substantiate the transcript grades. Keeping a portfolio, list of books read, and other documentation also helps.  Different colleges request different types of documentation from homeschoolers, so you should keep very accurate records.

c. Amy Wilson: Emily applied to three schools.  All three of them had a few special instructions for homeschoolers.  We just followed them and had no problems at all.

d. Deborah Elsbecker: We found that colleges were very willing to except our transcripts along with the ACT scores.


Copyright © 2013 J. Hoffman / GSN (NV)

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