Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Making the Transition...

Going from homeschool to a major university is a wonderful experience...and a challenging one. Over the next couple of days, I hope we can answer a few questions and help prepare those of you who wonder how this transition occurs. (You can go here for a little bit more of the back story...)


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(Is this my kid or what? 1 of 8 decided to photo journal her first day at the university. Here she is, first thing in the morning, putting on her makeup before heading to her first class. I'll be sharing some of her pictures here this week...)


We have made the decision to live in very 'homeschool friendly' regions. We've actually turned down job opportunities which would have required us to move to states which make the process more difficult. Our path to graduating 1 of 8 from our homeschool high school is based on the laws within our state. Step one is to understand clearly what the requirements are for your state, how high school credits are handled, how 'graduation' and 'diploma' are defined.


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Now that 1 of 8 has entered the university of her choice and we have some experience with the whole homeschool/high school/dual credit community college/transition into university thing under our belts, I thought it would be helpful to hear her insights into this part of our journey.


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(Waiting to leave for class. Watching the clock...)

1 of 8 was very diligent to hunt down the dual credit program within our local community college system. We are blessed to live in an area that has an incredible community college program, with well-defined procedures for high school students to begin learning at the college level while still in high school. 1 of 8 hunted down a counselor at the community college system who had experience with homeschool students and that counselor's input was fantastic. We took advantage of the community college dual credit program for about 18 months. We found this time of 1 of 8 having an early college experience while preparing to go to the university was invaluable. It helped bolster her confidence that she was ready, that the hard work she had done in our homeschool had indeed been enough.

Our educational philosophy, above curriculum, projects, field trips and all the rest, is to equip each of our children with the ability to be auto didactic, that is, to be 'self-taught'. We strongly believe that if we can equip them with the tools to research, to question, to think through logic, to be unafraid to ask questions and seek answers, then they can conquer any area of study in which they would like to venture.

I'll be 'interviewing' 1 of 8 this week, getting her feedback on her thoughts and experiences so far. Today, we'll be talking about the experience of going into the community college program. 1 of 8 was just a junior in high school when she began the dual credit program. I asked her about those first few weeks at the community college:


Describe any concerns you had about heading into the traditional college classroom:

At the community college level: I was concerned that I wasn't ready, to start taking college courses and that my homeschool high school education might not have prepared me for the next step into intro college studies. However, I found that I was well-adjusted and that there was nothing to worry about because I had already acquired the skills I needed to succeed.

And what would you say those skills are?

The skills include rhetoric, knowing how to write, knowing how to reference, but most importantly these skills include knowing how to think critically and knowing how to learn. Once I was in college classes, I realized I had been adequately prepared during high school and if there was anything that I was confused on or anything I was a little rusty on, I knew that I could always teach myself what I needed to know.

What would you have had us do differently in your high school years to help you prep for the college classroom?

I would have liked to have had more emphasis on foreign language but it wasn't until I starting taking classes at the community college level that I realized that foreign language was something I was passionate about.

At this point, 1 of 8 cut our interview short...something about needing to study.  Yeah, well, I guess that's valid...


Whatever.


I'll continue little series over the next few posts, talking with 1 of 8 about the process of applying to her university, her considerations in declaring her double major and her observations so far in the early days of this semester.



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