Sunday, August 19, 2012

You're An Education in Yourself

Marni and several others have asked variations of the same question:

How do you and others feel about homeschooling through high school and how does it effect getting a college education?

Homeschoolers have attended every college/university in the United States you can think of. Stanford? Bunch of them. MIT? Yep. Caltech? You bet. Harvard? Consort met the father of a Harvard student who was homeschooled K-12.  This isn't to say all homeschoolers are Ivy-league bound, or are even interested to be. There are of homeschoolers who graduate to attend excellent small liberal-arts colleges, or spend four happy years at their state college, or dive in first through the community college system just like millions of other students. And, of course, some homeschoolers finish school functually illiterate. It's a big tent.

So how do colleges feel about homeschoolers and their home-grown transcripts? From what I've seen and heard, they feel fine. As long as the student and parent have kept records explaining what they've done and what the student has accomplished, most admissions offices will consider that as just as reputable a transcript from any regular school. When you consider the average college acceptance rate in the US was 67 percent two years ago, it stands to reason that more and more admissions officers are less interested in the perfect student than the interesting student. And homeschoolers are interesting to college admission offices.

From attending a few university open-houses geared towards families who homeschool, and hearing what friends who have homeschooled say after getting a kid or two through the admissions gauntlet, colleges like the idea of homeschoolers. Yes, the first generation had a terrible time explaining their family's educational choices to Alma Mater U, but after nearly twenty years of legal homeschooling in the US, the average university wants a first shot at some of these kids. And why not? At their best, they're self-starters who have a certain expectation that learning is fun, worthwhile, and possibly doesn't suck. Sure, not all homeschooled students are like that, but it behooves any college to go fishing where the quirky bright kids might be, if for no other reason than quirky bright kids are more likely to create that mythic algorithm and possibly endow a mythic algorithm wing before they reach 30.  

Will we do it? Homeschool our daughter through high school? I have no idea. But I do know that while it might trigger all sorts of social, logistical and academic complications either way, her transcript will be the least of my worries.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I devoured your book and am so fascinated by the whole subject of education and the possibilities of changing the broken down model we have of it in this country. I think your concept of "roam-schooling" is right on point, and I found many of the articles etc. to which you provided links on your other website to be so interesting. Thank you for helping me to think outside the box by sharing your experience and your research. Our child is entering the third grade and, though he will continue at a regular school this year, I plan to dedicate that time to researching alternative teaching possibilities for the following year.

11:19 PM  
Blogger elli said...

Twenty years of legal homeschooling?? ... **blink** Um, it's be a lot longer than that. The legality has been debated since colonial times; here in Wisconsin homeschooling has been legal for religious reasons since 1972; the milage varies per state, of course, but it's definitely been legal for longer than twenty years.

Also: "functionally illiterate" homeschool graduates? Do you have a citation for that? An anecdote? I've never heard that one before (and I've homeschooled since the early 90s).

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Chase Miller said...

I started homeschooling in the middle of 2nd grade and I just graduated this year. I was in a public hybrid program for high school. It was great because I took a lot of classes online and a few on campus. I can't imagine having to sit in a classroom for 6 hours a day!

6:56 PM  

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