Homeschooling is both rewarding and challenging. You’ve designed a curriculum for your child for part (or all) of their academic career. Now, as they reach the close of their high school years, it’s time to serve as a college counselor as well as a parent. The process doesn’t have to be difficult, however. The following tips can help you keep a level head during a stressful time.
Keep Meticulous Records
Colleges look for a thorough portfolio of applicants’ recent work. Create a detailed transcript of your child’s academic achievements during high school. If your child has taken courses at a local community college or university, request transcripts from these institutions as a supplement. If you’re required by your state to register as a homeschooling family, make sure you have done so.
However, record-keeping doesn’t just apply to what your child has accomplished. It’s also important to save a folder, or even a spreadsheet, of where your child is applying and what scholarships they plan to pursue. Mark key dates and deadlines for each application, and highlight them when they’ve been completed. That way nothing will slip through the cracks.
Register for Tests
Depending on the type of college or university they’re applying to, your child may need to take a placement test (or tests). Make sure they understand what these tests involve. The Preliminary SAT (PSAT) is also a National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It prepares your child for the actual SAT, which is the standard placement test accepted by most educational institutions.
Other tests include the Advanced Placement (AP) test. Depending on your child’s score, the AP test can count towards college credit. Contact your local high school or private school to see if your child can take an AP class, which culminates in the test itself. If your child needs help getting ready for their placement tests, hire a private tutor or look for a local tutoring chain.
Identify Any Gaps
There are as many different types of homeschooling as there are families. The classical approach is the more “traditional” style that can mimic a private school education. “Unit studies” creates an immersive focus on a single topic using a variety of connected subjects. Maybe you’ve chosen the “unschooling” approach of child-directed learning.
No matter the type of homeschooling you’ve pursued, higher education requires evidence of a well-rounded background. This is where the aforementioned record keeping comes in handy. You can then easily see what supplementary homeschool curriculum material might be a good fit.
There are plenty of online resources and activities available to spark your child’s curiosity. If nothing else, a trip to a virtual museum or a quick Photoshop tutorial can provide them with a much-needed diversion from intense studying.
Listen to Their Fears
Paperwork and college tours are only one part of guaranteeing success. At the end of the day, parenting is your most important job. Being patient and practicing active listening can go a long way towards eliminating any anxiety your child may feel about going away to college.
Plan blocks of time to work on applications and homework, but also make sure that your child has built in regular breaks. This means that their brain can rest before addressing the next task. They will then work much more effectively.
Being homeschooled presents a unique set of needs in the college application process. Yet their non-traditional education background also gives your child an advantage. They are able to think outside of the box in approaching academics. This makes them a compelling candidate for any school they choose.