Homeschoolers have the advantage! I know you’ve heard otherwise, but it’s true – homeschoolers have the advantage over their public schooled counterparts in so many ways!
What colleges really want is children that have passion. You read about it in college magazines all the time – they want PASSION! And homeschooled children have passion! What does that mean in terms of education? A child who has an interest that has carried them through all four years of high school and it is something that they are still interested in when they graduate. Homeschoolers are used to accommodating the interests of their children. When our kids are younger and they like to run around outside, we do unit studies outside. And when they get older, we can still take that interest that our child has and we can develop classes around it. Generally, that is called delight directed learning. You take the delights of a child and those interest to encourage them to learn more – even at a high school level.
In your homeschool, try to cover the core first, teaching reading, writing, math, science, and history in ways that will interests or intrigue your children. For example, readers will use books, kinesthetic learners might use hands-on material – you’re teaching in a way that makes sense. The key is that you can also take the delight directed learning that your children do naturally and incorporate that into a transcript and course description as if you had meant to teach that the entire time! Your children are learning naturally, anything from critical thinking, to all about birds, or something hands-on for 4H, because they love it. Then you as a homeschool parent can write a lovely course description about it so the colleges can see the academic value. Thus, you are taking their delight directed learning and creating course descriptions around it that you can present to colleges as part of their academic preparation. The great thing about this, and another reason why homeschoolers have the advantage is that this particular strategy works no matter what else is going on in your life.
One of my friends at our high school reunion was talking about his own failing of public school – on average students were only at that school for three years before they moved to another school. One of the problems of public school right now is that families in general are moving all the time. It is not just military families that are moving now. People are getting transferred, getting laid-off, or are getting another job. Kids are moving from different schools, different school districts, and different states.
When you are homeschooling, you are providing a really consistent education all the way through their whole twelve or thirteen years of school. This is one of the reasons why homeschooling is so effective, because it is consistent. It remains consistent even if there is trauma in the family, even if there is severe illness, even if there are major difficulties – they still have this nice consistency all the way through their education. Even if something really bad happens and they have to take a year-off school, instead of facing a whole year of failure, the following year you can just pick up where you left off and keep on going!