Thursday, February 28, 2013

College Bound


I had mentioned awhile back how my greatest worry before we started our journey into  homeschooling the high school years was whether my kids would be able to go to college or not.  Would my homeschooling them make it harder for them to go to college?

The simple answer?  Absolutely NOT.

Homeschooling your teens through high school will not hinder them one little bit.  In fact, they might be better off than their peers.  A lot of the research shows that they are better off!  I won't bore you with details, but you can easily find the statistics. 


If you are anything like me, however, statistics don't always mean much.  They help a bit to solidify, but boy, I like real stories.  I want to know people who have the experience. So here is mine (so far):

There are two options, from what I have discovered, if you are going to  homeschool high school without any support from online or charter schools.  And, as with almost everything, it comes down to money.  Yup, you knew it, didn't you?

Got it from Totus Tuus, who got it from College at Home
You don't need a lot of money to home school high school.  Believe me, we do NOT have a lot of money.  But there are two paths that, at least here in the state of Oregon, you can take in getting your homeschooler to college.

If you have savings or enough money to send your child to college without financial assistance than you are good to go.  Do whatever you want.  You can let your high schooler go wild and they will get into college.  You will not need to have your child take the GED test and if you have your child start off in a community college (which will save money by about half in those first two years) they won't even have to take the SAT!

Let me take a little moment to mention community college.  Community colleges are excellent resources for high schoolers and college bound teens.  Most will allow your child to enter at the age of sixteen.  And your child can smoothly transfer into college without having had to take a test other than the placement test for the community college.

Hate teaching math?  Have your teen take a placement test at the community college and they can take the math class down there for probably a little more than you spent on the math program you just ordered.  Writing?  Spanish?  Anything!  But you must understand that without a GED your child will get no financial assistance to take these courses.

For us, the idea of sending our kids to college without financial aid (meaning grants, loans, etc) was as likely as us taking a family vacation to the moon.  Not gonna happen.  We were faced with the reality that Rose would have to get her GED.  FAFSA will not give you a dime without a diploma or a GED.  This is a new federal law.  Now, if you pay for your child to go to community college, they can get an associates degree and go right to college without the GED, as I understand it.  But if you are going to require grants and loans to send your teen to college than you will need to prepare them to take the GED.

The GED has a bad rep.  I know.  I was skeptical about having Rose do it, but we had no choice.  The reality is, however, that with more and more people homeschooling their children it isn't just delinquents taking the GED anymore.  Most businesses and colleges should be aware of this by now, and if they aren't you probably don't want to send your child there anyway.  Think of it this way...

  • Your child gets their GED.
  • They get the AS transfer degree from your local community college (or not)
  • They get their Bachelor's Degree from the college of their choice

When they apply for their dream job an employer is not going to look at their resume and see they got a Masters in Neuroscience from Princeton but... Oh heavens... they have a GED.  Can't hire that looser.  Seriously, they are going to see your most recent degree and go with that.  The GED will not scar your child for life, it will help them get to where they dream of going.

You are going to face a lot of snobbery.  Accept it.  I can't tell you how many times I have mentioned that my kids might start at community college and then go on to university and gotten a look like I smell like I rolled around in a dead skunk.  You have to let it roll off your back.  It does not matter what your fellow homeschool families think.  You have to do what you have to do to make sure your kids get the education they deserve.  If that means getting a GED so they can eventually go to university, then that is what you will do.  Don't be fooled by their excuses or the idea of scholarships.  Yes!!  Look for scholarships but there is a big difference when you are talking about sending your teen to community college for $5000 a year and sending them to a private university for $40,000 a year.  A $2500 scholarship is going to go a lot further at the community college.

Thinking about all the money you will help her save
The idea is to get your child to university and have them leave with as little in loans as possible.  They will thank you for it, believe me.  Starting your life on your own with $100,000 in loans is a lot harder than $40,000 in loans.

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