Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

3 Imperatives for Preparing a Homeschooler for College

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My oldest graduated from our homeschool in 2009 and is poised to complete his bachelors at UTD this year. By his junior year in high school, we had a clear picture of school choices and a pretty good idea of his major. This proactive momma thrived!

My Precious Redhead isn’t as easy. It does make a difference that she is a girl. And she’s as much a creative as she is an academic. So we have no idea of schools or majors, yet. I feel like I’m trying to play pin the tail on the donkey while riding on a motorcycle.

But at least I know the basics.

Every student needs a transcript regardless of where they go to school.

The transcript gives the class by class data and the grades and credits earned for each one. The grade is the letter or numerical standard that the teacher assigns detailing the depth to which the student mastered the data. The credit reports the time involved for a class. For instance, if a student completes pages of math every weekday for 8 months or so, that would be the equivalent of one credit. Likewise, a one-semester course, or one that only required a day or two each week, would be equivalent to a half credit.

For our school, we stick pretty close to TEA (Texas Education Agency) standards, while adding electives to satisfy my girl’s interests. In a nutshell:

  • Four English (includes grammar, writing, literature)
  • Four Math (includes Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry)
  • Four Science – at least 2 labs (including Chemistry, Physics, Biology)
  • Foreign Language – 2 to 3 years
  • Fine Arts – 1 year
  • Speech
  • Electives

Most of the classes are home-taught or coop-driven with a few dual credits at a local Jr. College.

Test Scores are the proof for everything you claim on the transcript.

Precious Redhead’s transcript doesn’t end there, though. SAT and ACT scores will go on it, right at the top. Test scores are imperative for homeschoolers. They prove that the grades on the transcript are valid.

My dear son made a 105% percent in geometry. (No I wasn’t the teacher!) He did extra credit and loved math. Any wonder that he blew the top off the math portion of the SAT. But had he not, had he made a low score on the test, my grade of an A+ on his transcript wouldn’t mean very much.

Activities, jobs, and services show a well-rounded student.

Just like a resume’ has to show a variety of information, so does your student’s transcript. Not just the cold numbers, your student’s one-sheet is all he gets to share who he is and why he’d be a great fit for the college of choice. For that reason, the record needs to include other data that displays your student’s abilities and passions. Those can be shown in jobs, charitable activities, sports or academic contests, and fine arts involvement.

More isn’t merrier in this case. The key is specificity. In fact, the listings that work the best are the ones where all of the extra activities support or enhance one another. For instance, Precious Redhead, who is looking to pursue worship arts or music education, led worship for two years in an adult church service and will have led worship for 4 years in a cooperative chapel meeting. She traveled for two weeks with college-sponsored theater group last summer. If she is able to add vocal instructions on her transcript and some sort of performance oriented activity like a choir, her devotion to her passion stands out.

And that’s okay, as long as those activities are embellished with some sort of academic endeavor (Honor Society?) and participation in a sport. The mixture shows a distinct focus, but still gives a well-rounded appearance.

If you’re preparing a homeschool student for graduation, don’t stress. There’s no need to go it alone. A number of support groups post “what you should be doing now” types of articles and personal counselors are available (for a price) to help you get the right mix of information.

  • HSLDA has a wealth of information at their homeschooling for high school site, including sample transcripts and a GPA calculator.
  • College Board isn’t just where you go to sign up for the SAT. You can set your own parameters to receive emails for preparation through all of your high school years as well as scholarship and award opportunities to help fund your student’s ambition.
  • Dallas County Home School provides college prep guidance and all that goes with it to Homeschool high schoolers for a reasonable fee.

Your turn: What scares you most about homeschooling your high schooler?

Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a recently "graduated" homeschooling mom whose twin girls have blessed her by sticking around the nest for a little longer. She spends her days directing the children’s music program at her church and working with the authors of Write Integrity Press to put out the best possible version of their books. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

One thought on “3 Imperatives for Preparing a Homeschooler for College

  1. What scares me the most is their resistance to do the work and not having the money to pay for it all.