Unschooling and college - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 08-09-2011, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Can anyone give me a success story with an unschooled child going to college? We plan to homeschool and I know of a few people that 'unschool'. I know a lovely local woman who unschools and her kids are YEARS behind...her 12 year old is barely literate. I love the idea behind unschooling but can unschooling really prepare a child for college and life?


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#2 of 10 Old 08-09-2011, 10:06 AM
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My unschooled 18 year old daughter is going off to a selective university this fall (move-in day is the 20th! ack!) with a generous merit scholarship as well as other aid. She's getting credit for many of the classes she's taken at local universities and community colleges as a high schooler, so she's starting there with 24 credits, making her 6 credits short of being a sophomore. She tested into 300-level courses in both Russian and French - the highest level that students are permitted to test into. She's pretty thrilled about it all.

I know there are other posters here with similar stores, so I'll wait for them to chime in. smile.gif

Also, there are plenty of happy, productive grown unschoolers who chose not to go to college, and that's okay too. It's not the right path for every kid, but it's certainly available to unschoolers who want to do it.

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#3 of 10 Old 08-09-2011, 02:56 PM
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While my DS is not college level yet he is taking classes via Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, which eventually leads to AP credits and college credit.  JHU-CTY is nothing to laugh at and while many younger kids take classes they do get harder and more difficult in the upper years.  Many kids drop out after elementary school.  My son is almost 11 and finishing up the middle school classes(science) and starting high school math. I need to speak with someone about a waiver to get him into the computer science classes.  He is listed as 5th grade for this school year, because that is the grade he would be in for traditional school, late birthday and all that fun stuff.

DS also takes part in our local university program for 'talented youth' when a class is offered in the STEM field.  Unfortunately DS isn't interested in language arts right now.

Unschooling has been the best thing for DS, nothing has held him back.  I've never said "DS  you are in 3rd grade and can't take that class" etc.

I may have a bit of a trick for the LA issue, essay contests..shhhh don't tell DS its educational.  LOL.


So after all that, I can assure you DS is literate, able to do math, and when the time comes will be able to go to college!

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#4 of 10 Old 08-11-2011, 06:36 PM
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My dd is 16 and is leaving for college next week. She's going to a small, selective, liberal arts school on a partial merit scholarship. 


She'd started taking classes at the local community college just after she turned 15.


So, yes, unschoolers can go to college.


My 20 y/o chose not to--he's employed, plus, he teaches and coaches archery at a club and camp, and he's started a small artistic business on the side as well.


So, unschooling can lead to all sorts of things.





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#5 of 10 Old 08-21-2011, 03:36 PM
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US is like anything else- it can be done well and a great fit for a kid, or not. Public school sure doewnt guarantee college readiness!
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#6 of 10 Old 08-22-2011, 01:15 PM
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John Holt wrote a lot about successful kids who got into top colleges/universities per unschooling. And David and Micki Colfax are well known for their four boys being unschooled mode homeschoolers with three going to Harvard. They even have a couple books you can buy or get from the library.


Our son and now his two kids got into great schools, as have the kids of friends who did unschooling in some form or another. Unschooling is a style that you can create for yourself, where one child may be a rabid self learner, and the other child will want more one on one help. The fact that unschooling allows for more time each day or even weeks on end to learn a subject and master it, is what makes it a good choice for many families. We are homeschoolers since the 70's.

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#7 of 10 Old 08-23-2011, 09:13 AM
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I actually often hear the opposite complaint: that so many of the unschoolers they hear about are über-achievers, that it's hard to get a feel for what mere mortal unschooling kids are like. 


My kids are pretty "successful" by most measures of achievement. They've all chosen to attend high school, mostly part-time, as teens, because we don't have a community college here and the high school offers a similar college-like set-up. Nevertheless the bulk of their learning has continued to thus far be outside of school. When they've attended school they've mostly taken courses a year or two or three ahead of their age-grade. My eldest (17) is currently doing a gap year of intensive music training in a big city (living on her own: gack!) and has been assured by the head of the department and two of the audition committee members that she will be a shoe-in for admission to the college of her choice and a serious contender for a full-ride scholarship when she applies to the Bachelor of Performance program this year. In her senior high school courses she was the top student in her (very small) high school and scored in the top 1% across our province. She reads cosmology and philosophy for fun.


At the other end of the age spectrum, my 8-year-old shows all the signs of high achievement too. She's reading exceptionally well, enjoys learning from materials intended for children 3 to 4 years older than she, is an advanced violinist, loves basic algebra and is handy with multiplication and division of decimals and fractions.


So yes, unschooling can and typically does an excellent job of preparing kids for success in life. Watch that barely-literate 12-year-old over the next few years and you might be pleasantly surprised: many unschooled kids develop a real penchant for academic skills once they become teens and quickly "catch up." 



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#8 of 10 Old 08-23-2011, 09:44 AM
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My Dd did her first term in community college last year. She is almost 18. It went well. She was challenged in some places, and breezed on through in others. Pretty typical I think. She really enjoyed it, and she felt she learned a lot- academically and otherwise. :) She intends to go back, though she isn't sure if she will this term or later.


She got her GED and then went to our local community college. It wasn't an issue that she was unschooled prior. My 20 yr old son decided to wait on the whole GED or college thing. He intends to go, but is working instead for now.

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#9 of 10 Old 08-27-2011, 11:37 AM
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30YO ElderSon was unschooled, and chose an Army career (talk about contrast and self-determination!). He has been in 13 years so far and plans to go to college when he retires.


16YO BigGirl is unschooled and planning to start community college next year. She is hiring a tutor to help catch her up in math; confident in everything else.


15YO YoungSon has been unschooled so far, but wants to try public high school this year. He has major learning disabilities, and was not reading until last year. His literacy blossomed recently, and he is at about "grade level". His writing still lags way behind, so I don't know if college will ever be a realistic option for him, school or no school.

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#10 of 10 Old 08-31-2011, 08:20 PM
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You might have thought the same thing about mine when he was the age of your friend's daughter - that he was "years behind," etc. But he went on to get into the college of his choice with a scholarship offer, and to have the same offer from his second choice. There's no one path - there are lots of ways to get into various colleges, if that's what one chooses. And one thing that seems pretty common among grown unschoolers I know is that they tend to be aware of what works for them vs. what they're expected to do. They may want to go to college, or they may find something that feels more satisfying to them - and they realize there are procedures that need to be met if they want to go the college route. 


Here's another MDC thread on the question of unschoolers and college



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