A different question about homeschoolers getting into college - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 12-22-2010, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ds13 started at a small private school last year, after several years of unschooling.  He was assessed for social issues and anxiety.  The verdict was that he's highly gifted, socially awkward, and anxious (surprise!), plus he has a relatively slow processing speed and executive function issues.

 

This year he's in 9th grade.  He has a 504 plan that allows him extra time on tests and class assignments.  He doesn't always need it-- where he really needs a grace period is on homework and longer projects.  I am "in negotiation" with the school, so to speak, to see if this can happen.

 

Due to ds often turning in homework late, or forgetting to turn it in at all, his grades are not very good.  He gets A's on tests and classwork, then zeros on homework! 

 

He likes school, but I am seriously considering not sending him back next year, and hs'ing again.  There are good reasons for both choices.  I am thinking, though, that he has a better chance of getting scholarships and getting into college if we go back to homeschooling. 

 

 My thought is that as a hs'er, he won't have bad grades to show.  He'll have a "resume," portfolio, and SAT scores, which will show his strengths.  His learning is not the problem-- certain kinds of output are.  And luckily, he is good at multiple choice tests.   

 

Am I wrong?  Would it be to ds' advantage to not have lackluster report cards following him around?  What's it like to apply to colleges as a homeschooler these days? 

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#2 of 19 Old 12-22-2010, 09:13 AM
 
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Darien, my big concern wouldn't so much be for getting your son into college, but for what happens once he's there.

 

My college experience involved a lot of project work.  I majored in English as an undergrad, and it wasn't uncommon for me to have a final paper instead of a final exam.  I never took a multiple choice test in my major.  I did have some MC-type tests in science classes, but they were never *exclusively* MC - maybe 2/3 MC, and 1/3 essay question drawn from labwork or lecture.  Regardless of the class subject, there was outside reading and writing to get through.  When I went back to business school for my masters, I did have *some* MC only stuff, but there was a lot of independent work that I had to get done outside the classroom.

 

If your DS is doing great on tests and classwork, but not turning in homework, I think you need to get to the bottom of what's going on with the HW and help him get a handle on it.  Regardless of whether you homeschool or keep sending him school, that's a skill he's going to need

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#3 of 19 Old 12-22-2010, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

Darien, my big concern wouldn't so much be for getting your son into college, but for what happens once he's there.

 

My college experience involved a lot of project work.  I majored in English as an undergrad, and it wasn't uncommon for me to have a final paper instead of a final exam.  I never took a multiple choice test in my major.  I did have some MC-type tests in science classes, but they were never *exclusively* MC - maybe 2/3 MC, and 1/3 essay question drawn from labwork or lecture.  Regardless of the class subject, there was outside reading and writing to get through.  When I went back to business school for my masters, I did have *some* MC only stuff, but there was a lot of independent work that I had to get done outside the classroom.

 

If your DS is doing great on tests and classwork, but not turning in homework, I think you need to get to the bottom of what's going on with the HW and help him get a handle on it.  Regardless of whether you homeschool or keep sending him school, that's a skill he's going to need



I totally get that.  I don't want him to hurry off to college without the skills to succeed.  We are working on the homework business.  I'm just concerned because you can't "erase" poor grades, or ask colleges to not look at them!  It seems like "no grades" would be a better option for ds, but I don't want to make hasty or foolish choices, either way.

 

FWIW, ds (at the moment) doesn't have a firm opinion about what he wants.  He loved hs'ing, but says he loves school, too (doesn't always act like it, though).

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#4 of 19 Old 12-22-2010, 10:35 AM
 
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I think you are on the right track if you can't fix it with his school.  But since you do have this ninth grade year on his "record," it may be more important for him than for many HS teens to take some community college courses or other respected graded work to show that he is able to meet college level expectations.

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#5 of 19 Old 12-22-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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Either way your DS is going to need to work on time management skills.  I agree with the PP that most of college is long term projects, research papers, and presentations.  MC tests and classwork are few and far between.  I wonder if for the high school years your son would do better at some type of virtual academy or online classes?


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#6 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 07:37 AM
 
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The nice thing about CC classes is that you can begin slowly, with 1, maybe 2 classes and increase as your ds becomes more accustomed to a formal classroom setting and able to handle the coursework. 

 

We took this approach with my oldest ds and are starting with ds2.  I had to create transcripts for ds1 for the cc, so I kept record of all his activities, turned them into courses and gave him grades.  I used his formal class work at the cc as well on these transcripts.  He is now enrolled full-time and pursuing an AA degree, and hopes to transfer in another year or so.  Of course, the destination school will determine what types of records we will need to submit, but the hope is that the Associates degree will open doors for him.

 

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#7 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 07:45 AM
 
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My dh is a professor and I have a brother with similar issues to your son but from dyslexia. He did terribly in school. However, he is doing really well in college. Teachers (not always but most) are more accomodating and helpful and there is less homework. Plus they are classes he chose, so he does a little better. My dh talks often of the same thing with some of his students. Professors in college know you are paying for the class and have less problems with overloaded classrooms (at least in community colleges) and lack of funding for help, so that is something to keep in mind. I can't blame you for pulling him. How is he adjusted to school? Does he like it or are the grades affecting his self-esteem?

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#8 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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The thing to remember about community college is that it's much more of a "permanent record" than high school. When I applied to nursing school, they requested transcripts from *all* colleges attended, no matter when or for how long, and I know people who haven't been able to get into a school because they took some class or another too many times back 20 years previously. 

 

I think it's a great option for high schoolers who are capable of doing the work and taking it seriously, but they need to be aware that it's serious, and has a potential to have a much bigger impact on their future options than ordinary high school grades.


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#9 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocelotmom View Post

The thing to remember about community college is that it's much more of a "permanent record" than high school. When I applied to nursing school, they requested transcripts from *all* colleges attended, no matter when or for how long, and I know people who haven't been able to get into a school because they took some class or another too many times back 20 years previously. 

 

So...what would happen if you simply didn't provide a transcript from such-and-such college? How would the new school know any different?

 

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#10 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 01:56 PM
 
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So...what would happen if you simply didn't provide a transcript from such-and-such college? How would the new school know any different?

 

It's one of those low-risk, potentially high consequences things. Chances are they wouldn't, but it would be considered fraud if it did happen, and potential cause for losing a degree/license/whatever.

 

That aside, it's also a potential problem if you either want to get into a competitive program at the same college, or you have other courses from the same college that you do want to transfer.

 

I'm truly not against the idea of community college for a high schooler, I just think a lot of people don't look at it as a serious, Real World decision. And I'm definitely not talking just homeschoolers here - I didn't see it that way myself until I decided I wanted to go to nursing school and suddenly had to deal with my less-than-stellar academic past, and I think it's a big part of the problem with the idea of college straight out of high school being a desirable goal for everyone.


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#11 of 19 Old 12-23-2010, 09:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darien View Post
 He has a 504 plan .... he really needs a grace period is on homework and longer projects.  I am "in negotiation" with the school, so to speak, to see if this can happen.


It was part of my DD's 504 plan when she attend public school (she's now in a private school). If she had any missing assignments the teachers emailed me that day, and she had until the following Monday to complete all work from the previous week. It was important to the school that she still have a deadline so that she couldn't get massively behind, but that way she always had the weekend to get caught up. It was all about communication between the teachers and I via email.

 

504s are very easy to change, as they need fewer people to sign off on them than IEPs.

 

I feel it is absolutely imperative that my sn DD (who is 14 and homeschooled until she was 12) be attending school at this point. She wouldn't have a prayer of having the functional skills to get through a semester of collage without this experience now. Learning isn't the problem, but functioning out of the house is.  This is an opportunity to learn those skills while living at home and having teachers hold her hand. 


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#12 of 19 Old 12-26-2010, 02:39 AM
 
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Homeschoolers are required to submit a transcript with a GPA, just like other kids. This year is the start of your son's GPA. You might want to pull him out now; especially if his grades are bad. 

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#13 of 19 Old 12-26-2010, 06:34 AM
 
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"What's it like to apply to colleges as a homeschooler these days? "

 

 

It really depends on the college. Some require SATs but more and more are making them optional. Some want traditional transcripts (letter grades with CUs, etc.) and others want a more narrative-like description of the classes taken, materials used, etc. or a portfolio of work. (Of course, as a hser, you'll decide the grade based on your own measurements.)

 

For homeschoolers in particular, colleges like to see grades from someplace outside of the home--CC, or any other place. 

 

Many colleges now have specific outlines of requirements for hsers--if you look at the websites, go to college fairs or just call them you can see what they want. Some will have a  different package of requirements for hsers than for schooled kids, others will exactly the same, some will have a minor difference, like a personal interview in addition to the usual application.

 

We've found the book, [U]The Homeschooler's Guide to Portfolios and Transcripts[/U] to be very helpful.

 

Every college we've spoke to has been open to hsers and our narrative-style of transcript.


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#14 of 19 Old 12-26-2010, 07:34 AM
 
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What does your son want?  Does he want to go to an elite school or go into a field with a lot of competition?  Does he know what he wants?

 

DD wants to be a vet.  She may change her mind, but this is what she wants at the present.  She really does need to get good marks to get what she wants.  DS's friend wants to be a mechanic - he should graduate high school, but his marks may not be as relevant.

 

If the things your DS wants are academic in nature, I would withdraw him and buy some time to sort out the issues.

 

Once he was withdrawn from school I would enroll him in one or two cyber classes so he can learn about school requirements, time management, etc.  I would do a lot of hand holding at the beginning, show him how to get good marks, and then slowly remove myself from the process.

 

I would suggest to him that he increase his course load as he increases his learning skills, but in the beginning I would recommend one or two courses so he has the time to work on them without getting overwhelmed.

 

I know many people would disagree with me, but I am not Ok with a teen getting poor marks in high school.  The stakes are too high.  I think most Universities in this area look at the last 2 years marks (often only the last year) YMMV which does allow some transition time in my area,  but if they are not showing some academic prowess by grade 10 (assuming they are capable of it and want to go to college/University) I would have a serious conversation with them on how to achieve their long term goals.

 

There is an interesting discussion on the gifted forum about gifted children and processing issues.

 

What do you think is at the root of his slow processing speed?  Perfectionism?  Whole picture/only wants to focus on things that are meaningful to him ?  DD struggles with perfectionism and being whole picture in a detail oriented world. DS only wants to do work that is meaningful to him.  In some ways DS has it easier.... in CC/university most of the classes chosen are self selected so if patterns hold true he should thrive.    It is just getting them to that point without their low marks from earlier on (and the potential loss of self esteem that can come from low marks)  sabotaging them.

 

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#15 of 19 Old 12-26-2010, 08:26 AM
 
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Take this with a grain of salt because my DH started college about 11 years ago, but he was homeschooled and basically dropped out when he was 15. He's very bright but was sick of doing structured lessons. His mother, busy HSing the younger kids agreed. When he was 20, he decided he wanted to attend college and got his GED so he could. He went to community college, initially, he took a lot of remedial classes and took advantage of all of the tutoring available (He was 21 when he started college and had never even written a paper) he actually ended up with a 4.0 in community college and a full ride academic scholarship to a four year college. His counselor actually suggested that he apply to Harvard! Because he attended community college first, he never even had to take the SAT or ACT.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that doing well in community college can cover a multitude of high school sins....

My sister too, did poorly in high school (she was not homeschooled), attended a CC first, did very well, received some scholarships (though not full-ride like my DH) and graduated with honors.

 

I'm not suggesting that it's wise to slack off in high school (if anything, just because from my own experience paying attention and doing well in HS makes college so much easier!) but for those that for whatever reason don't do well academically in high school, community college can be a godsend.

 

If you son likes attending school, is there perhaps another type of school that would be more of a fit for his learning style? At the high school age I think it's important for kids to have a say in their academic life (though not necessarily allowing them to drop out like my DH....)

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#16 of 19 Old 12-26-2010, 09:10 AM
 
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Hi, I'm a new member: abd grad student, have taught college, and was homeschooled (unschooled) until 9th grade (at which point I took CC classes, too). Currently I do a lot of private tutoring for SAT and ACT, and work with students on college applications. Ok, with all of that out of the way...

Can I ask what led to the decision to start school in 9th grade? I think that might be a very important thing to know in thinking about your question. Also, what does your son want? Does he like school? What does he think about why he is having these challenges?

Thanks!

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#17 of 19 Old 12-26-2010, 06:09 PM
 
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I would focus less on getting him into college and more on what will prepare him to actually be successful in college. Most colleges accept most of the people who apply. Unless you are looking at highly selective colleges, most colleges aren't particularly difficult to get into. However, graduation rates are often not particularly good. A large percentage of kids start college and never finish. If he really has done so badly in high school that he's having trouble getting accepted into college, I would see that as a huge sign to listen that he's not ready for college. At that point there are many options to get him more ready. Community college is a great place for students who need more support and time to mature to start out.

 

So, my take would be to focus on what is going to get him actually ready for college. If his main challenges are in the area of organization he needs opportunity to practice that. I see homeschooling with anxiety as a mixed bag. For some kids, especially young kids, having the downtime and more selective challenges can make them more successful and provide more opportunities for growth. For some other kids, being at home is a license to avoid the stuff that's hard and that can reinforce anxiety. Especially with any teen who is anxious or depressed, I think you need to enter homeschooling with a very firm commitment from both sides about what needs to happen to make sure it is not just an opportunity for retreat.

 

 

 

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#18 of 19 Old 12-27-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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Agreeing whole heartedly with Roar.

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#19 of 19 Old 12-28-2010, 06:26 AM
 
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I HIGHLY recommend this book when thinking about college-bound homeschooling:  http://astore.amazon.com/hone014-20/detail/0865716552   It is a strategic approach that helps develop a substantial portfolio that is meaningful to both college AND student.  If you can, I would pull him back out as soon as possible.  Just because he has issues with homework now doesn't mean he will have them in the future, and because you are aware of his organizational difficulties, you will be able to work on them.  He is still young, and you don't need to worry about registering for community college classes just yet.


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