Home Education Magazine
March-April 1998 - Articles
From Home to Higher Education
When I entered college in August, 1993, with a homeschool diploma and a stranger as a roommate, The first things my roommate asked me was, "Do you really think you are prepared for college?" I had heard that question many times before from skeptical friends and relatives who regarded my recent graduation with suspicion. Some wondered how I would adjust to sitting in a classroom all morning; others questioned whether I could cooperate with fellow students after being "deprived of socialization" for so long; and still others speculated that the structured work would be too difficult for me.
'I'm sure I'll be fine," I always answered, while the doubt crept into my mind anyway.
My first week of school hundreds of new freshman and I were subjected to the ludicrous shenanigans of freshman orientation. Here was exactly the type of situation at which many "educational experts" would nod their heads knowingly and predict with confidence my social demise. Hadn't I been homeschooled and thus deprived of necessary socialization skills?
On the contrary, the orientation felt vaguely familiar. It reminded me of countless homeschool teen activities filled with fresh faces, ridiculous games, and plenty of opportunities to know new people. I sailed through that week, coming out with many acquaintances and the beginnings of a few great friendships.
While homeschooling, I had not only associated with same-aged peers but was continually in contact with various people of all ages - from toddlers to middle-aged parents, even a few grandparents. Consequently, at college I was not only comfortable with those in my immediate peer groups but also with the upperclassmen and professors young and old. In a way I held a definite edge over many of my fellow freshman who had spent twelve years schooling with only those of the same age.
At the same time, because I had not schooled seven hours a day in a classroom filled with my peers, l had not become dependent upon my peers' acceptance and approval. Schooling alone enabled me to develop a healthy independence which served me well in college. Even at a Christian university, the peer pressure was enormous to engage in activities from watching a questionable movie to drinking. Yet being nurtured in an atmosphere where independent thinking and strong godly standards had replaced the constant stress of peer acceptance provided the strength to hold true to my convictions and confidently decline such invitations.
When it came to schoolwork, I was no less prepared. Years of taking notes during sermons and homeschool group classes created an easy transition to note taking during college lectures. In addition, though the coursework was more difficult than high school, most professors were willing to answer any questions about assignment requirements and generally gave adequate instructions beforehand.
Furthermore, college provided very little accountability. Assignments and due dates were usually listed on the course syllabus given to students on the first day of class. After that it became the students' responsibility to have their homework completed on time, whether or not the professor had reminded them. Similarly, in homeschooling my work was done without a teacher's constant surveillance. My assignments were planned in advance, and it was up to me to complete them on time. So while other students had difficulty adjusting to self accountability in this and other areas (such as getting up early and actually coming to class), my attention could be focused in other areas.
So what are some useful suggestions for homeschoolers who are preparing for college? First of all, read a few classics while you are still in high school. College literature, history, social science, and humanities courses make frequent allusions to the "great" works of literature - and, believe me, college affords little time to go back and catch up on this reading! Second, polish your writing skills as much as possible, and write a formal term paper or two. The best preparations for my freshman year was writing a formal term paper in a homeschool group class. In fact, a homeschool mother told me that her well-developed writing secured excellent grades in college, even in courses with subject material that baffled her. Third, take notes where you can: church sermons, seminars, workshops, etc. This will give you practice in developing listening skills and extracting the main points of a speaker's presentation. Finally, realize what a valuable experience home education is and understand that it will prepare you for college as well (or better) as a more "traditional" high school experience would have. And, once you enter college, be prepared to answer lots of curious questions about homeschooling!
© 1998 Sunshine Campbell
....(articles list) | columns list)
HEM General Information
Subscribe to HEM