7 Ways to Think about College When Homeschooling Part 2
1 - Chronological age is a number, not a sign of academic preparedness.
Homeschooling allows you to look at your children’s academic readiness independently from their chronological age. In other words, when your child is ready to begin taking college-level coursework, he or she is ready.
Homeschool students can begin taking college level classes early in their teen years just like homeschooler Jansina Grossman, who took her first college course in Writing at age 13. Now, as a full-time college student, she has successfully started her own web-based writing and proofing business. Additionally, Jansina was able to start college 6 credits ahead using the power of credit transfer. Doing so has saved Jansina time and money as she moves forward with her college education.
A homeschooling environment allows you to identify strengths and passion in your children as they occur, and to develop and nurture these interests with the appropriate tools at the appropriate times – according to ability, not age.
Just because you choose to homeschool your child doesn’t mean your student doesn’t have the same kinds of opportunities to earn advanced college credit as those attending public and private schools where you live.
Homeschoolers can prepare for AP tests by taking online AP courses that have been reviewed and approved by the College Board to be listed as AP courses. If you are looking for a highly flexible, low-cost way to add AP coursework into your homeschooling high school curriculum, or even, you may want to consider online college course provider StraighterLine. Through their $99/month subscription plan, your homeschooler can take AP-approved courses in economics, English, calculus, or psychology.
Resonating with the flexibility of homeschooling, online AP coursework allows your student to learn material at his/her own pace and schedule – and allows you to feel confident in your choice of providing the appropriate and recommended course material.
Homeschool students, no matter how or where they prepare to take an AP test, will still need to physically take the actual AP exam offered in May of each calendar year at a participating AP school. To find the school near you, you will need to call ttlAP Services no later than March 1 to get the names and telephone numbers of local AP Coordinators. Prepare a list of the planned exams prior to calling so that the appropriate Coordinators can be identified – then contact the AP Coordinators no later than March 15.3
3 - Take a look ahead at prerequisites required for majors that interest your college-bound homeschooler.
A little preparation now can go a long way to help your family streamline the college preparation process. Take the time now to write “course” descriptions as your high schooler takes classes in anticipation of the transcript you’ll need when your child applies to college. Trying to remember can be a challenge when college admissions asks for high school transcripts.
Additionally, if your homeschool student has a fairly good sense of what college major she or he intends on pursuing, check out the first year of college prerequisites and introductory college courses for that major at the college he or she is considering. With that list in hand, make a mental note about how much a year of college costs at that institution just to take these introductory courses. Let it sink in. Currently, the average cost of one year of college (tuition and fees) at a private nonprofit 4-year college is $28,500 and $8,244 for an in-state at a public 4-year institution.4
4The College Board, Trends in College Pricing 2011-2012, p.3