How High School and College Teachers See Incoming Homeschoolers

Recently I have run across several articles discussing how prepared, and not prepared, homeschool kids are to enter the high school or college learning scene.  This got me curious, so I talked to a few teachers as well as homeschool students who have made the transition from home to the classroom.

Here are the major ideas I have collected, some desirable and some not so much.

Here are some of the common traits found in homeschoolers that are great for an awesome transition into college or high school.

·      Homeschoolers are eager learners.  They are curious, ask questions and dive in to the work well.  

·      They are often much more social and open to making new friends than their traditionally schooled counterparts. 

·      They easily interact with adults, including making eye contact and holding intellectual conversations.

·      Homeschooled kids tend to be great at budgeting their own time and figuring out new resources for information.

Yet with the benefits there are also some areas where they could improve.  These traits I found interesting, yet not totally surprising. 

·      Homeschoolers tend not to be great test takers, especially in timed situations.  Frankly, many of us homeschooling parents find this a pro and urge our kids to learn not for the tests.  Their more classically trained counterparts are highly trained at excelling in this arena.  (Yes, there is so much more that can be said here including about how much this skill is needed in the real world, etc.)  If your kids are going to go the college route, giving them some training here is essential starting as early as middle school.

·      Deadlines.  Homeschoolers are weak at meeting deadlines.  This skill does transfer into life and work adult needs.  Practice giving them hard deadlines in a variety of different situations.  These areas could include reading a book, a big project, and science experiments, to job and internship tasks.  Have them get into situations where others are giving them deadlines and teach them how to work out a schedule on how to meet them successfully.

·      Homeschoolers tend to be weak in the sciences and math areas.  For many this is not a serious issue, but if your child wants to pursue a major in college in one of these areas, beefing up their studies may be very important.  Almost all of the teachers, as well as students I talked to, mention that this was an issue for them.  Start outsourcing classes slowly.  In our area, our community colleges take high school age homeschoolers early.  They then have access to deadlines, test, upper level math and sciences at a slower pace. 

·      Socialization.  This is not what I expected but it totally makes sense.  Our fabulous homeschool kids are a little too comfortable talking with the teachers.  Often these kids find they are drawn to the teachers and not the students as peers.  This, I think is a “quality problem” and not one to fix as much as recognize and mention to your child to be aware of.  Several teachers, especially the high school teachers, did almost find it a problem.  My daughter mentioned many of her college professors liked that about her and her fellow homeschooled students, though several were not OK with the familiarity.  Teaching homeschooled kids when it is and is not appropriate is likely the key here.

The most important thing we as parents can learn from this is that we really need to look at the end goal.  Is college really the best fit?  If so, could it be in an area that needs heavy math or science knowledge?  How can we take the ideas mentioned above and use them to prepare our kids in these areas? Leave your comments and let’s start a deep, insightful conversation.