Although the transition from homeschooling to college will be different for every teen, one thing is certain: You won't be able to prepare for the flood of emotion you will experience on THE day that they begin their college journey... without you.
Whether your child is getting ready to enter college now, or won't be entering college for years, it's never too early to begin preparing your kids for life outside your home school room, or college.
That's really one purpose of parenting, isn't it? We are helping our children grow into mature young adults who can live responsibly on their own.
Although many homeschooling parents do a great job at preparing their children academically for college, you will not want to miss the sometimes overlooked practical ways to prepare your child for college life.
Don't allow your child to become dependent on you for their education. Instead, teach them HOW to learn.
Just because the information isn't in their current textbook, or has never been taught to them, is not an excuse for not completing a project or lesson.
Even though we weren't 100% sure we were going to homeschool our two oldest all the way to college, we never followed a typical scope and sequence, and still don't. However, I knew that if we ever enrolled them in a traditional school, they would be okay even if they entered a classroom not having covered ALL the topics that were taught in previous grades. Why was I confident? Because I taught my children HOW to learn. If they didn't know something, they certainly knew what to do so they did!
Who says all educators do a good job teaching? Many college professors do not cover required material, but if your teen knows how to learn and is not dependent on someone spoon-feeding information to them, it won't be a problem for them, even if they encounter a bad professor. They already have developed the skills they need to tackle any assignment in your home school.
My daughter was very thankful that she was allowed to explore her interests while homeschooling. Many of her college writing assignments require her to write pages and pages about specific (and sometimes, rather boring) topics.
Instead of regurgitating material that was covered in class, she researches the topic until she finds an avenue that interested her, so she can successfully complete the assignment. This way, she can write pages and pages AND enjoy the work that she is doing, no matter how dry the prompt.
Right now you may have young children that are following you all around the house, getting under foot. You may think that it would be better to have them go play while you cook dinner, do laundry, grocery shop, or organize that pantry. But the exact opposite is true. Yes, it may be quicker if we do things by ourselves, but these seemingly mundane house-keeping tasks will help your child in their transition from homeschooling to college.
If your child goes off to college, they will need to fit all their belongings in a small dorm room - most of the time with one, two, or sometimes three other people. Knowing how to organize limited space, will help them maximize their small corner of a college dorm room.
They will also have to create their own schedule and organize their time - no one is going to check up on them or remind them to get to work, do their assignments, or get to class.
My daughter was surprised to discover that many of her college-mates
did not know how to grocery shop. Picking out food might seem like a simple,
common sense activity, but it's not. Navigating a grocery store, learning how
to choose grocery items, knowing how to compare prices, read labels, etc. doesn't
Make sure your kids practice doing their laundry before they transition from homeschooling to college! This seems like a no-brainer, but my daughter was amazed to learn that some of her friends never did their laundry before going to college.
My children help with laundry when they are preschoolers. As they get older,
they do more and more of it themselves; eventually, they do all their laundry
on their own, and often help with the rest of the family's laundry as well.
Although many homeschoolers take advantage of the opportunity to learn in the kitchen with their kids, many may not.
Make homeschooling to college cheaper by teaching your teen how to
cook some quick and easy nutritious meals to stay healthy and save money while away from home.
Your teens will need to know how to work with deadlines and prioritize their assignments. This may be a challenge to some when going from homeschooling to college.
Just as you have to decide the order in which you need to complete your daily schedule whether it's outside work, homeschooling or household chores, our kids need to learn how to do this as well. It's quite certain that they may have five papers due all on the same day; your teen will need to decide which one they should complete first.
Sometimes... okay a lot of the time we can make our kids complete their schoolwork the way we want them to.
I allow my kids to do their schoolwork outside, on the couch, on the floor, in their room, in the basement, lying down, listening to music, on the trampoline, etc. I'm all for creativity, however, our agreement is: If they can't get it done in a timely manner, they need to complete it in a more "traditional" setting/way.
With a room and dorm full of other noisy and sometimes inconsiderate college students, your teen will need to be able to learn in a variety of ways. A good pair of earplugs or headphones is priceless for conscientious and former-homeschooling students!
When transitioning from homeschooling to college, other important areas to address are:
Your teen will most likely need to set-up a bank account on their own. They will also need to know how to balance their account and keep track of their purchases and earnings, if they have a job.
College students get inundated with credit card offers - teaching your children the dangers of credit and debt should be covered in depth before they make the transition from homeschooling to college.
Your student may be tempted to take out a student loan - again, do the research with your teen to decide if this in an avenue that your family wants to take. There are many long-lasting consequences with this decision.
Getting through college debt-free is near impossible these days, but you can do it with hard work! This past year my daughter worked three different part-time jobs to help pay for college - in addition to a full-time class schedule. Of course, my daughter has had to learn how to carve out time for herself - down time, or a day of rest, so she doesn't burn out.
Your young adult may find they are one of the few who are working their "tails" off - both in their studies AND working to pay their college bill without taking out student loans. If your children have learned how to work hard, developed diligence and self-discipline, they will be ready to face the barrage of instant-money, buy now-pay later offers that will come their way.
Over 86% of undergraduates apply for loans while going through college. 70% of the 2013 college graduating class owes an average of $35,200 in student loans.
It gets worse... 15.1% of our college students are 90 days late on loan payments; if you count students who have deferred their payments through available programs, the number is 30%!
These extremely concerning statistics have led us to educate our teens about student loans. They know that if they choose a college education, they will need to work hard - something we have tried to instill in our kids before they transition from homeschooling to college.Statistic Sources:
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