College Preparation in the Homeschool Setting


Questions from the Audience

Audience:  How do you recognize a weeder class? Does it have a “W” next to it?

G:  They’re mostly math and science and they would be the "Intro Calculus," "intro this," and "intro to that"; they’re huge lecture classes. Chem, Physics, those kinds of things.

Audience:  There’s an issue that’s come up in our homeschooling community just because now for the first time there are people thinking that they’re going to try to homeschool high school, and it’s mostly about homeschooling boys. Mom homeschooling boys. And wondering if that’s the best thing for their boy, and having conflicts with them. What you do with that, when boys are becoming men, and you are trying to make a commitment to homeschooling but thinking that they need to do some intentional things?

G:  What do you mean intentional?

Audience:  Well, like what do we need to do, do we need to make sure that they have things they’re doing with other adults that they’re accountable to, do we need to make sure they have some kind of intentional internship, do they need to be taught by dads…

M:  So it’s not just mom nagging at home all the time which is what we always hear. I have boys who were like that. And if they’re not competing with someone else, a boy is not going to be happy with mom. If mom’s going to be the teacher for one guy home alone, it’s tough. I would not recommend that, at least with my boys. Boys need something to compete with and you don’t want it to be their mom.

G:  I think that’s where junior college can come in handy, or an online class, or a co-op type of class. It’s really good to have other people involved. We also got that with speech and debate – that was a really huge thing because there was so much parent involvement in coaching them. I also think high school is a time where they need to start owning what they’re doing too, and we need to either accept what they are going to do or not do, or find them another way. So, less fighting and more just letting the natural consequences happen.

Audience:  So my oldest is only 14 but I’ve heard this from older people and I’ve tried it a few times and it works. So I want to hear if you experienced this but I’ve heard that teenage boys, 13, 14, have just got a lot of hormonal energy going on and they need to be exhausted and so I had a friend who sent her kid to work on roofs with a roofer friend of mine and he came home happy. And I think sometimes maybe – but I wanted to hear what you’d say – is there a physical element to that? They just need to be digging ditches or something? Just to expend the energy?

G:  Yes!

M:  Yes – literally – have them dig ditches! We had a place on our property – it was adobe – which is what they made houses out of in the old days. And one day both of my sons got shovels and they started digging. So it started off a little hole and the hole ended up almost half the size of this room, even though it was like digging cement. And it would be literally like this: "Where are you going, son?" "To dig." "Great! bye! Have a great time!" They would go out there and just dig, dig, dig, just to do something. And we have all these stories about it and they always had so much fun. If you don’t have land you can’t really do that. But they need to do something to let off steam, something totally physical. Women can sit around and read books – you know some of us are physical – but guys have to move. One of the great tips that I got was memorization and walking with boys. Want to memorize a poem or something? Go for a walk and memorize it while you’re walking. The brain, and the walking, and the memorization go together. That is also how I got the boys to memorize poetry – by moving and walking. Moving is very important.

J:  Oh, we’re supposed to actively engage our 14 year old boys? Whoops!

Interviewer:  Any one else have any advice?

G:  I felt like grades 7 through 9 were much harder with my boys than high school.

M:  We had all these great papers I find like, "Should we homeschool next year? Give me 8,000 reasons why." And then he had to give me one reason, why would I do this again. Yeah, I have the cutest papers.

Audience:  I’m not sure if you mentioned this, but I've heard some people would just take the California high school proficiency exam at 16-years-old so they’re not finishing all the high school credits when they’re taking the tests. This is the California CHSPE.

G:  It’s so they can go full-time in junior college without graduating from high school.

Audience:  Or they have to take the high school credits?

Interviewer:  The state recognizes the CHSPE as the equivalent of a high school diploma, so if you pass the CHSPE as a minor, you can begin enroll in junior college full time as a minor without unit restrictions, and it also enables you to work as minor without needing to get a work permit. If you do NOT take the CHSPE, you can attend junior college as a minor but you are viewed as a high school student in 'dual enrollment' and you are limited to usually 2 classes and 10 units per semester. Also, if you have not passed the CHSPE you are required to get a work permit to be employed and your school principal determines the number of hours you are permitted to work. We’ll discuss all this in greater detail in another presentation tomorrow.

G:  I wanted to throw in something I forgot to say earlier. I tried to get my kids to take a gap year between high school and college. Not all of them wanted to do that, but the ones that did, I think it was really good for them.

Audience:  Quickly, did anyone have problems with their kids filling out the FAFSA and having huge blunders?

G:  We made so many mistakes with that. It’s a nightmare.

E:  I did all my kids’ and now I’m down to 7.  I just didn’t feel that they were ready to do it themselves--an 18-year-old and potentially $20,000. I’m not going to take a chance.

M:  The first time around it’s overwhelming. But once you do one it gets easier.