As the parent of a homeschooled teen, you have spent the last several years watching your child learn from the comfort of your house. College, however, is a totally different experience. Besides finding student loans and learning to do their own laundry, college-bound teens will have to get used to an entirely new learning environment. While the transition is difficult, it is not impossible. Here are five tips for helping your homeschooler prepare for college.
- Encourage Independent Learning
In college, your child’s professors will not be checking on her each day to make sure she understands the lessons and completes the assigned readings. The professors will find out whether your teen has been keeping up with the coursework when they grade her tests and papers.
If you or your spouse has been a hands-on teacher during homeschooling, you should stop this behavior in the last year or two before college. Let your teen complete her assignments on her own without asking you for instructions. You also should not help her study for tests. All you should do is grade her work and answer occasional questions. This will get your child used to the typical college professor/student relationship.
Similarly, you should not allow your child to redo papers in order to get an A. She likely will not have this luxury in college.
- Sign Up Your Child for the SAT or ACT
Most universities still require prospective students to take either the ACT or the SAT. This test will be a good indicator of your child’s college readiness. If he does poorly on either exam, consider if college is the right path for him.
There are tons of books and classes that help students prepare for these tests. If your child performs really well on his exam, he could even get a college scholarship!
- Emphasize Time Management
During college your child will have different classes on various days of the week. She will have to balance these classes with extracurriculars, socialization activities, and homework. She will also need to get enough sleep and find time to exercise.
To get your child used to this new lifestyle, have her follow a loose schedule during homeschooling. Force her to learn how to balance her time, and do not be afraid to let her fail at this. After all, you are better off having her struggle with time management during homeschool than during college when you are paying for her classes.
- Consider College-Prep Courses
There are internet resources available to help you turn your typical homeschool classes into college preparatory courses. If you do not feel qualified to teach college-level work yourself, research online classes for high schoolers. These classes can help your child hone the aforementioned time management skills to prepare for college.
- Do Not Forget About Life Skills
College is not only about academics. Your teen will be living on his own for likely the first time. He will thus need to understand certain life skills that are necessary for survival.
Home economics is not just for girls. Consider adding a home economics course to your teen’s curriculum during his last semester of homeschool. You can teach basic domestic skills such as unclogging a toilet and dusting.
If you have been doing your child’s laundry over the past few years, teach him about different types of clothing fabrics and tell him which items are safe to put in the dryer.
The home economics class should also teach basic cooking skills. This is particularly important if your child will not be on a meal plan in college.
Managing money is another essential task your teen should learn before leaving home for college. He should know how to make a budget, open a bank account, and deposit a check.
College is an exciting opportunity for young adults. Homeschooled teens, in particular, get to experience a new type of education. If they are not properly prepared, they could easily get overwhelmed. However, if you follow the above steps, your child should thrive in college.