Tuesday, April 15, 2008

COLLEGE AT 14

Comment 2 from Penny Thoughts

Kristina said...
Thoughts on a young teenager in college. It looks like at least one of ours will be headed that way and it would be nice to hear from the trenches.How have you integrated this with home school? Are you skipping the subjects that he's doing at college or are you just doing something different at home?



Hi Kristina,

Wow this will be a long post. lol
I hope it gives some insight into our journey, so far, and helps others in the process. :-)

Thank you so much for this topic idea. :-)

Kazz did indeed begin college at 14 years of age. Though many may feel fourteen is too young for a teenager to handle college, the opposite is found to be true. Many homeschooled teens are finding the huge advantage of homeschooling during their teen years so they can graduate from homeschool with AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE from college!

I'm excited that you've found that truth too. :-)

That being said, Brian and I put a lot of thought into this decision. We talked with Kazz and found that he was not only wanting to go, he was raring to go! Once we found this out we made a plan that fit our family and Kazz's needs and then hit the ground running.

In our state, it is very easy to send a homeschooled teen to college. Most, if not all, community colleges accept homeschooled teens at the age of fourteen and some accept them even younger.

We began when he was 13 years old. This has been our journey so far...

1. I contacted a local homeschooling family who sent their teen to college. I asked A LOT of questions, so that I "knew the drill," the correct college contact and had an idea of what to expect. I was nervous because I just "knew" there would be resistance from college personnel, on the phone or in person, but that proved to be untrue. They were very accommodating and overly helpful. Remember...They Want Your Money! :-)

2. We got his State ID so he could take the entrance exam. He didn't have to take an ACT or SAT test. The entrance exam was all he needed. The entrance exam places a student into the correct level of Math or English for their personal level of knowledge/skill. If they are not ready for college Math or English they will be asked to take the 0050 basics before they begin the college level courses. If that becomes the case for your teen, don't panic. Many times basic classes count toward a general associate degree. They will probably be able to graduate with an associate degree at the age of 17 or 18 even if they have to take a few extra general classes. After they get their general associate degree they can usually still work toward an Associate of business or Assoc. of Science or Assoc. of Art degree...etc. These are the degrees that most college students want to attain so they can have the option to go to a 4 year college more easily.

2. After he took the entrance exam we met with the homeschool liaison for the college.

Note: Teens are NOT eligible for financial aid until they are graduated from homeschool. Until the parent graduates their child the family is responsible for paying for college.

3. Kazz was talked to as an adult. He was told in no uncertain terms that he's an adult on campus and will be treated as a the full college student that he is. He was given information about degrees, (which classes were needed to attain the degrees) and sent on his way to think about which classes he should take.

4. I decided to ease him into this process. Kazz took classes that count toward his Assoc. of Business degree but "easier" classes at first. Remember, at the age of 14 they can take one or two classes each semester so if they take two easy classes for 2 semesters they will be 15 by the time they are expected to take classes that are a little more challenging. By the time they take those classes they will be almost 16! They will mature into psychology classes and upper level "worldly" classes. Don't Panic about the topics discussed in college. By the time they take the classes that discuss sexual conduct, politics, etc...they will be pushing 18 years of age. YOU GET TO CHOOSE THEIR CLASSES!! :-)

At 14 and 15 years of age Kazz took...Keyboarding, Internet for business, Beginning Algebra and a Basic writing class. He tested into a higher English but we took it slow all the same. The credits were needed so why not!

At age 15 1/2 to 16 years of age he'll take...College Algebra, English, Computers 101 and PowerPoint, Geography, Intro to gaming, and Humanities.

SEE those aren't over the head of the average 14 / 15 year old student. Throw in the fact that the classes only last at the most, 12 weeks and well, it's a cake walk to many students who have been expected to take 7 classes that last an entire year! :-)

At 16 1/2 he'll get into deeper topics and the subject will become increasingly more adult as he matures. IF he continues to enjoy the experience and/or wants to keep going he will graduate at 17 1/2 years old with an associate degree. What 4 year college wouldn't want to accept a 17 year old college graduate?!

This college experience hasn't been stressful for Kazz because, a homeschooled teen isn't taking 7 classes during the day and topping that with MORE classes at night. They do NOT have homework from high school and more from college. Homeschoolers have college and whatever their parent decides to teach at home. That is where parents can tailor the home learning experience to meet the child's stress level. They can tame the assignments down during college exams, during tougher college courses etc. The stress is actually less than most institutionally educated high school attendees because the college-homeschooled teen is taking 4 or 5 LESS classes than the "regular" student and taking them only one or two days a week!

See how that works. :-)

NOW HERE'S HOW WE BLEND THIS EXPERIENCE WITH HIGH SCHOOL...

We do NOT check the box for dual-enrollment. Dual Enrollment means that the college class is counted toward college and high school. We've found that most 4 year colleges do NOT accept these classes as college courses. If they do accept them as a college course they do NOT accept them as a high school class. In other words, whichever way they decide to reject the dual enrollment, the end result is that the class will have to be taken, again, and at quite a pretty price.

We do not count the college algebra as high school algebra. We buy the college book. He takes the college class and I may use the college book to teach from while using other materials to supplement the homeschool high school class. The college texts are very useful and there is an unlimited use for them as jump starts to research. Why dual enroll when the class can be taught at home using the book we've bought and paid for? It is a valuable resource to extend the learning from the 12 week college course.

The one thing that I would advise is to try to set your child up for success...ESPECIALLY IN THE BEGINNING! Help them select classes that are "a sure thing" or only slightly challenging at first, so they gain confidence in their ability to navigate this new territory. I say this, not to keep them from being challenged academically, but because they are going to be challenged by probably being the youngest in their class and by just plain walking into the class by themselves.
Give them the chance to get those obstacles out of the way before throwing a challenging class at them.


Also, let the experience roll as it rolls and ride the wave. IF...no, I mean...WHEN your homeschooled teen gets a C or D in a class, and it probably will happen eventually, don't panic. It happens to the best students. Ask any doctor or lawyer...I'll bet most have had at LEAST one class they just had to pass by the skin of their teeth.

That's my blog..

3 comments:

cheryl said...

My daughter meets our states grad requirements, but not her high schools they say she needs 4 electives she wants to graduate. over the summer any advice how and what i need to do

THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

Hi Cheryl,

The answer depends on whether you are wanting a homeschool diploma or a diploma from her high school. You will also need to consider the homeschool laws for your state.

In our state of Michigan, we just homeschool and graduate our children whenever we want. We don't have to meet the class schedule presented for government public schools.

If you want her to "walk" at graduation in the school she has been attending I would say to speak with her school to see what kind of programs they have. Most government public schools will allow her to take college courses while still attending her public school classes. Many high schools will pay for their students to take "dual enrollment" courses that will count toward a college degree. The teen will have a few classes under thier belt before they graduate from high school and you will save a few dollars.

We didn't take that route because our goal is to be graduated from college at the same time they would graduate from high school. Also, most 4 year colleges do not recognize dual enrollment courses as both high school and college level work. Usually, those classes will have to be taken again once a person transfers to a University. We steer clear of dual enrollment here in our family. We feel it is a waste of time and money.

If you have any more questions, I will be happy to tell you what I know...if I know anything at all. :-)

feel free to e-mail me at

mom_with_brownies@wowway.com

Cari said...

Hi,

I just ran across your blog. It's very interesting, with lots of great ideas. We, too, homeschool in Michigan (we're Up North). I have a 13 year old that may be finished up with her high school studies by the time she's 15ish. I am have been wondering about having her attend the local community college, and whether or not it's much hassle. Thanks for posting about your experience.

 
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