My oldest daughter recently graduated and was accepted to a public college. I would have to admit it was a bit nerve wracking simply because there were so many unknown factors. Truly, in any new situation it is the unknown factors that tend to get us nervous. Yet, each day we took it one step at a time.
I know this may sound a bit strange. I have to concede, at some times in my life I am super organized but in the last few years of working part time jobs and homeschooling I just haven’t been as organized as I would like. However, I knew I had to be for this! I began when she was in ninth grade keeping records of the courses that she took, her volunteer hours, and extracurricular activities.
Again, this point may be up for discussion… however, I felt that having my daughter take dual enrollment courses really got her thinking like a college student. She wasn’t just taking high school courses, she was taking college courses that had the benefit of counting as her high school courses. It really changed her mindset, and she began to live up to “college level” expectations. I have to admit that since she is homeschooled, she often tells me how disappointed she is with the average college students her age. I don’t know if that’s typical for most homeschoolers, but she seems to be a bit more mature… I guess that is a good thing!
Yes, practice for college. It does sound funny, yet at our house we did just that. Start with reading. Read the classics, read for your interests, and read for personal development. Then write! I made her write AT LEAST one research paper each year that corresponded with average college expectations. (I probably should have made her write more than one, but it was torture!) I made her practice writing timed essays for her SAT (that was probably the worst thing I’ve ever done – she HATED writing!!!) She would often be so angry at me, there were times I wished I could just let her off the hook. All I have to say is, with each new college class she takes, she gets compliments on how professional her writing sounds and how her syntax and grammar are well developed.
For more information making the college-shift, check out our full archive of articles on transitioning from homeschool to college.