Ask A Homeschooler: Response to Kathy

Hey, everyone! The Homeschool Survivor here. Kathy, a follower from our Ask a Homeschooler Facebook page, asked this excellent homeschooling question.

“Here’s my question…my son is 12 in 8th grade. He plans on taking college classes part time during 11th and 12th grades. Do you recommend this? How do we (my son and I) know what is right to do?”

First of all, Kathy: thanks for asking! Before my response proper, I figured I’d give a little background. I actually did exactly what your son is planning to do during high school. I took community college classes part time during my junior and senior years. Formally, this is often called “dual enrollment,” but certain colleges call it by a different name.

Now, it’s best to get the let downs out of the first. Similar to the laws for homeschooling in general, each state has their own regulations about dual enrollment. A good list can be found here. It contains links to and summaries of the policies for each state.

Secondly, the other letdown: from what I’ve learned at the yearly college recruitment halls at my local community college, not all colleges are willing to accept high school students, much less offer a proper dual enrollment program. The likelihood seems to increase the lower in application requirements you get (private colleges being the least likely and community college the highest.) Go early – between semesters – and look into the colleges you’re interested in. Sit down with a counselor there and talk about whether your son meets the requirements.

Finally, I will give another word of advice: as an 11th or 12th grader, even if your son is brilliant, I would not encourage him or anyone to take classes that are vital to his GPA and/or ideal degree. Ease into it: find a class on the subjects he likes. My transition into community college while dual enrolling included essay writing classes, one speech class and an art appreciation class. This allowed me to take a light course load and get the easiest parts of my degree out of the way before I got my high school diploma.

Despite this advice, though, I would highly recommend the experience. A great way to transition into the college crowd is to be around college students. Succeeding in a college class before the expected age is very encouraging, too. Don’t dissuade your son from this if he wants to do it. That kind of initiative at his age is a sign of great maturity!

I contacted Kaitlyn from the “Ramblings of a Homeschool Girl” column and she had this opinion to offer:

“I took dual enrollment classes my junior year and am going to take two classes next semester, so of course my response would be to go for it. I don’t know about other states, but here, dual enrollment is free and each class counts as both a high school credit and college credit.”

So in closing: do your research with individual colleges before signing up, and look toward the smaller ones first. However, remember that dual enrollment can be great fun and an excellent way to start your college journey! This is the Homeschool Survivor, signing off.

Don’t forget: if you have any questions of your own, just Ask a Homeschooler on our Twitter or our e-mail directly!

October 21, 2012


  1. Anne Galivan says:
    Posted November 7, 2012 6:31 am

    I recommend to all homeschooling parents to look into dual-enrollment. In Florida, the tuition is paid by the local school board, and parents are only responsible for paying for books (and, of course, for transportation).

    If your child is adequately prepared, there is no reason they cannot take classes such as College Algebra, Chemistry, etc. All my three older children sons easily aced College Algebra. My oldest son did so well in his College Composition class the professor asked if he could post my son's first essay as an example to the class of what a proper essay should look like.

    In other words, if your child is in a "college prep" mode of homeschooling, they should excel with dual-enrollment. If they are used to learning independently, dual-enrollment will be a cinch. In fact, my kids were so used to having to teach themselves the material in their texts, that it made dual-enrollment incredibly easy...there was someone actually teaching them the material!

    Another thing I recommend is to look into taking CLEP tests. When my middle son was dual-enrolled I found that the community college had changed their College Composition textbook and the new one was garbage. So I had him take the College Comp CLEP. Generally speaking, the more college credits your child can get out of the way in high school, the better. Saves you a lot of tuition in the long run!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 + 4 =