Homeschool to College

There is a little corner of my word where magic happens. It’s not visible from the naked eye. It’s not always in the same spot. I have to chase it, happen upon it, close my eyes and conjure it. It is my imagination and of late, imaginings there have been quiet, the space taken over by real-life issues – good, great, and could-be-better.

I suppose the most exciting thing to have happened lately is my daughter’s change in status. No longer is she a homeschooled teen doing high school work. No. Now she is a college freshman, having started classes just yesterday.

The homeschool-to-college process isn’t a difficult one – though it was difficult for us. And yes, that means ain’t nothing easy in this world.

Our experience here in NYC is different from the experiences of homeschooled children elsewhere in the country…in the world. While NY State has fairly strict rules and regulations, New York City adds to those by labeling children ‘compulsory age’ until the end of the school year in which they turn 17. Just a mile away, on the other side of the city line, compulsory age is 16. That might not seem like a huge difference, but when you’re trying to get your child into college, it can be. Especially if you tend to trust the words of others more than your own gut.

During our six homeschool years, I’d researched homeschool-to-college methods and ‘knew’ just what I had to do. It wasn’t until last summer as we visited our local community colleges that I realized – or rather, believed – I’d been wrong. The key to a successful homeschool-to-college experience is to know your rights. Plain and simple. Private colleges will have their own rules, but community colleges are bound by the rules of the county in which they exist. At issue, though, was whether we wanted to fight to get into the very school system we’d abandoned back when my daughter was in sixth grade.

We didn’t.

And dealing with CUNY schools reminded us of that fact. Rules changed according to the person we speak to. Never was there someone of a higher authority available when we took issue with the ‘facts’ as presented to us.

Finally, after much angst and a year of stalling, we discovered a SUNY school that is not only homeschool-friendly but also offers long-distance degree programs. My daughter, at 16, is now a student at this school. Once she has her associate degree, she will no longer be a ‘homeschool’ student but a transfer student.

Which brings me right back to where I was when we first hit the pavement in search of higher education for my child.

Granted I’d made a mistake. I’ll explain it to you so if you’re looking to have your child go from homeschool to college, you won’t make it to –

From the time my daughter turned 14, we should have enrolled her in one or two college courses – ex. Eng.101, Global History101 – per semester. Courses whose credits naturally transfer. Three to six credits per semester would give a homeschooled student enough credits to transfer to a community college or university by the time they’ve passed compulsory age. At that point, they would transfer into a college and continue their education rather than first start the process as freshmen. 

Hindsight obviously doesn’t help us. But remember, planning is almost everything. Knowing your rights and not letting others tell you differently is everything else.

Good luck in your homeschool-to-college endeavors. It may not come easy but when it comes, it is a magical moment so much sweeter than the imagination could ever create.

8 Responses to Homeschool to College

  • Fascinating post! My kids go to public schools, so I had no idea what red tape you had to cut through with home schooling – college

    • Thank you, Maggie! Just a short time ago (like early last year, right before we started college shopping), local colleges were actively seeking homeschooled students. Suddenly, because of the downward spiral of public education, there was a surge in homeschooling. The colleges couldn’t handle the influx and decided to institute new rules for homeschoolers seeking entrance to their programs. We, meanwhile, got caught in the melee. Fortunately, we found this homeschool friendly college and they’ve reminded us of the rules and regulations. Local schools didn’t have the legal right to turn us away and, if we had the stamina, we could have pressed the issue. If things don’t change, I would not rule out joining other families in their pursuit of justice for our kids. We weren’t asking for discounts or handouts. We just wanted to pay for an education but were turned away. So glad that’s over and we’re on to new and better things. 🙂

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  • Congratulations to your daughter on beginning the next phase of life, and to you for channeling all the love you have for your child into helping her make the most of it. I am always in awe of anyone who has the talent and patience and spirit to home-school. What a pain that getting a child into college is more complicated. It’s complicated enough the public-school way! Best wishes to all of you.

    • Thanks, Lynne! Though I’m flattered and want to bask in the praise, I have to share a secret…homeschooling isn’t so hard. Shhh! lol Actually, for us, it was a lot easier than public school. We worked out a schedule that was good for us, joined local groups at various events and just had fun living. Learning came with the territory and it worked beautifully for us. So much easier than shoving my late-sleeper out of bed at 6am, rushing her to the bus stop, then having to first start hours of homework after spending an entire day locked in classrooms. We were both exhausted by that hour and the last thing either of us wanted to do was struggle with homework – her doing it, and me cracking the whip. It wasn’t healthy for us individually or as a family, and she wasn’t learning. She was just ‘getting it done’. Homeschooling felt like freedom. And for us it was. It’s not for everyone. I’m just happy we took the plunge.

      Thanks for coming by!

  • Don’t you just hate having to go through things in order to really understand the ins and outs of the process? *sigh* I suppose that’s the whole point of this thing called life. Congrats on your little girl starting college. That’s pretty cool 🙂

    • What’s funny – frustrating, actually – is how we’d prepared for college from day one of our homeschooling experience. We studied and followed the rules and regulations only to be told none of that mattered. I know schools here in the city are losing students to homeschooling at alarming (for them) rates. For each student they lose, they also lose a chunk of cash. Maybe it’s the conspiracy theorist in me, I don’t know, but I see this as public and CUNY schools working together to dissuade people from considering the homeschool option so they maintain their attendance and funding. Fortunately, the state is more receptive. And parents who are able to do this aren’t easily swayed. 🙂

  • Kuddos to you and your daughter! It’s a shame that it’s harder for a home schooled child but she got there and I’m sure she’ll do well. 🙂

    • Thanks, Donna. It was the contradictions and misinformation that was so frustrating. Also frustrating was how quickly I doubted myself and all I’d researched about the homeschool-to-college process. I’m happy to learn I wasn’t wrong all along, lol, but I did allow them to make me believe that. Fortunately, as you said, we’re there and she’s on her way. So cool. I hope sharing my experience prevents others from losing time like we did.

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