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How We Used College Instructors to Teach Our Homeschool High Schoolers

opinion

Let's face it, homeschooling your high schoolers can be tough work, but you don't have to do it alone. We used college instructors to teach our homeschoolers. Here's how we did it.

Finding Collegiate-Level Resources

Homeschooling through high school is tough business, especially if your children are college-bound. Choosing the right courses, creating appropriate transcripts, and most importantly, preparing your students for college-level work can all be daunting tasks. If you are using packaged or full online academic year programs, course selection and assessment are probably covered, but if not, there are some options for you to consider.

Stack of books

Our choice was to use college instructors to help with homeschooling through high school. No, we didn't happen to know a handful of professors just dying to help. But, we did have some amazing resources available—and sometimes from unexpected sources.

1. Co-Ops

Check out your local homeschool co-ops to see what courses they are offering, and more importantly, who is teaching each course. Yes, co-ops are often taught by other parents, but sometimes those parents are experienced teachers or professors. Also, retired educators will often choose to teach at homeschool co-ops, giving them the opportunity to interact with students on a less-demanding work schedule and earn some extra money after retirement.

In our case, our son took Apologia Physics from an astrophysicist with a Ph.D. who was teaching at the University of Maryland! His daughter happened to be in the co-op, and he graciously offered his teaching services. The course material was still at high school level, but the labs and the ancillary learning that took place were great. Did my son become a physicist? No, but it was a great resource all the same.

student with tutor

2. Post-Secondary Tutors

In many cities and certainly online, college professors offer their services as tutors. Sometimes after retirement or changing careers, educators miss working with students and will agree to tutor students, often as a side job. Keep in mind that tutors aren't just for struggling students. They can be a great resource for homeschool parents who want to expose their students to college expectations and teaching, or who don't feel confident in their abilities to teach sometimes academically challenging subjects. The level of involvement and expectation will vary, but it is an interesting way to introduce your students to college-level expectations.

3. Dual Enrollment

Dual enrollment can be an amazing opportunity for your homeschooled high schoolers. When students dual enroll, they take a college-level course and after successful completion, they receive both high school and college credit. There may be several options available for dual enrollment, depending on your location.

The most common opportunities for dual enrollment are often found at community colleges. Typically, students will begin dual enrollment classes in 11th and 12th grades (guidelines will vary by institution). Classes are taught on campus, and your student will be just another student in the class. The grades they receive become part of their high school transcripts, and the credits can often be transferred to their respective four-year colleges when they enroll.

students at college

Some private colleges and universities offer reduced or special pricing for dual-enrolled homeschoolers. For example, in the St. Louis area, several of the private colleges offer dual enrollment. Missouri Baptist University allows dual enrollment for up to two classes at $109 per credit hour. Not only are these good schools at a great value, they may offer an environment that is more comfortable for your children.

The last option for dual enrollment is online. Many universities and private entities offer well-respected online programs, including those here at Study.com. This can be a great way to introduce college-level learning without the influences of college-level life!

Planning for Success

If you choose to utilize college-level resources in your homeschool high school planning, you might want to consider these suggestions for smoothing the transition and preparing for success:

  1. Use 9th and 10th grade to ramp up study skills and time management. The content in college-level courses isn't necessarily more difficult, but often it's covered at a much faster pace. Help your students prepare by gradually setting tighter deadlines and developing study habits that will help them handle the workload.
  2. Enroll your student with a friend if possible. With college-level learning comes a college environment, which can be overwhelming to high school students. Having someone else to share the experience can help ease the transition.
  3. Choose your school and classes carefully. Your homeschool student may be academically up to the challenge of college-level work but may not have the maturity to handle the environment. Research and visit campus to ensure a safe and appropriate experience for your child.

Homeschooling through high school can be challenging, but there are some great resources to help alleviate the stress and prepare your child for the future. Recruit some collegiate-level help—it's easier to find than you might think.

By Laurie Smith
March 2017
opinion homeschooling

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