View Full Version : How many homeschooled kids are on track for college at 18?

08-23-2016, 06:13 PM
I was just reading the gap year thread - planning way ahead for us, as we are just getting ready for kindergarten. It brought to mind a question that I have been thinking about off and on for a while: do most kids, learning at a pace that is right for them, find themselves finished with high school level curriculum, and ready for college at around seventeen or eighteen?

My plan is to try to keep up with my kid, not moving on before material has been mastered, but also not going intentionally slowly just to keep the grade level down to what is typical for age. I don't know if my kid will be ready to take the SATs at fourteen or at twenty.

Do most homeschoolers apply for college at the same age as everyone else? If so, is that because the public school system is magically right about the age at which everything should be done, or because parents take steps along the way to make sure their homeschooling is at about the same level as public school for their kids' age?

08-23-2016, 06:28 PM
Our family's viewpoint was to finish high school at the same time as their age mates. The kids sometimes feel different enough in how they were schooled (yet thankful they were homeschooled) that going away to college at a younger age just felt weird to them. Plus, as their mom, I didn't WANT to send them away to school yet. However, they did not want to do a gap year either. They wanted to "get on with it already!!"

They did take SATs the first time kind of early--9th grade for dd and 8th grade for ds. This was to score well enough to take dual credit classes locally at a satellite campus of a state school (which they did). They took the SAT a second time junior year, as they would have if they were in ps. We liked having them take dual credit while still in high school. It was only one or two classes a semester. They could get used to professor expectations and pacing while still being supported at home. And they earned credits that ultimately ALL transferred to their official post-high school university. (That doesn't always happen, though.)

So both kids started college at 18, both a couple months shy of their 19th birthday. So we did the "normal" thing.

08-23-2016, 06:42 PM
I can only speak for my family and community members, but my homeschooled daughter completed her high school curriculum at about 16.5yo and took the college Accuplacers at our local community college and enrolled in her first classes (she took a six month break) that summer right after turning 17yo. My son, who is in his senior year of public high school (homeschooled through 8th grade) and will be turning 18 in February and graduating in March, will be 18.5yo when he starts college next fall. I also know many families who homeschool where the kiddos have started college classes at 14-16, either concurrently with their high school curriculum, or because they've finished early. I have a 10yo and 11yo who are ahead of grade level and if their pace continues, I think they'll complete everything by 16yo and thus could start taking college classes, even part-time. We're also considering looking into early admission at 14 but I'm not sure I want then on campus that young...so it'd have to be online classes I think.

08-23-2016, 09:10 PM
Tech is in first grade, and is ahead in places. We'll be doing like inmom though and doing dual credits at a local college. BUT, he will not be entering college full-time until he is 18. If current interests holds, there is a local college that will be near us that offers dual credits for homeschoolers AND offers both an airplane mechanics degree AND a robotics. Both of which fascinate Tech and will probably be what he winds up going with. If I can talk him into holding off until he is 21, even better. :-)

08-25-2016, 11:09 PM
This has been useful. Thanks! Dual credits are a good idea. If we use the early or mid teen years to knock out some of the core curriculum at a local college, then my kid won't have to travel before age 18, and can then focus on a major at the University that is the best fit.

08-25-2016, 11:55 PM
I have an 8 year old and I have no idea where he will be when he gets to high school age. From his mentality towards things it will probably be one of these things:

Start college while in high school
Say F-it and get his GED and go to work.
Homeschool high school with his general age group and go to college or work
Or he might surprise me and decide that he wants to go to high school and college.

My goals are pretty basic. I want DS to be able to read, write, do math, and to be a decent human being when he leaves the house. Everything else is a bonus.

08-26-2016, 04:49 PM
A gazillion likes Mariam. And I needed to read your reply this afternoon!

Right now, DS wants to be a survival guy and build a house in the forest. Or live in a RV-kinda van. And so far, we can still visit him. ;)

08-27-2016, 03:01 AM
I am a very strong believer in a four year college education. I say this as the daughter of parents who both have PhDs and a wife of a plumber who has only technical training. My husband has had a great career but the labor is taking its toll on his body and I can see how he feels trapped in a job with not much else he can do without a large leap and retraining. He is stuck.

The purpose of college is to prepare your child for the next 50-60 years, so not only can they get a job when they graduate, but so they can get a job 20 or 30 years later. College is for learning not only academic skills, but also for developing a personal and ethical identity, for becoming independent, for learning how to think and solve problems at a higher level. These are life skills that are typically learned around 16-22 years old. These are critical years.

But here is the thing. There is a college for every kid. I think that when people think college, they are thinking about their local university or the big names. They think they must have specific SAT scores. They think that their kid needs to be on top of all subjects. This is not true. When your child finishes your high school, then you can look at where she is, find a place where she fits, where she will feel most comfortable, where her academic abilities are a match, and where she will be pushed to do better. (I am using she because I don't know the gender of your child.)

In my family we have been all over the place, with my sister starting at 15 (and saying it was the best thing she has ever done). I used dual credit as a high school student and starting at a typical age. My older son just went off to college as an academic superstar (non homeschool) and did dual enrollment as well as traditional high school. My homeschool son may or may not do DE and may not be academically at the top of his game because he has learning disabilities, but we will find him a place where he fits, because to me college is more than academics. It is the first step to adulthood, it is a place to learn to think, and a place to learn who you are and who you will be. He will go when he is 18, like his age mates who do not homeschool. He won't be academically as far along as his brother but that is OK, he does not need to be.

My husband came from a different country and lost his chance at a college education and regrets it to this day.

Let your child learn at her own pace and don't worry, because if she (or he) wants a college education, it is about finding the right fit when she is done with high school, not about cramming as much information into her head as possible, by a specific point in time.

And sorry if your child is a he!

08-27-2016, 04:21 PM
Wait a second.....when did this turn into a discussion about the merits of college vs. no college?? :) :) That's a discussion I LOVE having.

But back to the OP question....there are as many varying outcomes as there are varying families. Just like there is a wide variety of public school outcomes.....college early, college right "on-time", college later, and college never. These are all pretty comparable, percentage wise, to public school....I would guess.

Point is that homeschooling won't shut doors that you hope to remain open for your child.....there have been many trailblazers ahead of us.

I know we worry, cause that's what we parents do, but it's kind of pointless to plot the course to another person's life. And they have a lot of years ahead in childhood/young adulthood to surprise you with who they are... :) That can be the fun part! Enjoy it, cause it goes faster than you think!

ETA: Oh, and that "gap year" thread.....I think some of that was just parents rambling on about how we wish we had been able to explore at that age :)

08-27-2016, 04:29 PM
Wait a second.....when did this turn into a discussion about the merits of college vs. no college?? :) :) That's a discussion I LOVE having.

It was an introduction to the concept of college being important (my true belief) but that college will meet you where you are, and you don't need to be in a specific place to get there. In other words, you don't need to worry about getting your kid to a specific place. There will be a place for your kid in the end, if you want your kid in college.

08-27-2016, 04:39 PM
Oh, is that what that was supposed to be? Yeah, I'm guessing that she didn't need the selling....:)

But I do think their are many paths to a happy, full, and worthy existence. Just my $.02

08-27-2016, 04:42 PM
Oh, is that what that was supposed to be? Yeah, I'm guessing that she didn't need the selling....:)

But I do think their are many paths to a happy, full, and worthy existence. Just my $.02.

Yea, well I just dropped my baby at college less than a week ago, so I am allowed to be sappy.

08-27-2016, 06:38 PM
My in-laws went to college. Got good useful degrees. Both got stuck in dead end jobs and by the time they were 60, both were out of a job, and miserable, with the only option open to them being going back to school for retraining, or retiring. My Dad never had a degree and has worked with his hands all his life. My dad is in better health than my in-laws. (heck, i'm pretty sure most days my dad has better health than I do). My sis when she was in nursing school had a couple people in their 50's and one tough little old lady in her 60's in her classes. Unless you stay in the same field your whole life, retraining for a different job is likely. College is not the thing for everyone. If we argue that public schooling isn't for everyone, why on earth would we say college is?

My goal as a parent is to make Tech ready for college if that is what he chooses to do, but also to realize that college isn't the be-all and end-all that my generation was told it was.

08-28-2016, 01:25 AM
I hope that in 10-10+ years (when my kids will be 'coming of age') the current model of higher education will change. I hope for an array of distance education opportunities, moderate prices, certificates of completion for courses that can be fully transferable, more options to test-out and save time and money etc etc.

08-28-2016, 03:44 AM
Oksana, that would be awesome. Not least of which because once Tech is on his own, I'll be going back to school (once I figure out what I want to be when I grow up)

08-28-2016, 11:32 PM
My oldest is on track to graduate high school when he's 16. Wow - so hard to see that as I type. Kids grow so fast! It's just where he is at academically, and one of the reasons I took him out of public school was because he was bored, so I'm not going to keep boring him with information he's mastered. There's an advantage of him graduating early, as he can choose to work, take a GAP year and not lose a lot of time in comparison of his age to other peers, go to a junior college and knock out some classes and graduate college earlier, or many other options I'm sure. Other friends who homeschool in the area have kids who are either graduating around 16-17 or attending some college simultaneously, while in high school.

I have mixed feelings about him finishing school so young, but I'd be worried about something no matter what age he was or milestone he was crossing.

08-30-2016, 05:38 PM
7th grade here. Right now everyone's on track to finish with their age mates. I don't anticipate either of them being way ahead or anything or way behind.

I do hope the kids will do some duel enrollment credits in high school, but we'll see. I think of that as a separate issue. I'm not keen for them to start "college" by being full time at cc during their high school years.

I strongly believe in gap years. I'm not one for strict rules so I would never make it not optional, but it's definitely strongly encouraged here. I'm cool with them not going to college at all or taking a slow path to get there. Right now ds's dream is to dance before college, so we'll see how that pans out.

I think homeschoolers in general do everything under the sun in terms of timing and college. But some of it is definitely a cause and effect thing - as in, a lot of homeschoolers starting college at 15 or whatever are homeschooled because of they were on that path as opposed to the other way around.

08-31-2016, 02:21 AM
The unschooler part of me doesn't know how to answer this question. :)

Seriously though, DS8 will live with us until he is 18, and then he will be free to decide if he wants to keep living here for awhile, or head out on his own, to do whatever it is he wants to do. I can't predict what higher education will look like in 8-10 years, but assuming nothing changes, I will encourage working toward an Associates Degree while he is in "high school". There are a lot of dual-enrollment options, and I hope he will take advantage of them while living for free with his parents.

Right now, he's ahead in math. Assuming that continues, he will "finish" high school math with calculus at 15. But does that mean that the pursuit of knowledge ends? Why not continue with higher math, if that interests him?

I'm probably not answering your question. :) If the question is, will we send him off to college at 16 if he finished the traditional high school coursework early? No, we will not. He'll just live here and study whatever is "next" , either independently or at community college. Or he'll get a job or apprentice some where. Or maybe both. I have no idea. :)

09-18-2016, 09:48 PM
I have a hard time trying to envision it, because I have discovered that learning isn't linear, and neither is growth. Kids grow in spurts, fits, and starts, and leaps cognitive growth and the ability to understand, also seem to grow that way. So the idea that learning progresses steadily year by year hasn't panned out well, for us, so far.

Hoping along with Oksana, that the landscape will have reformed after the earthquake we're currently in, enough to figure things out with alternatives to the outmoded (for most people) pathway to life success that worked for Baby Boomers but hasn't worked for most people since (make good grades, go to college, get a high-paying professional career, have life made).

Nervously watching and waiting, hoping to find ways forward for each of their talents, passions, and interests as they emerge, that are also feasible in the future of emerging adults. All I know is, what worked for the Baby Boomers has hardly worked for anyone, since, unless they came from a privileged background, in which case just about anything, works.

Heather in OK
06-07-2017, 05:59 PM
I don't think the system is "magically right" about the age. I think it's just ingrained in us as a society and what the system has come up with that at 18 you're done with HS take the next step (ie. Tech school, college, apprenticeship, a career in retail). Whether you're ready for that next step or not. Each person is an individual and some may be done earlier and some may need to take that ACT/SAT when they are 20.

How many public schooled kids are truly ready for college at 18? SO many kids slip through the cracks in the system and move right on to college.

Personally, once at high school age I've tried to keep my kids "on track" in the event they chose a career that requires a traditional college education (obviously not all do...my chosen career included). So far I've had one that didn't do concurrent classes (partly because I didn't know much about it), graduated last year at 18, completed two part-time semesters at the local CC this past year, plans on a heavier load this coming year with hopes of transferring to a 4-year university to finish a degree. I have another that was done with HS credits at 16, did concurrent this past year, graduated at 17 with 15h college credit completed, plans on attending CC this coming year to do more general education free, then moving on to a 4-year university to finish a degree.

There isn't a magical age or a right answer. What's "right" is where your child is at academically and what they need to accomplish to meet the goals for their future plans. If they know that they know that they know what career is right for them when they are 13 and begin steps to pursue that, great! If they don't figure that out until they are in their 30's and can be productive members of society until then, who cares if it took that long!?