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View Full Version : Help me understand homeschooling/unschooling/GED or not?



lilypoo
12-27-2011, 11:51 PM
Howdy :)

I spent a considerable amount of time searching and reading all the GED/diploma-related threads I could find here on the board and I still have questions and am looking for unbiased input.

Here's my situation with my sixteen year old... She was homeschooled independently from grade 3 on and I enrolled her in a state VA for 9th grade, believing that this would make our lives easier since she'd get a "real" diploma. Fast-forward 18 months and she just "dropped out" of her third try at a distance program. Our main issues have been boredom and not being stimulated enough, and her just feeling like she's wasting time on "busy" work.

I decided she'd be happier if we pulled her out and let her start community college. I figured she'd need a GED to do so. My husband agreed that this seemed to be the best plan, so she withdrew from her school last week. I know she *can* take college courses if she's under 18 and homeschooled but the process for getting her admitted is really daunting to me (I researched it when she was 14, thinking she'd benefit from a "dual-enrollment" type of arrangement). I never followed through with that, so back to the present, she's 16.5 and likes the GED idea.

But as we've shared this plan with friends and family, the reaction has been pretty negative. We've been told that many employers will not even consider a candidate who holds a GED, even after they've earned a college degree(s).

So I started thinking, how would I have gone about setting requirements for her to graduate from our homeschool if she were unschooling and had been all her life? Is it possible to say, hey, you've met my requirements and create a transcript and diploma? I haven't kept very much of the kids' work because we don't have portfolio requirements and I'm low on space...but I have kept records for myself on what they've done. In my opinion she's learned on her own enough to graduate high school, with the exception of foreign language BUT in our state that's not a required subject for homeschoolers (though it is for public school).

Thoughts?

lilypoo
12-28-2011, 12:28 AM
She has nightmarish test taking anxiety--actually failed the 9th grade english equivalency exam her latest school made her take, even though english is her best subject and she'd recently completed a rigorous high school honors emglish class with a 98%...

She shouldn't need the SAT/ACT if she goes to community college and transfers...as far as I can tell.

dottieanna29
12-28-2011, 09:09 AM
Check with your local community college. At ours, kids can start taking classes at 16 without submitting any kind of transcripts. You enroll at a certain date which is usually after the matriculating students do. Or, you can submit transcripts and enroll as a regular student. The requirements will vary so you'll need to look at what your CC wants.

I've been doing college apps with my oldest and I've been reading through their requirements for homeschoolers just out of curiosity. Usually they do require SAT or ACT but there were a few colleges she applied to that offered the option of submitting a writing sample instead. They would accept parent-generated transcripts as long as they included a detailed description of courses taken.

dbmamaz
12-28-2011, 01:01 PM
My daughter did dual enrollment when she was still in the public school system, and the paperwork wasnt really that bad. Honestly, the colleges are really helpful. I would start by calling the community college(s) you are considering, and come in, with your daughter, and talk to the admission advisors or whoever they have. They will tell you exactly what you need to do in order to get your daughter enrolled, they are very helpful - its their job to get paying customers in the door!

My understanding is that all you have to do to 'graduate' your child is to say 'they've graduated'. The colleges might ask for a letter from you, stating that your daughter has fulfilled the graduation requirements of her homeschool program (which is whatever you say it is, since you created it). Most community colleges have exams your daughter needs to take - but they are just placement tests to determine what classes she needs to take. and even if she does test in at a remedial level at the community college, its not that big a deal.

in our state, there are programs in place where you can finish a 2-year degree at a community college and be guarenteed admission to some 4-year state schools, depending on the requirements of that program and the availablility of spots. Its a great system.

and GEDs? In my state, i dont think you can even register to take the test until you are 18, unless you petition the school board for specail approval. There is disagreement in the homeschool community as to whether its a positive or a negative, but truthfully . . . it seems that its usually just unnecessary. Talk to the community colleges first - its really not that hard, there's no commitment and you dont need to stress yourself out without knowing the details!!

Oh, one more detail tho - my daughter loved the community college compared to high school - but after 2 years (she had to drop out due to health problems one year), she now finds it to be tedious and boring and full of kids and teachers who dont care. So she's ready to move on to university - but just be aware that while it may be a step up from where she's at, community colleges arent exactly bastions of rigorous study and intellectual community.

lilypoo
12-28-2011, 04:11 PM
Thanks ladies! I think the GED definitely is NOT the way to go. I called the CC and even if she's still in high school, if she's homeschooled she is a "special admission" as she has to be enrolled in a public or private school to be a "dual admission." The person in charge of that is out of the office till the 3rd, so I won't know more about enrolling her till then.

Perhaps I will re-file our affadavit of intent to homeschool and let this be a dual-enrollment situation and then graduate her when she turns 18. There's really no rush to have her be legally finished with high school if she can start the CC classes prior to "graduating."

dbmamaz
12-28-2011, 04:12 PM
The only difference for my daughter was that as a dual enrolled student she couldnt do the online registration for classes, couldnt declare a major, because seh wasnt a regular student

dottieanna29
12-28-2011, 04:35 PM
Among high school students around here, the Community College is considered "13th grade" or "Super Senior". But, if your child is taking courses dual-enrollment or for high school credit, that really won't matter.

Pefa
12-28-2011, 05:02 PM
Does somebody else pay for the classes if she's dual enrolled? For me, that would be the main reason to dual enroll.

When B1 started at our CC he had to take a basic competency test to insure his reading comprehension and math skills were up to snuff, and we had to get a letter from educator saying he was capable of doing the work but that was only because he was 9 when he took his first class. Even if your dd doesn't pass the competency many CC's have classes designed to help any student learn how to take tests etc.

What does she see herself doing in 5 to 6 years? If she's going on to college, she may or may not need a formal hs diploma or GED

CatInTheSun
12-28-2011, 05:56 PM
I would be looking really seriously at ways to address her test taking anxiety (college is lots and lots of tests) and coping mechanisms for boredom (college can be really, really boring).

I really don't have any suggestions on HOW to accomplish that -- do lots of the test prep (bubble sheet) workbooks? Counseling? PSAT and SATs for "fun"? But if she doesn't learn to deal with test anxiety and boredom, either could really screw her up when she does get into college (as in set her up to fail).

WHen she starts a CC course, I would make a hs "class" on her class -- note taking, ask her to ID what the instructor thinks is important and why. Predict what will be on midterms and discuss afterwards if she was right. "Assign" coming up with a question and going to office hours at least once a week -- knowing the prof is key and can bump her grade. These are all skills that help kids navigate the college path. :D

dbmamaz
12-28-2011, 07:17 PM
Most community colleges (at least around here) require you to take a 'college success skills' class if you want to get a degree. Of course, my daughter found that was the most useless class with the most awful teacher . . . .

CatInTheSun
12-28-2011, 07:35 PM
Most community colleges (at least around here) require you to take a 'college success skills' class if you want to get a degree. Of course, my daughter found that was the most useless class with the most awful teacher . . . .

That's why you need to teach them the REAL skills. LOL Did they need the skills class if they transferred to a Univ? I envied the kids that when the CC->Univ route and missed all the brutal screening courses for my major (you know the ones where they fail half the students in a 250 student class).

dbmamaz
12-28-2011, 07:51 PM
well, the more rigorous university programs have much more rigorous requirements for what you have to take in the community college.

Amanadoo
12-28-2011, 10:00 PM
No advice about your actual problem, but I can ease your mind a bit about GED prejudice. My husband actually did not graduate with his high school class, on purpose, to get out of his pre-contract with The Marines that he'd foolishly signed up for. Then he got his GED at some point later. It has not affected him in the least. Though, to be fair, a lot of that is just him being really smart and doing well on tests. But yes, he got good jobs and tested into The Ohio State University and got a perfect ASVAB score and tested into Officer Candidate School...I know that's really military specific, but he joined at 29 and had a good thing going before that too.

lilypoo
12-28-2011, 11:06 PM
Does somebody else pay for the classes if she's dual enrolled? For me, that would be the main reason to dual enroll.


Only if she's dual-enrolled through a public or private high school's dual-enrollment program. We will have to pay and it's $210 for a 3 unit class. We figure if she earns 70 units before she transfers to the state university that we'll at least be saving quite a bit over having her go straight from HS to the university. If only we were still in CA back when CC was $10/credit! LOL


What does she see herself doing in 5 to 6 years? If she's going on to college, she may or may not need a formal hs diploma or GED.

She plans to get a BA and MA in graphic arts/design (not sure of the exact major). If she goes to our CC and completes and AA with a Gen Ed. certification she can transfer to the state U. and they take her credits as a block with no transcipt eval, etc. So I would think type of HS diploma wouldn't matter. We just want to avoid the "stigma" of "high school dropout" if we can.

findemerson
12-29-2011, 01:41 AM
Have you looked at:
http://www.afhe.org/index.htm

If you don't want to join the ceremony....I'm sure they can help you. I have some friends out there and they "graduated" their homeschooled kids and participated in the ceremony which made me think of it.

I totally agree with the stigma of GED. HOWEVER, it also depends on the child and future. It's just a piece of paper to us homeschoolers...why not make sure she gets a diploma?

Pefa
12-29-2011, 07:45 AM
I would be looking really seriously at ways to address her test taking anxiety (college is lots and lots of tests) and coping mechanisms for boredom (college can be really, really boring).

I really don't have any suggestions on HOW to accomplish that -- do lots of the test prep (bubble sheet) workbooks? Counseling? PSAT and SATs for "fun"? But if she doesn't learn to deal with test anxiety and boredom, either could really screw her up when she does get into college (as in set her up to fail).

WHen she starts a CC course, I would make a hs "class" on her class -- note taking, ask her to ID what the instructor thinks is important and why. Predict what will be on midterms and discuss afterwards if she was right. "Assign" coming up with a question and going to office hours at least once a week -- knowing the prof is key and can bump her grade. These are all skills that help kids navigate the college path. :D

Yes. Having the tools to succeed are so important.

theWeedyRoad
12-29-2011, 10:17 AM
Most community colleges (at least around here) require you to take a 'college success skills' class if you want to get a degree. Of course, my daughter found that was the most useless class with the most awful teacher . . . .

Ugh, I have one of those classes to take for my degree in college... useless doesn't begin to describe it. The class is a complete waste of time, and I can't even put my finger on the purpose of the papers I wrote.

Imho-being able to cope with boredom, writing papers in support of points you think are lunacy, and people reading are THE college skills to know. My father has repeatedly stated that college is about playing the game, and imho he's right. It doesn't stop at the college level here, though: our state university is the same.

I mention this because I'm honestly.. cynical, heartbroken, and a bit annoyed that college isn't for learning. I might feel differently if I were 18, though. As it is, I spend my time arguing with my textbooks, writing papers full of crap I honestly think is way too one-dimensional to reflect the truth (but is the truth according to the textbook I argued with), and being quietly horrified as the 18 and 19yos eat it up with zero thought of author (or teacher) intent. HAHA- that's what being cynical gets ya.

It's about the degree- coping with boredom and reading teachers is key. Love of learning.. ah. That has gotten me into trouble.


(this post is JMHO- other people, in other places, going to other colleges or Universities may have a completely different experience. On campus kids may have a different experience. Younger folks may have a different experience. I am not speaking for everyone, nor am I trying to. I am ONLY speaking about myself, my sister, my mother, my father... we have all had identical issues with college and Universities, regardless of which one we have attended)

Amanadoo
12-29-2011, 10:43 AM
It's about the degree- coping with boredom and reading teachers is key. Love of learning.. ah. That has gotten me into trouble.




My husband and I both had this same experience.

dbmamaz
12-29-2011, 02:06 PM
I clearly remember learning that the key to college success was to learn what the teacher wanted from you and give it to them. Well, that was at Penn State Main Campus, and to a lesser degree, the community college classes I took (those were all programming, so its more cut and dry). New College of USF was really different tho . . . it was a fantastic experience. Too bad I didnt get a degree, tho.

Avalon
12-29-2011, 05:19 PM
I clearly remember learning that the key to college success was to learn what the teacher wanted from you and give it to them.

I clearly remember that being the case from elementary school, through high school, university, technical school, and right on into the workforce. Whether dealing with teachers, supervisors, managers, clients, or customers, the key to success is to learn what they want from you and give it to them.

dbmamaz
12-29-2011, 05:40 PM
I clearly remember that being the case from elementary school, through high school, university, technical school, and right on into the workforce. Whether dealing with teachers, supervisors, managers, clients, or customers, the key to success is to learn what they want from you and give it to them.
So maybe i'm a slow learner?!

lilypoo
01-02-2012, 11:41 PM
Thanks all! The board just ate my long response, so my short one is that I'm glad to get outside opinions on all of this and will take everything into consideration as we start our new journey! :D