Monday, October 7, 2019

Can You Homeschool College?

Can You Homeschool College?
Does homeschooling have to stop when children start college?

There is a common assumption - even
amongst homeschoolers - that High School is the "end of the line" for homeschooling.

But, that's simply not true.

And there's another assumption that college needs to cost a lot of money - that's not always true, either.

(A little note for international readers: the words "college" and "university" are virtually interchangeable in everyday American speech - I am using the word "college" here to mean both college AND university)



In my opinion, college is different from high school, in that there is a legitimate need to have an institution document learning. So, in that way, homeschooling college differs from homeschooling at the Primary and Secondary levels. If you don't care about that documentation,  there ARE wonderful courses online for free from many universities - and a few of them are even beginning to offer top notch degree programs ways to document that learning!

Just search for "MOOC" (Massive Open Online Course) to find lists like this:
 https://www.mooc-list.com/

But, if you DO care about that documentation, keep reading . . . 

There are many reasons a parent might choose to "send a child off" to college: networking, learning under a certain professor, taking a specific program that only one university offers, learning a hands-on profession that must be mentored and practiced (like, say, brain surgery or musical performance).

But, there are many reasons NOT to send a child off to college! The spiritually, psychologically and academically damaging "party" atmosphere at many universities, the promotion of an anti-Christian worldview at many universities, and the high costs are just a few.

If a child is  academically ready to learn college level material at perhaps 15, but too young to live independently or deal with the pressures of a full course load, homeschooling college might be a great alternative.

I can already hear the nay-sayers arguing that "you can't shield them from the 'real world' forever!" Which is very true! But, my experience and observation of modern undergrad dorm life is that it is about as far from the real adult world as one can get. Thousands of young people without adult responsibility, such as being required to support themselves and pay for their own bills, without accountability to parents any longer, but WITH lots of money and freedom - is a recipe for disaster. 

Of course young people will be out on their own - as responsible adults - when that is appropriate. But going off to grad school alone, taking a job in a distant city, or building a home with a family is much truer "real life" than undergrad dorm/fraternity life ever was.

Over the years, I have become familiar with various methods of gaining college credit  - or even a full degree - from home.

These are some that I have personal familiarity with, and can vouch for how wonderful they are:

Thomas A. Edison State University
My own Alma Mater, Thomas A. Edison State University is one such option. I completed my degree there while living abroad in a location where traditional university wasn't an option. I found myself well prepared for graduate work when I was done. They offer remote classes, credit by exam, and credit assessment for learning accomplished outside of class, among other options. They're fully accredited. Prices were VERY reasonable!

Modern States
Another great option that I am personally familiar with is Modern States - also known as "First Year of College Free". At Modern States - for free - you can watch a full course of lectures, read a free textbook, and answer practice questions. When you are done, put in a request for a voucher and they offer to PAY for your CLEP exam to gain college credits for what you have studied! This wonderful service is provided by Philanthropist Steven Klinsky, who wants to make college more accessible for everyone.

College Level Examination Program and DSST
Which brings me to CLEP and DSST exams. For a reasonable fee, MUCH less than tuition for a similar class, you can take one of these exams and gain credits which are accepted by many colleges and universities. Some colleges accept many - some few - so talk to your desired institution and see which ones they will accept - or chose an institution that accepts more of them. I used these exams for a substantial portion of my Bachelor's degree. I graduated debt free : )

Community College
Community Colleges offer many of the same courses as 4 year colleges - often for about 1/4 the price. Staying home and commuting for the first two years can be a great option for many. It's not homeschooling, but it can be a nice transition. Many programs offer the added benefit of qualifying graduates in a trade. This way, they can work in their target field in while schooling continues. For instance, if your student wants to be a Dentist one day, he or she might benefit from learning to be a Dental Hygenist or Assistant at community college. Then, while working for the additional degrees, that part-time job can be a resume and experience builder - and also pay much more than many jobs other undergrads can get. Likewise, the aspiring lawyer can become a paralegal first, and the aspiring nurse-anesthetist can become an LPN or RN first through community college training.

Here are some I have heard about that I am unfamiliar with personally, but look like they are worth checking out. 

Saylor Academy 
Note - some of their courses offer exam credit that is transferable - some do not.

Saylor has a great list of "Partners" - colleges which are easy to work with from home : )
This page has a list of many colleges that are easy to work with from home. I haven't tried them out, but it's a great place to start research!

College Plus, Unbound
Read more about College Unbound HERE

Oak Brook College of Law

Coursera -
Now offers some degree programs, too! And some of those are from top name universities!

One last note - beware of Diploma Mills and College Debt. If the college you're looking at has rates that are very high or preposterously low, admits students without sufficient proof that they are ready for advanced studies, or offers "easy" or "quick" degrees - beware! Make sure they're accredited. Check their reviews online. I still remember meeting a colleague years ago, who had gone to a disreputable college, and who was devastated that she had paid three times as much as I had to get a degree, but was completely unprepared for the professional world.   Make sure you do your research! 

But, with a little research, and some well chosen resources, homeschooling part or all of college can be done! : ) 

This is being shared on:
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