When my oldest was five, we went to the doctor for his annual well-check. The pediatrician’s receptionist was an acquaintance, and immediately asked, “Where will your son be attending kindergarten this fall?” I told her we had decided to homeschool. She was aghast and asked me, quite rudely, “What on Earth makes you think you are qualified to do that? How will he ever get into college?”
It was an awkward exchange.
At the time, my son was reading at a third grade level, and I couldn’t bear to send him to school to learn his ABCs. He already knew how to read, knew his colors and numbers, could write, and more, so we figured we were doing okay. It was kindergarten, not rocket science! I really wasn’t thinking about college yet. I just preferred to keep him home longer and work on learning together.
Homeschooling Did Not Ruin His Chances
Almost twenty years later, I would love to tell that receptionist this same child got his BA in Communications a month before his 20th birthday, is now married, bought a house, and is gainfully employed in his field after being homeschooled K-12.
While we all have varied concerns about homeschooling, one question many of us get bombarded with is, “How will your children ever get into college or be ready for college?”
Obviously, to them, we are not only weird but permanently jeopardizing our children’s long-term worldly success. I remember thinking, “God is perfectly capable of guiding us through this. We’ll figure it out and make adjustments as needed.”
Of course, I often fretted about the future as well, but my worries proved unfounded.
Ironically, after homeschooling, particularly thanks to Sonlight and all the History / Bible / Literature levels we completed, I feel my kids were more ready for college work than their peers. They all started college work at age 16.
Homeschooling Is Not an Obstacle for College
Obviously everyone’s homeschool journey is going to be different, but homeschooling did not prove to be an obstacle to college for my kids. Our goal was never Harvard or Stanford, so that’s a different story if you’re aiming for the Ivy Leagues. But we are happy with where our kids landed. I believe Sonlight provided my children exactly what they needed for success in college:
- strong reading and writing skills
- critical thinking skills
Three of my children have already launched into adulthood (after homeschooling K-12 with some community college, etc.). My 13-year-old is still in the homeschool pipeline. Here is a summary of their varied college paths so far.
Child #1—He tested out of most general education credits with CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and DSST (formerly DANTES Subject Standardized Tests) taken at a local military base, and online courses through College Plus. He finished the second half of his degree online after transferring everything into an East coast college that accepted all his credits.
Result: BA in Communications before his 20th birthday. No debt.
Child #2—He took almost a year of community college dual credit through Washington State’s Running Start program and was accepted to all three universities where he applied. Last year during Covid-19, he finished at a four-year Division III Christian university which accepted all his community college credits.
Result: BA in Finance before 22nd birthday. Four years of college golf. Acquired a very small amount of debt.
Child #3 She is completing two full years of dual-credit Running Start. She is continuing to a four-year Christian university this fall for Art: Illustration. This university accepts her AA as a direct transfer, so she has all her general education except a few Bible courses.
Result: Saved cost of two years of college so far and has her AA at age 18.
Child #4 He will probably pursue a Running Start AA during his junior and senior years of high school then transfer to a four-year college.
Result: Time will tell. Right now we are deep in HBL H.
People sometimes forget that not everyone wants or should pursue a college degree. Various other options are equally valid:
- the military
- the workforce
- family business
- trade school
- apprentice options
Homeschooling with College in Mind: My Takeaways
So looking back over 20 years of homeschooling, my main takeaways for college and/or adult readiness are as follows:
- Ignore the homeschool naysayers. They are your children, not theirs.
- Read a lot. Sonlight has this covered.
- Encourage your children to be analytical thinkers.
- Let your kids explore their strengths and interests.
- Pray. God can guide you through this, and others have gone before you.
- Read some more.
Schooling is not a one-size fits all. We will not all be rocket scientists or go to Harvard. My overall homeschool style can best be described as haphazard with all the different ages, but we very consistently worked through each HBL Level and read every book.
Many different paths can lead our children to their futures. Consider homeschool an enormous asset instead of an obstacle. And you are qualified because you love your children and are willing to do the work.