Homeschool Parents and the Higher Education System
Homeschool parent’s run the school and home, and that can be quite a balancing act. Keeping both running smoothly (well, at least moving forward; not too sure how smooth sometimes) involves time management, curriculum prep, teaching, motivating, coaching, and the list goes on and on. And I should know! My name is Kim Harrington. I’m the administrative assistant of General Education here at Moraine Park, and I’ve lived this journey first-hand by homeschooling my children.
When it comes time to handing our children over to the higher education system it is very difficult for us. We have been preparing for this moment since we started homeschooling and preparing them for college. Because our lives are so intertwined, making the transition to college can be very difficult for the kids and parents.
When I sent my boys, one by one, off to college a couple of things were hard for me to handle. The first was that my son had to give me permission to see his school records even though he was still seventeen. Technically, as I used to put it to him, “You are mine until you’re eighteen.” I was still responsible for him in the eyes of the law but I wasn’t allowed to see his school records without his permission. Even though he willingly gave permission for me to discuss his school records, it was still a shock to me. After the first son, and the shock wore off, I knew to have the other two boys fill out the paperwork right away.
Secondly, because our boys were not acclimated to the public-school system I felt I needed to walk alongside them as they began their journey. I met with some resistance because college staff saw me as being too involved. There is a balance and sometimes we parents go overboard, but sometimes it is necessary so that our children can get off to a good start in this new educational journey. My rule of thumb was to follow my sons’ lead when it was time for me to let go. It was different for each one of them and I tailored my involvement to meet their needs and backed off after their first successful steps.
All three boys chose technical colleges in three different programs—each selecting a program that matched their talents and career interest.
In each case, I was very happy with their experience at college. The instructors and students were very welcoming and supportive of the boys. It was amazing the relationships that were formed with their instructors. The non-homeschooled students and the homeschooled students formed a unique relationship based on their differences. The students learned so much from each other because of their diversity.
So make sure that when it’s time for your child to check out colleges you prepare yourself for a very emotional experience. Ask a lot of questions. And remember, even though they’re in college, you’re still their parent and they will need your guidance and support to take their first steps for the college road.
If you want to chat with me about this or other topics you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-924-3195. You can also visit our website for more information about Moraine Park, morainepark.edu.