When your child is approaching the end of their homeschool journey and they’re getting ready to graduate from their high school courses, it’s time to start making some big decisions about their next steps. This is a lot more difficult for homeschooled children because they’re used to a different form of education to other children. That means they’ll probably need more support from you when it comes to working out what their options are. The first thing to remember is that college isn’t the only way forward. If they have a particular career in mind and that requires a college degree, that’s fine. But if they want to get into a field that doesn’t need a degree or they can perhaps consider an apprenticeship that gives them a more direct route into paid work, you should encourage that as well.
If they do decide that they want to get a college degree, it’s time to start looking at places. The transition between college and high school is difficult because it’s a different style of learning. The classes are larger and the schedule is a lot more fluid and a lot of children struggle to adapt to start with. That transition is even harder for homeschooled children that aren’t used to formal education that you’ll find in a traditional high school. That means a standard college experience might not work best for them. Luckily, there are other options. There are a lot more online college courses available and, while they might have been seen as inferior in the past, a lot more people are choosing to do that instead of going to college full-time. When your homeschooled child is making decisions about college, it’s definitely worth looking into because it’s often a better choice. These are just some of the reasons why online college is better for homeschooled children.
Structure is a key feature of traditional schooling. Kids are at school for the same hours every day, they have a certain number of hours in each subject and there are set dates when they will submit work and take their exams. When they get to college, the schedule is a bit more relaxed and it’s up to them to guide their own learning to some extent. However, they’ll still have their scheduled classes and most people tend to write a study schedule that mirrors the high school experience in some way (a certain amount of time dedicated to each subject etc.) But homeschooling is a whole different story.
The first thing to remember is that homeschooling takes a lot less time than traditional schooling, you certainly won’t be spending 7 hours a day teaching lessons. As well as spending less time on more focused lessons, a lot of the learning takes place through everyday activities like cooking, reading and playing. That means homeschooled children aren’t used to the idea of packing all of their learning into a rigid schedule and if they go to a traditional college they may struggle. Homeschooled children will also take exams in a subject when they’re ready for it. That means they can take a little extra time with the areas that they struggle with and then take exams quicker in the parts that they find easier. You don’t get that luxury in college and they’ll have to take the exams whenever they’re scheduled, regardless of whether they’re ready or not.
Online college, however, offers the flexibility that homeschooled children are used to. They can take the courses at whatever pace suits them best and set their own schedule a lot more than they could at a traditional college. This is a lot better suited to the learning techniques that they’ve picked up during their homeschooling.
Another benefit of this flexibility is not having to wait for others to catch up. If you’re sat in a college class and you understand the content perfectly the first time, but the rest of the class are really struggling with it, the teacher may decide to go over it again and even dedicate the next class to it. That means you’re sitting there for an hour listening to a class on something that you already understand because you’re waiting for the rest of the class to catch up. With an online course, that’s never a problem, your child can move on to the next thing as soon as they’re ready.
More Choice Of Courses
When you’re choosing a college course, your choice is usually limited by the location. A lot of people move to another city to go to college but if you don’t want to do that, you’re limited to the choice of courses nearby. You might have a course in mind but the only places that offer it are halfway across the country. If you don’t want to make that big move, you’ll have to start making sacrifices. That’s not something that you want to do when your education and future career prospects are concerned. Most colleges will offer the standard subjects but if they want to do something more specialist, they might struggle to find a suitable course in the right location.
When you’re studying online, they don’t have that problem at all because they can take the courses from anywhere that you like. For example, if they want to join the police force or military and they want to do a degree that will help them progress quickly, they’ll struggle to find that many colleges offering those programs, especially if they want to stay close to home. But they could easily do a masters in safety online program that would help pursue that career. There are a lot of these career specific college courses that people end up traveling long distances for, but by doing them online, your child can make decisions about where they want to live and what they want to study separately without having to make any sacrifices on either side. There are also a lot of courses that are only available online so your child will have more choice generally.
Attendance Doesn’t Matter
There is some logic behind a system that factors attendance into the grades, but it doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny. It makes sense that students who attend all of the classes will perform better but that isn’t always the case. If you have a student that doesn’t come to any of the classes but aces all of their exams, they could end up with a lower grade than a student who goes to all of the classes but doesn’t perform that well. That doesn’t really make sense and online college remedies that problem. The only thing that online students are judged on is how well they know the material which is a more sensible way of doing things.
A lot of people will have a knee jerk reaction and say that this is a bad thing, but it isn’t always. Socializing is important and that’s one of the issues that people have with homeschooling, however, socializing doesn’t always have to be based around school. If you’re at a traditional college with a lot of other people around, that can be a big distraction from your studies. A lot of people like to get their work done and get home. With an online course, it’s a lot easier to separate school life from personal life which is a lot more productive. That doesn’t mean that your child is never going to socialize, they’ll still have friends and get involved in social activities, but it won’t distract them from their education.
This is the big one. The cost of college is constantly rising and most graduates are buried under a mountain of debt. It’s possible to work while you study but juggling a full-time job with a college schedule isn’t really a viable option. That means there is still going to be a big financial burden to bear. If your family is well off, you might be able to afford to pay for your child to go to college but most people don’t have that luxury. You don’t want your child to give up on their aspirations because of the financial aspect so you need to find another way.
If they choose to study online, that gives them a lot more freedom. They can take a job without having to worry about it conflicting with their school schedule because they’re setting their own schedule. They can also work as many hours as they need to and then use their remaining time to study. It might take them a little longer to complete courses but they won’t finish their studies with a massive debt to pay off.
The other major benefit of being free to work full-time while they study is that they’ll have a lot of experience. Lack of real-world job experience is one of the biggest hurdles that graduates face but if your child studies online, they can work in their field and get good experience while they complete their degree. That’s really going to stand them in good stead once they graduate and start their career.
Homeschooled children are used to a very different style of education and traditional college isn’t always the best choice for them. If they’re starting to look at college places, make sure that you consider online courses as well.