Last week a friend recommended a book. After she told me about it, I looked it up online and read the summary and the publisher’s description. They looked good. From everything so far, it seemed to be a great book. But I wanted to do one more thing before buying in: read some reviews from real people who had experience with it firsthand.
We depend on reviews a lot. And some of you have asked for firsthand reviews about Charlotte Mason homeschooling through high school. You want to hear from some CM graduates about what their experiences were like in college and beyond.
So here are some answers about getting into college and some comments from CM graduates, sharing their firsthand experiences.
High School Question #38: My biggest question right now is how does a homeschool transcript look on a college application? I know the university closest to us looks positively on homeschoolers, but do all colleges? How does being homeschooled through high school affect my kid’s ability to get into college?
Many colleges and universities look favorably on homeschoolers. In fact, most every college or university website has a section welcoming homeschoolers and explaining how to apply for dual enrollment or college admission.
HSLDA has a very helpful collection of links to articles and other information on college admissions for homeschoolers.
And while we’re on the topic, may I take a moment to encourage you not to discount other options besides college? Our purpose is to develop each individual as the person he or she was created to be. Not every child will thrive in a college or university setting. Some might be more inclined toward training for a trade or going into the military or learning through an apprenticeship situation.
Don’t just go the college route by default. Make a prayer-filled, intentional decision for each child. I found William Bennett’s book, Is College Worth It?, very enlightening and helpful in that decision-making process.
Bottom line, the door to college is wide open for homeschoolers, but be sure to explore all of the other doors too and make an intentional decision based on each child as a person.
High School Questions #39, 40, and 41: How do I convince my teen of the inherent benefits of a CM education? I know I’m the parent but surely helping them to understand where this is going and how it helped from a student’s perspective would lighten my drag load a little.. . . I would LOVE a CM graduate to explain to current students what they loved about it, how it worked for them, did it help with further education (and how that differed from peers in their classes), what didn’t work for them (or what they found was hard), etc.
I would benefit to hear testimonies of students who were home schooled the Charlotte Mason way and graduated, AND then went to college. Where did they thrive? Where did they struggle? What field? Are they enjoying now a viable job with an income appropriate to provide for a family (or supplement one)? I have met many who homeschool the CM way like me, but none who have graduated students who then went to college. There must be some!?
How do they do in college?
We contacted several CM homeschool graduates that we know personally and asked for their thoughts. Here is a short compilation of some of their comments.
What did you enjoy most about a Charlotte Mason education?
The focus on quality books was wonderful. . . . The close time with my parents and siblings has brought us together as a family like nothing else could. (Kemble)
How much we could explore and enjoy learning. . . . School was not about keeping up with everyone else. While we did have goals and deadlines etc, we learned at our own pace and in the way that best worked for us. (Christina)
The free time coupled with how CM instilled a love of learning. Because I was able to accomplish my schoolwork with plenty of time left in the day, and because I was excited to continue learning after the formal schoolwork was done, I was able to go beyond what was taught during “school time.” . . . Many of the personal interests I pursued in my free time resulted in skills that I use in my job today. (Jordan)
Enjoying living books. . . . I didn’t enjoy telling about the things we read. I thought it was rather silly at the time – didn’t Moma just hear herself read it, too? But since college, I see that even that little practice was helpful to building the skills needed to write papers in college. (Alyssa)
Incorporating the arts as well as the time to pursue your own passions along with the core education. I appreciate how CM has a focus on reading “living books” (as my Mom calls them) as opposed to only reading textbooks. I believe that reading such a great span of books throughout the years helped me internalize the information with the connections I made instead of just memorizing facts for a short period of time. (Laura)
In what areas did you thrive in further education?
All my studies were much easier because of how well-rounded my homeschooling had been. I was able to use my deeper knowledge of music and arts (part of the aspects of Charlotte Mason teaching) to gain more credit hours. (Christina)
I earned my college degree with accelerated distance learning, so everything was completed from home. Having the good habits of study and full attention already in place from my Charlotte Mason education was beneficial because I had to set my own schedule for classes and gauge my own readiness to take tests for credit. (Jordan)
I was used to self-managing my time and learning, not having a teacher in a traditional classroom setting guiding me at every turn. . . . I test well, in part – I believe – because homeschooling taught me to really learn about a subject as a whole, not just retain facts for a test. (Alyssa)
Because self-education is a big part of CM, this taught me that learning does not come in just a teacher-student setting but rather it depends on the individual to learn. (Laura)
In what areas did you struggle in college?
At first, time management. . . . Appreciating and maintaining my scholarship. I did not understand or appreciate the financial aspects enough, at first. (Kemble)
Honestly, my biggest struggle in college was not putting too much stress on myself. I was used to doing well in school and wanted to maintain that. (Alyssa)
Getting used to testing and studying to the test to make a passing grade required a shift in thinking. I also had some difficulty turning my personal written narration style into the essay format required for classes. While essay writing was overall smoother with all the writing practice from my homeschool education, I had to learn how to write to a topic that would please the professor rather than showing that I knew the material studied. (Jordan)
Time management has been the biggest hardship for me, due to the fact that homeschooling can be flexible due to extracurriculars, so learning to set specific times for doing homework and study has been a learning process. (Laura)
What was/is your field of study and current occupation?
Associates degree in General Studies or Liberal Arts. I have been working for 6 years now as a teacher, music instructor, tutor, and nanny. (Christina)
Computer science. Currently I am an Account Engineer for a software company. (Kemble)
Business Management. My current work is as customer service, social media manager, and video producer at a homeschool publisher. I also have self-published two books. (Jordan)
In second year at [a university], studying Exercise and Sport Science to become an Occupational Therapist. (Laura)
Associates degree in Business and a Bachelors in Merchandising and Interiors. I have worked as a Production Assistant and Social Media Manager, both of which positions used my design and business skills. Currently, I am a stay-at-home mom, and we plan on homeschooling once our children reach school age. I think we will use elements of Charlotte Mason philosophy in our schooling, but to me, those ideas are just part of life. (Alyssa)
Watch for more about CM homeschool graduates next time with a special guest post from Karen Andreola!