What is your biggest concern when it comes to homeschooling? In the early years home education seems to be an achievabletask, but some home educators get lost in the details as their children grow. Behavioural issues and trepidation over postsecondary enrolment crowd the minds of many parents as their students enter the teenage years.
Cori Dean, homeschool advocate, mom, and proprietress of Maple Tree Publications sees postsecondary as an opportunity for marketing a student’s skills. These are the years where parents can help their students display the skills that will appeal to college and university recruiters. Still, it is important to not be overwhelmed by the prospect of highlighting one’s talent. Applying to postsecondary is about more than one’s GPA or extracurricular activities.
Cori reminds parents that colleges and universities are businesses and like most businesses, one of their chief concerns is funding. One way to ensure consistent funding is by attracting high caliber students who stay in their seats. That’s why it’s important that parent educators do their best to show postsecondary recruiters that their child is a quality candidate that any institution would be happy to have.Approach each academic institution with positivity. She cautions against having an entitled attitude during the process. Remember that you are a customer and how you present yourself can influence how your student is viewed in the application process.
Why can’t we be friends?
While helping her own daughter through the admission’s process, Cori received guidance from a fellow home educator who doubled as a college admissions registrar. It was during this time that Cori realized successfully promoting your teen student boils down to two very important factors: being proactive and making friends.
#1 Be proactive: The application process can be a tedious one, especially when each institution has their own admissions requirements surrounding homeschoolers. When connecting with school administration, be sure to clearly state why you need assistance. Ask whether the individual you’re speaking with is the correct person to address your concerns or if they can point you to the person who is.
#2 Make friends: Be intentional about making friends throughout the journey. This cannot be overstated. Cori cautions parents to check their attitudes along the way. The application process may demand a lot of patience, which can quickly amount to frustration, so it’s important to be nice to people. If a parent is upset and projects their frustration on others, the school may look less favourably on their teen, even if they are the ideal student. Simply put, “If you’re not their ideal customer, then they don’t want you” (Dean).
If you’re a parent who just isn’t sure how to homeschool through those high school years, there’s no need to panic. You’re not alone. Multitudes of resources are available to help prepare you to instruct your child during this transition phase. There are non-accredited and accredited schools, as well as dual credit courses available to boost your student’s academic portfolio. It’s important to know that each one of these options comes with advantages and points to consider. For instance, accredited online centres like the Virtual Learning Centre use provincial-based curricula and for this reason do not offer the same flexibility as a homeschool environment. Still, if you choose to include some of these courses in your child’s upper years, they can help you vouch for your student’s academic preparedness.
Homeschool conventions and workshops are great places to connect with fellow homeschoolers and get advice on homeschooling during the upper years. Additionally, by visiting college and career fairs before your teen graduates, you can get a better picture of requirements and expectations for your teen. These are ideal places to network and leave a lasting impression on a recruiter or employer.
Invaluable Life Skills
For Cori and her family, homeschooling has provided the perfect backdrop to teach added life skills, like time management, exam prep, and mental resilience. Cori used the teenage years to coach her students, knowing full well that they would not be taught to them upon entering postsecondary. Homeschool provides an opportunity to grasp concepts at one’s own pace. In postsecondary, time is limited and tensions are high. The idea of taking a test can quickly become a hindrance if your student is sleep deprived or anxious. Teaching coping strategies is just as valuable, if not more so, than instructing on content alone. In a knowledge society, finding the answers is easier than ever, but how your student implements them is of greater importance. Make it a goal to train your teen to develop emotional resilience. In doing so, you will be equipping them to face the toughest future challenges, even if they’re within ivory towers.
Live in Ontario?Cori will be hosting a series on homeschooling through high school on November 23. The workshop will take place in Newmarket at Grace Church. Cost and time are still to be determined, but those interested can contact Cori at firstname.lastname@example.org for updates.
Maple Tree Publications: Maple Tree Publications produces high quality Canadian and Charlotte Mason educational resources and materials for home educators. Cori Dean operates the business from her home in Bradford, Ontario. To find out more, visit mapletreepublications.ca.
Cori’s daughter is currently enrolled in the University of Waterloo’s co-op kinesiology program. She attained a research assistant position during her first co-op placement.
Cori enjoys speaking on the benefits of home education and providing support for families who are transitioning their child from secondary education to higher learning.