01 October 2010

How a Classical Homeschool Education Prepares Students for College

Thanks to Olivia for her guest post. Nothing like a first-hand account!

Homeschooling your child with a classical education has many advantages, not least of which is the joy of becoming intimately involved with your child's intellectual development. However, some parents may be concerned as to how well such an education may be preparing their child to enter and excel at an institution of higher education. Having only recently graduated from
university, and having been homeschooled myself, I can say without reservation that both the education and socialization aspects of homeschooling placed me at a much greater advantage over some of my peers. Here are a few things to consider:

1. In college, students will be asked to think critically. The primary difference between a standard high school education and a successful collegiate one is that in high school, rote memorization is the prime mode of learning, whereas in college, professors expect students to be able to think critically, to analyze, and to synthesize information. A classical education prepared me for this challenge perfectly, whereas many of my peers struggled to even put together a cohesive argument on paper.

2. In college, peer pressure is even greater than it is in high school. When I was younger, I did spend a few years in the public education system, and the struggle to "fit in" among different peer groups is a very real phenomenon, one from which I was thankfully relieved once I began homeschool. In college, however, peer pressure becomes a completely different ball game, as it were. While the influence of peers can be controlled to a certain extent with students in high school, in college the absence of parents creates a mayhem of binge drinking, drugs, and casual sex. Many of these supposed rites of passage are mere status symbols, and since many students are coming from an environment in which status-chasing was the norm, they continue
these behaviors in college. With me and a few other acquaintances of mine who were also homeschooled, the temptation wasn't even there. We had no desire to enter the college peer pressure fracas simply because we didn't care about being "cool."

3. Homeschooling fosters a seriousness and respect for knowledge that gives a higher education meaning and direction. The vast majority of students I encountered in college were there to enjoy themselves. Classes became an almost inconvenient interruption to having the supposed "time of your life." I'm convinced that having been homeschooled enabled me to develop a love of learning that carried itself into my college years. I did well in college because I was excited about learning. While just about anybody can float by in college, not learn much, and still receive that diploma, many of my friends who were not as serious about their studies now deeply regret that they wasted so much time. Classically educated students, I've seen, have a much deeper respect for knowledge acquisition, and will thus take their studies more seriously.

These are just a few advantages I noted during my college years that I believe directly stemmed from my homeschooling experience. For homeschool parents who are anxious about their children's ability to do well in college, you can rest assured that a classical education--although not very common--is a much better way to prepare students for the challenges they'll face in university and later in life.

This guest post is contributed by Olivia Coleman, who writes on the topics of online colleges and universities. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: olivia.coleman33 @gmail.com.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment. Teresa (Tracy) Dear

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