Senior Year Tips for Homeschoolers

Recently, I was talking with a homeschooling mom who was confessing her anxiety when it came to her eldest daughter’s senior year. She was asking me about ACT tests, college interviews, and the like. This caused me to think back on my senior year, and the immense amount of stress I felt, and all the valuable lessons I learned. My senior year was filled with applying, interviewing, and auditioning. I interviewed for a Presidential Scholarship {which I got}, auditioned for Musical Theatre programs {some I got in, and some I did not}, and went through myriad other interview processes. I applied to over a dozen colleges.

All that to say, I have been through this long, wearisome process. And I want to help you avoid some of the pitfalls.

First of all, take a deep breath.  There is a lot of fear involved in sending your child off to college, but you are A Homeschooling Parent. You are a warrior! You have taught your child Bible verses, Latin vocabulary, spelling, and Calculus {all while bouncing two babies, and running a home business}. You have been your child’s teacher, confidante, guidance counselor, athletic coach, math tutor, art teacher, and role model all rolled in one.

[Tweet “A homeschooling mom is a confidante, guidance counselor, athletic coach, math tutor,  and art teacher all rolled into one.”]

You should take a moment, and just be proud of the fantastic person (or persons) that you have raised! This senior year has nothing on you. So do not fear.

1. The ACT Test

For homeschoolers especially, the ACT test is more important because colleges will be scrutinizing that score. The good news is, homeschoolers generally score really well on standardized tests. I took the test five times, and ended up getting a 30. Your child will want to aim for a 30 or above to get the most scholarship money from any college, but colleges will start giving scholarship money for scores as low as the mid-20s. Be sure and check your college’s website for information on ACT or Academic scholarships.

ACT Resources that I used:

http://www.actstudent.org/sampletest/ (Free test questions that you can take, and see the answers afterwards. I used this A LOT to prepare)

http://www.4tests.com/exams/examdetail.asp?eid=13 (A FULL free ACT test that you your child can take online. I used this to prepare for the length, and endurance in the test).

I did get a Math Tutor (because that was my weakest subject). A lady that I babysat for (who was also a math teacher) would just meet me once a week to work with me. I had never taken Trig (and there are four questions on the ACT that deal with that) and she gave me enough strategies that I was able to make it through successfully, and bring up my score. So do not be afraid to seek outside sources!

2. High School Transcript

Most colleges will require a high school transcript. My Dad found a free outline online, and we filled it out. We then calculated my GPA. Printed it off. Mom signed it. And I sent it in. Do not over complicate it. Most colleges will look more at  your student’s ACT score then they will at the transcript. The transcript is simply one of those things that you need to send in, but it is not as important as you make it out to be. On my transcript I did include a bunch of my extracurricular activities (choir, drama, ballet) as well as awards that I won. Just start looking around online, and spend an afternoon with your child working on it.

3. Senior Pictures

Be sure, and do them. They do not have to be professional, but they are fun to take, and fun to give out. My Mom took mine with her nice camera while we were on vacation at the beach. It was fun, and a great memory, and I will always have those pics. Consider supporting a local amateur photographer who is trying to start a business. Take pictures with your child’s favorite instrument, or pet. Make them personal. And have fun! Be sure and take them

4. A Gap Year

In England, students generally take a year off in-between high school, and college. They use this year to work 3-6 months, and then use the rest of the time traveling the world, and engaging in other extracurricular activities. Parents see this as a very important time for their children, a time to widen their worldview, and solidify them in the adult world.

If your student is apathetic about college, or just does not know what to do yet, then do not be afraid to suggest a “gap year”. It will not hurt your child at all, taking a year off before college. There is nothing wrong with having the child stay home a year, and work before heading out to college. I took a gap year after my freshman year of college (to figure out what I wanted to do, and if I wanted to change colleges or my major) and it just helped me figure out my ideas, and realize that I really did want to go to college.

I hope these tips help a bit. Most of all, do not fear, and just keep checking things off the list when it comes to your child’s last year.

And let me know if I can help in any way!

Cornerstone Confessions

Comments

  1. Amy says

    Whoa, this takes me back, Bethie! You did so well at conquering your fears during your senior year. What a great idea for a post. I agree with Alana (I so often do, she is my favorite) and I would even venture to say that you could lengthen this and make it into an ebook or a brochure, and I’ll bet that it would be very helpful for parents and students alike.

    • Bethany Miller says

      That was quite the stressful year! Whew. A lot of adventures, too. I will have to think about the ebook idea. I certainly learned a lot about interviewing, ACT taking, etc…Might be something to think about. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Alana says

    Have you considered writing an article like this for one of the homeschooling magazines? It would be nice to have the viewpoint of someone who has actually been through the process. One thing I would like to mention, although my information may be a bit outdated, is that the ACTs seem to be used more in the midwest, and the SATS more on the east coast.

    • Bethany Miller says

      Writing an article for a magazine is a fascinating idea, Alana. I will have to put some thought into that. That is very true that the ACT is mostly just important in the midwest as opposed to the SAT. If I do submit an article in the future, I will be sure to add information pertaining to the SAT as well. Thanks for the constructive criticism, I do appreciate it immensely!

  3. Beata says

    A very interesting article, especially for someone who lives in England! Is home schooling in senior school quite common in the US? I know only one family who homeschool their child, and only because their daughter is autistic and could not cope in mainstream education. I have a lot of admiration for homeschooling parents, it must take a lot of dedication and perseverance. Monitoring my children’s homework and revision can be hard enough…

    • Bethany Miller says

      So glad to have a visitor from England! Home schooling is becoming more common in America. There is a fairly large population of homeschoolers in my area, but it is still far behind the number of those that attend public schools. That is fascinating that it is a rare thing in England. I think it takes a lot of perseverance for anybody to be an excellent parent–homeschool parent or otherwise. Thanks for the sweet comment, Beata!

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