by guest author Michelle Curren
How are homeschooled students doing in college? Here’s an excerpt of an article from Mid-Life Blogger on what professors think of homeschooled students.
In my pursuit to encourage homeschooling parents, I thought it would be interesting to get an idea of how homeschool graduates perform in college as experienced by the professors. I made an appeal to professors through Facebook posts, and with the responses that I received I’m going to give you some insight into what they’ve seen in homeschooled college students.
This is not meant to be scientific, in that I didn’t poll hundreds of professors. I was looking more for personal experience, and an idea of their overall attitude towards homeschoolers. In fact, I received only seven responses. I could have pursued more, but I felt like this was a good sampling, and that by being a small number I could present their answers in their entirety. They are employed by both public and private institutions and teach a variety of subjects. I know one of them personally, but he didn’t teach either of my children.
For scientific research on homeschoolers, I’ll refer you to Dr. Brian Ray of NHERI, the National Home Education Research Institute, who has done extensive polling, and compiling of that information. His reports, especially “Strengths of Their Own,” were very encouraging to me when I was raising our children – they gave me a vision, and courage that helped me face the mountainous task of homeschooling through high school.
Most of the professors preferred to remain anonymous, so I will honor that. However, one respondent specifically asked me to share his identity. When I publicly asked for college professors who might be willing to answer a short survey, someone suggested that I contact Dr. Jay Wile. In case you aren’t familiar with him, he writes science textbooks especially for homeschoolers, published by Apologia and Berean Builders. I consider Dr. Wile to be somewhat of a celebrity, so I have to admit that I was amused by that suggestion when I first read it, but then I thought, “Why not?”
Not only did he agree to answer my questions, his response was the first one I got back. I was so excited, that I told my daughter about it. I asked her if she remembered using his textbooks for science and she replied, “Yep! Especially animal science, that’s what started my love for science.” Dr. Wile suggested that I add that he “experienced homeschooled students at two different universities: a secular one and a Christian one. In both cases, they were (on average) my best students.” If you would like to learn more about Dr. Wile, you can visit his website at here.
I’m grateful to all of the professors who took time to respond, especially since I hit them up right during finals. They all gave such great responses that I’m going to relay them verbatim. This really is everything that they said – I didn’t leave anything out.
My survey consisted of four simple questions:
- What are homeschooled college students’ strengths in college classes?
- What are homeschooled college students’ weaknesses in college classes?
- What suggestions would you give homeschooling parents who want to prepare their students for the demands of college classes?
- Is there any other information that you would like to offer?
I’m going to restate each of these questions as a sub-heading and then follow them with the professors’ responses. Dr. Wile’s will appear at the end of each section.
What are homeschooled students’ strengths in college classes?
“Most are respectful of me as the instructor and of what I am trying to teach them. Most see the value in what I have to share with them rather than seeing my classes as something they ‘have to’ take.”
“I teach English, and I have noticed most of the homeschool students I have had are better prepared for writing assignments than the typical public schooled student is. This is obviously related to the curriculum used at home, but I think most were still exposed to grammar and mechanics in their middle school years when most public schools don’t emphasize this as much in middle school.”
“Generally speaking it’s been my experience that homeschoolers take the assignments seriously and are willing to actually work on them, and to persist working on them until they’re finished. They are also not afraid to ask for help when it’s needed and/or to work with peers and/or adults. They are also much more respectful.”
“Although home schooled students’ abilities are varied, my impression is that homeschooled students generally have good reading skills, can think critically, solve problems, and have independent ideas. They seem to be good at project based learning as well. In general, their effort and work ethic is better than average. They seem eager to learn. I have had a 16-year-old homeschooler that never had any science class before in my plant biology class (for biology majors) that was by far the best student in the class.”