Heart of Homeschooling
In the previous article, we were about to embark on senior year and college visits with our oldest son. The first nine weeks of school have passed. We’ve visited three schools and applied to several. This is all new to us, so I’m not writing this with expertise, but rather just sharing our experience enrolling a homeschooled student in higher education. We are definitely learning along the way!
At the beginning of the semester, I had Kaleb prepare a spreadsheet with information we would be needing. If he was interested in attending a school, I wanted him to look up the tuition, merit scholarships, deadlines, application fees, etc. for each institution. I asked him to set up visits with those in which he had the most interest. He scheduled visits with the University of Alabama, University of South Alabama, University of Alabama at Huntsville, and a few others that we haven’t visited yet. I had him contact the director of our cover school to send transcripts to places he would like to apply. He filled out several applications and even his financial aid form by himself. I’ve been very proud of all the initiative he has taken. I think it is important that kids be a part of making decisions about the future.
The visits we have been on have gone very smoothly. No one batted an eye when we mentioned homeschooling. In fact, at one of the visits, three out of the eight students were homeschoolers! We most recently visited the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Kaleb has already been accepted there and has a full tuition scholarship. UAH even had a special link for homeschoolers in the application process. He isn’t sure about attending there yet, but that scholarship sure is sweet.
Applications have been a breeze, as well. We haven’t had one issue with anyone accepting a homeschool transcript. Both our cover school, University Church Christian Academy and our director, Donna Tanksi, have been invaluable during this process. We sent her the addresses to send the transcripts and she mailed them out, just like a high school guidance counselor would…except that I can text her with all sorts of zany questions, which is better than a regular high school guidance counselor. She has compiled Kaleb’s transcript out of the information and grades I have sent her over the years. Keeping detailed records and including the areas of study that colleges are used to seeing helps when making a transcript. However, a director or counselor doesn’t have to be the one providing the transcript. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association has several examples of how to produce a complete academic record (www.hslda.org/highschool/academics.asp#transcripts).
Now, I must add that Kaleb is a type-A, independent, academic-minded and determined young man. His acceptance into these colleges has little to do with specific studies or curriculum we have used. From the very beginning, I told my kids that I don’t know all the answers. Ok… I don’t actually know many of the answers at all. But education isn’t as much about knowing the answers as it is knowing how to find them. I really do feel like the most important thing I’ve taught him is the ability to hunt down a solution and the confidence that he could do that, no matter how tough the problem seemed. Essentially, there’s a teacher inside every student. That’s empowering.
We ordered his diploma, cap, and gown. The verse he chose for his diploma was Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Oh, how thankful I am that I didn’t lean into my own understanding! I’m so glad that my thoughts are not His Thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9.) How wonderful that a document representing the completion of his education states that it was not of our own understanding. My own understanding would have never trusted that we would be successful. My own understanding was scared, timid, discouraged, and weak. But God… He worked all things together for good (Romans 8:28).
I honestly can’t believe how easy the process of applying for college has been. I’m pretty sure that the process of actually letting him go will be a bit more complex.
About the Author: Terra Kittrell is a stay-at-home and homeschooling mother of Kaleb, 17, Chandler, 15, Ty, 14, Ramsi Kate, 10, and Oaklee, 3. She and her husband, LaTrelle, live in the Samantha community and are members of Church of the Highlands. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.