The Heart of Homeschooling
by Terra Kittrell
Six years ago when I took my kids out of public school, college seemed like some light-years away, futuristic event. I didn’t have a plan for high school, much less higher education. I was intimidated by high school. I was sure I’d probably mess something up. I could handle teaching math, but when they start putting letters in there, I’m OUT. Honestly, I thought they would end up back in school for the last years in preparation for graduation. Now, not only are we entering our last year of homeschooling for my eldest son, we are preparing for entrance into a university.
Years ago, a comment was made on social media by a stranger that angered me, yet frightened me, as well. A friend of mine was having a conversation about some random school topic, and I commented about how it worked with homeschooling.
Well, this rather obnoxious character replied to my comment and basically stated that homeschooling was okay if one wanted to be say… a janitor, or gardener… but if the student was interested in college, he or she needed to be enrolled in “real” school. I typed and deleted… then typed and deleted again. Was he insulting me or my children? Or both? I clicked on his profile. Not married. No kids. Pictures of plants. (Maybe HE was a gardener?) I decided to just move on and let him have his thrill of bullying people on the internet. But inside, I did wonder if he was right. Many times on this journey, my confidence has waned and been shaky. That’s just the spot that the enemy knew to attack to discourage the wonderful blessings happening in our home. I shook it off, but I did think of it from time to time. At that point, none of my kids were close to entering college, and they all seemed to be progressing along beautifully. Before I knew it, we were entering high school. Now here we are, entering his senior year.
When I talk with parents considering homeschooling, preparing a child for college is high on the list of worries. (Being patient enough is the number one.) Well… it’s not as hard as it seems. Homeschoolers travel through the same academic courses that any student does. They take the same PSAT, ACT, SAT and other entrance exams just like other students. My son’s scores and grade point average enabled him to enroll in Early College at the University of Alabama, where he can continue as an entering freshman as long as he maintains a 2.5 grade point average and obtains seventeen credit hours by the summer following high school graduation (check out uaearlycollege.ua.edu for more info.) Even if a student chooses not to enter early college, he or she can still apply for admission to a university with a transcript and exam scores. In the spring of 2014, the Alabama legislature passed SB38 which contains College anti-discrimination provisions stating that “Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, no public two-year or four-year institution of higher education in the state may deny admission to or otherwise discriminate against an otherwise qualified student based on the consideration, whether in whole or in part, that the student attended, graduated from, or is enrolled in a nonpublic school, including private, church, parochial, and religious schools, or was home schooled.” Ala. Code § 16-1-11.4.
In a March 2016 study by Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., he found that “Home educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions” (Research Facts on Homeschooling 2.) He also found that homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges. Judging by our influx of mail from just about every college I’ve heard of (and some I haven’t,) I’d agree. We plan on visiting the campuses of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of West Alabama, University of South Alabama, and the University of Alabama (his preferred choice at the moment.) He intends to major in biology (pre-medicine) and minor in mathematics. I laugh every time I write or say that. Really… I’m over here adding a tip at a restaurant saying, “Carry the one…” and my kid wants to minor in math. ON PURPOSE. No one is forcing him. My DNA. That’s a miracle in itself, folks. We have several college bound friends and ones enrolled in campuses in state and out of state. Pardon my grammar, but they ain’t majoring in gardening, either. Some of their majors include mechanical engineering/STEM MBA, business with a Spanish minor, a couple of pre-medicines, nursing, elementary education, human development and family studies, industrial design, civil engineering, and much more.
By the time I write my next article, the college applications will all be completed and the first semester of senior year will be over. I’m so glad I did not let the enemy damage my confidence and steal the joy of home educating my son. Second Corinthians 12:9 says, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Many times I have prayed about my weaknesses in instructing my children, and God has continued to show me His Power, even through those shortcomings. If the thought of college readiness is intimidating and discouraging, cling to the promise that all things can be done with Christ who gives us strength.
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.