College Homeschooling

10 Reasons Homeschoolers Rock at College and Adulthood

We’ve all heard the stereotypes about homeschoolers, right? You know, the assumptions people make when they find out that you’re one of “those” families. A lot of times, people’s curiosity about (or disapproval of) homeschooling may reveal itself in the many questions they ask about your children’s future welfare. They may ask, “Don’t you worry that they aren’t at the same level as their peers?” or “How will they know how to compete when they get to college?” Maybe you’ve come across people who automatically associate homeschooling with a lack of social experience or skills. Honestly, I’m glad that this stereotype seems less popular than it used to be, but it’s definitely still out there! Those concerned queries are still fluttering around in response to homeschooling: “How is she going to meet people her own age?” or “Doesn’t he need to be at school, learning to make friends?”

HHM 10 Reasons Homeschoolers Rock at College and Adulthood

In reality, almost every former homeschooler I’ve known (myself included) had plenty of friends and did well in college. Furthermore, I don’t think I’ve ever met a former homeschooler who didn’t impress her employer, particularly as a young person in a first job. A 2009 study by the University of St. Thomas showed that not only are homeschoolers more likely to finish college than their private or public school peers, they also tend to have higher GPAs. Beyond academic success, however, many homeschoolers find that the same qualities which helped them succeed in college also carry over into building successful relationships and doing well in the workplace. Here are 10 reasons why homeschoolers are uniquely prepared to handle the transition into college and adulthood.

 

1. They know how to be their own boss. Homeschoolers know how to be self-starters and prioritize their time. After all, they learned growing up which subjects took them longer and which they could complete more quickly. They also learned that, if they worked hard and relentlessly, they could make their own schedule and enjoy some time to pursue other interests. This quality makes it way easier for homeschoolers to adjust to a college schedule, which is less taken up by in-class time but has much more demanding academic tasks alongside a plethora of social activities. Homeschoolers already know their work-style and how to balance business and fun….which makes all of this a lot less overwhelming.

2. At the same time, they know how to respect the boss. Because everyone knows  you should respect your teacher, and you should respect your mom….But when you grow up with your mom as your teacher, you are going to have a pretty good idea about how to be respectful, in general.

3. They tend to be perfectionists. When you’re homeschooled, there aren’t dozens of other students around to watch and compare yourself to. However, you know what you are capable of, and so does your teacher, and you are pushed to that limit.

4. They’ve got an arsenal of skills and interests. I think a lot of people would really be shocked by the sheer number of crazy-awesome things most homeschoolers know how to do. As a teenager, I led a writers’ group, took dance most nights of the week, taught ballet (to help pay for my own classes), sang in the choir, was on a drama team, and was part of the youth leadership team of my church. I knew another homeschooler (through my writers’ group), who was a professional-level blacksmith at the age of sixteen. Another homeschooled friend was a math-whiz and helped his dad analyze stock market trends. My husband and his siblings (also homeschooled) did a ton of interesting things growing up, too. He found a love of aviation as a teen and was able to learn how to fly planes before he even had a driver’s license. Having a wide variety of developed interests like this is good for your sumé and is fun for conversations…but I think it also makes you a happier person.

5. They know themselves. While a lot of twenty-somethings go crazy trying to “find themselves,” most former homeschoolers already seem to know who they are. I think this is probably true for a lot of reasons. The ability to independently find that balance between work and play probably has something to do with it, and so does family support (homeschoolers tend to have close relationships with their parents and family). They’ve also got an edge on the self-discovery thing from the unique opportunity they’ve had to pursue their interests and passions.


6. They know about relationships. It’s true that kids who grow up in public school are constantly surrounded by large groups of other kids in their exact age bracket, which can make it easier to find friends fast during the growing up years. However, it gets a lot harder for most people to make new friends once they’re officially out there in the “real world” (without the shared bond of a crazy chemistry teacher as a conversation starter). However, homeschoolers have always made their friends out in the “real world” and are used to striking up conversations with others of all ages. In my first job out of college, I was younger than all of my co-workers by at least twenty-five years, but I was able to be friends with all of them pretty easily, which is something I attribute to homeschooling

7. They’re always learning…even as grown-ups. Homeschoolers are kind of like the romantic poets, you know, like Wordsworth, who went out into nature and found a whole new philosophy in the daffodils. Ok, so maybe that one’s only for the lit-nerds (like me). But the concept of finding learning in every experience holds true for all the former homeschoolers I know. We are always thinking about what is going on in terms of things we’ve learned about: history, politics, psychology, science, etc. I think this is because so many homeschool parents really know how to personalize learning by connecting it to their child’s interests. Once homeschooled, always homeschooled, in a way; the learning never stops, but that’s fine with us because learning is fun!

8. One-on-one is not intimidating. Did you know that Oxford and Cambridge University both use a learning model called the “tutorials system”? It’s pretty much a one-on-one mentor/mentee learning situation where a student gets to learn from an expert in his or her chosen field of study. I did not learn this until I studied abroad at Oxford as an undergraduate. Each week, I’d read a list of books, write a paper, and then walk through the streets of Oxford to meet with my “tutor,” who would pretty much make my brain start working overtime with the questions she would ask. I actually loved it, because it allowed me to focus intensely on what I was learning and really challenged me. It also felt really familiar…..You see, homeschoolers are used to one-on-one conversations about about what we think and why we think it. That’s a pretty important skill in academia, in job interviews, and in marriage, too, for that matter.

9.They can teach. At some point, most homeschooling situations experience a shift from parental instruction to more independent learning. By this point, homeschoolers know how they learn and are pretty good at teaching themselves. If you can teach yourself by figuring something out, then it’s not too hard to teach it to others either.

10. They’ve got family values. Responsibility, respect, caring, and accountability are some of the attributes former homeschoolers are likely to demonstrate. Homeschooling parents have the unique opportunity to make the values which are important to them a valuable part of their children’s education, entwining lessons like how to be a good son or daughter, sibling, friend….even boyfriend or girlfriend (or husband or wife), into the daily curriculum.

These are just 10 of the reasons I think homeschoolers rock at college and adulthood. As a former homeschooler myself, I know that my homeschooling experience shaped me in so many ways, academically and socially, which have continued to be helpful in life.

How about you? Do you feel that you’ve seen the homeschooling experience make a positive impact in your (or your kids’) grown-up life? Leave a comment and share!

About the author

Kathryn

Kathryn (Katie) is a Christian who gets excited about literature and writing, natural wellness, coffee and dancing (you might catch her grooving down the grocery store aisle). She and her husband, Dane, were both home schooled; they plan to one day home school their (now-infant) daughter. After college, Katie taught the full-range of subjects at a private academy, working primarily with dyslexic students. She loved helping students discover a passion for reading as a certified reading instructor. Currently, she is earning an MA in English and Creative Writing while teaching Zumba fitness and doing her best to figure out mommy-hood. She's excited to join the HHM as a "home school graduate" contributor. You can read more from Katie at Write Where You Are.

6 Comments

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  • Awesome examples. I find these true in my life – having been mostly home schooled through 12th grade. I love to balance and pursue multiple interests and my transition into college and grad school was almost seamless. I already knew how to take responsibility for my own work!

    Great article, Kathryn!

    😉 Corinne

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Corinne! It’s great to know that your own experiences as a homeschool graduate validate the information that Kathryn shared in this article.

  • Great article, very encouraging. I shared this with my childen and they agreed with it also. Thank you for sharing your experience and insight.

  • I think your article is very one sided. I would prefer that you show data that reflects your information rather then examples. I find that everything you list to also can be held true for public and private schools children. It’s each child’s personality and they way they are raised not necessarily their schooling to be the main reason they are successful. I believe these can be true attributes but I also think your article would hold more value if you include cold data report this.

    • This research information doesn’t cover all of the points mentioned in the article, but it does cover some very important information–especially since those who aren’t familiar with homeschooling are often very misinformed about the ability of homeschooled students to fit into society, have friends, keep jobs, and so on. There is lots of great information available from HSLDA (the Home School Legal Defense Association) and other sources. Here is one source to get you started. https://www.hslda.org/research/ray2003/HomeschoolingGrowsUp.pdf

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