For our family, the transition from high school to college student is a gradual process. We have taken several small steps along the way which has made the journey much easier.
One of the first things we did to ease the transition was to help our daughters develop time management skills. Starting in late middle school, I give weekly assignments, but they are in charge of when they work. The kids work from a schedule for each subject that acts much like a syllabus you would get from a college course. The weekly assignments are due by Saturday.
Once the girls are handling that aspect of time management well, I begin to give them even more flexibility by letting them have the entire syllabus for the year (still broken into manageable lessons) and letting them work on it at a pace that suits them. At this point, they also have the answer keys to check their own work. They still have to test regularly on things like math, so I know progress is being made. I have to admit, this worked much better for my detailed-oriented kids than it did for my more flighty child.
Academic classes at our co-op have also stretched their self-management muscles. These classes only meet once a week, so students have to do the rest of the work on their own time. They have taken things like biology and Latin at co-op and have been completely responsible for getting the work done. I have remained entirely hands off with these classes, other than checking on their grades.
Another way they prepare for college is simply by volunteering in their community. Through volunteering they take on varied responsibilities and learn all sorts of things they wouldn’t learn at home. I am also very hands off with their volunteering, other than being the transportation until they can drive. They have to interact with the volunteer coordinators, keep track of their schedule, and make sure to keep up with the responsibilities given to them. The girls have worked at a food bank, therapeutic horse stables, the library, and a rescue and rehabilitation center for birds of prey.
As high school juniors, they are able to take classes as dual enrollment students at our community college. Taking one or two courses a semester gets them accustomed to the demands of professors and the college environment while still being on a smaller campus. They also get to explore different areas of study without the commitment of choosing a major. Our state pays for two dual enrollment courses a semester for juniors and seniors, so they could potentially complete nearly half of an associates degree before graduating. My girls have taken or will take things such as Chinese, statistics, and video production.
My oldest begins college full time in the fall. Since she has already been attending classes at the same college, the transition will be seamless. She knows exactly what to expect and is entirely comfortable in that environment.
It has been an interesting, albeit sometimes trying, process to make sure the girls are ready for college, but by doing what I can to prepare them for the transition, I feel like it hasn’t been as difficult as it could be.
What have you done, or plan to do, to prepare your kids for their transition to college, work, or trade school?
Apryl–Born and raised in Tennessee, Apryl is a southern girl at heart. She lives out in the country with her husband and her three daughters. She is an artist, photographer and a homeschooler. After having an unfulfilling public school education herself, and struggling to find peace with the education her girls were receiving in the public school system, she made the choice to homeschool. When they began their homeschool journey, the girls were in the third and sixth grades. Now she is happily coaching three teenaged daughters through their high school years. You can visit her blog at Almost a Farm Girl