This information is very timely seeing as I have a child just now starting college:
Going to college for the first time is never easy. Students have to say goodbye to their parents and prepare to begin their adult lives. Parents have to watch as their children leave the nest, potentially for good. This transition, however, can be even more difficult for parents who have homeschooled their children, sometimes for their entire lives. You are used to determining what your child will study, why and for how long, and it may be difficult to finally let go of the reins and allow your child to make those decisions. College is, however, one of the most special times in your child's life. So, once you get past the initial growing pains, the experience of supporting a college student can be one of the most rewarding transitions you've ever made. Here are some tips for starting out:
1. Try not to meddle in their coursework.
Even though you are very accustomed to knowing exactly what your child is studying and how they're doing,
make sure to stop yourself from meddling too much in the details of their classes. College is a time for your child to take the reins and apply what you've taught him or her to everything they come across in class. Just like their classmates' high school teachers will not be calling them to ask about what types of problems they got on their first Chemistry assignment, you should not be able to do so, either. If you ask for too much information and do too much prying, then your child could resist coming to you at all about their classes.
2. Make your availability known.
On the other hand, it's always a good idea to let your child know that you are open and available for help anytime they need you. It may not be an easy transition to go from being homeschooled one-on-one or in a small group to attending classes alone with potentially hundreds of other students in the room. Learning how to deal with college classes could take some time. And, since you have been the one to prepare your child for this important step, make sure they know that you are still there to help if they have questions about their coursework.
3. Have homeschool documents ready to go.
Because you have provided your child with a high school curriculum that has taken them from the first hears of high school to those final months of college preparation, if you kept those documents, you also have a wealth of academic information at your fingertips. If your child is having trouble remembering how to cite sources or the best way to solve an Algebra equation, make sure to have their homeschool work ready to send to them. It's best to have a scanner on hand and to send files to them in a PDF format. That way, your child will have their very owns study guides that they can use to guide themselves through the transition into college coursework.
4. Allow your child to take the lead.
This may be the most difficult tip for any home school parent to follow. Try to remember at all times that the college experience is about learning and growing as a person. Even if you disagree with your child's choice of courses or major, you have to let them make their own choices and, possibly, their own mistakes. Walking the line between being supportive and letting your child make their own academic choices from here on out is definitely something that takes work but will pay off largely in the long run.
Maria Rainier is a hardworking freelance blogger who dispenses online education advice and useful data for students, and parents on onlinedegrees.org. Please share your comments with her below!
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