Homeschooling and Concurrent Enrollment in College


Here is another frequently asked question here on Harmony Art Mom.

Have your children done concurrent enrollment, completing courses that count for high school and college at the same time?

With each of our children we have considered our schooling options very carefully and took into account the child’s strengths and weaknesses. Concurrent enrollment at the local community college was always something we considered. We first analyzed the reasons for enrolling in community college courses and then we measured the time commitment. We also decided whether we could duplicate the course at home using online courses or more advanced materials available to homeschoolers.
With our three boys we have made different decisions about concurrent enrollment that matched their needs and goals.
  • Mr. A – No concurrent enrollment. Instead, he completed the ground school portion of flight school through our local Young Eagles program which was one night a week for almost his entire junior year of high school. He also took a year long welding and metal fabrication course his senior year through a local adult school. Both were just the right thing to pump up his courses at home. He was able to test the waters of school outside the house and to learn about things he was interested in pursuing in the future. He is still eagerly pursuing both interests.
  • Mr. B – Only in his senior year. He did not take any outside classes in his junior year but he signed up at the community college for two computer programming classes and a fitness class for his upcoming senior year. He seems ready to venture out and give community college courses a try. He came home from his college counseling appointment with two brochures for certificate programs that he might pursue further. (Both include lots of math and science courses which he enjoys).
  • Mr. D – In his junior and senior year. My oldest son was homeschooled in high school and he took quite a few college classes before he graduated from high school. These are the ones I remember: weightlifting, computer keyboarding, composition, a variety of online and in the classroom computer programming courses, and photography. At that time, we had no support from the local homeschooling community for high school level association. The community college classes were a way to allow him some time among students more his age. We carefully considered the courses, the amount of time involved, and the expense and decided for Mr. D that community college courses were a good fit.

A few miscellaneous words of advice:

  • Math courses at the community college are not harder but they are usually done in a semester instead of a year so the pace needs to be considered. My boys have preferred to take their time through upper level math so we completed those courses at home with the help of really good texts and support.
  • Science at the college always includes a HUGE amount of talk about evolution and nothing to counter-balance. I know for our family I was more comfortable waiting for college level science until after they graduated and were more mature.
  • Literature courses at the community college level always lean towards the very liberal bias. Social issues seem to pop up in every discussion and if your children are conservative in nature and have strong Christian beliefs, they are going to be challenged on a college level by fellow students and teachers. For some children this is something they need to work up to and for my children I chose to wait until they were older before putting them in that position.

So keep in mind that even though your child may be academically ready for community college and concurrent enrollment, emotionally and physically they may not be as ready as you think. We have never regretted our decision to hold off on particular college courses when they were in high school.

Now here is my personal opinion:
Sometimes the best gift we can give our children is the gift of time. Time to grow and mature in a place where they can flourish. For my children this took place mostly at home among their siblings and close friends. They were able to build a solid foundation both academically and spiritually within the walls of our homeschool. They felt comfortable to ask questions, to express their thoughts, and to taste a bit of the world as it touched them through their everyday lives and contacts.There has been no reason to rush them along the road of life….this time is precious and not to be hurried.

I have learned to trust my children and as long as they are self-educating, learning things that they can use and apply, and have some goals, my husband and I are supportive.

Just like each child learns to walk on their own schedule and they learn to read when they are ready, I am trusting that my children will go to college when it is the right time. 
In the meantime, I will watch and support their interests.

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