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I'm home schooled. What to do?

  1. Oct 4, 2007 #1
    Hey there.

    I'm nearly 15, and I've been home schooled since the 6th grade. I have a pretty deep interest in physics, and would like to eventually make it into a career. My worry right now is a high school degree. For various reasons, I can't go back to school, and the high schools where I live are terrible. Since I can't get a regular high school diploma, I'm faced with a problem. I don't want to take a GED, and I really want to get into a good college. My only teacher is my mother, who I have passed in math and science, and I have largely been studying on my own, and doing fine.

    I have a few questions:
    1) Is there some kind of program I can enroll in that will allow me to get a regular high school diploma? (I've looked, and I haven't been able to find any. I live in Hawaii, by the way.)
    2) Recommendations from teachers/counselors seem extremely important. I don't have anyone who can really recommend me. How important are they? Alternatively, if I found some sort of way to study under someone, and got a recommendations from them, would it be as valid?
    3) Do colleges frown on online high school programs?

    Thanks. Sorry if this isn't too well put together.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2007 #2
    If I were you I would contact some of the universities that you are interested in and ask them what someone in your situation should do. Perhaps they can waive the teacher recommendations in lieu of getting some recommendations from employers/people who know you well?

    I have an idea for you - since you are young, you have some time to garner recommendations. Why don't you look into taking a few community college courses at your local CC? If you do well in those classes, you could get some recommendations from those professors and that would speak very well of you to an admissions committee - and you'd get a leg-up on some classes.

    You should look into doing that.
  4. Oct 4, 2007 #3
    Think outside the box. Instead of studying under someone, try to get a job helping an engineering/science firm out. Even if all you do is file papers, it'll show people you have a clear interest in a certain field.
  5. Oct 4, 2007 #4


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    Do not underestimate the importance of social interaction with other like-minded ones as a tool for improved/accelerated learning!
    In fact, "thinking outside the box" is more likely to cause mental stagnation in you than improvement.

    If you wish to push for a higher science degree, I suggest you and your parents get together and check:
    What grants are available?
    What schools should you apply for?

    It really is important for you to get out among like-minded persons with similar interests&capabilities in order to develop the best in yourself.
  6. Oct 4, 2007 #5
    Not that you are necessarily interested in Princeton, per se, but I think that http://www.princeton.edu/admission/applyingforadmission/tips_for_home_schooled/ [Broken] might be interesting reading for you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  7. Oct 4, 2007 #6
    Thanks for the advice so far.

    Arildno, I plan on/have done most of what you suggested, but I was wondering about one thing:

    What do you mean by this?
  8. Oct 4, 2007 #7


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    In order to think new, you need new impulses!
    The most efficient way of getting this, and to have your own prejudicial thinking challenged, is by interacting with other people.

    Left to ourselves, we rarely choose to challenge our most cherished notions, precisely because we cherish them.
    Others won't be that sensitive, and may "force" you to leave the notion behind if unsound.

    Cluttering your mind with possibly unsound, uncriticized ideas leads to stagnation.

    Furthermore, exceptionally few of us are all-round geniuses bubbling of creativity.
    However, quite a few us are able to work upon works of others, gain new ideas through conversation with others, take another person's fumbling idea and hone it into something really useful and so on.

    Thus, not interacting with others are to deprive yourself of many inspirations for personal (quasi-) original work, thereby reducing the probability for you being able to produce any such work at all.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2007
  9. Oct 4, 2007 #8


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    Do you have a county office of education, or a county superintendent of schools to help you find a practical alternative? Also check with your closest community college about attending an introductory or elementary course; the school counseling department could assess your prerequisite knowledge and make a recommendation about course possibilities for you.
  10. Oct 5, 2007 #9
    I was homeschooled and recieved my homeschool diploma the same way any other student would have in a highschool. There are plenty programs avaible to homeschoolers that are accredited.
    When I started homeschooling I was allowed to take a test to determine my exact grade level and was allowed to skip the entire 6th grade and half of 7th. This allowed me to graduate early and enter college a year ahead of my peers.
  11. Oct 7, 2007 #10


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    home schooling is fine for high school, as many high school teachers, bless their hearts, are cretinous morons.
    but in college you will encounter intellectual giants like myself, hence obviously any attempt to short circuit this opportunity is folly.
  12. Oct 7, 2007 #11
    If ever there was a reason to be an autodidact, here it is.
  13. Oct 7, 2007 #12
    Beautiful. :rofl::biggrin:
  14. Oct 9, 2007 #13
    Have you thought about doing Stanford's EPGY program?
  15. Oct 9, 2007 #14
    I have not, actually, but I'm going to look into this some more.
  16. Oct 10, 2007 #15
    Community college -> transfer to university is always something to keep in mind.
  17. Oct 11, 2007 #16


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    You have very nicely summed up my objections to homeschooling for high school. Anyway, you already recognize the limitations of your education so far, so I won't belabor that point.

    As others have suggested, take community college courses to make up for your deficiencies. This will help with several things relevant to gaining an admission to a 4-year college: 1) you can handle the coursework at an appropriate level, 2) you can learn in a regular classroom setting, which is quite different from independent study, 3) when you need letters of reference, you can ask your community college instructors to provide those, 4) it shows you are sufficiently dedicated to seeking a college degree that you will go the extra step needed to fill in any educational gaps.

    I disagree with the advice to try to learn through a job filing papers. I don't think you're very likely to learn much of anything subject-specific in a job like that. However, I do agree that getting a job will help (if you don't already have one), even if it's only a part-time job while you take a community college class or two. The reason is that, again, if you do a good job, are responsible and hard-working, and learn quickly, you can get a letter of recommendation from your employer stating this. Not all college recommendations have to come from teachers, and having one from an employer really can be an asset, especially in a situation like yours. An employer can talk about qualities that are very important for surviving in a college environment that go beyond pure academic ability, such as being a self-starter (it's hard to tell that when someone is homeschooled...are they motivated to do the work, or is it their parents pushing them to do it all the time?). Again, it's another source of information about how you interact with peers/co-workers, which is again something that is hard to evaluate if someone has been homeschooled and not had much interaction with peers to show they can handle things like teamwork and conflict resolution.

    I would also advise against self-study at this point. Because you have already had limited formal education in math and science subjects, it is just too easy to build up misperceptions of the material if you are learning it entirely independently, or through an online course. It's very easy to think you understand something when there is nobody to challenge your reasoning (this is the same point Arildno was already making). It will make it that much harder to "unlearn" the mistakes later if you keep building upon them. Not that students who have gone through a traditional high school don't also show up to college with such misperceptions (and some are planted by the teachers, sadly), but it could be much worse if you keep building them up without critique. When you do enter formal classes, keep an open-mind that you might have learned something wrong or misunderstood some concepts you thought you previously had learned.

    So, the bottom line is that if you're really committed to the idea of pursuing higher education, you are never locked out of that as long as you're willing to put in the time and effort.
  18. Oct 11, 2007 #17
    Have you ever looked at EPGY and UCCP?

    EPGY is run by Stanford and has some fees attached to it but has a wider variety of classes and it seems to work well for my friend who took it to skip pre-calculus and take phsyics. UCCP is run by the UC program and is free but has a smaller variety.


  19. Oct 16, 2007 #18

    First, I have found allot of schools are willing to admit homeschool students who can demonstrate their knowledge to the admissions persons(SATs and AP exams are helpful).

    Second, speaking from personal experience, I was homeschooled all through highschool. I made it into many large universities (Boston U, Case Western, Air Force Academy,...), but ended up deciding on a small school (I liked small classes). I am now about to graduate with honors in physics. What is important is that you ensure you are prepared to study hard in college, through studying hard in highschool. Also, the independent nature of learning at home comes in handy in college.

    Finally, I have had many friends who were homeschooled go to good schools (Boston U, Johns Hopkins, ...). They made it through working hard and honestly reporting their grades to the institution. Also, my brother made it into a good school to, so no worries there.
  20. Oct 24, 2007 #19
    Meant to post this earlier, but thanks a lot for all the advice everyone. I'm going to take some community college courses, and I'm considering enrolling in an online high school program to make sure my education is better rounded.
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