How Homeschool Families Tap Experts
Homeschool families choose a dramatically different educational
path for their children than families who enroll their children
in the traditional public or private school system. According
to Nancy Nemoyer of Carlisle, PA, "We are independent
do-it-yourselfers, experts at being creative and leveraging
our resources, often within the financial parameters of a
one-income family." Nemoyer has three sons, all homeschooled.
One is in college. "Home educators are practical problem
solvers in seeking out methods, activities and other experts
that can enrich their children's learning and help them succeed."
But when it comes to helping their children with college
major and career decisions, they may be just as overwhelmed
as any other parent trying to tease out their children's interests
and link them to college majors and meaningful career options.
In their key role as teachers, homeschool parents work more
closely than most parents with their children. They also know
when it is helpful to step back and get an objective third
person perspective. That's when they may tap the knowledge
and skills of an expert.
"The homeschool community is terribly underserved in
the area of college and careers," according to Nemoyer.
"We do not have anyone who can serve as a career consulting
resource for us."
How do homeschool families benefit from the assistance of
a career professional?
"We were concerned about preparing our children for
college. It's daunting what has to be done. I feel a lot of
pressure to help my daughter make good decisions," says
Margee Simeo of Glen Ellyn, IL. Simeo has homeschooled her
6 children over the past 13 years. Her eldest, a daughter,
is ready for college this year.
In 2008, Simeo collaborated with Career Vision to develop
a program titled, "How to Help Your Homeschooled Teen
with College Major and Career Decisions." This free Career
Literacy program was subsequently presented for the parents
and students of Simeo's homeschool support group. Just prior
to this presentation, Simeo brought her daughter, then a high
school junior, to Career Vision. "It was beneficial to
have a third party - her consultant - identify her strengths,
instead of just hearing it from me or my husband. The process
increased Elizabeth's confidence in herself."
In addition to the list of career and related college major
recommendations her consultant prepared for Elizabeth, Simeo
gained some key insights for herself as a homeschool mother.
"Even though I have been teaching my daughter for 13
years, I learned some new aspects about her learning style
that were aptitude-based. Her results helped me understand
some additional ways I could teach her more effectively. For
example, I knew Elizabeth was creative, but learned that she
needed some time to think and prepare before her ideas took
off and she could begin writing an essay. We discovered that
her concentration and focus is very strong, so I understood
I should not worry when she listened to music while studying."
"I also learned that a favorite subject or college major
does not make a career. So her career recommendations linked
to potential majors gave us clear, practical options to explore
in more depth," reports Simeo. "We also appreciated
all the resources provided that would help us accomplish this."
Deborah Harris of Elmhurst, IL, is a homeschooling mother
of six and agrees. "We have brought our four oldest children
to Career Vision. We found that the guidance their consultants
offer is not something you can find in your homeschool network.
We got a more global view of our children's talents and broadened
career options based on their capabilities." For some
of her children, results confirmed a career path in which
they had already shown interest; for others, the results opened
up possibilities and new choices. "We felt the Career
Vision process was thorough, enlightening and extremely cost-effective."
There are millions of homeschooled students in the U.S.
The number of homeschooled students continues to grow. In
its December, 2008
Issue Brief, the National Center for Educational Statistics,
part of the U.S Department of Education, reported that there
were 1.5 million homeschooled students in the U.S. in 2007.
School Legal Defense Association, the nonprofit advocacy
organization established to defend and advance the constitutional
right of parents to direct the education of their children
and to protect family freedoms, places the number at 2 million.
Families often belong to locally-organized support groups
and meet for social time, group activities, and field trips.
Co-operatives, or co-ops, are arrangements where parents teach
each others' students and volunteer hours are typically required.
Home educators use cost-effective college options
Home educators are more aware than most parents about cost-effective
ways to obtain a college degree. Many are advocates of the
College Level Examination Program® (CLEP), as well as
AP® (Advanced Placement) tests. Offered through the College
Board, which also offers the SAT® college entrance
examination, CLEP and AP exams are an accelerated, economical
and convenient way to earn credit. This can be accomplished
through independent study, prior course work, on-the-job training,
professional development, cultural pursuits, or internships.
Homeschool families also tap into the wealth of online distance
learning courses from a variety of colleges and universities.
A popular resource for homeschool families is College
Plus!, a Christian-based coaching program that helps students
earn their bachelor's degrees in less time and at a fraction
of the cost. This is accomplished by working with a consultant
to map out a plan using a combination of CLEP tests; DANTES,
a program offered to military families through the U.S. Department of Defense;
Tests and Prior
Learning Assessments (PLA) offered by Thomas Edison State
College in Trenton, NJ.
Prior Learning Assessments, or experiential learning assessments,
provide students with the opportunity to earn college credit
for mastery of already acquired college-level knowledge in
a specific subject area. This mastery may be acquired in non-traditional
ways such as employment, volunteering, hobbies, travel or
civic activities. In a 2007 Council for Adult and Experiential
Learning (CAEL) survey of college and university administrators,
66% reported that their institutions accepted prior learning
Since CLEP tests, TECEP tests and prior learning assessments
are available to anyone, not just homeschooled students, these
options are worth investigating as a supplement to traditional
coursework on campus.
© Copyright 2009, Career Vision. Article may be reprinted