How Home Schoolers Impress College Professors
Inevitably, when a faculty or staff member learned of my new role as Benedictine College’s Home School Outreach Coordinator, they shared with me one of two types of responses.
Some shared encouragement, telling me how home schoolers are succeeding in college and contributing in the classroom. Others shared advice, asking me to pass along to home school families tips and hints that would help their students thrive after high school.
As a former homeschooling mom, I recognized the value of both types of feedback, and I am happy to share with Seton families some of what I learned!
What Home Schoolers Get Right
Let’s begin with how home school graduates are impressing Benedictine College professors.
Karen Wood, professor of Criminology and Sociology and longtime home schooling mother, explains that home schoolers “were taught to value learning for its own sake. In contrast, traditional students often think about education as a series of hoops to jump through.”
Dr. John Romano, History Dept. Chair, notes home schoolers “don’t have to be forced to read. Some of the people I know who are best read, in fact, are those who have been homeschooled.” High praise indeed coming from a 2018 recipient of the Rome Prize, called the Pulitzer Prize for the humanities.
Homeschooling father and professor of Theology Dr. Matt Ramage observes that home schoolers “are often very mature, know how to relate to adults, and have discipline in their schoolwork.” In fact, he estimates that 7 out of 10 of his “best students” were home schooled.
After years of teaching in public school settings, Dr. Angela Broaddus of the Math and Computer Science Department encountered home schooled students at Benedictine and saw for herself how their positive traits translate into classroom success.
Now a self-proclaimed “home school convert,” Dr. Broaddus finds that home schoolers “are responsible for their part of learning, do assignments thoroughly, review the syllabus carefully, and seek help to resolve problems.”
What to Work On
Dr. Broaddus added this surprising caveat: “Some experiences that students have in high school need to be truly difficult so that they learn with their parents how to navigate something that was hard for them.”
One way a home schooling parent can help is to encourage your high school student to tackle a challenge outside their comfort zone. Even if it means failure, the more experience your student has with challenges, the better prepared they will be to work through difficulties in college.
Director of Benedictine’s Student Success Center Mrs. Janet Wilcox finds that some home school students may be “unprepared for a lecture setting and related note-taking requirements.”
To address that, a parent should give students opportunities to grow skills such as identifying the speaker’s structure and main points and writing quickly and legibly.
Dr. Stephen Mirarchi of the English Department reminds home schoolers that “piety doesn’t make up for not doing homework.”
A parent can start to emphasize to your student that balancing his faith life with his academic pursuits is glorifying God in all things and living out his primary vocation.
A piece of friendly advice comes from Fr. Marion Charbonneau, a monk of St. Benedict’s Abbey and professor in the History Department. He notes that “among students who don’t put their names on papers or tests – there’s an astoundingly high percentage of homeschool students who will be the ones who do that!”
Which leads to one last piece of advice: Request Benedictine’s free “Catholic Homeschool Student and Parent Guide to Preparing for College Admission” at www.benedictine.edu/homeschoolguide.
This appeared at Seton Magazine.