Approximately 10 days ago we got the surprise of our lives. Mr. 18 applied to a university that does not award scholarships based on ‘mommy marks’, but he received their highest level marks-based entrance scholarship anyhow!
I’ve been puzzling about that. Why did this university ignore its own regulations in such a spectacular way? Of course, being a mom, I know my kid is special…but, realistically speaking, so is every mom’s kid. So what is going on?
Here are two factors that probably influenced this decision.
- My son had done an extraordinary amount of learning. He had read widely, fiction as well as non-fiction, new work as well as classics. He took difficult courses—Advanced Chemistry, Advanced Physics, Calculus, Omnibus. He approached some courses in creative ways: much of his world geography course consisted of making short movies of different regions of the world. He had a variety of long-term hobbies (beekeeping, nature photography, judo) and interesting volunteer experiences. And his SAT score (which this university says it does not accept) was very good.
- My son’s ‘mommy marks’ were extremely well documented. Using Lee Binz’s Comprehensive Record Solution (reviewed here) and a great deal of time, I prepared a 60-page explanation of my son’s 1-page transcript, with course outlines, course descriptions, test marks, book lists, volunteer activities, and hobbies. The admissions office implied that the university spent quite a bit of time comparing my course descriptions with standard Ontario courses, making all this effort worthwhile. While my son did not have any of the required ‘official’ course grades, his SAT score, CEMC math competition scores, and Legion writing contest awards helped to validate his ‘mommy marks’.
If you and your teen want to homeschool high school on your own without outside courses, here are two things to focus on:
- Teens should work hard, following their interests while getting a solid basic education. They should read widely, learn the techniques in How to Read a Book (reviewed here), individualize courses, enjoy hobbies, volunteer, enter competitions, and be balanced. This will prepare them for life, for university, for the SAT, and for scholarships. Preparing for life is, of course, most important of all but, really, the same methods apply to all of them. “Characteristics of Top SAT Scorers” outlines this in greater detail.
- Moms should be diligent about preparing careful records of what their teens have studied. There are many ways of doing this, but two aspects are crucial:
- Keep track of all reading, educational activities, volunteer activities, hobbies, and competitions. Back your records up, even if all you do is email them to yourself.
- Present all this in a way that university admissions officers will understand and appreciate. Believe in the value of the education you are providing and let that shine through in your description of your teen’s education.
Finally, remember, you do not need to enroll in government-approved courses in order to educate your teens and prepare them for life and for post-secondary education. Instead, you can choose the best homeschool curricula for your teens and provide them with a truly great and godly education.
You may also be interested in my other articles about homeschooling high school.
Photos courtesy of Mr. 18.
This post has been linked to Finishing Strong.