Colleges and Homeschoolers: Meeting the Expectations of Others

I saw this blurb from a Yahoo loop.   A homeschooling parent who is closer to a college decision copied some passages from Stanford University’s homeschooling policy (quotations mine):


In particular, we would like to hear [in your application] about…what, if any, choices you had to make to accomplish “this type” of education.   With “ little other quantitative information available,” standardized test scores (SAT Reasoning Test or ACT) for home schooled applicants may take on more significance than they might for our other applicants.

Anything you can do to support your application with “standard credentials” will help to reduce any lingering uneasiness we might have about admitting a student lacking recent “formal” educational experience…

We do not care which activities you have chosen; we just hope that you have made full use of your opportunities to contribute to your personal growth and sense of community…


Although other parents contributing to this thread actually spoke very highly of Stanford and its early commitment to higher acceptance rates of homeschooling students (than of students from other types of schools), I had to admit that the language sounds somewhat insulting.    It sort of reminds me of one of the questions I often get asked when I tell people that we homeschool: “How do the kids feel about that?”   Funny, I’ve never heard anyone say “I stopped sending my kids to public school because they didn’t like it”–that is, unless they decided to homeschool.      When our kids were in private school, my only qualifications were 1) were they learning, 2) were they safe, and 3) did they have at least one friend.   I figured out a while back that if I held our homeschool to the standard that they had to have fun every second, I was setting myself up for failure.   


Anyway,  I’ve not done the research myself (Stanford isn’t on our list), but I’d love to compare and contrast their expectations on the applications of traditional public or private school students.   I have looked as a point of curiosity at several of the larger HBCUs (history Black colleges and universities) just to see if any have homeschooling policies.    I found such a policy at Spelman College (a prestigious all-girls college in Atlanta), requiring that homeschoolers take the SAT II subject tests in addition to the SAT or ACT.    I wonder how much additional work it might take to get the oldest into my alma mater.


Anyway, after all the years you spend trying to make your school yours, and after all the research and the adjustments to tailor your school and give your kids the best education you can, it all boils down to someone else measuring whether you’ve done enough.   Bummer.    I’ve taken my first stab at putting together a course listing and associated credits for next year:


Math—1 credit

Science—1 credit

Great Books study (history and literature)—1 credit

Character –1/2 credit

Logic –1 credit

Foreign Language –1 credit

Grammar—1 credit

Bible—1/2 credit

(spring semester) Home Economics—1/2 credit

(fall semester) Costume and Fashion in Ancient History –1/2 credit


I still need to fine tune, to research more, and of course, to pray.   My daughter needs to pick a “top 3” on her list of colleges so that we can make sure that we’re on track with what they look for in freshman candidates.   This exercise seemed simple enough, but the gravity of the decisions began to overwhelm me.   I’m still hoping for a definitive word on what qualifies as a ½ credit versus a whole credit.   Is there value in changing the electives around?   Will I go to hell for not giving Bible more credit (smile)?


God bless you.

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3 thoughts on “Colleges and Homeschoolers: Meeting the Expectations of Others

  1. Uggh. What a lot to think about. I am glad I've got a long time before I'm there, but it's something to think about even now. I'm glad there are wise women like you willing to share your voice of experience with the newer homeschoolers like me. πŸ™‚

  2. …to Spelman and Stanford!!! I'm offended by that wording too. I have talked to several christian college reps and homeschoolers who have gone to christian colleges, and homeschoolers were embraced in all cases. Check out the HSLDA website for homeschooling-friendly colleges. I will have my kids choose from the schools that readily accept homeschoolers. I would be too pessimistic. Many very good colleges welcome homeschoolers. See the article below:

    When we started high school last year, I used a suggested high school course list for students planning to attend a 4-yr university. From that, I planned for each year. A half credit course is one that is completed in half the time of a full credit course. For example, one semester of American Government is 1/2 credit. I had planned to do Health the second semester in that same time slot for another 1/2 credit of Health. Typically a full credit of study is 36 weeks or 400 hours. I learned all this when we moved to TN because attendance records are required also.


  3. I feel your frustration! Your plan looks great, by the way! I'm impressed that you were able to put it together so early.

    A 1-credit course is approximately 150-180 hours of work or at least 3/4 of a textbook for an "academic" class like math, history, English, foreign language, or science; a 1/2-credit course is approximately 75-90 hours of work. Electives are a bit less: about 120 hours for 1 credit and 60 hours for 1/2 credit. Of course, those hours are based on a classroom full of students and include homework time. I have heard that the actual time on task in a classroom setting is quite low.

    For Nathan, I am making sure he understands the material each week. Some courses don't seem to take quite as long, but others are taking quite a bit longer than the prescribed time recommendation. If he is doing enough work for a 1-credit course, then he will earn 1 credit regardless of the number of hours it takes. For electives like music lessons and physical education, if he puts in enough hours to constitute 1 credit, then I will give him 1 credit.

    I don't know if any of that makes sense! Here's the link to a very helpful (and brief) article about evaluating high school credits:


    Andrea πŸ™‚

I'd love to hear your two cents!!