Q: How do you prepare your child for University and how can they get into uni without a school leaving certificate/score.
There are many ways your child can enter university here in Australia:
- study at Open University of Australia which has no pre-requisites (leaving cert etc) you just sign up, study and get your credits,
- take a bridging course which is equal to grade 12 though offered through the university,
- Some courses allow for an interview with a portfolio entrance,
- do a cert 4 at TAFE (which is usually considered equal to a year 12),
- gain a few credits at Open University and then transfer to the uni of your choice. Once you have a handful of credits from a university you are seen as a university student not as a homeschool student (that has nothing to do with it any more). You therefore have the opportunities to transfer as any other student would.
- There may well be other pathways – if you know of them, I’d love to hear from you.
Each university in Australia has a percentage of alternative entry placements and homeschoolers slot into that category – you just have to find out the pathway that the university of your choice has.
Because we chose an eclectic course, that didn’t have essay questions already prepared Joshua had written very few essays before he went into Uni. I knew this would be the case and had made a deliberate decision to teach him how to think and how to communicate his thoughts on paper. I felt that he would be able to learn the constraints, the format of essay writing when he needed it. This has ended up as true. He has quickly gained skill in putting an essay together – he is still on a learning curve as he hasn’t had a great deal of practice (as in years 11 and 12) so it takes him time, but he is getting better with each essay assignment.
I think it is so important for university students to be well versed in biblical world view – that is the belief systems or thinking that directs your actions. Our kids need to know what they believe and why. They need to be able to articulate and express the why of their faith. The very first unit Josh did – which is generally seen as prerequisite was so in your face it was surprising and yet it was so subtle it was scary! The issues that the kids are facing in university these days go far beyond creation versus evolution – it talks about truth, and presents the idea that all truth is relative and you can believe what ever you want to. This line of thinking is the first sign of crumbling in your child’s faith – if they can’t stand up against it. We really like The Truth Project which is produced by Focus on the Family. It addresses issues like who am I? Who is God? What is Truth? Anthropology, theology, sociology and many other spheres of life. An excellent thing to do with your teen and talk your way through these major topics of belief.
Joshua is studying at home through Open University and he has found it important to have a space separate from the homeschooling kids so he can study at his schedule, without the distractions of ‘fun’ things the homeschoolers are doing.
One other thing, other than essay writing, that Joshua has had to learn is time management. It was difficult setting goals and having consequences for not completing those goals during his homeschool years because of our philosophy of learning – that interrutpions, life, actually were an important aspect of his learning programme. So when he started with OUA it became a season in his life that those interruptions (life) needed to be evaluated on a different scale. This means he needs to set goals, break those goals down to manageable, doable time slots – keeping in mind his life, but at the same time making his studies a priority.
This has also been a change that I have had to be aware of. He is no longer as available to the family – I need to respect his decisions, his time commitments and because they are driven by a force outside of the family there can be conflicts at time (conflicts of to-do’s not of hearts). Josh is still available to the family – that is one of the benefits he sees of studying at home but we both need to respect this season of his life and the goals, expectations and habits it requires.
We watched a movie called “The Spelling Bee” and in the story the coach stepped aside and gave his protégé back into her community and encouraged her that she would find 1000 tutors in her community. And sure enough the community gathered around her and she maintained her training with the loving support of people who wanted her to succeed. When we saw that we immediately saw a correlation with what Josh was doing by studying university externally. We have believed for mentors, teachers, and peers to come from the community to teach, challenge and encourage Josh. And that is exactly what has happened.
Going to university is definitely a doable thing as a homeschool student, and at the Mum Heart Conference there were a good handful of families who have already gone this path or who are just starting out. Don’t be intimidated and don’t lose your joy of discipling your kids in the highschool years because University is looming.
This post is a part of a series springing from the Q&A session at the Mum Heart Conference. I’m taking time to answer these questions this week as I think they are helpful questions for most homeschooling mums at some time in their journey….