Issue 10 | June 8, 2012 | Meeting College Admissions Requirements

Newsletters Archive

One of the best aspects of home schooling is that you can customize each student's education.  Below you will read from a home schooling mom how she did that for her two sons.   Before that, we want to give the Florida NARHS families a word about some changes we have just learned about for college admission in that state.

COLLEGE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Publically-funded colleges in Florida have not been accepting NARHS students this year like they have in the past.  We are not sure why, but we have some advice for those of you who hope to enter a Florida institution of higher learning.  Make every effort to fulfill the Florida state graduation requirements (24 credits in various categories), then apply to the college as a home schooler.  That will get you the best results for now.  

On the websites of colleges are admission requirements. Whatever state you live in, it would be a good idea to become informed about what your college-of-interest requires for admission.

 On the Palm Beach State College admissions criteria, it states:

Standard high school diploma from a regionally accredited high school*

or

High school equivalency diploma (GED) 

or

Completed a Florida home education program, in accordance with FS 1003.43 and 1003.25 

or

Met all standard high school diploma requirements except the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT)

Different colleges may have different requirements, so again, be sure you check with the admission office of your college-of-interest to be sure you meet these requirements.

 *For more information on how we can help you with getting a regionally accredited transcript, call our office and ask about Customized Education Designs!

FEATURED STUDENTS: Leif and Hauke Harfst

by special guest writer Dr. Susanne Harfst

Our sons Leif (17 and a senior) and Hauke (15 and a sophomore) never spent a single day in public school. Having moved from Germany only a few years earlier, the concept of homeschooling was new to me and to make sure I did cover all of my bases, I attended a course organized by CAPE (Christian And Parent Educators, a homeschooling support group in Yakima, WA) and lead by Silvia Johnson. And so our homeschool adventure began.

 Because I wanted my children to experience the language, lifestyle and culture of both our old and our new country, I ordered books and learning material from Germany as well as buying school supplies over here. This never was a problem in classes like history, science, geography or fine art, but both boys complained about having to work extra hard in language art, learning how to read, write and spell in two different languages at the same time. They managed, though, and now they are glad we did it this way.

 Our sons have a lot in common - both share our Christian values and our love for the outdoors and our life in the country - but at the same time they have very different talents and interests and I tried to support and encourage both of them with their own personalities in mind. From a very early age on both had to help at the farm, feeding horses, checking and filling water tanks, fixing fences, taking care of their dogs, cats and other pets, not as a chore to keep them busy, but because their help was needed. Being responsible was not a choice, it was a necessity.

 Life at the farm was not all work, though, and the boys enjoyed riding their own ponies, building forts and campfires, they watched foals being born, they raced their bikes over homemade courses and jumps, shot at targets with their self made bows and arrows, just to name a few of their adventures.

 Because of their different learning styles, I used a variety of teaching methods to reach both of them. Hauke is a visual learner and he prefers reading a book, while Leif is an auditory and kinesthetic learner, so we spent a lot of time on the couch with me reading aloud, Hauke looking over my shoulder and reading with me, while Leif ran around the room, listening.

 When the boys were older, I made sure Hauke's learning material always included textbooks, while Leif learned better when listening to tapes or instructions spoken to him in a computer program. One very good example is the Teaching Textbook math series, where Hauke only uses the books, and Leif needs to listen to the CD-ROM, too.

 Individual education did not stop there; I also tried to include their special interests as much as possible. Certain subjects like math, language art, foreign languages etc. were a must; other subjects could be tailored to each student.

 Leif could draw, design and build anything he set his mind to, so I made sure he had a steady supply of colors, papers and construction material. During our weekly library visits he took out every video and book he could find on the subject of drawing and construction and some of his favorite classes at HomeLink were trade prep and architecture, followed by college classes in drawing and CAD. When I noticed his interest in history, I supplied as many books and videos as I could find on the subject, and when he received a guitar for Christmas, he even started playing an instrument for the first time.

 Hauke loved to read stories from an early age on and when he was 11, he auditioned for his first Shakespeare play, The Tempest, at our local community college. He got a part and he was hooked. From then on he appeared on the stage as often as possible, sometimes rehearsing for two different plays at the same time. Some of his plays were musicals, combining three of his favorite pastimes, acting, music and dance. Again, I tried to support him in any way possible. I drove him to weekly piano lessons, monthly swing dance and quite often to daily rehearsals. He joined the HomeLink choir, sang the National Anthem at gymnastics competitions, went caroling at nursing homes, and when Leif passed his Compass test for Running Start, Hauke insisted on getting tested, too, so he could start taking college classes as well. He passed the test, and when the principal of our local public high school acted as a road block, he decided to go the special admission road instead. He has been attending college classes for almost 2 years now, mainly on acting and public speaking, and so far his grades put him on the President's List.

 Both boys are very active and athletic and both started out their career in sports at Gymnastics Plus, first taking basic gymnastics and swimming classes, later joining the boys' team and competing in men's gymnastics up to the state and regional level. After taking them sledding for a few years at White Pass, we signed both boys up for a beginner's skiing class and they never looked back. Only a few years later, both competed at Junior Nationals in Freestyle Skiing and Leif even came home with a gold medal. Hauke still loves to ski, but he hardly ever competes, while Leif has taken the sport to a new level. He was Athlete of the Year for the Pacific Northwest, is competing at international events and hopes to represent Germany in the Olympics in the near future. He spent this past summer in Australia, training with World Champion Patrick Deneen from Cle Elum, and his freestyle season will include some of the toughest competitions in this country. After completing another quarter at YVCC, he will take his next college classes online in order to manage both sport and education.

 Hauke enjoys competitions of a different kind, those involving animals. He and his terrier Alexa take agility classes and they also competed in local 4-H shows at the Central Washington State Fair. He goes on trail rides with his black Morgan gelding Sea Cloud Clipper and last year he took over one of our homebred Thoroughbred race horses and is training him as his future jumping and eventing horse. Last year, Hauke went with us to Lexington, KY to watch the World Equestrian Games and seeing so many international riders compete sure whetted his appetite, too. Last year, Hauke expressed an interest in taking the hunter safety test, so I drove him to his classes and he passed with flying colors, the first student in 3 years to receive a score of 100%. Over the summer he took Driver's Ed., and now he is counting the days until he finally is old enough to get his license.

 Both boys have been working for our farm as soon as they were legally allowed to, and Leif started a second job for a landscaping outfit when he turned 15. This spring, Hauke was hired by the same company and both have been valuable employees while learning skills and earning enough money to pay for cars, gas etc.

 Looking back over our now almost 12 years of homeschooling, I am thankful we were able to take this route, because it allowed our kids to develop and grow into the fine young men they are today. I consider most important not all the facts I tried to cram into their heads, but their readiness to face the world as adults.

 If I had to come up with a "most important" sort of list this is what it would look like:

  •  Children raised in Christian faith 
  • Real responsibilities starting at an early age; no make believe "chores"
  • Instilling values like accountability, reliability, compassion etc.
  • Adjusting teaching style to children's learning style
  • No TV, instead unlimited access to books
  • Incorporate each child's individual interests as much as possible

 Most important of all: keep the big picture in mind especially during difficult times.