This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: College Success Tips for Homeschool Graduates. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Vicki is joined this week by John Lenshow. He is a professor at John Brown University. He also teaches youth group in church and leads missions trips. John had a chance to be involved in the homeschooling world through his own college studies. He had a course in his Masters program on Christian education and learned about homeschooling in that light. This got him excited about homeschooling. Then his sister decided to homeschool her two children and he has had a chance to watch homeschooling in action there. So, although John has no children of his own, he loves the homeschool community and educational choice.
When John began to teach at John Brown University, he noticed in the ministry and Bible classes he was teaching that homeschool graduates shined. He was impressed with their ability to be self-starters and have a good attitude. (He has been teaching at John Brown University for fifteen years. BTW- this John Brown is not the famous John Brown of history class. Rather, this John Brown was an evangelist who started a trade school that became a university. They recently celebrated their one hundredth anniversary as a Christian university.)
When his niece and nephew started homeschooling high school, John’s sister asked him to teach his Bible classes to her kids. They were living in different states but he was able to teach them online.
John started Vertical Academy out of this project for helping his nephew and niece to shore up their biblical literacy and worldview, based on the courses he teaches at college. (The Vertical Academy offers self-paced digital and live zoom classes on the Old Testament, New Testament, and Foundations of Christian Faith.)
His classes work on teaching teens to see the big picture and historical context on Scripture. Then he helps his students learn skills for application to their lives. Check out Vertical Academy.
With John’s experience as a college professor, he has a heart to see young people succeed in college. You can check out Vertical Academy for these college success tips, too.
Here are the things that John has found are helpful for homeschool graduates who are starting college.
Start your journey to college success by reviewing the skills you are learning in homeschool high school.
Your college-preparation study and life skills (hone these skills in high school so you are ready to use them in college):
- Independent learning
- Study skills
- Taking initiative
- Being responsible
- Organization and time management
- Growth mindset (here are some resources for growth mindset)
At college, think about each class as a series of relationships. Relationships take:
- You get out of them what you put into them
There are four relationships in a college class:
- Best friend
- Next best friend
- Third and Fourth best friends
Your best friend in the class is your syllabus
Therefore, treat this syllabus as you would your best friend. Spend time with it, read it, follow it
- Syllabi might follow different formats: hard copy, email, moodle…whatever form it comes, follow it! It will inform you about important things you can use for success:
- It will tell you which textbooks to get
- Your syllabus will tell you what to read. Read it.
- If you read your text before class, you will know some about what you are going to learn, this will help the information stick better.
- Put due dates for assignments and tests on your calendar at the beginning of the semester. Schedule backwards from there.
- Understand the policies and procedures of the class.
- Know how much each assignment is worth.
If you know your best friend well, you won’t irritate your second best friend by asking questions about the class that are on the syllabus!
The second best friend in your college class is your professor
Professors are there to help students- not to punish or keep them from passing! Feel free to communicate with them:
- Send emails with questions that are succinct, that state your case. Check your email for replies.
- Visit your professor during office hours. Really. Do this, especially if you have a question.
- Try not to linger after class to ask; he or she may have another class to rush to.
- Remember, it is not a bother to your professor for you to visit during office hours. Teachers want you to come by during office hours.
- It helps to get to know a student and give them a boost in their learning.
The third relationship is class content
Class content covers many things:
- Assignments and project
- Any other content
Take advantage of the time you have. Use it and the class content to your advantage. This will help you treat each content area as an opportunity to learn.
The fourth relationship is your peers
Get to know them! You do not need to make them your best, best friends. However, your peers in class can help you succeed in college.
- Find a study group (teach each other)
- Do your best with group projects
- If you miss a class, a good peer relationship can fill you in and share notes
John has some bonus tips for college success.
- Get to class on time!
- If you come late to class, it is distracting and says something about how you view the class.
- Do not leave early.
- Vicki is always reminding teens not to close their books or computers until the teacher is through teaching! This shows respect.
- Remember, if you have had a bad relationship with a class in the past, give your college classes a fresh start. You may find you love these new relationships.
Also check out these helpful college-readiness episodes:
- First Generation College Students, Interview with Denise Boiko
- College Fun and Safety, Interview with Seth and Caroline Tillman
- College Tips for Athletes, Interview with Carly Smythe
- Making the Most of Community College, Interview with Seth Tillman
- What Are Homeschool Graduates Doing Today?
- How to be Ready for College, Interview with Dr. Rachel van der Merwe
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