A big question in the minds of homeschooling parents of teens is the question about life after homeschooling. Can my teen get into uni? Can my teen gain an apprenticeship? Can my teen gain access to Certificate and Diploma courses?
The short answer to these questions is a simple yes. Yes your teen can gain entrance into uni, apprenticeships and Certificate or Diploma courses. Yes these options are open to your teen without school and without distance education schools.
Steps to Tertiary Level Education
1) The simplest way to begin is to incorporate short certificate courses or online uni subjects into your teen's home education plan from about the age of 15. Add your Certificates of Completion to your portfiolio. We have used Coursera, Open 2 Study, and Open Uni Australia in this way. Choose courses that give your teen experience in a subject of interest or academic study and writing skills.
2) Explore the idea of Headstart programs, Certificate IV or Diploma courses as a gateway into entering your tertiary course of choice. Some local Uni's offer selected subjects that count towards your degree in the last 2 years of school (Years 11 & 12 - age 16 & 17), if your teen knows her path this is a good option to consider. Otherwise enrolling into Cert IV or Diploma courses will give your teen a qualification at least equal to a Year 12 school certificate
3) Visit Teritary Open Days, research your local uni courses and entry requirements. Begin learning about QTAC and how the application process works. Start here for QTAC and start here for Uni and Career Open Days and Expos.
Our Journey to Tertiary Entrance
Step 1: Home Education Year 12 Certificate
From the ages of 15 to 17 I collected a series of worksamples from my daughters that demonstrated academic progress within 5 subject areas. I created grading rubrics based upon the grading guidelines of the curriculum I used, narration rubrics, and guidelines from the Australian National Curriculum for subject areas I did not use curriculum for. In their final year of home education (a year 12 equivalent), I gather the worksamples, grade them, and create a Home Education Year 12 Certificate. The worksamples and grading rubrics I keep in a portfolio in case I was called upon to provide evidence and for my own personal records.
Community volunteering, part time work, entrepreneurship activites, hobbies and personal interest projects I recorded on an extra-curricular transcript.
Step 2: Certificate Courses & Short Courses
In their final year of home education my teens completed some short courses of their choice. These have included a Certificate of Creative Writing, Music theory and musicianship uni (online uni subjects), Academic Study Skills, First Aid Courses, leadership courses, and uni workshops for highschoolers.
Step 3: QTAC & Uni Entrance
Daughter #1 - Is currently studying a Bachelor of Social Work. The ranking she gained from her Home Ed Certificate, short certificate courses, community volunteering and part-time work experiences was equal to the required entry ranking for her course of choice. However she opted to enrol in the Tertiary Preparation Pathway course at the same uni as she felt this course would help her transition to uni study better. After the TPP she gained direct entrance into the Bachelor of Social Work without having to apply via QTAC.
Daughter #2 - Is currently working at getting herself ready to apply through QTAC for a Bachelor of Music. This process is a little different as she has audition requirements to fulfil as well and these courses have a more competitive entry process to work through. She has completed a Tertiary Preparation Pathway course, music workshops, online music subjects and is working towards preparing for auditions. The next step will be to complete a STAT test (one of the uni's she is considering has this listed as an English requirement option for entry level) and fill in the application through QTAC.
This is the process we have followed in the final years of our home education journey. It has been a relatively smooth transition and an enjoyable process.
Further study isn't the only option for a rich and full career and vocational pathway of course, but it is just one enriching choice that can be made by our homeschool teens.
What has been the next step your teen has taken after homeschooling?
We begin home educating our children for a reason, a purpose. To solve a problem. The problem might be something to do with the school system itself. The problem might be that your child is not learning in the school environment and falling through the cracks. The problem could be serious bullying, chronic illness, special needs, or faith-based concerns. The problem might be that you want something different for the life of your children and family than what is offered in mainstream culture. The decision to home educate is a way of responding innovatively to the educational problem that has presented itself to you, your child, and your family.
From the beginning your home education life has held purpose, form, and function. How you home educate is based primarily upon why you home educate. Sometimes the why of home education changes, especially for long-term home educating families, and the how thus needs to be reconsidered. We need to be constantly considering, critiquing, and re-evaluating. And this is where the idea of design fits into the idea and practise of homeschooling. Design is essentially about problem solving and making something work well.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like.
Design is how it works."
~ Steve Jobs ~
For our family, the decision to home educate solved a number of immediate problems that included bullying, financial concerns, quality of family relationships, and lack of learning within the school environment. Our continuing homeschooling life has presented us with many new problems. And each time we discovered a new problem, we needed to ask ourselves new questions.
Questions like: How to transition from home to school? How to tell people that we homeschool? How should we structure our days? What to do with toddlers? What to do when we cannot find homeschooling friends? What to do when being bullied by another homeschooled child? What resources should we use? How to homeschool when a parent is chronically ill? How to homeschool in amongst relationship conflict? How to transition from homeschooling into the workforce or tertiary study?
Through this ongoing process I have learned how to take a step back and critique our home education life and experience. To reflect on our journey thus far, and consider the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's all there - that's part of life. Designing your homeschool takes work. Even if you keep it simple. A beautiful and simple design flows well and functions well as a result of many small decisions which come together to form the cohesive whole.
Design Your Homeschool
Starting in July 2017 I am beginning a monthly blog post series dedicated to the idea of Designing Your Homeschool. I will be responding to the frequently asked questions by home educating parents who battle with the inevitable problems that arise in life and learning. Perhaps you have faced some of the problems I have. Perhaps you have faced different problems.
Here's To You
Share with me in the comments below your questions and your innovative solutions. Each month I will pick a question to blog about.
How does home education work?
How does education work in your home?
What problems has home education solved for you?
What problems have you encountered in your home education journey?
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