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Homeschooled 11th grader considering returning to public--need advice please LONG

Halcyon24Halcyon24 34 replies6 threads Junior Member
edited February 2019 in Home Schooling and College
Hi-my son is an 11th grader and I am typing this with him looking over my shoulder (he doesn't have an account) to make sure I get this right. He's homeschooled all his life, save for one brief one semester stint in public high school for the first semester of 9th grade.

He wants to return to public for a couple of reasons:
1) he doesn't feel like he has enough social interaction and spends too much time doing work in front of the computer.
2) his parents are getting divorced and me, his mom, doesn't have as much time to work with him. He's mostly independent, but it kinda sucks that he's home alone more than before. Also, because the father and I don't live together anymore, it's more difficult to coordinate homeschooling responsibilities (the father helped a bit).
3) He is lonely and wants more friends

THe question we have is: how might this impact college admissions? He's a good student with a 3.8 unweighted gpa and will be taking the SAT in March. He is advanced in math and did AP calc last year in 10th, and was planning on taking AOPS intermediate counting and probability starting in March. He has taken two community college classes and enjoyed them and did well. The public high school has no more math above Calc. He does martial arts and is on the public high school bowling team, but they are not meeting now. So he feels too isolated.

Things to consider:
1. one of the reasons he homeschooled was because he enjoys travelling tremendously. My ex travels a lot to different countries and my son often goes with him and has been to japan and italy and france and many other countries. that would end if he went to public. (and yes, he can travel during vacations but that's not how my husband's business travel works--he goes when he needs to)
2. he is getting his own car in about 2 weeks and that will give him a lot more flexibility in terms of moving around. we live in a rural area so he's pretty isolated. that might help his feelings of isolation.
3. there's an option to simply join more school clubs and afterschool activities; in florida the schools allow homeschooled students to join clubs and such, so our thought is maybe he just needs to try that first.
4. he's debating between starting public like RIGHT NOW in the middle of the semester, or waiting til August for his senior year. My guess is it will be easier to start at the beginning of a semester rather than in the middle. Also, if he waits, he can try out the "joining clubs and seeing if that makes him feel better" for the moment.
5. He would need to take some EOC (end of course) exams for Biology and such to prove he's capable, and since he took Bio in 9th that would mean a fair amount of review (bio was his least favorite science so he really didn't work hard to learn the material).

All this can be worked out, but we are both unclear as to how colleges would view this? Obv if he goes back to public and his grades plummet that would be bad. I am concerned that he will go back and hate it. His reasons in 9th for leaving were myriad, but he very much hated the busywork involved and that won't have changed much. And he's an introvert, so he would need to learn skills to "put himself out there" or he would just be in the same situation again.

Can you please give us your thoughts? Do colleges dislike it when students who are homeschooled go back to public? I would imagine the fact that his parents are getting divorced and I have less time to be home with him would help colelges understand his reason. But I am not sure. And would it be better to stay homeschooling until the beginning of his senior year? (my guess is yes, even just in terms of the ease of transition).

Thank you for advice.
edited February 2019
13 replies
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Replies to: Homeschooled 11th grader considering returning to public--need advice please LONG

  • BSL1199BSL1199 91 replies9 threads Junior Member
    I think if your son is going to transfer, he should do it now. Senior year is full of "lasts" (last home football game, last homecoming, the list goes on and on). For my son, the celebration of these milestones started the summer before senior year and went on until after the graduation parties. It was such a fun, emotional, and memorable year. I think the more experiences and time your son shares with his classmates, the more he'll be able to enjoy senior year.

    Also, there are huge shared experiences that exist in junior year - college visits, ACT/SAT prep and test taking, stress over GPA/ECs, etc. Having that in common with his fellow students could help to ease his transition. Have you spoken to a counselor at the school? There should be someone there that can help your son get a plan together for what clubs, sports, activities, he wants to be involved in so he can hit the ground running. Nothing should be closed to him just because he wasn't there at the beginning of the year.

    Good luck!
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 1539 replies28 threads Senior Member
    If he’s going to do it I would do it now as well. I would have a sit down with a guidance counselor and make sure that they’ll accept all of his homeschool credits. I know that varies from place to place quite a bit. We had a friend in CA who went back in junior year and was automatically a freshman because the school wouldn’t accept homeschool credits at all. That was a rough, rough transition. Otherwise, if he goes back now and finishes the year, he can gauge before next year if he wants to go the distance. He’ll also have a hold on the academics and know what to expect re grades, and if it all goes down hill you could pull him and he could finish his homeschool junior year in the summer if need be. I can’t imagine colleges would care if he went back.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35377 replies399 threads Senior Member
    Top colleges don't automatically view this negatively. But you're right that he needs to keep up both the rigor and grades, and forge teacher relationships that lead to solid, enthusiastic LoRs. Whether he goes now or next fall, that isn't much time and the Common App Teacher forms ask how long a teacher has known this student and in what context.

    If you're rural, you likely don't have a choice of hs. You need to check into how his prior work will transfer. Will he get full credit for any off-the-usual-track courses he took, will he see those grades transferred, be fully included in any class rank? Will he get the rigorous courses he has earned (are they even offered?) See if they allow the higher math via DE. There may also be mandated courses he'd need to catch up on, which affect his freedom of choice for other classes.

    Just martial arts and bowling isn't much in the way of ECs. If he's going to target competitive colleges, I'd say get him into as many hs activities as make sense, plus things outside the school context, including comm service. Activities with peers may satisfy his social needs.

    And take a look at the homeschool supplements for possible target colleges.
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  • CreeklandCreekland 6869 replies93 threads Senior Member
    Does he have an idea of a college he's really interested in? If so, I'd run this situation past them and see what admissions suggested. I did this as a homeschooling parent when one of my lads wanted something not typical of our high schoolers where I work. I contacted three different schools. Two were the same with their advice, one differed. Many things are school specific.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10111 replies118 threads Senior Member
    I agree that if there are colleges already on the radar, to talk to their admissions people.

    I have to say that socially, I actually cringed about the idea of a student moving into public high school so late in the game, especially an introvert.

    Personally, I would look at getting more involved in clubs, activities, volunteering. Especially since the public school is not going to be able to meet his needs academically in math.
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1790 replies76 threads Senior Member
    I switched from small private school to huge Public school for 12th grade. It was not a good experience. Seniors are set with their friend groups, and the sentimental Last Prom, game, etc holds zero memories for the new kid.

    If social is the main thing your child is searching for, I would look into more homeschool connections. Also, jobs can give social interaction. Ref soccer games, work at Ymca, volunteer, etc.
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  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek 4744 replies56 threads Senior Member
    Have you spoken to the high school? Are you positive they will let him jump in mid-year as an 11th grader and will allow him to graduate next yr? If so, your high school is far more accommodating than most.

    With your ds's math level, I would be more inclined to get more involved in ECs and look into DE for next school yr instead of a high school.
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  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo 4896 replies388 threads Senior Member
    I've worked with kids who had to switch school situations in 12th grade; it can be done, but it's a lot of work. To answer your question simply: colleges will be fine with the switch but your son needs to explain why he made the switch.

    Beyond that simple answer, there are many nuances that you and he should be discussing, and ideally, discussing with someone who has some experience with this sort of transition and background. You've described a very complex situation with the added layer of the divorce. I'm sure it's just really difficult overall for all of you.
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  • chestie69chestie69 46 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I was homeschooled from 6-12th grade and also grew up in FL. Since your son is going to have access to his own transportation, my suggestion would be to dual enroll and take classes in person at a community college - that way his social interactions will be met while also meeting his academic needs. Also, what about a part time job? I think a job is a great way to be forced to be more engaged and interactive with people. I am very introverted but I actually loved my job. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and pride that is different than doing well on school work.
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  • yucca10yucca10 1413 replies40 threads Senior Member
    For an introvert who's been homeschooled all his life, going to public school in 11th or 12th grade may not work great because everybody already has their own friend groups and he might end up feeling even more isolated. I would try to join a few clubs and see if he makes some friends, plus take more classes in the community college.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83295 replies740 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2019
    Would it make more sense for him to remain a "home school" student, but take more of his senior year course work at the local community college, which would give him more options in the subjects that he is advanced in?
    edited February 2019
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  • MomofJDJJMomofJDJJ 41 replies11 threads Junior Member
    Unless your son already has a friend group at the local high school, I don't think entering now or in the fall will solve his issues with loneliness. And he''ll clearly be bored academically. As far as colleges go, I don't think it will hurt him, either way, unless his GPA drops. As far the the suggestions for more ECs, I disagree. Colleges want to see depth more than breadth. Let him invest time in what he loves, and look for leadership opportunities in those areas.
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  • Collegeegal5Collegeegal5 7 replies11 threads Junior Member
    Depends what state your in , I’m from Florida and I was into physical school my entire life , and I decided to do online school in my junior year because I wasn’t happy with my grades for colleges and I felt like i would have more time to make my transcript look good for colleges if I did online school , and it really did help .
    But if your son has been homeschooled his entire life I recommend him to experience high school , I love it there are so many opportunities and fun events that you don’t have a chance to do as a homeschooled student , and it also would be better for when he got into colleges , wouldn’t look that scary or have get used to so many thing and changes at once .
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This discussion has been closed.