Sunday, September 27, 2009
Homeschool Students: Desirable Characteristics and Suggestions
This article may be published on web sites and
in publications as long as it's reproduced in
its entirety, including the resource box at the end
of the article. Thanks!
College Professor Critiques Homeschoolers
copyright 2009 by Greg Landry, M.S.
I teach sophomore through senior level college
students - most of them are "pre-professional"
students. They are preparing to go to medical
school, dental school, physical therapy school,
As a generalization, I've noticed certain
characteristics common in my students who were
homeschooled. Some of these are desirable,
1. They are independent learners and do a great
job of taking initiative and being responsible
for learning. They don't have to be "spoon fed"
as many students do. This gives them an advantage
at two specific points in their education;
early in college and in graduate education.
2. They handle classroom social situations
(interactions with their peers and professors)
very well. In general, my homeschooled students
are a pleasure to have in class. They greet me
when the enter the class, initiate conversations
when appropriate, and they don't hesitate to
ask good questions. Most of my students do
none of these.
3. They are serious about their education and
that's very obvious in their attitude, preparedness,
Areas where homeschooled students can improve:
1. They come to college less prepared in the
sciences than their schooled counterparts -
sometimes far less prepared. This can be
especially troublesome for pre-professional
students who need to maintain a high grade
point average from the very beginning.
2. They come to college without sufficient
test-taking experience, particularly with
timed tests. Many homeschooled students have a
high level of anxiety when it comes to taking
3. Many homeschooled students have problems
meeting deadlines and have to adjust to that in
college. That adjustment time in their freshman
year can be costly in terms of the way it affects
My advice to homeschooling parents:
1. If your child is even possibly college
bound and interested in the sciences, make
sure that they have a solid foundation of
science in the high school years.
2. Begin giving timed tests by 7th or 8th grade.
I'm referring to all tests that students take, not
just national, standardized tests.
I think it is a disservice to not give students
timed tests. They tend to focus better and score
higher on timed tests, and, they are far better
prepared for college and graduate education if
they've taken timed tests throughout the high
In the earlier years the timed tests should allow
ample time to complete the test as long as the
student is working steadily. The objective is for
them to know it's timed yet not to feel a time
pressure. This helps students to be comfortable
taking timed tests and develops confidence in
their test-taking abilities.
3. Give your students real deadlines to meet in
the high school years. If it's difficult for students
to meet these deadlines because they're
coming from mom or dad, have them take
"outside" classes; online, co-op, or community
Greg Landry is a 14 year veteran homeschool dad
and college professor. He also teaches one and
two semester online science classes, and offers
free 45 minute online seminars..