By Lynnette Cagle, Contributing Writer
Getting up at the crack of noon, a 12-year-old boy stumbles to his desk in the sun-lit family room, still wearing his wrinkled PJ’s, and pulls a math textbook out of a drawer. A middle-aged woman wearing an apron over her long, jean skirt pokes her head out of the kitchen. “Don’t forget, you’ve got Bible-quiz team practice tonight.” With a nod, the boy starts solving college-level math problems.
“It’s your birthday tomorrow,” the woman says. “Do you want to invite friends over?”
“Mom, I don’t have any friends,” the boy frowned as he moves on to learning quantum physics. “I’m homeschooled.”
Although this stereotype is humorous to most, this is how some people view homeschoolers. Even those who don’t think all homeschooled students are super geniuses and anti-social might still have a part of them that accepts the common stereotypes. It might come as a surprise to learn that as of 2014, 14 percent of students at Asbury University were homeschooled.
While it might seem like a daunting task for students educated at home to transition to a college lifestyle, it actually isn’t that difficult for most. Homeschooled students do have to make bigger adjustments, but they also have been prepared for college in unique ways, so the transition overall is a smooth one.
Homeschoolers are used to miniscule class sizes of one or two, so one of the biggest adjustments they have to make when coming to college is learning to be around more people. “Being around people all the time, it’s really hard to escape and find solitude,” says sophomore and former homeschooler Lydia Underwood.
Another change for homeschoolers is the differences in schedules. “I was very used to working on things at my own pace,” said freshman Hannah Stafford, another former homeschooler. “Having class at [certain times] was a little bit of an adjustment.”
Other than getting used to being around more people more often and having a stricter schedule, most homeschooled students feel like their educational background has actually prepared them well for college. “[My parents] set me up with good goals and good practices of discipline,” said Underwood, “so school hasn’t been an issue.” Self-discipline, which most students seem to learn while they’re in college, is a common feature of homeschool education. “Homeschooling disciplined me to have to work a lot on my own,” said Stafford with a firm nod.
Homeschooled students aren’t the only ones aware of how their background has prepared them. Dr. Brian Hull, Assistant Professor of Youth Ministry, noted that “homeschool students often are more comfortable with communicating with professors.” Because they grow up spending more time with adults than students from other educational backgrounds, homeschoolers are used to communicating with adults and embrace those relationships. “I learned to be close to the adults and to the teachers in my life,” said Stafford.
When asked what advice she would give to homeschooled students transitioning to college life, Underwood said, “Do things that push you outside of your comfort zone. Meet new people, have weird experiences.”
“Remember to breathe deep,” suggests Stafford. “It’s different, but you’re going to be going through a lot of adjustments through life.”
Homeschool graduates shouldn’t let stereotypes hold them back. “Socially, go for it,” Dr. Hull said with a chuckle. “A few homeschool students feel like a lot of people know that they’re homeschool students, and I don’t think anyone really does.”
And for students who weren’t homeschooled? They can make their fellow students’ transitions easier by not falling for the stereotypes. “They’re all people just like you, and just because we had slightly different backgrounds through 12th grade doesn’t mean we can’t interact well,” insisted Stafford.