WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING FROM APPLYING TO COLLEGE

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  1. You don’t need to teach your kid anything academic until 7th grade.
  2. You need to find the thing your kid loves — academic or not academic — and they need to be great at it. That means you need to start looking at age three so you don’t miss the cutoff.
  3. You can let your kids play video games all the time. They get really sick of them.

Before I tell you what I messed up on, I want to tell you a story. Recently I wrote a post titled Gender fluidity and Autism open gates of power for women. The topic is controversial and I thought I’d get pushback. I wanted to have a conversation about it so I linked to all the research behind my thinking so people could click through, read it, and then argue with me.

It’s actually an accumulation of years of research. One link is actually to a book that explains how deep in women’s DNA it is to care about people close to them. For example, women kill people in their home because that’s who they care deeply about. They almost never kill people outside the home. Men kill people outside the home to get something from them. Women almost never do that – they don’t care.

Another really cool piece of research is that neurotypical women and children say um as a verbal filler but Autistic women and men say uh. That’s cool, right? There are a million links in that post that are so cool. And I checked to make sure I wrote about them accurately and that everything fit together in my argument properly, etcetera.

I had a couple of flippant remarks about how people can recognize Autism in men but not women. They recognize it in Albert Einstein — terrible guy, couldn’t get married, couldn’t comb his hair. But women are more nuanced.

Einstein was married twice. He was a terrible husband.

Okay. Fine. Not a key part of my argument. Actually an irrelevant part. So I didn’t check it. I didn’t have a link. It was a throwaway. So I wasn’t careful. THE FIRST THREE COMMENTS WERE ABOUT ALBERT EINSTEIN BEING MARRIED. I couldn’t take it. I started changing the time stamps on comments.

Okay. So. Back to college applications.

We were doing great with the whole college thing. To be honest, college applications play to my strengths because schools reward kids who do projects they invented themselves and they reward working independently and also, there’s a lot of essay writing to cap it off. To be honest, my son’s not great at working independently, but he’s great at working on projects I dream up. So he did really cool research. Like, even I was impressed.

I told him about how he should leverage his male right to give himself accolades for his own research and then I did it for him. That was right before Covid. Right before the SAT was canceled.

To say he is a good test taker is an understatement. I worry it will be the thing he is best at in his whole life. We have had a lot of tutors who that is true for. Boston is overflowing with kids like that. So you can imagine that the canceled SAT was very sad for us. (Though please note I think the SAT is total BS the College Board is a scam and they should burn down the whole company and all become street sweepers.)

I told myself it’s okay because it’s canceled for everyone. That did not turn out to be true. It was only canceled for poor kids. I thought that would be okay because we certainly don’t count as rich kids in the college game, but poor is really really poor in the college game. So not having an SAT score was bad.

That’s not our mistake though. We couldn’t have known that Covid would cancel the SAT. But, just like I could have known to fact check my throw-away line about Einstein, I could have known to hire a counselor once I knew Covid changed everything.

WHY DIDN’T I HIRE A COUNSELOR??????

I had studied for years on how to do college admissions as a homeschooler, but only for one scenario. I needed to talk to someone who had gone through a gazillion scenarios to tell me how to deal with the fact that applications were up 100% at Colgate.

Colgate??? Really? Is Colgate that good? Why Colgate? Am I so old that I don’t know what school is good at what isn’t? The answer was yes. I am not joking when I tell you that first of all, we had to apply to 20 schools when I was only planning to apply to five. And we literally applied to schools that neither of us could tell you what state they were in. The process was so awful that to this day, my son has no even checked to see if he got into some of the schools. We just had no idea where he could get in and where he couldn’t because it was such a crazy year.

Another reason it was totally insane that I didn’t hire a counselor is that he absolutely needed a full scholarship and I didn’t understand how honors programs worked. I didn’t know which schools would like a kid like him I didn’t know which schools gave a lot of aid. I focused so much on making him a good academic candidate. I needed to hire someone who knew about making our family a good financial aid candidate.


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