kitchen table math, the sequel: community college is the new high school

Sunday, March 7, 2010

community college is the new high school

from K9Sasha:
My son went to school until Spring Break of his 8th grade year. At that point, I had had it with him not knowing how to write, and not even knowing his basic math facts. I told him that we had four years to get him ready for college and that it would take all four.

I was a little concerned about him getting into college from a homeschooling situation, but he applied to 6 schools and was accepted at all 6. He was strong enough academically to take Chemistry at the community college his junior year, and Writing and Physics there his senior year. The school I removed him from felt good if their students were ready for the community college after high school. I used the community college as part of high school to get him ready for university. What a difference in expectations!

One of the things that really stands out for me: When my son came home from taking his first PSAT test, the first thing he said was, "Thank you for making me learn my math facts. The first math problem was a simple doubling problem and I had it answered by the time everyone else got their calculators out."
My sister has done the same thing with one of her daughters. They did a California variant of homeschooling for 8th grade,* then public high school for 9th. Most of the subjects in 9th grade were so low level that she enrolled in community college for 10th. It's worked out well.

* It's not homeschooling....consultant schooling, maybe? I believe this option was created for students who are acting or perhaps homebound. There is a consulting teacher & texts are provided by the state. On the other hand, the parent can choose which textbooks his child uses. It's similar to what we would call Independent Study.


lgm said...

So true. Unfortunately NYers have to pay for the CC courses. My district forces it by not offering any free courses that are the same content. Families that have gone this route are saying that they are paying for a year of college that doesn't transfer in to the college degree. For ex. 11th grade pre-calc is only offered via CC here. A music major won't need to transfer it over and an engineer can't transfer it in as s/he's expected to start in Calc I. Same for 10th grade accounting. Nice course, but not likely to apply to the future major. I'd like to see the districts pick up this expense if they aren't offering anything comparable.

momof4 said...

MN has the excellent PSEO (post secondary enrollment option, I think), which allows qualified HS kids to take classses at the CC or 4-yr college of their choice. The school district pays for tuition and books. I think it is primarily designed for juniors and seniors, but I know of some who never actually went to HS; just started at the CC. My son wasn't happy with his junior foreign language teacher, so switched to the CC, which had an excellent reputation in that language, for second semester and senior year. There was no hassle to make it happen. Families do have to provide transportation, however.

SteveH said...

I'm not thrilled about many state K-16 efforts because they seem to water down college entrance requirements. But it could work the other way. It could allow students to move on up to college early and skip a lot of silliness of high school. Rather than taking AP classes in high school and then trying to transfer or apply them to college, they can just go to college. Colleges could set up charter high schools to support the basics and provide a community of students, but then allow kids to take (and receive credit for) college classes. There has to be a model for this somewhere.

In music, many conservatories and colleges have preparatory programs for the best or most willing students. Wouldn't it be nice if colleges had the same thing for academics? Unfortunately, my son's high school has watered down the term "college-prep" to mean courses that will barely get you into a community college after four years of high school.