College Preparation in the Homeschool Setting
ST. EMMELIA WEST CONFERENCE, APRIL 2018
ORTHODOX PRIEST, MARRIED 32 YEARS, 6 CHILDREN
5 COLLEGE GRADS (BERKELEY, DAVIS, Sacramento STATE university), 2 IN GRAD SCHOOL
HOMESCHOOLED 25 YEARS TOTAL
Interviewer: Okay, so you have six children – where are they in the college process?
Fr: Five out of six have graduated, and my youngest is going to state college. All of my children went to junior college before the university. We homeschooled by filing the private school affidavit. That’s how we registered every year as a private school with the state of California, and that was really helpful. When they wanted to step into junior college, they had to do the application process on the computer, and it asks you where you went to school. We had a school name, and they typed that into the application, and went right past that screen to the next screen. You know – no hesitations there – so that was very handy. Of course it’s scary, because you have to keep all the transcripts and the records of their courses on file for three years. It just seems a little bit daunting. But we were never challenged on that. We were always members of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, and we would get their journal and they would always say how they successfully defended this family or that family, and if some truancy officer came to the house they’d defend them in the courts. So, that was a little nerve-racking, but I had a similar experience as [the previous panelists], realizing it’s not as scary or as bad as it seems.
My oldest is an RN. My next daughter went to Berkeley, and now she’s doing a master’s in Vancouver. My oldest son graduated with two degrees – a bachelor’s in history and in psychology – and then he went on the Hawaiian Chieftan as a sailor for a year. The Hawaiian Chieftan is a masted sail ship. He loved it. Then he graduated with a master’s from McGill, and now he’s doing a doctorate there. My second son has a bachelor’s degree. My fifth child is graduating from UC Davis next month. And then with my youngest - we're fast-tracking her. She’s going to be 17 next month, but she’s already in junior college because we want to get her launched further in life, because we’re older now.
Interviewer: What role did outside activities besides academics play for your family?
Fr: Oh I think that being PK’s [priest's kids] made them a little tough. We live on the church property; they grew up there. They had lots of responsibilities liturgically to keep things alive in the parish, and had to relate to all kinds of personalities and meet all kinds of people, and I think that rounded them out pretty good for leaving the nest, so to speak, and making their way in the world.
Interviewer: Did all of your children go to junior college before the 4-year university?
Fr: Yes, they did. Financial issues made this necessary.
Interviewer: Did you make your own transcript for them? Were there any problems with the transcripts being accepted?
Fr: The transcripts were accepted without a problem. On the top of the transcript we have the name of our school and the number given us when we filed our affidavit. There was no problem.
Interviewer: Yeah. We ask this because a lot of people do worry about transcripts being accepted.
Fr: I think it’s a lot easier than people think, as you all were saying. When I went to high school your transcript was like something carved in stone for the rest of your life, and here where my kids are growing up there isn’t a big deal about it. I think they’re just happy to see students come in.
[Other Panelist]: They’re happy to see homeschoolers. A friend of mine talked to an admissions counselor at UCLA who told her, "It doesn’t matter what the transcript says – homeschoolers come here and they do very well. Homeschoolers are people who we know are going to be able to learn well."
Interviewer: That’s encouraging because we do worry a lot that we’re going to mess up or be failures or something so it’s always good to have the affirmation that people are looking for homeschoolers. So your children had no trouble getting into any schools that they were looking for?
Fr: Yes. My fifth child went to UC Davis because she wanted to be close to home, but she got accepted to UCLA and Berkeley. And she kind of wishes she had gone on to Berkeley because her big sister went there and she knows academically Berkeley was much more interesting. But she chose a school close to home – she’s our choir conductor and she’s very enthusiastic about supporting the parish – and that’s just the choice she made.
Interviewer: And did you help them in finding scholarships or grants?
Fr: No. Their mother is just gold. Their mother, my wife, Matushka helped them with that. And they’re also go-getters, so they also just did stuff on their own. I was busy with other stuff.
Interviewer: And did they have problems academically when they went to the junior college?
Fr: No, no. They all did fine.
Interviewer: So, there's a recurring theme here – they’ll be fine. Anything to add, Father?
Fr: I’d like to say it’s not as scary as you think. It’s not that bad.