Saturday, January 23, 2010

From the Kitchen Table to the Classroom-Part 2

(This is the second half of our daughter's thoughts about her college and university exerience.)

After my first semester at Macewan I began working at the Mustard Seed. During my employment there I realized that the problems facing the inner city population were more than psychological issues and that psychology was an incomplete perspective for dealing with systemic social issues. A colleague recommended I consider Social Work. I looked into the diploma program at MacEwan, but realized that with another 30 credits I could apply directly for the Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) through the University of Calgary’s Edmonton division campus. I completed the requirements for admission and was accepted into the program Fall of 2007.
I completed the program this spring. The faculty of Social Work was the perfect fit for me. The graduating class from the Edmonton Division was just over 40 people. The instructors not only knew me by name, but got to know me as a person and provided informal mentorship to me. I learn best when I am actively engaged in the topic and the process and the University of Calgary provided an atmosphere that I thrived in.
I did my Senior Practicum with the City of Edmonton and it lead to full time employment with them. I am working as a counselor and group facilitator. I enjoy and am fulfilled with the work I do and plan to return to school for a Masters of Social Work in the fall of 2011.
Home education prepared me for success. Throughout university my reading and comprehension abilities were my greatest asset. My mom always encouraged reading and approached it in a way that made it fun and rewarding. Home education taught me to enjoy learning and to seek the acquisition of knowledge. I still love learning and it enriches my life and improves my practice as a Social Worker.
Unfortunately, there are also limitations to home education. I always wanted to pursue an arts degree, but had I wanted to pursue a science degree my path would have been more difficult and I would have likely had to earn high school science credits before being considered for admission into a science faculty. In my pursuit of an arts degree I attended 4 universities. This was time consuming and costly. My tuition at Taylor was nearly twice the amount as a public institution, I had to pay application fees 4 times, applying to the University of Calgary was complicated by the fact that I had transcripts from 3 different universities, and I had to prove myself every step of the way. I took 6 years to complete a degree that usually only takes 4. This was due in part to the complications of not having a diploma, but I also allowed myself time to work while in school which provided me the necessary work experience to apply for Social Work.
One last thing: Even though I had many rich and close relationships and countless interactions with a variety of people during my time in university, the first and often only question I would be asked when people learned I was home educated from k-12 was always, “but what about socialization?” often followed by, “but you don’t seem home schooled” (despite that fact that most of them had never met someone who was home educated other than me). I think that question will probably haunt me (and all other home educated people) the rest of my life!
Thanks for reading about my experience.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Today I'm sharing with you the first part of my daughter's reflection on her education. More to follow!

From the Kitchen Table to the Classroom

When I completed my course of home education I knew I wanted to continue on with post-secondary, but since I had taken the non-diploma route I was unsure how to do this. I knew the publicly funded universities had no policies to accept individuals without a diploma so together my mom (Kathy Put) and I approached Taylor University College (which has since closed). They had an informal process for accepting home educated students and after submitting writing samples and a transcript of my grades I was accepted into the Bachelors of Arts in Psychology program.
I found the transition to post secondary much smoother than I had anticipated. In university you are expected to self-motivate and to do the bulk of the learning independently. Home education prepared me for this and I found the course load and reading assignments manageable. The biggest challenge during my time was with the other students and their lack of commitment to learning and lack of participation in the classroom. It was discouraging to be excited about learning a new topic and have my classmates behave in a distracting and sometimes disrespectful way towards the process and the professors. However, I managed through my frustrations and formed informal study groups with a few fellow classmates who were as excited to be there as I was.
I spent two semesters at Taylor and earned top grades. I used Taylor as a spring board into public university. Once I had proved myself capable and earned a university transcript, I applied to open studies at the University of Alberta. I took two courses there over a semester. I struggled with the large class sizes and found it more difficult to be engaged in the learning process. Second year psychology courses at the U of A often have 200+ students and I felt lost in the crowd, so I applied at Grant MacEwan college and was accepted there following my semester at the U of A. MacEwan has smaller class sizes and was a great fit for me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tonight I am speaking at Home School Christian Fellowship in Edmonton about our family experience in transitioning our children from home education into college and university. I have come to see just how different this part of our home education experience has been. We have had remarkable success in helping our children achieve their goals, a success that is perhaps rare.

I plan over the next week or so to turn portions of the talk I give into further blog posts, but for today, I want to focus on really useful web sites.

Alberta Learning Information Service, at gives career preparation information including on-line quizzes, occupational profiles, college admission standards and job seeking information. I love the career profile information which clarifies the details of any job, and gives suggestions in related fields.

Since many home educators use a "friendly" institution to begin their post-secondary studies and then transfer to a biger school, it is important to know about the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfers, at Before you enroll in any post-secondary class, you can be certain whether it will be accepted at another school. The site includes an overview of the upgrading course offered through Alberta colleges that are accepted at all universities at This is an excellent help to those who discover late that they lack a credit or equivalent for a specific program, since it shows you the options to fill in the gap.

There's a good overview of high school possibilities for home educators at the THEE web site, at….

More thoughts on all of this in the coming days.