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Helping Your Homeschooler Prepare for College

by Abby Parnell | Mar 15, 2017 | 3 min read

Homeschooling is a great way to help your children prepare for college. It instills qualities and skills that many traditional schoolers don’t learn until they reach college. Homeschoolers have the advantage of learning time management, motivation and self-teaching long before they ever set foot into a college classroom. Because of this, they often have an easier time transitioning to college life.

Establish Independence and Self-Motivation

My mom was a brilliant homeschooling mom, but she also worked full time. Because of this, I learned independence and self-motivation. I created my own schedule, and even made my own deadlines. Once these were set, my mom held me accountable. Ultimately it was my responsibility to ensure that I finished the school year on time.  This was a great skill for me to learn. It translated into avoiding procrastination in college. I have been able to stay on track and avoid writing 12-page papers at 4 a.m. because of these skills. Homeschooling helped me learn  independence to create good habits before I even attended my first college class.

Homeschooling also helped me create good study habits. Some students will have the misfortune of having college professors not focused on teaching, which usually necessitates teaching yourself the material. Homeschoolers have a really big advantage here because we’ve been doing this for years!

Prepare for College with Scheduling Skills

Although homeschooling taught me a lot about how to prepare for college, I did realize that I was missing a few essential skills.
Having been homeschooled, I was used to doing schoolwork on my schedule. I never had to wake up at 8 a.m. for class. As long as I finished all my work by the end of the day, it didn’t matter what time I awoke. Because of this, punctuality is something you definitely want to work on as you prepare for college. I had to set about 12 alarms each morning to make sure I was up in time for class. I also had to time how long it took me to walk from one building to the next. I was an expert speed walker by the end of my first semester!
I always made sure that all of my materials were prepared before the professor walked into the room. I wasn’t used to “living by the bell.” If I could go back, I would try setting up a more time-appropriate schedule for my homeschooling day to prepare for college and it’s time-driven schedule.

Understand Nutrition Schedules

It was also strange and unsettling not being able to eat whenever I wanted. I know that sounds silly, but in college it really is a big deal! Many professors had “no food” policies, so when my stomach started growling at 12:22 p.m., I had to wait 50 minutes before I could even consider eating. It was surprising just how much my hunger distracted me. I learned that the term “hangry” is a real and perfectly valid emotion! I learned to manage my time and fit food into my schedule the hard way. I also learned to pack snacks and how to be sneaky when eating in the hallways.


Overall, I would say that homeschooling helped me prepare for college in all the most important ways. But it didn’t prepare for me for the daily regimented schedule that came along with it. My advice to you is try incorporating more structure into your day. I don’t mean structure that you can change if you feel like it. I mean structure that you have to stick to, even if you wake up 20 minutes late or find your stomach growling in the middle of class. It really will make a big difference as you prepare for college!
What advice do you have? Have you learned something the hard way?  Share those experiences with us!

Abby Parnell
Abby graduated from Bridgeway in 2014 and was one of the first students to participate in our dual enrollment program through DeSales University. She is currently studying to be a physician's assistant at Valparaiso University. Her hobbies include playing instruments, reading, and physical fitness.
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