Homeschooled students face different challenges in college transition


by Britteny Johnson, Special to The Simpsonian

Most college students go from a public or private education system to either a public or private college, but for some students, this is not the case.

Some families choose to homeschool their children, and that can make for a different way of learning and transitioning into college.

Some Simpson College students were homeschooled through high school and explain how their experience was both different from other homeschooled students and from those who went to public or private schools.

Senior Becca Mione explained that she and her siblings were homeschooled and that they were all taught at a different pace using the Penn Foster homeschooling system.

According to its website, Penn Foster High School is one of the largest licensed private high schools in the U.S. because of its online diploma program.

Through this system, one is able to go through schooling at his or her own pace with the courses being online with textbooks sent to home or online. This also allows people to set their own deadlines.

Senior Peter Rietgraf was also homeschooled but through a different program. Rietgraf and his siblings were homeschooled through the dual enrollment option with Iowa public schooling.

Through this dual enrollment program, Rietgraf was not only able to be homeschooled, but also take courses, like physics and English, at his high school in Ballard because his mother was more inclined to teach history and language arts.

“Once we got into upper-level classes, she sent us to the high school, and we took a few classes there,” Reitgraf said.

Along with being able to take classes at Ballard, Rietgraf had the opportunity to be part of sports teams as well. This allowed him to be involved in the tennis team for all four years and various other sports.

“I ended up playing tennis all four years of high school, and that was a deciding factor for where I ended up wanting to go for college,” Rietgraf said.

Mione and Rietgraf said they have a close group of friends who were also homeschooled that they met up with for homeschooling groups.

“When I was younger we would go to homeschooling group every Friday with other homeschooling families,” Mione said.

The transition from homeschooling to college was different for both students but had one similar adjustment: adjusting to being in a class with numerous other people.

Reitgraf mentions that his time taking a few high school and college course while being homeschooled helped him adjust.

“I was the only one in my class, technically, so coming to a full-time schedule where I am in classes with a bunch of people, it was a little different. But because I took classes at the high school and at DMACC, I was able to adjust to the teaching techniques,” he said.

Mione’s transition to college started at the age of 15. As she was finishing up her Penn Foster, she began taking classes at Kirkwood Community College. Mione said her first semester at Kirkwood was a good transition into college because it wasn’t just deadlines being thrown at her.

“I’d never had a set scheduling or deadlines,” Mione said. “I started in Equestrian Science program, but it was good for me because it was hands-on, and I didn’t have to worry about papers or tests for the first semester.”

The two mentioned that picking Simpson seemed like the right choice, Mione for the way that the campus made her feel at home, Rietgraf for the programs and the tennis team.