A Homeschooler's Thoughts on Her First University Exam

Yesterday, I spent over two hours sitting in the car outside the Flight Centre at Goulburn Airport. Inside this building, Imogen was doing her very first university exam. She has spent the last semester studying the unit Introduction to University Learning through an online course provided by the Open Universities.
During the long drive to Goulburn, Imogen and I had a chance to talk:
Imogen:  I’m really enjoying university work. It’s good to make friends (online) and discuss the subject. I like the social side.
Me: Do you wish you could have gone to school? You’d have made lots of friends there.
Imogen: No. It wouldn’t have been the same. I want friends I can discuss things with, people who are interested in the same things as I am. It seems to me that school students learn what they’re told in order to pass exams. Uni students are learning because they are interested in the subject. They want to study. We’ve had some great discussions.
Me: Do you feel homeschooling  prepared you for university work?
Imogen: Yes. I’m used to directing my own work. I learnt how to think. I’ve always worked because I wanted to and not because I had to, so I’ve had no trouble putting in the necessary work.
So I sat outside that tiny airport, surrounded by some rather desolate paddocks while Immy did her exam.
Two hours later she reappeared with a smile on her face and we were soon on our way home.
Me: How was the exam?
Imogen: Good!
Me: Are you relieved it’s over?
Imogen: Yes. I wasn’t worried about the questions. I felt I knew the subject. I just wanted to get in there and see what exams are all about.
Me: Do you think homeschoolers are at a disadvantage because they don’t get to experience exams?
Imogen: No. It was fine. Anyway, I did that musicianship exam last year so I knew all about having to put my phone on the floor and what equipment to take and sitting at a desk…
Today Imogen starts her second university unit: Critical Thinking. It’s all part of her plan to be accepted into a university to study an Arts on-campus degree in 2013.
Can homeschoolers get into university? Yes. In particular, can unschoolers get into university? Yes. Is it difficult? No.
I will share more…
PS: Imogen is 17. 
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  1. Reply

    Our eldest two are doing really well at uni (distinctions and high distinctions), after spending their high school years avoiding my lesson plans. They chose to read and draw, instead. Yet, I still worry about pleasing the Board of Studies! Why is that, Sue?!

    1. Reply


      I guess we have to satisfy the Board of Studies in order to stay in business as homeschoolers. Personally, I have found the guidelines very easy to fulfil but sometimes we just don't have the written work to prove we have completed the tasks I have recorded in the required records book. Maybe my written records will suffice without the impressive evidence of essays, book reviews, assignments, tests… For documentation this is certainly true as we don't have to show the BoS any written work of our children. For home visit registration I am relying on conversation. I think it will be obvious to the AP that my children are learning when she talks to them. Then I am sure I can scrape together some blog posts they've written, drawings, music exams, letters, crafts… If all else fails, we do have a proven record with four children moving on from homeschooling to university.

      One of the APs I was chatting with said she knows when children are being educated. The system is not set up to make it difficult for those who are really homeschooling. It's meant to catch those children who are falling through the cracks, those children whose parents can't be bothered to send them to school or who would prefer they worked in the family business etc The AP also said that she realises what a huge commitment a parent has to make to homeschool. If someone chooses to do it then she knows they must care a great deal about their children's education.

      In the past I wanted to impress the BoS with my methods. I am much more relaxed these days. Maybe I have the confidence to homeschool my children according to their needs and I don't homeschool to please the BoS. After more than 20 years of homeschooling I haven't yet had a problem with a registration. Maybe there is time yet but I am optimistic that all will continue well…

  2. Reply

    Hi Sue,
    Why didn't you drop in for coffee and a chat?:-)

    1. Reply


      I would have liked that! I guess I didn't know how long it would take me to find you. It seemed easier to just wait for Immy. I am notorious for going off and not getting back in time to collect children. I didn't want to abandon Imogen in unfamiliar territory at the airport. Perhaps I can visit another time? During the holidays would be good.

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