From Homeschool to Full Scholarship US College University

I am sharing here the experience of a family that home schooled their kids in India from 2009 to 2018: 

Their oldest child has gained admittance into several extremely selective universities in the US though he has been homeschooled from standard 4 until now (nearly entirely in India; they did just one year in the US).  

Here goes:

As you may know, there are as many ways to do home education as there are parenting styles.  We fall somewhere in between homeschooling and unschooling.  That is, we use eclectic materials in a relaxed manner dependent on the child’s interests, but also have required subjects, though far fewer requirements than most traditional homeschoolers, especially in the lower grades.  We encourage lots of free time for personal exploration.  Our second grader finishes her required work in about half an hour, and our 5th grader in about two hours.  The rest of the day they are free to do their own projects.  Our high schoolers, on the other hand, have several hours of work each day, though the type of work is highly dependent on their individual interests.

 

Or oldest is finishing 12th standard and will be attending Cornell University in New York as an engineering student.  He also gained admission to the Engineering programs at University of Michigan and Georgia Institute of Technology, received the highest merit scholarship at University of Maryland College Park Engineering, and received a full-ride (full cost of attendance) scholarship at University of Central Florida – all with a home-made transcript, applying as a homeschooler.

 

For home educators desiring to send students to the US for university, here are some guidelines:

 

  1. For US Universities, only what is done in 9th-12th grade will be part of the application for admission (and since you apply during 12th standard, the only completed courses will be those taken in 9th-11th.)
  2. Look up admission requirements at the universities you are interested in to make sure your student is taking the required courses.  For example, many universities require 4 years of math, 4 years of English, 3 years of science, 2 years of social studies, 2 years of foreign language, etc.  This will vary by university and by desired program of study.  Look this up before your child is in 9th so that you can roughly plan out their high school years (9th-12th).  Because you are homeschooling, you can be creative – for example, instead of 10th grade English, you can do 20th Century Literature and Composition or A Survey of Dystopian Fiction, or whatever your child is interested in.  A science class could be a year long study of black holes, if that was what fascinated your child that year (the course description should explain how this was done at a high school level.)
  3. Along with a transcript, you should provide course descriptions for each course, describing what textbooks or other resources were used.  You don’t HAVE to do this, but it’s helpful, especially if your student has taken advantage of home education to study and do some unique things!  
  4. Standardized tests are especially important for homeschoolers seeking admission to US universities.   Here in India you can sit for:  SAT or ACT (you need one of these, not both – you can take practice tests and see which one you do better in), SAT subject tests, and AP (Advanced Placement) tests in various subjects.  College Board (collegeboard.org) is where you sign up for SAT, SAT subject tests, and AP tests.  ACT (act.org) is a separate organization.  Most universities require either the SAT or ACT, and many require 2-3 SAT subject tests, especially if you are a homeschooler.  No university requires AP tests, but they are great for showing college-level learning. 
  5. Competitions may be another way of proving what your child has accomplished; they are great if you have a child who likes them.  Olympiads, math competitions, etc. all are great for homeschoolers.
  6. If your child is a US citizen, have him/her sit for the PSAT.  You can call around to International schools in your area to see where it is being given.  If your child does very well on the PSAT, they can become a National Merit Scholar and get a FULL RIDE (FULL COST OF ATTENDANCE) or FULL TUITION scholarship at many universities.  Our son’s full ride scholarship at the University of Central Florida was based on being National Merit.  UCF has a wonderful program for National Merit students, as does University of Alabama, University of Kentucky, and many others.
  7. There are many on-line high school courses that are asynchronous, so that the time difference is not an issue.  Our students have taken several classes through PA Homeschoolers as well as WriteAtHome, which offers online English classes.  There are MANY providers of asynchronous online classes that students can take from India.

If you have any questions do drop in a line and I will get back to you!

 

 

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Fun with Liquid Nitrogen in Mumbai

Fun with Liquid Nitrogen in Mumbai
Imagine being able to have liquid nitrogen which is minus 196 degrees Celsius right in your home! For experimenting with, ofcourse. Nitrogen Utsav (56)The team with the various experiments they did.

They started with introducing themselves, Science Utsav, a company, started 4 years ago in Bangalore. Then they invited questions from the children and parents alike. The first experiment was one of pouring out liquid nitrogen into a plastic beaker and putting a fresh rose in it. Nitrogen Utsav (30) Nancy was told to crush the rose and it powdered in her hands!

After this there were various experiments with different objects like cricket ball, banana, chikoo, balloons and Amul cool Milk. Nitrogen Utsav (20)

Pouring Liquid Nitrogen

Pouring Liquid Nitrogen

Yes that is what some of us Mumbai Homeschoolers got to taste, literally of course, at Liquid Nitrogen Science fun organised by Science Utsav, a company that organises science themed birthday parties too.
We met at our home on the 14th of October 2015. There were around 35 of us including a few parents.

Frothy fountain

Puking Volcano

 We also got to see this Puking volcano!
IMAG6082

Pouring out Liquid nitrogenIMAG6118

Experiments in full swing.IMAG6132

Children lining up to get a taste of instant icecream made right before their eyes!

Everyone enjoyed and learnt a lot of physics, chemistry and biology as well! Three cheers to homeschooling and science Utsav!

IGCSE and Homeschool

Some of us parents met with Ms. Tanya Valecha, Principal of Rustomjee School http://www.school.rustomjee.com/ on Tuesday 18th June 2013. We mentioned to her that we are part of an All India body of Homeschoolers called Swashikshan whose website is http://homeschoolers.in/

The main points discussed were:

  • Homeschooled students giving the IGCSE 10th grade exams
  • Handholding partnership with the school for homeschooled kids who are younger

The Principal was very open and supportive and patiently answered all our questions. She

Homeschooled students giving the IGCSE 10th grade exams

Homeschooled children are most welcome to give the IGCSE exam in Rustomjee. Homeschooled Students are free to choose any subject, only English is compulsory, and the minimum number of subjects is 6. Exams are held in November every year, except Hindi which is held in May. The school can administer exams for most of the subjects except those which need special examiners like for Spanish or German. For these subjects, if the Student arranges Cambridge-certified Examiners, the school can still hold exams.

Since the student will be giving the exam as a private candidate, the school only facilitates the exam and does not provide any training. The school will also not be providing any Leaving Certificate, which is one of the requirements for admission into Junior Colleges in Mumbai.

The IGCSE results come after three months, and they give actual percentages obtained now, previously they used to give grades. This helps the student to know exactly how well they have done. Also in IGCSE there is no artificial boosting of percentages with internal assessments.

She also suggested that a child should take a minimum of 6 subjects at 10th level for admission into colleges.

Handholding partnership with the school for homeschooled kids who are younger

Some parents expressed a desire to homeschool and yet at the same time wished their child to attend ‘exciting’ activities, some classes and exams conducted by the school. The Principal is most happy to accept such students.

Such students will be admitted to the age appropriate grade after an assessment is done, basically for English and Math in lower grades. They are free to attend the class or activity of their choice. They can give the exam as mutually decided, either the Final exam with the whole year’s portion, or divided in three parts. Passing percentage is 40% in all subjects.

If the student leaves the school for whatever reason, the school will give a Leaving certificate, and if the student rejoins, a fresh assessment will be done before the child is taken on the rolls of the school.

The fees applicable for such students will be 50% of the regular fees. I requested the Principal on behalf of Swashikshan to consider reduction in the fees and she promised to discuss this with the management.

She also mentioned that text books can be purchased from book stores first hand or second hand, and course worksheets are also available in case the child wants to do them.

We thank Ms. Tanya Valecha and look forward to further interactions with her and the school.