Homeschooling family finding our way...

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by JPJ, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. JPJ

    JPJ New Member

    Jun 11, 2012
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    I homeschool my 3 boys and currently my oldest (13yo) has his eyes on the Air Force or Naval Academy. I am doing my best to set him up for success and will appreciate any info I can get from this forum. Thanks in advance for all your wisdom and time.
  2. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

    May 7, 2010
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    13 is young but not too young to start preparing. You would do well to run a search of this forum with the key word of "homeschool" or "homeschooling". A number of homeschooled kids have been admitted to the service academies or won ROTC scholarships, and you will find useful advice.

    My mother had to deal with three boys who were close in age. I imagine that if she had tried to homeschool us, she herself would have been institutionalized.
  3. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

    Jul 17, 2010
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    I would recommend a competitive club sport program and a leadership program such as Boys Scouts or Civil Air Patrol. Also look into how your state's American Legion Boy's State handles home school students.
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

    Apr 13, 2010
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    +1 :thumb:

    And from the USAFA Admissions site:
    "Although many home-schooled students are able to qualify academically for admission, their overall record is often not strong enough to compete due to a significant weakness in the area of extracurricular activities."

    DS is an appointee in the class of 2016 and was home schooled for high school. He was also a competitive swimmer from age 8 to 18. I believe that the skills he learned while swimming were critical to him receiving an appointment. He learned how to work on, support and lead a team as well as how to persevere, focus, and excel while someone is yelling at you at 5 AM in the morning. In fact, I know that learning to persevere and excel in the pool when he was cold and tired will help him through his entire life.
  5. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

    Jun 9, 2006
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    I also highly recommend scouting programs. Not only are they great extra curricular activities, but they teach a lot of valuable lessons and skills.

    Also, organized athletics is something to look into. Club sports can be a big help.
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Jun 9, 2006
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    SAs have the following concerns re homeschooled ("HOS") students:

    (1) Hard to assess their academic program. Let's face it -- mom or dad is often teaching the course and handing out the grades; not exactly an objective review. This can be overcome with very strong SAT and AP scores where you are competing against other students across the country; if you get 750/750 and 5s in AP Chem and Calc, it's hard to argue with the As your mom gave you. For this reason, standardized tests are even more important for HOS students and I recommend prep courses.

    (2) Lack of athletics, especially team/organized activities. Skip martial arts as it (accurately or inaccurately) pegs one as a "loner" to SAs. Youth leagues (police, Catholic, etc.) are good, as are other sports, such as swimming, that can be done outside of the normal school environment and which demonstrate skill (times in swimming, for example or achieving a district/regional distinction). The CFA is CRITICAL for HOS students. Cannot emphasize that enough.

    (3) Lack of social interaction (ECAs) and leadership. Agree that scouting is good. Consider taking a summer job at a real business (not a family business) where one can "work and play with others." Find community activities where the student is involved with other students. Some, but not all, could be church-related. Find some activities you enjoy where you interact with others and can LEAD.

    The key is not to come across as an unathletic, uninvolved geek/nerd who gets As from his/her mom in "class" but bombs standardized tests. Rather, you want to be someone who is fully engaged in athletics, ECAs, and leadership and has the academic tools to compete favorably with peers across the country.
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    May 21, 2008
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    Most here have explained what's most important for getting into the academy and the challenges the homeschooler goes through. But there are certain equalizers that you can concentrate on.

    1. SAT/ACT: Take both and take them as many times as is available. Whether you are home schooled or not, the SAT/ACT is the #1 common denominator between home school, public school, private school, charter school, magnet school, etc... The SAT/ACT is probably the most influential portion of your application for academics.

    2. Sports/Clubs/Organizations/Volunteering: The academy/military wants you involved in sports not only to ensure physical fitness, but also because of the "TEAMWORK" that is integral in sports. Same with the clubs, organizations, and volunteering. They want to ensure you are socially involved. The military revolves around teamwork and playing well with others. Most homeschoolers are still allowed to be on the local public school sports teams. This is your #1 choice. If not an option, then do community sports, city leagues, etc...

    3. Leadership: In EVERYTHING you do, make sure you strive to excel in the activity and achieve leadership positions. There are certain leadership skill activities like Boy/Girl's state. But whether you are involved in scouts, CAP, sports, volunteering, part time work, etc... You need to strive for "Leadership" positions in the activities.

    Best of luck. Mike...
  8. batmom

    batmom Member

    Dec 31, 2011
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    Some suggestions for home schoolers...

    Although I did not home-school my two sons, I have many friends who did home school their children. I think all leadership roles are particularly critical to seek because home-schoolers aren't elected for school leadership positions.
    I would suggest going for Eagle Scout, and investigating Boy's State (which is sponsored by the American Legion) and generally sends one representative from many high schools to a one-week program somewhere in your state. My son was the school representatitve from a small Christian school and he loved spending a week in Sacramento, Ca learning all about how our election system and political system operates. The boys held mock elections and ran for political offices inluding governor of Calif. in these elections. My son met a lot of terrific young men from all over the state and learned a lot, not just about politics, but about meeting all kinds of new friends. Also, getting involved in local sports teams is critical because the academies want to see sports involvement. Also, any local organizations where he can seek leadership positions so that he can demonstrate his leadership ability. My best to you and your son. My son is so thrilled to be part of the incoming class of 2016... batmom
  9. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

    Feb 10, 2010
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    You might also look to the local YMCA. I am not sure every state has this program but my son joined the Youth in Government Program. In this program he was able to hold a position such as Senator, the kids would spend a few days at the state capital and do a mock legislative sessions. All of the positions were considered leadership positions. This was a great experience and helped fill in the leadership areas of the application. As posted earlier, the Boy Scouts is a great place to get leadership as well, if your boys are young enough they can work towards Eagle Scout, that would provide great leadership for their applications as well as a great experience.
  10. usafahopeful1

    usafahopeful1 Prospective Cadet 2017

    Mar 15, 2011
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    I am a homeschooler looking at the academies and my brother attends one. My 2 cents worth: do some extra-curriculars and sports seriously (ones that he really enjoys and will excel at because of that) and take a class or two at the local public school if you can, just so he has some other teachers to ask for recommendations when the time comes, and so he has experience in a normal school environment. That has worked well for our family so far.
    Having said that, I don't know your reasons for homeschooling, or whether the above is possible, but good luck anyways!
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Nov 28, 2007
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    I second Jcleppe's advice about joining the Y, but for a different reason which ties in with usafahopeful1...athletics. If he enjoys swimming this will give him an advantage when he becomes 16 because for the next 3 yrs he can swim competitively and later on become a guard too. Our Y also has a traveling soccer team, and it works the same way because he can become a ref at 16. They also have Tae Kwon Do and he can become an instructor at 16.

    DS became a lifeguard for the Y, and that was 1 of his ECs. It not only illustrated his athleticism, but also leadership and his part time job, i.e look at Christcorps post. He was the Sr. guard (7-10 guards reporting to him) and pool manager by his sr yr in hs with 23 saves. He was able to place in his resume the physical requirements for a lifeguard, i.e. monthly testing which included dead man rescue, retrieving a 10 lb weight from the 14 ft deep section within 60 seconds not using ladders, etc.

    It also illustrated commitment since he did this since he was 16, 20 hrs a week Sept-May, 40 throughout the summer.

    The AFA has changed over the past few years regarding athletics. Tae Kwon Do is a great example. Most HS's do not have TKD teams, but many candidates compete on a state and national level. Our DS's other sport was TKD, he was a 2 time state Champ, and a Jr. Olympian champ. The AFA asked him to submit a letter from his Master describing what it entailed and they had no problem with it because TKD is not like FB or BB if you compete state or national level it is 52 weeks a yr. that you train and compete. It also shows again commitment.

    Quantity as in the number of EC's is not the only factor. Quality is a factor; when I say quality, I mean leadership, dedication and commitment. You don't want 10 sports just for having sports that he only stuck with each one for 6-9 months. You are better off with 2 or 3 sports that he stuck with for 3-4 yrs+ .

    OBTW, I know a cadet that was recruited by the AFA swim team when he was a jr because he swam competitively with the Y. Our school did not have a swim team, so the Y was his only option for swimming competitively.
  12. kmomto9

    kmomto9 Member

    Jul 6, 2011
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    My son is a senior in the thick of applying to SA and ROTC. He has also been homeschooled his whole life. We've done a few things to make his application competetive.
    1) he is enrolled with an accredited cover school, he is not getting a 'mom diploma'
    2) he has taken dual credit community college courses in higher level math, science and even arabic
    3) he joined Civil Air Patrol at 12 and has worked hard in the program and achieved much at the squadron, group, wing and national level, and will hopefully achieve the highest rank and earn his spaatz this winter. I can't recommend CAP enough regardless if your son ends up applying to SA. It is a great program.

    He also works, pays for his own flying lessons, and has hundreds of hours of hpurs of community service.
    Homeschoolers can be competitive, it just takes.some effort, thinking outside the box and a lot of miles on the car.

    For us the most difficult thing was the sports. J. Will get his blqck belt in tkd soon and runs daily along with doing the CFA three times a week. It is the weakest part of his app, we are hoping his leadership and academics can make up the difference.

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