I like to take questions on my blog, and here's one from Kimber:
I've been homeschooling since my 19 year old was about 4... We have graduated him now. I also have a 15, 12, 9 and 7. So my work is not done. I am interested how you got a full ride (or any) scholarship.
Peter did most of the leg work on his scholarship. He read through collegeboard.com and princetonreview.com, researching everything related to getting into college. He got some mail from Questbridge about scholarships, and over time, realized this was really a pretty good deal. So we jumped through all their hoops and he ended up getting a full ride to the University of Chicago. They needed a transcript and a record of his extra curricular activities, so I created those documents and have attached them below for you to use as you please. They also asked us to describe our schooling, get recommendations and have Peter write a couple essays. Their deadline is around the end of August at the beginning of a students senior year.
All in all, I found that being a home schooler applying to college can be an advantage. We don't fit the mold, so we have to explain more and that makes the child more real to the admissions officer. They are forced to look closely at this student as a human being, not just as a class rank, GPA, or test score. As a matter of fact, on Peter's transcript, his grades were all "Pass." He believed that letter grades were not applicable to him. Well, OK. So I explained our Pass/Fail philosophy and he still got the scholarship.
We wrote his transcript in hindsight--that means we looked at all the things he was doing and gave each one a name and a place on the transcript. For example, he listened to a class online at UC Berkley and read the textbook. That became a high school class. If he read a bunch of books on a particular topic, that became a class. He participated in local theater and that became his drama class. Working out at the gym can be PE. It all translates. You should do this at the end of every semester, starting in 9th grade, otherwise you forget and it's practically impossible to create an accurate transcript a few years later (unless you've kept good notes all along).
I assigned each semester "class" a credit based on how our local high school does it. They give one credit for each completed semester class. You can look at credits two ways: time spent or content covered. If you look at it as time spent, that's 50 minutes a day, five days a week. But then take into account how much direct instruction takes place in a 50 minute class and in reality, it's a lot less. If you look at earning credit as content covered, a child can complete a semester's worth of coursework in a few weeks--summer school accelerated classes prove that.
Some colleges ask to see a homeschooler's reading list or textbook list. That can be tricky if you don't have a textbook type of high school. If you just love this college, talk to an admissions counselor about your unique situation and try to arrange an interview with your child. If they really want you, they'll work with you.
If your child excels at something, play it up. For Peter, it was his test scores and braininess. For Meg, it will be her theater talent. We'll apply to schools that value an acting resume and give scholarships in that area. We might even have her start at a community college. They are generally much cheaper and have very basic admissions requirements. Ours only requires a GED score for home schoolers. From there, a student can easily transfer to an upper level school with fewer questions about high school because they already have a college background. And I know there are scholarships for transfer students, but I haven't explored that area yet.
The Home School Legal Defense Association has a useful page for homeschooling high school. They have a lot of links on all aspects of high school and preparing for college.
Hope that helps, and thanks for the question!
Here are the forms I mentioned. If you want to print one, click on the iPaper icon for choices. You may notice that the extra curricular form is basically the same as the transcript. The different sized boxes are due to me deleting Peter's activities and not knowing how to remake the form. But I'm sure you get the idea. You can remake the forms on any spreadsheet. I just discovered Scribd.com--makes uploading documents like this a snap. Hurray, a new toy!
Jena began homeschooling in 1994. Her three children are now teenagers; one is graduated and attends the University of Chicago on a full ride scholarship, the next pursues life without school in the arts, and the youngest is in public school (her choice). In 2005 they bought a 7000 square foot church building and converted it into their home. You can read more about their adventures on her blog, yarns of the heart.