Homeschool High School - Will a Perfectionist Do Well in Community College?

Dual enrollment (that is, enrollment in high school and college at the same time,) may not be the best option for homeschoolers, especially if your child has perfectionist tendencies.

A common pattern works something like this:

  • high-achieving teen feels unchallenged at home and goes to community college

  • gets straight As with little or no effort

  • then starts college at a real university

  • works as hard as they did at community college (i.e., not much)

  • gets poor grades because they used the same skills as when they were at community college

  • teen feels stupid because of poor grades

  • parents notice sadness, become concerned

Our pediatrician said this is the common cycle that "perfectionist" kids go through during the transition from community college to a university. He said that as a doctor he never recommends dual enrollment (high school and college) while a child is in their high school years. He always recommends continuing high school or going to real college early.

When we were in dual-enrollment, we couldn't find many classes that would challenge my son and at the same time not offend our faith. That meant my Poli-Sci son Alex spent most of his time in engineering physics and math classes with his brother. I'm glad he liked differential equations, LOL!

In addition, we noticed that for the first time, my kids encountered people who didn't want to learn. People there thought passing meant over a 0.7 GPA, and that a 2.0 in a class was good. People didn't speak up in class, even when they knew the answer. The academic environment was very poor.

I go to a lot of college fairs in my business. One community college took me aside and said "Please tell homeschoolers not to send their young children to community college! We have adjudicated people in the classes!" She said felons, including predators, were known to be on campus, and they worry about innocent homeschoolers.

I live in very liberal Seattle, but I've heard very similar stories from a mom in Oklahoma.

I know that lots of kids do well in dual enrollment. I've noticed that they typically aren't "perfectionist" kids. As the result of my experience, I recommend that people use dual enrollment only when they have completely run out of curriculum AND can't afford the costs of college. Dual Enrollment is not a panacea for gifted children.

More importantly, though, you know your children better than anyone, and you know what will help them thrive. No situation is perfect, but you will find what works for you. I wanted to give you the benefit of other's experience, and relay the information that I got from my child's doctor.

I asked my son if he thought community college had been a mistake. At the age of 20 he said "YES!" If I could do my life over again, I would have homeschooled college for two years, not one. Community college wasn't worth the cost of "free" education.