Sending Michael to College

Our experience with Michael and college isn’t traditional. Not much about his upbringing was – so why start now, right?  Michael was just accepted to a 4 year University (Texas State) with no SAT test, no ACT test, and no formal studies as a child.

So how did this happen?

Michael was unschooled. At about 14, he thought he’d like to take college classes. So he did some of the workbooks from the Key2 series. Algebra wasn’t coming up really in our day to day lives, so he worked on a few of those.

Then we found a website,, which offered free test prep. What i liked about it was that the program taught you FROM the answers you give. If you give the right answer, it showed the work (in case you guessed) and if you did the wrong answer, it showed where it *thought* you went offtrack. Overall, it was good.

We looked over a few spelling rules – he never really got very good at spelling, in spite of being quite a reader.

Don’t read into this though. We often found something more exciting to do than work on these academic test preparations.  We suffered through a lot of guilt for not doing. We had uneasy feelings that this wasn’t going to work because of a lack prep. But, we thought he should just press on and see what happens.

Michael took the Accuplacer test at Vernon Community College. He did fine on the math and reading but failed the Writing component.  The topics for the writing section are outrageous, IMNSHO. This one was about the “No pass, no Play” rule. He had never heard of it. So he ranted about why people should be able to do whatever they’re good at, etc.

I hadn’t shared the simple 5 part paragraph formula. I hadn’t showed him that when you write a Persuasive Paper, you cannot find something good in the other person’s position. He did that in the paper. It was more like how he would be if he were just talking to someone about the topic.  So, afterwards, we took at topic and I showed him how to work that formula. Then he tried an example. Then he took the test the next week and passed. That was it.

Plain and simple.  Thus began our path to college.

He took a few classes that Spring. More at Austin Community College once we moved, always being sure to choose transferable classes. He did really well in the classes – and even got an A in English Composition!

Then, after completing 30 hours in community college, he was accepted as a Transfer Student to Texas State University.  He’ll start in Fall ’08, live in the dorms, etc.  I’ll keep you posted!!


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