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Fifteen Year Old Homeschooler
Receives Full College Scholarship

by Lisa M.

April 2000

We have always home schooled our oldest son. He learned to read early and always had an aptitude for math. We used A Beka 1st and 2nd grade math workbooks when he was five and six, then I taught him the multiplication tables. Since I had a used copy of Saxon 65, I started him in that text after he learned his multiplication tables. He did fine in Saxon and we progressed from there. He was always very inquisitive and loved to learn. I think that a child naturally loves to learn until put in a classroom situation where they are not encouraged to be curious.

When he was eleven years old, he audited three weeks of a summer electrical engineering class that a professor from our church taught at the university, and he enjoyed it very much.

When he was thirteen years old, he began Saxon Calculus, and I don't do calculus. In fact, I never had any higher math than pre-calculus. When he had a question about his math one day, I took him to the math department at Texas A&M University. Without meaning to, we ended up going to the undergraduate math advisor with his questions. The professor noticed that my son had an aptitude for math and suggested that he audit the calculus I class at the university that summer. He had the highest average in the class with an average of over 99%. He took the two hour final in twenty minutes and made a 100, according to the professor. The professor suggested that my son spend the last two and one-half weeks of summer teaching himself the calculus II material so that he could take the professor's calculus III honors class in the fall, for credit. He took two honors math classes the next year, at 14. That same year, at the professor's request, my son applied for admission to Texas A&M University. Texas A&M offered him a full scholarship. Only 22 of the six or seven thousand freshmen admitted that year received this prestigious scholarship. We were overwhelmed and decided to let him attend college full time at the age of fifteen. He is now seventeen and a senior electrical engineering major, with a 3.88 grade point average, and plans to go to grad school after he graduates.

What about socialization for a 15-year-old in the young adult world at college, you may ask? When he was a freshman, my son would often reserve rooms in the library and invite groups of students from his classes to this room and he would give review sessions for tests and also reserve rooms to help them work on their homework. Being homeschooled, he was not the least bit intimidated by being around students four years, or more, older than himself. For the past two years he has had his own office and he now has these review and study sessions in his office.

For those of you who would like to compete for university scholarships, extracurricular activities and community service are as important as grades and SAT scores at many universities. Since my son was interested in engineering, his primary community service project was to help the high school math coordinator tutor the high school students two mornings a week, before school started, every week of school. He was fourteen when he tutored at the high school level. Yes, he was still being homeschooled, yet they welcomed him as a tutor. He also did volunteer work at the public library. Having a major university in our city was an invaluable resource. As I mentioned above, my son audited two college courses and took two honors math classes for credit. He also attended a three week summer engineering camp. Our university also offers many other summer programs for junior high school and high school students, in many educational disciplines. These are only a few of the extracurricular activities that he was involved in during his four years of high school. The admissions officer at Texas A&M told me that home schooled students usually are VERY lacking in extracurricular activities.

In closing I would like to add that my husband and I are not rocket scientists. My husband has an animal science degree and I have a marketing degree, and our college grades were in the 2.77 range.

About the author: Lisa is a wife to Joe D., a drilling fluids engineer in the oil and gas industry, and mom to six children ages one to seventeen years. She has been homeschooling for over thirteen years. Lisa and her family live deep in the heart of Texas on 22.5 acres, and love it. They are very active in a small non-denominational country church. In her precious little spare time, Lisa likes to read and she also likes her precept Bible study very much.

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