I’ve been homeschooled all my life, and I’ve never had reason to complain. Before our return to the United States from our four-year jaunt to the Caribbean, I’d never even set foot in an actual school building. However, when we did return, I was finishing high school and looking to start college. There is a local college nearby, College of the Florida Keys (CFK), so my younger brother and sister and I, along with a few friends, started attending as dual enrollment students. Dual enrollment is a pretty good deal: as long as you can pass the PERT tests to show that you are ready for college-level work, Florida allows you to take classes for free. So essentially, we were finishing our high school requirements by going to college and pursuing AA degrees in general education, instead of merely seeking a high school diploma.
It looked good on paper, at least, an economic use of time and effort. It was also my first experience in an actual classroom, and it was a pleasant change. During my first semester, the two classes I took were on the small side, with maybe 30 people. Most of the students were around my age, some were dual enrollment students from the local public high school, and a few were older. We would sit at tables facing the professor and the whiteboard, notebooks out and phones away, and take notes while he talked. I found I liked the classroom setting. You could ask questions and receive a knowledgeable answer, unlike simply learning from a textbook. You could engage the professor in debate and listen to intellectual arguments. You could achieve recognition for your work.
It was also intensely uncomfortable for the first few weeks, because I’m an introvert and I don’t like large groups of people. I got the hang of it though, and life settled into a rhythm. The two classes I took held sessions early every other weekday, so it was a bit of a runaround to get to the college from our boat in the mooring field every morning. The workload was heavy, and the material challenging, but I found that I was actually enjoying school. I was getting As. However, it could have been a lot easier. I had no real idea what I was stepping into with the whole college thing. So even though it wasn’t significantly more difficult than homeschool (at first, that is), it threw me off because it was different, and it took me a while to figure everything out.
Well, I’m finishing my last year of classes, and I would say I’ve done pretty well. Recently, my English Composition II professor gave the class the assignment of creating a college handbook, something to give to new students so that they aren’t completely lost. Below you will find the link to mine (you can read it in a browser or download the PDF). It contains anything I could think of that I would have wanted to know going in. Hopefully other homeschooled high school students will find it useful.