Home-school families looking for support in creating an educational plan that works best for their children can turn to the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) for experiences that help students of every age with their academics.
In the last five years, Southern Maryland has seen a 74 percent increase in home-school students and now has more than 9,000 students learning at home, according to the Maryland State Department’s annual home-school data. CSM is responding to that need by building its existing programming, launching a second home-school program at the Leonardtown Campus this fall, and hosting a “Homeschool Experience Day” for home-school students interested in dual enrollment Friday, April 29 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at its Prince Frederick Campus.
“This Homeschool Experience Day event is a way for home-school students to get a feel of what it is like to be on a college campus,” said CSM Enrollment Coordinator Mary Prather. “They can try out a class, interact with faculty and staff, and learn about the services offered.”
For home-schooled high schoolers, dual enrollment offers a way to satisfy high school course requirements while simultaneously working toward an associate degree. At the April 29 event, students will have the opportunity to talk to current home-schooled dual enrollment students, learn about the college’s transfer and articulation agreements that offer guaranteed admission to dozens of colleges and universities nationwide, experience a CSM class taught by CSM professors, explore support services that are available, and find out about student government and other CSM clubs and organizations. Students can also take a career assessment, enjoy refreshments and win prizes.
Home-school students who dual enroll at CSM have access to the same benefits as traditional students, including full access to all college services including clubs, free tutoring, learning support workshops, library resources, and workout rooms. Home-school students also receive a 50% discount on tuition if they meet certain requirements.
Enrollment Coordinator Latasha Baker said that home-school students have a proven record of success at CSM.
“These students are used to having some independence with their education, and that makes them well-prepared for the transition to college-level classes. Home-school students are some of the most successful students on campus,” she said.
In 2019, dual-enrolled home-school student Phillip Means was the featured student speaker at Spring Commencement. At 17, he received an associate degree in applied science and technology. And with many of his college classes also counting toward his high school credits, he received his high school diploma the same year.
“I hope we can all connect the lessons learned at CSM to our futures. I learned to take advantage of opportunities… I learned to set goals,” he said in his speech. “We have developed into more resourceful, more motivated, and hopefully lifelong learners thanks to the College of Southern Maryland.” Means, now 21, took those lessons to heart and will be graduating from the University of Alabama with his bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering this May.
CSM also offers support for homeschooling families with younger children through the Kids’ and Teen College. Families can sign up for classes such as chemistry, painting, or Spanish, all of which are currently offered at the La Plata Campus.
“People choose to home-school for many different reasons, and we strive to create an atmosphere that fits this niche community,” said Tony Warrick, CSM youth program manager for the Kids’ and Teen College. “That means being flexible, offering subject matter experts, and having a diverse program that meets the needs of all our students,”
Maggie Mudd-Stewart, who home-schools her two children and helped to develop the program at CSM’s La Plata Campus, said she is excited for the ability to sign her kids up for classes that require resources that she doesn’t have access to at home, and she appreciates knowing that they are being taught by experts who are attuned to the county’s requirements for homeschool education.
“This gives me the ability to have and create a hybrid learning environment,” she said.
Students interested in the Homeschool Experience Day can register at https://www.csmd.edu/calendar/2022/04/homeschool-experience-day.html.