pam sorooshian

Posted on the Homeschool Association of California (HSC) email list
this week by Wes Beach (copied to this list with his permission):

> How do you know if you are teaching them enough of the right and
> important stuff?

I've seen hundreds of kids who simply bypassed most or all of high
school, went directly to college, and were very successful. It's not
that they did high school differently; it's that they simply didn't do
it. Beyond the basics, I'm not convinced that there's an list of
essential subjects that students must study before college. I am
convinced that what's foundational are personal characteristics. The
list of college readiness traits that appear to me to be most important
are confidence, curiosity, enthusiasm, capacity for wholehearted
engagement, ability to persevere, realistic self-knowledge, and a sense
of autonomy.

Here's just one of many stories I can relate:

Alex spent his “high school” years living on the streets,
traveling, working as a staff reporter for Pacific News Service, and
reading. He was briefly confined at Juvenile Hall, and while there he
made the contact that led to his job as a reporter. Pacific News
Service sent Alex on a trip to Western Europe, the Balkans and Turkey.
He says, “The most important part of this trip...was my visit to
Sarajevo and my reporting project in Kosovo. This gave me a new
understanding of a region so important to international relations and
added a new focus to my writing career. I saw such intense stories in a
region torn apart by war and realized that wartime reporting was the
focus that I wanted to take.”

Alex wants to earn a Ph.D. in political science and chose Columbia
University as his first-choice school. He applied and was rejected, but
he was also encouraged to complete some coursework and apply again. He
attended a full year of classes as a non-matriculated student at UC
Berkeley, re-applied, and was accepted. He was also accepted by Reed

Alex began his studies at Columbia in the fall of 2002. He had gained
admission without any credit––zero––for high-school-level studies; his
coursework at Berkeley included no science, and in math he completed
just a one-unit refresher course in algebra and trigonometry and a
class in statistics. The reading he did while on the streets was
mostly in
political science, international affairs, history, philosophy, and
economics, and his
focus at Berkeley was in these areas also.