Our College-Prep Expert Interview series gives parents and students an opportunity to meet an expert who can help them on their college-bound journey. We ask each expert how they got into the business of college-prep, why their work is so important and to share their biggest tips and tricks!

Ann HeadshotExpert: Ann Karako

Company: Annie & Everything

Location: Branson, Missouri

Catchphrase: I don’t do complicated 🙂

Why we interviewed Ann: Through her blog, Ann shows families that it’s actually not that hard to homeschool high school AND prepare your child for college! Homeschooling high school doesn’t need to be intimidating. 

Let’s start with the big question, what do you do?

I blog about homeschooling and the homeschool life. More specifically, I write about finding ways to make the homeschool lifestyle easier for mom and the whole family. One of my areas of focus is homeschooling high school.

How long have you been working in the college-prep world?

Since I have homeschooled all of my children from kindergarten on, I’ve been in the college prep business for quite awhile, lol. My oldest is now in grad school, and we’ve graduated two others from our homeschool, one of whom is currently a sophomore in college. (The other went to college for two years and then decided it was not for her.) Also, I have a high school senior and an 8th-grader this year. I guess you could say I’ve been “working” in the college prep world for about 2-1/2 years, though, because that’s how long I’ve been blogging about it.

How did you get into this work?

I kept reading articles about what homeschooling families “should do” or “must do” for their high schoolers to be accepted into college, and I knew that most of it was not true. I wanted to relieve fears and lighten the burden for these families. I wrote about our own experience of being a rather “ordinary” family who did nothing particularly special, yet all three of our graduates were accepted into the colleges of their choice and received merit scholarships. This resonated with people, so I began writing more about homeschooling high school and how to structure the high school curriculum around college admission requirements, rather than some exhausting list of “must-do’s.”

What is the biggest lesson youve learned through your experience?

It’s too easy to think we know better than another what is best for THEIR child. Every family has its own goals and manner of doing life. Our experience is just that — our own. It is not a mandate for all.

Why is your work so important?

There is a real need for solid, factual information about homeschooling high school and preparing for college. Many families think only the public schools are capable of giving their kids the necessary education. Homeschooling high school is intimidating to them, and it doesn’t need to be. It’s actually not that hard to homeschool high school AND prepare your child for college! But fears about it abound, due in large part to misinformation that has been propogated for so long.

Who is your typical reader?

My typical reader is one of three types of moms: First there is the mom who is homeschooling a middle-schooler and is trying to decide whether or not to put her child into public school for the high school years. There are also those who have freshly pulled their high-schooler out of public school and want to know how to start homeschooling them. Then there are those who have been homeschooling high school but are afraid they are doing it wrong or that their child won’t be accepted into college. I try to reassure and encourage them all that they can do this thing and their child will not be hindered from going to college, if that is their desire.

What have you found your readers struggle with the most?

One of the biggest struggles to overcome is the idea that homeschoolers should follow public school graduation requirements. When moms discover that THEY can set the requirements for their own children (in most states), it is a very freeing thing for them.

What is the most important piece of advice you give them?

There are actually two important pieces of advice, lol: 1) Know your state homeschool law. Not knowing the law can lead to having fears when you don’t need to. And 2) check college admissions requirements to see which courses your child should take in high school. There is NO NEED to follow the plan for the public high school(s) in your district or state. College admissions requirements are actually much more reasonable.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share with families on the college-bound journey?

Start your research early. Obtain actual hard copies of catalogs from random colleges starting when your child is in 7th grade or so. (Having the hard copy makes it easier to see the big picture, to page back and forth, to discuss with your child, etc.) Take some time to look through them, not just at the admissions requirements, but at the type of majors that are offered and the coursework involved. It will be freeing to see how different they are — which means that most likely your child will be able to find one that will be a good fit for his/her interests and desired level of academics.

What is your favorite college-prep resource?

For homeschoolers, my favorite college prep resource would have to be the Facebook group that I administrate, lol. But seriously, the moms there are SO knowledgeable and encouraging about all sorts of subjects. I don’t know all the details of homeschool law for the different states, or how to adapt schoolwork to different types of students, or about all the various curricula that are out there. But just about every question that is asked in the group gets a multitude of helpful responses. It’s a great place to hang out! 🙂

What is one thing that makes what you do unique?

I refuse to tell people what they “should” or “must” do. I tell them what they CAN do and also what they DON’T HAVE TO do. I think it’s refreshing for people to hear (or read) that they have that kind of freedom.

What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

That’s a no-brainer, lol. I love to read!

Anything else we should know?

You can find my blog at annieandeverything.com.

Also, feel free to join one or both of my Facebook groups: It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School and/or It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool K-8