Get ahead. Receive a personalized academic plan. Expand your perspective. Challenge yourself. Form friendships that will last forever. Save money.
These are some of the reasons why parents are turning to Western Nevada College to provide their homeschool students with an alternative education that can culminate in earning an associate degree by the time they are finished with their education at home.
With the coronavirus health crisis persisting through the summer, high school-aged students are facing uncertainty going into the 2020-21 school year. That could mean that more parents are looking for alternatives to educate their children. Other parents may want their children to expand on their homeschool education program to challenge them in a different setting.
Either way, WNC’s expanding homeschool program has them covered.
“I became a student at WNC because I was looking to widen my horizons as a homeschool student and get ahead of the game,” said Addison Fredeen, who is set to start her third year taking classes at WNC. “Starting college early was probably one of the best decisions I made as a student to further my education. It improved me as a person and as a learner.”
Fredeen began taking classes at WNC as a 14-year-old through a personalized academic plan. Despite being younger than most of the students on campus she hasn’t been afraid to partake in campus and Student Life activities.
“What I liked best about attending WNC is that it didn’t matter that I started when I was 14, I still received the same education as 20-year-olds or 30-year-olds,” Fredeen said. “I was learning to the fullest potential I could and it’s such a great experience. Even though I was five or even 10 years younger than any of the other students, I was still able to get good grades and make good friends that I still have to this day. It’s nice being one of the younger students at WNC because I get to show off my capabilities of learning and being the best student that I can be.”
She’ll complete her final year at WNC in 2020-21 by again serving as an officer for the college’s student government group, the Associated Students of Western Nevada.
“This is my last year at WNC and I am so excited to serve ASWN and the students in this new role,” Fredeen said. “I want to help make the voice of the students at our school known and heard! I’m looking forward to being part of student government next year!”
If they qualify, homeschool students can also participate in WNC’s Jump Start program. This highly successful dual-credit program allows high school juniors and seniors to take classes through WNC and earn up to an associate degree by the time they graduate from their high school.
This past spring, nine homeschool students graduated with an associate degree through the Jump Start program.
But using Addison as a prime example, homeschool students don’t have to be aligned to Jump Start.
“I meet with them individually to help determine course qualifications and to develop an individualized educational plan,” said WNC Counselor and Outreach Coordinator Tricia Wentz.
Last year, WNC launched a Homeschool Club to provide more support to those students so they could better navigate their academic work and build friendships.
“This fall, WNC plans to hire a homeschool coordinator who will work with homeschool students and families to build enrollment and support of this population as they enroll in WNC classes. The coordinator will oversee and develop a space for homeschool students at the Carson City campus,” Wentz said.
Fredeen and other homeschool students helped form a homeschool club known good-naturedly as the Nerd Herd. They hold bi-weekly meetings and hang out together. Popular Psychology Professor Rebecca Bevans advises this group of students and helps them prosper. Fredeen will serve as president for the club for the 2020-21 school year.
“They have fun things planned and are forming strong friendships, something this group wanted but with being scattered across WNC classes, it was sometimes difficult to attain,” Bevans said last fall. “Now that they are organized, there is no stopping them from moving forward and having fun.”
A high school student can inquire about taking one or two online classes from WNC but will need authorization from their high school.
WNC has developed a robust online presence for course delivery, with about a third of students electing to take classes that way prior to the pandemic in March, when all classes transitioned to that instructional platform. Of the students responding to a post-semester survey about their online learning experiences, 69 percent indicated that they had taken at least one online class prior to the transition and 61 percent said they were highly satisfied or satisfied with support from their instructors.
Meanwhile, Fredeen is already looking ahead to her next higher education challenge.
“My future education plans are to go on and get my Bachelor of Science degree at a college that offers a robotics program,” Fredeen said. “My plan for my career is to become a robotics engineer and technician so I can work on robots, building and designing them.”
To learn more about WNC’s homeschool program, contact Wentz at Tricia.Wentz@wnc.edu and to learn more about the Nerd Herd, contact Bevans at
Rebecca.Bevans@wnc.edu. Parents can learn more about the program by attending a Homeschool Information Night on Thursday, July 30 at 6 p.m. via Zoom at https://wnc-edu.zoom.us/j/96370174143. The password is: homeschool
WNC is currently offering scholarships for homeschool high school students that will cover tuition for the first course toward earning their associate degree.
“I am looking forward to assisting with the enrollment and advising process as families are considering college opportunities for their high school students,” Wentz said.
Homeschool program scholarships are available to qualified students. Contact a WNC counselor at 775-445-3267 or email@example.com to learn more details.