CLEP: Four Free Highschool College Credit Curriculums

This is an unprecedented time in history. The schools have closed and the country is quarantined. My “schooling” of young children is very hand-on, fun learning, but when it comes to highschool, education becomes much more serious. So when the school system sends the kids home in the middle of their curriculum, what shall be done? I want to spread hope. At this point in Oregon at least, there is no curriculum to continue the students’ education. It may be the perfect time to use a free curriculum to learn and study for the CLEP exams in their remaining class time.

What is a CLEP test? CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program. It is a collection of tests in different subject areas that are designed by the College Board to assess your college level proficiency in the tested subject area. Unlike AP tests that must use a certain book and be taught a certain way, CLEP tests assess your knowledge of a subject area no matter the source of your learning. Many colleges accept the tests as proof that you are competent in that subject and will credit your school records as if you completed that subject at their institution. Essentially CLEPs give you free/reduced credits for college. As with everything, there are a few nuances to this. One is that not all CLEPs are accepted equally at all Universities/Colleges. If you know what college you want to attend, look to see what CLEPs they accept. My point is…it can’t hurt to take them in highschool as long as you understand that they don’t alway count. The worst that could happen is that you exhibit college level learning. Even if you don’t get credit, it still looks good. Plenty of kids take AP tests –not all colleges accept that test either, and many of the kids don’t pass the test anyway– yet it still looks good on their transcript. College bound highschoolers are trying to accomplish two things at one time. You are trying to complete the list of your highschool requirements, at the same time you are taking Freshman College classes to lessen your overall financial burden. The college sees them as two completely separate things that are being accomplished simultaneously. So much so as to have a name for it, Dual-enrollment. Your homeschool student has a great advantage with this. 

  1. Decrease over all schooling costs, including college
  2. Reduce time. If they are ready for college level work, why do both highschool and college
  3. Confidence for your transcript. A CLEP can prove your student has learned the material.
  4. Proof of college readiness
  5. FREE Christain CLEP subject curriculum is available.
  6. You have college credit and still qualify for Freshman scholarships. Better scholarship opportunities.
  7. The semester-vs-trimester debacle doesn’t play into the amount of credits received. Full credit.
  8. You must take the full class and study, but you will really know this material. 
  9. FREE CLEP testing options. Through Modern States, the test can be free.

How to go about deciding which class they should take first. has a difficulty score of the CLEPs they cover. They also have free practice tests for many of the tests. Another variable to this choice is the requirements for your students transcript. The requirements are readily available. Here is a quick list: . CLEPs don’t have written work except English, so I don’t require my students to take college English first before starting them. But for in-class or online actual college classes, all my students have to take English 101 first. There are a few exceptions. If the class will not require a written paper like math or ASL, then they are allowed to take that class before English. There is no reason to stress about the formatting of a college level paper while you are focusing on content. That is why English is first.

When? I like to have them start studying for the CLEP test right after they finish the subject. This keeps the momentum and gives them the best chance of remembering/understanding the material. Don’t get discouraged at the process. You will learn this material. You don’t have to use just one curriculum. For Biology we used Apologia, then did a practice test. We realized that more learning must occur, so we went through Modern States together. Now we have a free voucher for the test. It takes an additional ½ year and extra classes, but 3 credits are worth it. 

Online Free Highschool HomeschoolPROCONNeutral
All in One Homeschool- Highschool 
*They also have younger years
*Prepares student to take the CLEP
*Nicely organized day to day
*CLEP for college credit Counts for highschool and college credit (CLEP)
*No internet-no class
*You have to remember which day you are on
*Not all Colleges accept all CLEPS
*Test is about $90
*Lots of reading
*Can add things for multiple ages
*You grade
Modern States 
*Most are quite well taught
*Free textbook
*Prepares student to take the CLEP
*Free CLEP Voucher for test when finished Counts for highschool and college credit (CLEP)
*NOT Christian
*Not all Colleges accept all CLEPS
*Created by many different Universities
*College level
*Free highschool credit for any subject you choose
*Free first step to see if your student is ready for college
*College level work
*Certificate available as proof of knowledge
*NOT College credit
*NOT Christian
*Certificate costs
*Interesting free art classes *Certificate available at cost
Khan Academy 
*Great tutor
*College level available
*Not really a complete class
*NOT Christain
*NOT College credit
*Not preparing for CLEP
*Supplemental work

There are a lot of free CLEP practice tests. The best way to get some is to buy a CLEP practice book. They have some free ones in the back and online. Here are some other sites:,, and . For the Portland area you may want to check out

Table-side Chat with a Veteran Homeschool Teacher

What is Homeschooling?

Before I talk about what it is, let’s talk about what it is not.

  1. Not bringing a classroom home (What works with 30-100 will not work with 1-5)
  2. Not a one room schoolhouse (Not just a teacher)
  3. Not universal one size fits all, curriculum, location, attire, and schedule all differ
  4. Few are isolated and unsocialized (It is nicer to meet with at least some people like you.)
  5. Not schooling does not mean not educating

Whatever your preconceived ideas about homeschool are, They’re probably wrong. Except if you think we sometimes teach in our PJs, you may be right about that.

The reality is that there is not a standard way to go about homeschooling. It is an individual education that meets the needs of a child’s learning patterns, combined with the needs of your teaching patterns and takes into account the needs of your family. What works for one family doesn’t necessarily work for another. What works for one child in your family almost certainly will conflict with another child in your family. There are so many options, homeschoolers keep tweeking until it works for their family.  Create an Individual Family Plan for your own family. Homeschooling brings opportunities to your children and a chance for them to explore who God created them to be.

Major in the Majors

Elementary and Middle school focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic. Science and history should be fun (as in education videos) and/or done together as a family. I happen to have highschoolers, so we do it together at the table. I use Christian Light for the majors, RWA. Liberty Kids, Magic School Bus and Berenstain Bears Science are some great examples of educational fun. Also you can add coloring sheets while the highschoolers read aloud. 

Junior and Senior High Schoolers: Time to start recording subjects for a transcript. Colleges all want to see when they have completed algebra, even if it was in elementary school. Be sure to record when it was taken and what curriculum was used.

I use curriculums, but make sure the curriculums don’t use you. Some curriculums have tons of busy work. Christian Light works well for our family. Every test must be completed with an A grade. We don’t do things just to have something to do, mastery is important. So you retake the test after learning your mistakes until you get an A. This is so for all the Majors, English,and Math. Science we read through the book together at the table, along with history and Bible. The family table is also where I address any current event or life lessons. They ask questions, and we talk.

Homeschool’s magical opportunity lies in extra education time. What I like to call fun-school. That is why I don’t like busy work for the minor subjects. I want to grant time, curriculum and resources for each child’s talent. My oldest loved computers; my older girl loved to write stories; and my second girl loves drama and languages. There are resources out there for them all. I don’t have to be an expert at everything. There are a lot of really good online and local teachers. Your job as a homeschool teacher is to help find resources. 

One of the most important classes in homeschool is home economics. Learning how to clean, cook, maintain a house and yard, manage time, and still have fun time. It is not easy for adults. It is super difficult for kids. Yes, the biggest task you will have is managing your time and theirs, until they can do it themselves.

Homeschooling High School

(Flexibility, Understanding, and patience. )

Most people are afraid of homeschooling highschool. They feel inadequately prepared for the rigors of management and recording (for a transcript) as well as the advanced subject matter. I want to put you at ease. The lists of exactly what colleges are looking for on a transcript are easily available. It is not a mystery. The most difficult part of rocking highschool is really unschooling your own thought process. Here are some important tips.

  1. You don’t have to be an expert at everything in order to homeschool. That is the job of a good curriculum. Your job is to find, acquire, and monitor.
  2. Schedule coffee dates. Instead of a parent teacher conference, do a parent  student conference. Create a comfortable environment to talk about their future, options that they may have, and listen to what they really want to see happen with their education. 
  3. ASK THEM. If you realize they are ready, give your high schooler a choice to do high school or college level work. “This is what I have prepared for you…. But you will save a lot of money and time if you choose to go here …..” They are more receptive to hard work, if they have chosen it, and know the benefits. I usually throw in the words…”and after you’re finished you may never have to see it again.” (Trimester -vs- semester and different colleges acceptance of your class may come into play) There are many options: online, CLEP tests, community colleges, and many four year Universities offer a huge discount to highschoolers, even Christian colleges.
  4. Give them at least one subject that they can choose. Often there are many more choices than that, like what type of art, PE, English/writing they want to do.
  5. Activities. It is common for highschools to want to relate to other highschoolers. Find a safe, even educational place for them to do that. Do they like drama, a theater class might be just the thing. And don’t forget to record their hours. 120 hours is a highschool credit. What do they spend their time doing, and can that be considered a class? It just might!
  6. Schedule is flexible. If they are night people, as long as they get a full 8 hours sleep, let them work at night. They can split up their work time. As long as they get their work done and maintain health, it’s all good.
  7. Dress code should also be very flexible. PJs are an option. 
  8. Chores are part of school. We are building children with a work ethic. 
  9. Make your life as easy as possible, because teaching is a job. Highschoolers can cook, clean, do laundry, and keep organized, but they need a little help. I bought a different color plate for each person. That is their plate, and we all know who didn’t wash it. The same can go for cups and socks too. I gave them all their own hamper, so they can do their own laundry. We had a cooking schedule until the older two started college classes. I helped them by taking over cooking. What responsibilities can I give them, and how can I help them be successful at them? PS. We don’t fold clothes;we dump.
  10. Allow your student to work in the best learning pattern for them. If they take literature and are an auditory learner, let them listen to the books. That child will get much more out of an audio than reading it. Oral book reports work as well as written ones. They won’t even be able to completely avoid the other learning paths, but help them where you can. Most of the time kids avoid subjects that they think they aren’t good at. It may be time for you to learn with them in that area. Then they will feel like you really understand their position.

Mission Nutrition eBook


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Real Food, Real Answers…

What is healthy? The word “health” has become a completely arbitrary word. With all of the confusing opinions and “un-scientific” studies out there, the everyday person is really baffled about health. Most people don’t have the hours it would take to sift through the seemingly ambiguous information. Our high school health class or even college class from 30 years ago is little preparation for the variety of food decisions we make today. Food science has changed the terrain of nourishment. When we started to engineer food, we threw away centuries of time honored wisdom surrounding the cultivation and preparation of nutrient rich sustenance. The problem of properly nourishing a body is just as beautifully complex as the body itself, yet the simple wisdom of many indigenous peoples have historically established a properly balanced diet. Where did we go wrong? Without knowing all the nutrients really required for life, we assembled attractive food, devoid of the full complexity that God intended. New food-like products are produced so rapidly, with little thought as to the true purpose of food. So what is the true purpose of food? Food’s primary purpose is to build and sustain the wonderful person that is YOU. Health is a result of a body well supplied with the needed nutrients. What foods will truly provide you with the nutrients you need for life? What diet will really support your body? Are there nutrients that are now lacking in our soil or lifestyle habits that can not sustain our body’s requirements? What about supplements and dietary support products? These are honest questions that deserve real answers.

Limiting Toxins, Practical Solutions…

Choosing non-toxic products is setting personal boundaries for the protection of your body’s function. Limit the load of toxins coming into your body that are under your direct control, so that your body can eliminate the remaining toxins that are unavoidable. I provide many low cost recipes and real life alternatives to common commercial products.




Broken Bodies, Enduring Remedies…

There are many natural healing modalities available today, but as a society we lack the necessary foundation to wisely take advantage of these gifts.  How they work or even which one may be best for our individual situation is a complete mystery to the average person. This herbal wisdom has been largely suppressed to the point of extinction in America. Thankfully there is much we can learn from cultures that have kept their traditional healing paradigm alive, thousands of years of trial and error that we can now benefit from. I try to outline some foundational points of the most documented natural healing systems, give an overview of principles, and some real remedies for common complaints. Most importantly I want to provide healthy expectations for real healing.



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If you want to use the eBook as a stocking stuffer or a wrapped present.  Click this link to download the gift certificate.


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Fermented Condiments

Fermented foods are good for you, right? Then why aren’t more people eating them? Well, they need to taste good, for one. The major problem is that we are so far removed from actually needing to do that. We just don’t know how to do it. Tastefully, that is. Many generations before us used fermentation regularly. They had time to perfect it. I feel like we are starting over. Well, we got to start somewhere. I decided that I should try ketchup. What could it hurt, right? I was really at a loss. The kids wanted something on their burgers, and our diet is so bizarre. I was unsure what to do. I wanted it red, but what should I use on a SCD, GAPS, API, low Oxalate, no night shade diet. This challenge is not for the timid. LoL! Cherries where the only red thing I could think of, so I went with it. We were all super amazed! This stuff tastes Great! It even tastes something like ketchup. I had to share the recipe, because who would have thought?

Fermented no night shade, Low Oxalate ketchup

  • 1/2 sweat onion (cooked)
  • 5 garlic cloves (cooked)
  • 1 c cherries (cooked)
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (cooked)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp white distilled vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pickle or sauerkraut starter
  • 1 drop clove essential oil
  • 1 drop nutmeg essential oil

Cook the food that needs cooked. Remove from stove, add the rest of the ingredients and blend smooth with a stick blender. Pour into a quart canning jar, place a cloth over the top secured by a rubber band. Let set on the counter for 2-4 days.

Fermented Hot Pineapple Mustard

  • 2 Tbsp mustard seed powder
  • 1 1/2 c pineapple, cooked
  • 3 Tbsp fresh dill weed, cooked
  • 5 Tbsp pickle or sauerkraut starter
  • 5 Tbsp distilled water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 garlic cloves, cooked

Cook the food that needs cooked. Remove from stove, add the rest of the ingredients and blend smooth with a stick blender. Pour into a small canning jar, place a cloth over the top secured by a rubber band. Let set on the counter for 2-4 days.

Nutrient Dense Life


Breakfast Liver Hash

Breakfast Liver Hash

The Best Way to Eat? I have been working on that question for years. I have tried all sorts of things. I have learned the question is slightly more complex than “best eating.” Best way to eat for what? and for who? Any good food plan should involve your health goals (weight loss, healing, ultimate future health…the what in the equation) and a knowledge of your own body and it’s needs and reactions (the who). For awhile, back when I cared little about real health,  I tried to loss weight with those magic diets. The magic being, I didn’t want to give up any of my favorite foods (carbs and sugar). I would tell myself that anything is fine in moderation. But seriously, what is moderation in current day America? Is that the 6 meals a day type of moderation, the once a week, or the “eat it with something healthy so it cancels the bad food out” type of moderation. The reality is that moderation just 100 years ago was that you would eat a treat maybe once a month. If we stuck with that idea, sure that type of “moderation” is acceptable given no food allergies. We must tame the carbohydrate monster inside of us, because we just can’t afford the caloric load. The best way to eat real must involve our optimal present and future health and well being. Over eating, blood sugar roll a coasters and fake food just will not bring us to our full health potential, no matter how good they taste…Junk food builds junkie bodies.

Our problem is not only food selection, but nutrient density. Our current food system is less nutrient dense than days of old. Between “modern farming practices” and genetic modifications in seeds (for mostly taste, appearance, and shelf life), we don’t have the calories to spare anymore. For awhile I would take vitamins in the hopes of correcting any deficiencies. It really is easier than changing your habits. But in the end most experts agree that it just leads to expensive pee, since most of the supplements aren’t as absorbable as the food sources. Understandably there is a difference between maintaining nutrient balance and replenishing deficiencies. Still it is a concern that all people should consider. Are you getting all the nutrients you need for a healthy life? Have you had your blood work run to find out if you have any deficiencies? It’s a good idea, because it is harder than you think to maintain nutritional stability and optimal health. Where am I on this? I am climbing out of the hole of nutritional deficiencies. With celiac and crohns it is a hole with steep sides. But even so, it is possible! I was going to title this post, “Liver Lovers Live Longer,” but I thought that would be tacky.  Though true, it is still a little too clicky of an alliteration. Back to my point, liver is a super food. And it was the only way I came out of my nutrient deficiencies and stayed out of them. You don’t have to eat much to maintain health, though the quality of the liver is important. The good news is that even high quality liver from good sources is quite affordable. It is much more affordable than quality multivitamins that honestly can’t begin to compete with the absorbability and completeness of high quality liver. That being said, you don’t have to taste it for liver to replenish your nutrients. So if you can’t stand liver, hide it in meatballs or freeze it and swallow it in pills.  Chris Kresser has a great article on liver as a super food and dispels many of the liver myths. Link to see Liver: Natures Most Potent Super Food.

Another very important nutrient dense food is seafood or sea vegetables. If you are like me, we can’t afford seafood for 7 people. But many people can afford kelp flakes. I sprinkle them on most every meal I make. I get the benefits of sea minerals without the cost.

One thing I have noticed in my exploration of health is that many people are looking for that magic bullet to add to their diet. We are readily willing to add things to our diet. Hmmm, well that is as long as they taste good and aren’t animal organs. I’m not sure if you have noticed the increase in supplements. I remember my own delusional idea that I could eat as unhealthy as I wanted just as long as my calorie count was good, and I took supplements to make up for the missing nutrients of my bad habits. That strategy has contributed to the poor health I have now.

In the beginning I heard how fermented foods could improve gut health, so I added them to my nutrient poor diet. I quickly got over the taste, and there they where, a daily part of my ritual. Perhaps this will solve other people’s digestive problems, but for me adding was only part of the battle. In fact at the time adding wild fermentation was actually acting against my efforts. For my celiac condition, yeasts cross react with gluten. My body doesn’t recognize the difference between good and bad yeast. I have since experimented with fermenting by inoculation of certain good bacteria. I have had some success; however, by far the most impact for my health is not about what I added to my diet, but what was taken away.

I could go on with many other nutrient hacks, but more than anything else the grains and sugars need to go. Gluten free and grain free diets are not just fads, but they have scientific validity that is currently improving many people’s lives. There are many real life grain free, sugar free experiments going on that the subjects are see huge improvements with all sorts of chronic disease, skin/hair conditions, energy and mental focus. For the most optimal nutrient density and health benefits carbohydrates should predominantly come from non-starchy vegetables and fruits, not grains. Grains are seeds (along with legumes) and they have many anti nutrients to protect themselves from being eaten. The net gain in nourishment is negligible when compared pound for pound with vegetables and fruits. There is no competition. So why do we fight the idea of going grain free? How could we think we couldn’t get all we need? The deal is…there is a multibillion dollar industry that has built its empire on our addiction to carbohydrates and sugars. I was the leader of the pack. I loved carbs and sugar. Even as I started to get allergies to them, I continued to try to create junk food from any and everything I could eat. The food wasn’t my problem (The food sitting on the shelf does nothing to my health. It is only when I eat it that I have problems). My unhealthy relationship with this stuff was really killing me. Junk food is junk food. No matter if it is Gluten free junk food or Paleo junk food or vegan junk food…it is still junk food. The resulting spike in blood sugar does much damage to your entire body. And “junk food” isn’t necessarily the sweets we often think of, it is any non nutrient rich foods. What is the net nutrient gain? It is the number you get when you subtract the compounds that cause your body to use your own nutrient stores to process the food from the nutrients that are given to you by that food. (Nutrients given – Nutrients need to process food = Net nutrient gain) Some foods actually cost more to digest than they give. From breads and pastas to donuts and tweekies most of them cost us more than they give us. They just can’t compare to vegetables. And with the rise of chronic diseases, can any of us afford not to take a serious look at this? You can do all the research you want, and I’m sure you can find an expert that will tell you it is ok to keep doing what you are doing. But honestly, the proof is in the pudding (so to speak). Is it working? So what can it hurt, just try it. Where to start? If you need a little more structure check out Diane Sanfilippo’s book “The 21 Day Sugar Detox.” There are three levels for your comfort. Make the first 21 days of this New Year count! Find your Optimal Health! (Ps Costco sells the book.) Facebook has a new group starting every month. This months group starts January 6th. Check it out: Facebook 21 Day Sugar Detox.

My new goal for 2014 is to eat the most nutrient dense diet I can honestly afford. The cost is higher in the present, but lower in medical bills (not to mention pain as a cost). The total cost of a life well lived can’t be measured.

Bread Jesus Didn't Eat

Bread Jesus Didn’t Eat

PS. One argument is pressing enough for me to mention it in a PS. “Jesus ate bread so how could it be wrong?” If this is a sticking point for you, be comforted that Jesus never ate the grain seeds being produced today. They have at least twice as much gluten. The plant it self doesn’t even look the same. Our modern day grains are cultivated for taste, shelf life and bug resistance. That is a little different than nutrient density. Not only are the seeds different, but the process of baking is considerably different. They all ate a type of sourdough bread. All the grains were sprouted and fermented before being consumed as breads. The process of fermentation breaks down a lot of the anti nutrients. In the end, first century fokes would have a hard time recognizing the product we call bread and have just as much difficulty digesting it.