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. http://www.free-clep-prep.com/index.html 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: https://www.thoughtco.com/high-school-course-requirements-college-admissions-788858 . 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
https://allinonehomeschool.com/ 
*They also have younger years
*Christian
*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
https://modernstates.org/ 
*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
Coursera
https://www.coursera.org/ 
*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
https://www.khanacademy.org/ 
*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: https://www.4tests.com/clep-algebra, http://studycenter.rea.com/user/account, and http://www.free-clep-prep.com/index.html . For the Portland area you may want to check out https://www.chemeketa.edu/media/content-assets/documents/pdf/about/locations/yvc_CLEPinfo_072018update.pdf

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.

Prepare Your Family’s Hearts for Christmas

Jesse Tree Advent Devotional

Jesse Tree Advent Devotional

Tis’ the Season to Prepare for the advent of Christ’s birth.  Advent starts November 27th this year.  It is time to order the Jesse Tree Advent Devotional and Lapbook kit.  This is a super fun way to prepare your families’ hearts for Christmas.

What does it look like in our house:  We add Christmas lights in the dinning room along with the candles and often have special desserts (especially on Sundays).  Our kids love advent!  At dinner we turn off the regular lights, light the candles, read the Bible and devotional (included), put an ornament on the tree (included), and sing our favorite Christmas songs.  The kids love to blow-out the candles.  Your kids will love this tradition, and you will love that they are excited about the real advent of Christmas.  They will know that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and have a lot of fun doing it.

Jesse Tree (Click to buy or get more information about the kit)

Some extra ideas to add to the celebration:

  • Donate something each night
  • Make special meals like red and green dinner (everything is red and green)
  • Shepherd’s Night (I’ll explain on a future post.)
  • Christmas Cards (decide who, sign and stuff, address…sprinkle it though out the week)
  • volunteer at a food bank
  • Creative Sundays on Sunday (SOS: make your own ice cream sunday)
  • Christmas Cookie decorating
  • Make Christmas presents for the animals (i.e. pinecone bird feeder)
  • Make cookies for a widow/someone lonely) you know and go visit
  • Go Stealth Elfing!

DITIR Grading System and Planning

Simply Planned Planner

Simply Planned: A Practical Homeschool Planner

It is time to start planning for the school year. I love this part. Honestly, my planner helps me love it more. It reminds me of all the things I need to think about while I make my children’s home education plan. I am quite excited about the planning because my oldest child is joining our homeschool setting this year. I will have a highschool/college student along with the young ones. I needed to start planning early this year. I want to just give a little insight into how I grade using my Simply Planned Planner. I use the DITIR system to focus my energy on mastery instead of completion.

Simply Planned Homeschool Planner (click link to get more information)

Grading with a DITIR system:

When I first started homeschooling, I thought I would have no need for a grading system. The “Do It Till It’s Right” plan means that they will always get an A. As they have gotten older I have realized that in the main subjects it is nice to track their DITIR. I started recording their grades on the calendar day they complete the test. The grades don’t have to be in a row since they will be As. Calculating As is considerably easy. How do they always get As? They take the test/quiz once. I grade it and go over the answers with them. If they get below a 92%, I have them do the section, in which they had the most trouble, over again. They can get half the points they missed back. If they get a B, they repeat the test. If they get a C, or they continue to get a low grade after I’ve explained things to them, I may have them repeat the section of the workbook that is giving them the most difficulty. With a D, they should repeat the entire workbook. We use Christian Light for language arts, and it is easily broken down into small manageable sections. My goal is mastery. I want them to master the concepts of a lesson. A test just allows me to identify where a child needs extra help. After I tutor them in that area, they should master the concept. This system seems to work well for the younger grades. We will see how it works for the older children.

Make planning fun. Go to a coffee shop and have a parent teacher meeting with yourself. Or stay over night at a hotel while you go to a homeschool conference. That intense planning time can do a lot for your morale and anticipation for the coming year. Most of all be encouraged that you are doing the best for your children, even when you feel discouraged. Our job is to plan and implement, it is God who make the whole thing workout. So prayer is the most powerful thing we do as parents. Be blessed and enjoy praying, planning and playing this summer.

Lent Prophecy Devotional and Calendar

Preparing Our Family’s Hearts for Easter!

Cal and mag

 There is no better way to reinforce our trust in who God is, than to review the prophecies God made in the Old Testament and the fulfillment of them in the New Testament as it pertains to Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Great preparation for Easter!  My pastor wrote the devotionals and I drew the pictures.  (He is so gifted at writing in layman’s terms.)  I used the Lenten calendar as the bases for the time table.  The first 40 days (including Sundays) review a prophecy (Bible and Devotional), the last 6 days (Easter Week) include a hands-on object lesson that will help the children have fun while learning, along with the Bible reading.  This is a great way to bring in excitement and learning to our family devotional time(no matter the family size).  I have just completed  a printable artistically designed Lenten Calendar to follow along with the Devotional Book.  The calendar is in the shape of a cross. If you would like to purchase and download this great resource just follow this link to the product page.

What do you get with the downloadable Kit? 

  • An informative 47 day Devotional (40days: Old Testament Prophecies, New Testament fulfillments and a devotional each day; 7 days: week before Easter object lessons and fun activities)
  • An awesome cross-shaped Calendar to follow
  • Graphics for a fun magnet to keep tract of your progression towards Resurrection Day (Easter Sunday)!
  • Directions to assemble this kit for the family fun and learning

What Does it Cost?

$15  for a downloadable copy the Lent Devotional Kit (Click here for more information at my MissionMama.com store)

More Pictures:

lent wreath

magnet

proph devo