CLEPs and the Secondary School - Part 2
- Wednesday, April 30, 2003
In our previous article we addressed how College Level Examination Program tests (CLEPs) can be used to a strategic advantage for homeschoolers. Many parents are just learning about these wonderful resources. Their low cost, ability to validate the high school materials learned, and usefulness in reducing the time and money associated with college courses make them very attractive to homeschooling families.
Many parents still find it difficult to motivate their children to take CLEPs seriously. The biggest problem seems to be "getting over that first hump." Once a homeschooler learns how reasonably simple a CLEP is to master, external motivation will become minimal or even non-existent. Our daughters, who learned about CLEPs nearly three years after finishing their high school work, caught on to this very quickly. They then began to study and pass them like they were going out of style. Rebekah "CLEP'd out" of her freshman year, even though she only learned of them after her graduation at age 18. We saved more than $22,000, including tuition, room and board, and she didn't waste time taking boring or irrelevant classes. Yet she still maintained a high GPA in her nursing major. Katie likewise CLEP'd several courses and it didn't affect her 4.0 GPA one bit! She is an architecture student.
Let's look at an example. Consider high school algebra. When your student completes this course, take the college algebra CLEP. Remember, there is no difference at all between high school and college algebra. Algebra is algebra is algebra. It will validate that the student knows the material and will award three college credits. Don't be too concerned that it is a subject that most students don't take for credit in college. It still looks good on the transcript. Many colleges will take the credits as replacement for some other math requirements. Unless your student is a math or science major, it will probably be transferred as at least an elective. But since the course is one the student will know as a high schooler, getting the college credits so easily through the CLEP exam shows the student that this stuff isn't that difficult. More than likely they will take ownership from then on and attack the next CLEP on their own.
Maybe algebra isn't the best example, because homeschoolers seem to have difficulty with high school science and math courses. So do introductory psychology or sociology first. These two are very easy to pass. Even an early teen can do these. Using materials like "REA CLEP Prep" books and "Standard Deviants" videos or DVDs, most of the material can be mastered quite simply. We know because our children did these two just that way and passed with flying colors.
And if that doesn't seem easy enough, there is even another option available now. We are offering to provide your local support group, regional or state organization the opportunity to set up a CLEP prep class in several of the available subjects. We will come to your area and teach natural science, biology, U.S. history, world civilization, algebra, or introductory psychology over three days. We will show your students how to prepare for these CLEP exams. (This is by no means an exhaustive list; there are 34 different CLEP exams available.) We have done this in several cities so far throughout the East and Midwest with very positive results. One class we did allowed students to earn up to 12 credits in two subjects: natural science and biology.
If you are interested in learning more about this offering, we have put together an "Administrative Planning Guide" that explains all about it, including a step-by-step approach to setting up the classes. Just send a note to email@example.com and we will e-mail you a copy of this 25-page document.
Using CLEPs and other alternative distance learning tools can allow your homeschoolers to far exceed your original expectations. These opportunities give our children every chance to achieve superior goals that we can possibly give them. Use them to help your students move to the next level.
David and Laurie Callihan are authors of The Guidance Manual for the Christian Homeschool: A Parent's Guide for Preparing Home School Students for College or Career. To learn more about their ideas for homeschooling through high school, go to www.davidandlaurie.com.
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