Homeschooling through high school can feel intimidating. I am a teacher by trade, and I am constantly second guessing myself and checking to be sure that I have not left my children with a gaping hole in their education.
We tell our kids that they can do anything they want, but am I stealing part of that future from them if I don’t aptly prepare them to meet it?
The summer before my eldest entered 8th grade I discovered what ended up being a transformational seminar for our home school.
Cheri Frame from Credits Before College was presenting and I’d heard that this was something we needed to attend to learn about homeschooling high school and saving money on college.
While homeschooling is strictly my domain, money is my husband’s. So we both attended.
When it started, I know he was still not completely sure why he was there. But during the break he turned to me and said, “This is the best day ever.”
If you are able to attend one of her seminars, I can’t recommend it strongly enough. If not, spend time on her website, she lays things out really well and has lots of resources.
I’m planning on doing a series of posts on this method of homeschooling high school. Watch for them! Today’s focus is going to be on the basics, and the financial savings.
The key to this method is learning to look at college differently.
We tend to think of ‘experiences’ when we think of college. What Cheri teaches is how to “unbundle” the degree from the experience. Both can be important, but they don’t need to be gotten together.
Doing this can save major dollars and years of time.
The time savings is not meant to push kids to achieve for the sake of achieving, but to give them time to live, explore, adventure. And to do so without crippling debt.
Did you know that for every $10,000 in debt, a student can expect a repayment of $100 a month for 10 years? And the average student graduates with $30,000 in debt. That’s a $300 payment right off the top of whatever salary they are earning. And if they get married to another ‘average’ college student….. This young couple just starting out will have $600 a month in student debt. That’s not rent, food, transportation … $600! And what if they are not ‘average’. Attend a private college or get an advanced degree and they are looking at hundreds of thousands in debt — I’m not doing that math!
The method we’re following breaks down at its heart to two components:
Credit by Exam and Dual Enrollment.
Credit by Exam means that students can take a test, and a passing score gives them college credits for that subject. There are two main sources for tests, CLEP and DSST.
The cost of these tests is $80-100 per test – most tests are for 3 credits – equivalent to one course. (The cost per credit at our local community college is around $200, and a private college is over $400 – so $600-1200 per course). That’s quite a savings!
Most of the tests are in general education subjects that you will be studying in high school anyway…Literature, History, Social Sciences, Math, etc.
The first two years of college are largely a repeat of high school? Why study everything twice?
Here’s what we typically do: in any given subject my kids complete a course, then we spend a few weeks to a month actively studying for the test.
Dual Enrollment is a program that many states, including ours, offers for high school students. The program will look different in each state. Click here to see what your state offers. (Please note that some of the links on this page are not the best, but it does give a brief overview of the program in each state. Check with your State Department of Education for more details).
In my state, students are allowed to take college classes at any college and receive both high school and college credits. It is free for students in our state. In some states it is not.
So what got my husband to look at me and claim seminar day the best day ever?
It was when she told us that paying for her son to complete a Bachelor’s degree cost them less than his braces had.
I hope this introduction has gotten you interested to find out more.
I hope you’re more excited than overwhelmed! You can do this!
Click here to read the second post in this series which gives step by step instructions on how to plan a course that will help your teen prepare for CLEP & DSST testing for college credit. Lots of links to resources!
And you can get a list here of all the Curriculum Ideas We’ve Used.
Have you considered Credit by Exam or Dual Enrollment for your student?