19 December 2012

More on the CLEP

I'm not sure if high school is more complicated these days compared to when I was in high school or if it's just that it's more complicated because we're homeschooling and there's not a handy guidance counselor to deal with all the testing and other things pertaining to college admissions.

One decision is made, Sweet Pea is going to take both CLEP tests in US history. She may take an AP test or two in the next two years but for this year, this is the best decision. One advantage of taking either AP or CLEP tests is to get college credit for the class. Sometimes the student can get graded credit but more often it's just credit and also means that you don't have to take the equivalent class at college. These generally are freshman level general education classes. This pays off by either being one less class that needs to be taken saving a few dollars or freeing up a space to take a class they really want instead of one they have to take.

Another good reason to take a CLEP test if you're homeschooled is to prove the rigor of your classes. If you are shooting for college, you need to be taking a college prep class load in high school. One way to show that you are (and that Mom's not just giving you A's because she's mom) is by taking a CLEP or AP test and doing well on it. Even if you don't get college credit for the class you will show the quality of your high school work.

Now that I've made that decision, I have to figure out if it's worth it for Sweet Pea to take the PSAT next fall. Another decision for another day.

17 December 2012

A Plan, Finally

It's always good to have a plan. It helps you know where you're going and how to get there. I *finally* have a plan for something that I've been very indecisive about all fall. Sweet Pea is taking US History this fall. I wanted her to take the AP test in the spring but I kept going back and forth about it. I wasn't sure if our class at home would be enough to get her ready for it and I knew we wouldn't be done in time to spend weeks studying for it. I was also thinking about the CLEP test then I couldn't decide which would be better or if it really mattered which she took. This job of being guidance counselor for homeschooled high school students is not for the faint of heart!

I finally got to the point of thinking she wouldn't do either, she'd just take the class and we'd call it good. I had looked into the AP test and had some concerns - besides what I mentioned above, it's only offered once a year in the spring and this coming year it's May 15. We're planning on going on vacation the last two weeks or so of May and this could be a problem (the AP test date). One of the advantages of homeschooling is being able to set your own schedule and take vacations when you want, when everyone else is still in school. I do realize that it's sort of a different ball game in high school but we still are able to tailor our schedule to accommodate the things that are important to us and this vacation is one of those things. So I was dropping the idea all together.

Then the other day I got an email from a Yahoo group I'm on. Someone was asking about AP classes/tests and another person asked about the difference between AP and CLEP. One parent responded with a lot more detail about the CLEP tests and why they were a better option for her son. Reading what she wrote really spoke to me and after doing some CLEP research on the College Board website, that's the route we're going.

There's two US history CLEP tests - one that covers the early period to 1870 and the second is 1865 to the present if I'm remembering right. I've looked into the testing sites and while there's one close, the local community college has much better information on their website, including the registration form, so I think she may go there even though it's farther away. The really nice thing about the CLEP test is that you can pick the date, they'll tell you what time, you go and test, done. I really like that we can do the test on our schedule.

I feel like a weight has been lifted. I have a decision and it's one I feel good about, just hope that Sweet Pea feels the same way about it. It's good to have a plan.

16 December 2012

Important Character Traits

 I'm shamelessly swiping this from The HomeScholar. These are all great qualities not measured by tests but are so much more important that anything that testing can show. We're working hard to instill these in our girls, some we can help them with, some they are just born with, but we can help develop them. All will help them get along in life and make their lives that much better and the lives of those around them.