High school home schooling is an excellent opportunity for your child to get a jump start on their college work through CLEP exams. A CLEP (College Level Examination Program) is an exam that is created by the College Board to test a student's knowledge on a variety of subjects.
Currently there are 33 introductory level exams offered and they are accepted by over 2900 colleges and universities. If your home school high school student passes one of these exams, they may have just earned some college credits! Many home school students complete their entire freshman year of college while they are still high school homeschooling!
Since I have not done this myself yet and am still in research mode, I decided to go to an expert. Justin of Free-Clep-Prep.com graciously agreed to offer his expertise.
One of the many benefits to high school home schooling is that you, as the teacher, have control of the curriculum. With a little research, you can ensure that your home school high school curriculum covers the material needed for your child to pass a CLEP. This is college level material, so you may want to wait until your home school high school student's junior or senior year before attempting these, but it is never too early to start laying the foundation needed.
During the normal course of teaching a subject, make sure to include and test the material you can expect to see on these exams. You can download a copy of the official fact sheet for each of the CLEP exam from the College Board Website. These fact sheets will tell your home school high school student exactly what subjects they will be tested on and are a valuable resource.
Secondly, there are many support groups for high school home schooling which concentrate on CLEP exams. Check with your local home school community and chances are good that there will be at least a few who are currently studying for CLEP exams right now. If in a rural area and unable to meet other homeschoolers for study sessions, run a quick Google search and there are plenty of online communities for high school home school students taking CLEP exams.
CLEP exams cover almost every subject you can think of: Arts and Sciences, Humanities, Math and Foreign Languages. The chances are good that whatever your home school student feels most comfortable with, there's a CLEP exam for that.
Some exams are worth 3 college credits, like the Introduction to Psychology CLEP Exam. Others are worth 6 credits for a successful pass like the Biology CLEP. Obviously the 6 credit exams are often more difficult than the 3 credit exams, though there are exceptions. A home school high school student with a firm grasp of the English language has a very good chance of passing the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP exam, which is worth six credits! That's almost half of a full-time college semester earned with one exam!
I would first have a talk with your high school home schooling student and explain what CLEP exams are and how they can benefit them in the future. This can be a good way of broaching the subject of college if you haven't already. Before you can decide if CLEP exams are right for you, you'll need to know what college your student will be going to and whether that college will accept CLEP exams. A simple phone call to the college will often give you this information.
Involve your home school high school student in picking an exam and preparing for it. They should be excited about these exams, but there is no rush. A student can take a full year to prepare for a CLEP exam with no penalty.
Next, find a testing center in your area. You can use the official 'Test Center Locator' tool found at Free-clep-prep.com/Official-Resources-and-Tools , just type in your location and it should give you some choices. Incidentally, there is also a tool on that page to see if your preferred college takes CLEP exams. No matter what the tool says, I'd still call your school to confirm the answer either way. Many schools change their policies too often for the tool to keep up. When your home school student is ready, just make the appointment at the testing center and give them a ride there!
This is going to be different for every child. They should know every subject on the official fact sheet backwards and forwards to begin with. There are also free practice tests for CLEP Exams which you can find here - Free-clep-prep.com/practice-clep-test. I usually recommend that they consistently score at least 15 points higher on the practice tests than they need to pass. So if they need a 52 to pass, I'll want them to score at least a 67% or higher on the practice exams consistently.
In the end, it's going to be up to the both of you to determine when your high school home schooling student feels confident enough for the exam. I would pick an easy one to begin with and in a subject they enjoy. Getting that confidence boost with a successful pass can make following exams much easier.
If they happen to fail their first exam, it's not the end of the world! It can be a learning experience both on what went wrong (Did they run out of time? Study the wrong material?) and also a valuable lesson on how to deal with defeat. Help them pick themselves back up and tackle another one when they're ready.
CLEP exams offer high school home schooling students a great way to prepare for college. They can also provide a way for your student to hit the ground running and save a significant amount of money on tuition and books. A typical CLEP exam only costs around $100. That's quite a savings compared to a normal, 3 credit college class.
Even more exciting, these are not the only way a home school high school student can earn college credit. DSSTs, StraighterLine, ALEKS and FEMA Course are also available and have been taken advantage of by many home school teachers. With all of these options, what are you waiting for? Jump in and do some researching!