Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Experimenting in Learning with CLEP, Straighterline and

We Are Doing It All
Dual Enrollment with 
CLEP, DSST, Straighterline,, Online College Classes

Don't give up when one method doesn't gain results, try others, and see where your kid blossoms.


Your kid should know how to study for test, take notes, WRITE WELL, use logical deduction (take logic course), have a decent vocabulary (used, read fast (speed reading with ACE Reader), good computational skills (math drills and review and be motivated.


Since starting homeschooling my kids about six years ago, I really have been amazed at how having control of their High School years was so incredibly freeing for us.

Each of them approached Dual Enrollment in different ways, partially, because of my lack of knowledge on the subject, and because of what they wanted to do.

Finding what fit their LEARNING STYLE and LEVEL OF MATURITY is really what mattered. In addition to that, since my husband and I worked out of the home, the kids had to do most of it independently with me checking progress.

CLEP and DSST Test 
Taking these test usually took my students 8 to 9 weeks if they weren't familiar with the subject. The best trick is to use the CLEP or DSST as a FINAL EXAM or sorts when your child finishes US History, ALGEBRA, ENGLISH, GOVERNMENT and more. We used the study lesson plans for homeschooled students found here: (Free Lesson Plans - Provided by  Tricia McQuarrie)


Rose, my oldest girl, did three CLEP test for credit. If I'd known about this type of testing, I would have had her do many of her credits this way, she is a great test taker with wonderful study skill discipline. She was 15 yrs old when she took her CLEP test. She finished her AA degree in 1.5 yrs and BS in 2 yrs, and is now working on her MS, which will be finished in 20 months total.

Tiger Lilly was 13 yrs old, studied for about five of these test, only passed one, and requested to just take Community College courses and online college courses. She finished her bachelor's degree in 3 yrs. 

Speed Racer, 14 yrs old, started studying for CLEPs and DSST and although he did well, he really didn't do well sitting still during testing. He wasn't used to doing it, since I no longer required stillness for study for him. If I let him roam, he tested well. When I told him he couldn't have music while testing, and  he had to remain in his seat, he told me that doesn't work for him. I realized that although, he could do the test, retain the information, he just wasn't mature enough to adhere to taking a test in a testing center with rules. So, I had to find another way. No test for him. We decided to use Straighterline and Study . com.

Razor Ray, was 18 yrs old when he took three CLEP test for college credit while in Community College, he passed two, but failed the Calculus test since he didn't realize the calculator was in the test. He decided to take the actual class and felt the 3 week review he did of Calculas for the test was a good start.

DUAL Enrollment Courses
with Community College or Direct to 4 year University

As far as Dual Enrollment into a college setting was concerned, I needed a setting that was different for each child. We did it three different ways.

Rose was 15 yrs old when she was enrolled in Community College and took online and in person classes there. Her older brother was attending and playing lacrosse there, and she ended up joining a team also. This really served  her well as she and her brother attended CC and University together. She went to a brick and mortar college since her major was only offered at 2 local universities.

Tiger Lilly was 14 yrs old when she was enrolled in Community College. She took one class in person and didn't like it. We moved her from CC to online university named University of MD, University College which is local and have the online course structure that we both liked. Eight week classes, course work spelled out clearly and great support system with free online and in person tutoring. She is finishing her degree there and she will be just turning 17 yrs.

Speed Racer is now 14 yrs, we've registered him at University of Maryland, University College  and Bluefield College as a non-degree seeking student, sent his homeschool official transcript. He is taking 2 classes online for 8 weeks with UMUC, but not with Bluefield College since BC didn't have any of the courses he wanted or needed to take towards his degree at UMUC.

So, Bluefield College didn't work for Speed Racer, no classes that fit his schools requirements. So we backed off that option.


Many Community Colleges and some Universities offer Early Entrance or High School in College programs starting for students as young as 12 to 15 yrs. Community Colleges and online colleges do so with minimum requirement.

The best Universities in this scenario allow a LARGE NUMBER OF CREDIT TRANSFERS.

The BIG 3 Colleges that allow you to transfer the highest amount of credit are:
Thomas Edison State College 

Charter Oak State College

Excelsior College 

TO SHORTEN Degree Goals

Tiger Lilly started using when they were free and called something else. At that time, we didn't really understand the transfer to university credits and she used it for High School instruction and CLEP prep.

BUT NOW, I understand the benefits much better.

Speed Racer we are going for both. We are USING both STUDY.COM and STRAIGHTERLINE.COM to help Speed Racer earn college credit faster, cheaper with an easy credit transfer since is a PARTNER COLLEGE to BOTH.

I figured this out completely by accident as I was researching other methods besides CLEP testing for credit.

2017-2018 school year for My
Speed Racer
14 yrs


UMUC, my son's university of choice, allows 90 credits to transfer.

STRAIGHTERLINE courses will be the FIRST COURSES Speed Racer takes for lower level credit classes (100 to 200 series credits) to transfer to which is a PARTNER COLLEGE. Speed Racer is attempting (he's already started 2 classes) will have these characteristics (1) Open Book Final or (2) No Final (3) Possibility to pass prior to final if pass all test, quizzes and assignments prior to final. -40 credits can transfer from Straighterline and AFTER completion of 4 classes, he qualifies for IN STATE RATE!

Total credits FINISHED and transferred: 15 classes = 45 credits
Cost $99 a month (we used for 6 months) + $59 per class

STUDY.COM courses will be focused on HIGHER LEVEL CREDIT COURSES (300 series courses that transfer to and REQUIRED COURSES not provided BY Straighterline. There are classes that meet my son's elective requirements that are for his high level credits. Straighterline doesn't have any high level transfer credits, BUT does. This is where we hit jackpot. Also, the have a Scholarship called the GUARDIAN SCHOLARSHIP which allows 2 free exams (6 credits) a month without upgrading from the $29.99 fee to the $199 monthly fee!

Total credits FINISHED that weren't offered at Straighterline: 2 classes = 9 credits
Cost $29 a month while taking online quizzes and watchin videos (2 Months) + $ 129 a month upgrade to college credit plan for 2 months

DUAL ENROLLED: University of Maryland, University College accepts up to 90 transferred credits.This school has his desired major, so we transferred credits from both Straighterline (after taking 4 classes they gave him IN STATE tuition, and accept up to 60 credits as direct transfer and through ACE (transcript) service). They take homeschooled students and high school students for early entry enrollment and allows them to take 7 credits a semester. Their classes are offered online, in person and a hybrid of both in 4 week/8week increments.

Total credits FINISHED at 3 classes = 12 credits
Cost $882 per class (In State tuition cost gained after taking 4 Straighterline classes)

18 Classes left for Speed Racer to finished with a BS DEGREE at UMUC!

And Graduating Early

Graduating with a BS degree by 18 yrs old isn't a bad thing. I wanted my kids to be able to have a gap year or two after college to volunteer, do internships, attend grad school, study abroad or work. Whatever they wanted to do with no rush.

Rose, my oldest girl studied abroad for a summer, stayed at the beach in Maui for a month with friends, then decided she wanted to start working while pursuing her MS degree.

Tiger Lilly, my 16 yr old that will be 17 yrs when she gets her BS is working a summer internship, enrolling in a MS program, but also taking Art and Japanese classes at a local community college. She plans on volunteering at the tech center near us and working on building more clients for her Micro Business. She wants to go to Japan, but with her sister instead of a study abroad program. She's our shy one. We are encouraging her to do a study abroad during her pursuing her MS degree.

Speed Racer will be about 17 yrs old when he finishes his BS in Information Systems. He wants to attend a 2 yr college program to learn to fix airplanes while getting his Commercial pilot license. Then attempt to get a job as a Pilot. Also, plans on using his IT degree and experience fixing planes to invent stuff (I don't know what, but he seems to think he will come up with something). In addition, he wants to tour the world dancing professionally (yeah, he said that and is a pretty good hip, hop and breakdancer).

So, for them, they are making their dreams work, without the traditional college experience in some cases. Their dad, nor I had a 'traditional' college experience full fledged and found it highly over rated and over priced.


Don't assume that all methods work for every kid. Try a bit of them all. I do find that online learning that allows me to keep my kids accountable on finishing assignments on time has made the transition to college courses much easier for them than in my case, or the case of my older 2 kids who went the 'traditional' live on college campus direction.

Maturity and your kid's learning style matters. Teaching them to study, take notes, write well is important for the transition to college courses.

Life can be so much fuller when you do things a different way.

1 comment:

  1. YOU ARE A GENIUS. PURE AND SIMPLE. Thank you for spelling it all out for those who will come after you. You are a blessing!