We are heading into the start of a new school year in our area, and it’s a major mental change as soon as the calendar flips to August. It’s time to wrap up the planning for this year and I thought I’d share how I put together our high school plan in a 5 Days of Homeschool High School Planning.
Our plan is to in sha Allah use high school courses to prep for exams worth college credit. Specific exam prep is a small part of our overall plan. Instead I want to cover the subject via a high school course and then take the exam. This is very similar to how AP classes work.
High school is not something you should plan the summer before you get started. If you have a child entering 8th grade, now is the time to start planning for high school (if you haven’t already). Our plan is to match up high school courses with similar exams Care Bear can take to maximize our time. I started planning high school last fall and I’m really glad I had so much time to look over a lot of options and I feel comfortable with my choices.
I did cover how to plan a high school course list in an earlier post, but we’ll be expanding on how to fit in CLEP/DSST/AP exams. Grab a cup of coffee because this is where it gets time consuming, but if your child is ready and willing to give it a shot, you could save bucket loads of money and give your kid a jump start in life, in sha Allah.
Cross check with available CLEP/DSST/AP exams
At this point you should already have a list of the required credits needed to graduate and have a fairly solid plan on what credits you want to award that are not required (like the 4 years of a foreign language that Harvard expects).
In order to find out what exams are accepted, and what they equate to in any given school, you will want to go here, then choose the school you think your child will go to, then click on Standard Examinations. From here you can see what exams that school accepts (always double check with a credit counselor at the school, just to be sure). Click on the type of exam, then choose All from the drop down of categories (I wish this was the default, but it isn’t).
Search for likely matches
First, you need to know what exams are available. You can find a list of CLEP exams here, DSST exams here, and AP exams here (the first two links are to a site with study guides, too!). Start with items you’ll be covering anyway like US History, American Literature, Algebra, Biology, etc. Out of the exams your school of choice accepts, which of your possible high school courses have exams that match up?
Narrow down duplicates
Things like Algebra and History can have more than one option between DSST, CLEP, and AP. In order to plan resources for your courses (which is covered in day 2 of our 5 day series), you should choose one test. If the college/university accepts CLEP or DSST, I suggest using those rather than AP since they can be done any time of year and do not typically contain a essay component. Between CLEP and DSST, DSST offers more upper level credits, and CLEP offers more exams worth six credits. Just look on free-clep-prep.com (the links I gave earlier) for details on each one, and double check via transfer.org. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to compile everything and triple check all of it with a credit counselor.
You may have had Geography on your list of social studies courses. After finding matching exams, you may further define this as Human and Cultural Geography based on the DSST exam available. Or a semester of World History could be further defined as Western Civilizations I (up to 1648), though admittedly this isn’t a true World History course since it doesn’t include Eastern civilizations. Still, you could teach World History yourself, but make sure to cover the content for Western Civilizations. That’s the beauty of homeschooling – you can choose! Anyway, I digress. Once you have specifics on what exams you want to cover, you can make more detailed descriptions for your high school courses.
Next, we’ll cover how to find resources for the courses you have chosen, in sha Allah. The best part about that step getting done is then you get to buy the curriculum! It’s like Eid in the mailbox to get new books!
The rest of the series to check out!
- Planning a Homeschool High School Course List (August 12, 2013)
- Planning Homeschool High School Resources (August 13, 2013)
- Planning the Homeschool High School Schedule (August 14, 2013)
- Homeschool High School Planning - Syllabus and Weekly Plan (August 15, 2013)
- Homeschool High School Planning - Finalize Plans (August 16, 2013)