Posted in Foreign Language

Foreign Language on Udemy

I’ve written about Foreign Language before, mainly because it can yield HUGE amounts of college credit.  In short, there are about 50 languages that allow you to earn college credit, so if your family speaks any language besides English, you should let them scoop up this credit!  For the rest, it’s not too late to learn a language.  Today’s post will feature a non-traditional curriculum option:  Udemy.

Udemy is an online learning platform marketplace.  You’ll find courses on everything under the sun, but I’ve selected several that will help your teen prepare for the 3 CLEP languages:  French, Spanish, and German.  <—-These links take you to official exam content.

The trick with any foreign language curriculum is to find options that extend beyond the beginner’s level.  You’ll find a lot of interesting options through Udemy.  (Note, Udemy runs sales often, sometimes you’ll see a very expensive course for $150 today, and then tomorrow it will be on sale for $10, so if you see something you like, save the link and check back from time to time).


French

Conversational French Made Easy

Improve Your French with Stories

Master French Grammar like a Pro

Intermediate French


German

Conversational German

Essential German: 1000 Words and Phrases

76-Lesson Course

Write German Like a Native


Spanish

Freshman Year Spanish: 1st Semester

Freshman Year Spanish: 2nd Semester

Advanced Spanish

Spanish 1, 2, 3, and 4 in One Course

Posted in Breaking News, Straighterline

4 Straighterline Courses set to expire

Every credit source (CLEP, AP, DSST, Straighterline, Study, Sophia, etc.) all receive approval for their class/exam that is valid for a specific time range (about 3 years).  When the end of that time range gets close, the company will either have to apply for renewal or the course/exam will “expire.”  You may remember the drama of ALEKS math expiring and extending multiple times over the past year.

It is expected that Straighterline will renew these 4 courses, but just be aware that they are 45 days away from their expiration – that means if your teen is in progress, they’ll want to finish up now!   If these renew (as expected) just go on with your course progress like normal.  If they do NOT renew, I’ll post an update as soon as I have one.

Introduction to Criminal Justice (CJ101)

Select the date range in which the course/exam was completed:
10/1/2014 – 11/30/2017
9/1/2011 – 9/30/2014

Credit Type: Course
ACE Course Number: 0004
Organization: StraighterLine
Length: 14 weeks (75 hours)
Dates Offered: 10/1/2014 – 11/30/201

 

Personal Finance (FIN101)

Select the date range in which the course/exam was completed:
10/1/2014 – 11/30/2017
9/1/2011 – 9/30/2014

Credit Type: Course
ACE Course Number: 0036
Organization: StraighterLine
Length: 14 weeks (75 hours)
Dates Offered: 10/1/2014 – 11/30/2017

 

Pharmacology I (PHARM101)

Select the date range in which the course/exam was completed:
10/1/2014 – 11/30/2017
9/1/2011 – 9/30/2014

Credit Type: Course
ACE Course Number: 0021
Organization: StraighterLine
Length: 14 weeks (75 hours)
Dates Offered: 10/1/2014 – 11/30/2017

 

Pharmacology II (PHARM102)
Credit Type: Course
ACE Course Number: 0100
Organization: StraighterLine
Location: StraighterLine
Length: Self-paced, 14 weeks (75 hours)
Dates Offered: 10/1/2014 – 11/30/2017
Posted in Scholarships, Tuition

Get a Grip on Scholarships

Scholarships sound wonderful, and in some cases they are.  Several good friends have used scholarships to fund the entire education of their teens.  Others were enticed into deep debt chasing small awards at very expensive schools.

A scholarship is a financial award that doesn’t have to be repaid.  Your teen may receive one for academic merit or test scores because they live in a certain geographic area, because they excel in a sport, possess a talent,  are pursuing a certain major, or because the college they are attending has a fund to either entice or subsidize a student’s enrollment.  

Because there feels like a lot of ways a person “could” earn a scholarship, and we’ve all heard that there are “millions of dollars that go unclaimed every year” we want to be sure our teens don’t leave any money on the table.  And if you register your email address and pay the low price of $99, I’ll tell you all about it….. (NO!)

While it is true that some scholarship opportunities go unclaimed each year, far more common are the scholarships that have thousands of applicants for just one shot at $1,000.

Where does the myth of unclaimed scholarships come from?

According to Marvin Carmichael, past Chairman of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), this notion that billions of dollars of scholarships go unclaimed year has been around for a long time, but it is most definitely a myth. If a university does not award all its scholarship money one year, Carmichael explains, it is because of weird timing issues or highly restrictive eligibility requirements.


CAUTION #1  The Marketing Funnel

The overwhelming majority of scholarship sites are dot-com businesses that exist for the purpose of selling you recycled information already on the web.  These are not scholarship experts, these are internet marketers.  In fact, some of these businesses own dozens of websites with similar names, and they link you back and forth between each other.  The purpose is to capture your email address and give you breadcrumbs of information.  Either through a chain of scheduled emails or links, you’ll be given more free help.  At some point, you’ll be offered a free downloadable ebook. (more breadcrumbs) and possibly sent links to products for you to buy (more ebooks) or a subscription to premium content.  In marketing, this is called a “paywall.”  A paywall is where they want to take you.  Once at the wall, you’ll pay a fee, and gain access to their ultra-premium content.  This can be live webinars, video classes, emails, books, etc.  Congratulations, you’ve fallen for the oldest trick in the book – repackaged for the tech times we live in.  You’ve fallen into a marketing funnel, and the one and only purpose of you being there is to buy something (more than once).

Marketers know that by getting you in the marketing funnel, they have a 1-3% chance of “converting” you to a paying customer.  So, thousands of dollars are spent enticing you to click on something that gets you into the funnel.  Ever see Facebook ads in your newsfeed?  Those are to get you in a marketing funnel.

As you can imagine, it’s a lot of work orchestrating a marketing funnel.  (It’s 100% legal) So, that doesn’t leave much time to generate quality content.  That’s ok, these businessmen can access a huge database of open-copyright content that is available to them to reprint without permission as often as they want.  Oh, did I mention that the likelihood of your teen actually getting a scholarship through one of these sources is 0%?

SOLUTION: Do not google “How to find Scholarships.”  There are better ways, and we’ll discuss them below.


CAUTION #2 The Sports Scholarship

Unlike the marketing funnel, sports scholarships aren’t scams.  They are, however, an excellent way to end up in a world of hurt and deep debt.

All NCAA Division Sports Scholarship information is transparent and open to the public (you) to look at.  So, hoping for a scholarship is less helpful than learning about how they work and how much money they (don’t) award.   Fewer than 2% of public high school students receive sports scholarships, so when you filter down to homeschooled students, there is even less information to go on.  Admittedly, we are a much smaller pool of applicants!  Still, some students (like my 2016 high school graduate son) may be eligible for a sports scholarship.

There are 6 sports in which a “full ride” scholarship exists:  football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, tennis and women’s gymnastics.  If your teen is in one of those sports, I urge you to dive deeper than what we’ll cover here.  I recently watched and recommend a documentary called Schooled.  It reveals some of the challenges and limitations surrounding full scholarships in those sports.   Even if your teen plays one of those sports, if they don’t get picked up by a Division I school, your chances of getting a full ride are almost zero.  The “pot” of billions is distributed like this: Division II schools will get 4.37% of the pot, Division III schools will get 3.18%, and Division I colleges will get the rest.  (That’s 92.45%)

Now, if your sport isn’t on that short list, there IS NO MONEY for a full-ride sports scholarship. I know you think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.  Sports that are NCAA, but not one of the 6,  are given a pool of money to be split each year – at the coach’s discretion- between all / any of the athletes on the team in that sport.

To use the sport I’m most familiar with, Men’s Swimming and Diving, in 2016, the average team consisted of 20 swim (AND) dive members.  Only the top 9 swim (OR) dive members received part of the money pool.  Those that received any money, averaged $8,000 per year (renewable at the coach’s discretion).  The colleges that participate in college-level swimming and diving, however, average $35,000 per year tuition ($11,000 per year room and board).  In other words, best case scenario would have a student swimming “on scholarship” to receive $32,000 off of their $184,000 degree.  That’s NOT a deal, even for the top swimmer OR diver on the team.

Does this mean your teen shouldn’t pursue athletics?  Not at all!  This means you (the parent) shouldn’t chase athletic scholarships.  Most colleges have athletics, and your teen can play athletics in college without the burden of taking on debt to pursue a “scholarship.”

Please, spend 6 minutes and watch this Divison I athlete’s WATER POLO debt disaster  (stay with it until the end!):


CAUTION #3 Blinded by the (spot)Light

Is there a difference between receiving a stipend, a government grant, an institutional waiver, an endowment payment, an allocation or a scholarship?   I’ll give you a hint, it isn’t the money.

A “scholarship” is a precious word in our culture.  If your teen receives a scholarship, the amount of the award doesn’t much matter- it strokes our ego just the same.  A scholarship validates 18 years of hard work as a homeschool parent, and we get to post about it on Facebook.   Ok, maybe not you.  Maybe it’s just my observation that so many parents are quick to tell me how they (oops, I mean their) teen earned a “scholarship” for this or that, which certainly makes them an expert in the thing they are selling you.light

I don’t want to undercut the victory of a teen that earns a scholarship, but my role is to help you be the best guidance counselor for your teen, and that requires you to ask some hard questions before the celebration.

  1.  Is this scholarship a one-time (non-renewable) award, or does it renew every year?
  2. If this scholarship renews, how many years can you renew it?
  3. What are the requirements to keep it active?  Grade point average? Financial limits? Residency restrictions? Graduate in X number of years?
  4. What is the total cost of my teen’s education AFTER I subtract this scholarship?
  5. Do I have enough money to fund the remaining cost of my teen’s education?
  6. Does this scholarship allow my teen to use it at the college of her choice? Or is it tied to attending a specific college?
  7. Does accepting this scholarship put my family in a position that is difficult financially or in some other way?

Strange questions?  Maybe, but the truth is that scholarships can sometimes create a strain on the family.  If you put each scholarship into the calculator and use math instead of emotion, you’ll be more likely to make a wise choice.


Strategies for Managing Costs

If you’re down to the wire, you’re probably ready for some solutions at this point.  I have a few, and most involve making your own solution to the college-funding problem.  I solve this problem from only one direction – the direction that assumes zero student loan debt.  For those willing to borrow, many of these tips won’t make the cut.  Afterall, your teen can borrow all the money they need, and when they max their cap, you can borrow the rest.  Since 2004, the phrase “improved financial aid programs” is code for “we’re letting everyone borrow what they need.”  Problem solved, right?  With no financial incentive to keep tuition prices low, we’ve observed a staggering increase in the cost of college.  While this is good news for borrowers, it means that those who want to pay cash, or at least remove debt from the equation, have to be exceptionally resourceful.

  1.  If you’re in a state that offers free dual enrollment – USE IT!  Earning even 1 or 2 free classes will help reduce total cost.
  2. If you’re in a state that guarantees community college credits will transfer into your state’s public 4-year colleges – USE IT!  The guaranteed transfer assures that those credits paid for at a community college rate (under $100 per credit)  will count at a college that charges 4-5-6 times that amount!
  3. If you’re in a state that guarantees an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree will transfer into your state’s public 4-year college- USE IT!  The value of this maneuver can save the average family at least $35,000 or more.
  4. If you’re in a state that guarantees an AA or AS transfers as a full block of credit, use CLEP, DSST, or AP exams to accelerate the process and save cost.  When locked into a full block transfer, the receiving 4-year college can’t deny credit by exam transfer.
  5. In all 50 states, the cost of attending your state’s private university as an in-state student is lower than attending a neighboring state’s university as an out of state student.
  6. Sometimes, a college offers a special tuition rate for distance learning classes. Check if your teen can save money (or will spend extra money) choosing one over the other.
  7. Shop “degree” instead of “college.”  In most fields, where you went to college (brand name) is less relevant than the degree, major, or content of courses you take.
  8. If your teen has to pay-as-they-go and graduates a year or two later, then so be it!  Coming out of college debt-free will have a greater return on investment than coming out of college with a $35,000 student loan payment.
  9. In high school, point your teen toward working for one of the thousands of companies that offer scholarships to their workers or full tuition reimbursement.
  10. For parents- if you have multiple children lined up for college, consider taking a position with a college or university.  Even janitors and cooks can send their kids to college for free if they work full-time for a university.  While not all universities offer this benefit, most do!    In addition, employees at Tuition Exchange colleges can send their teens to ANY college in the program, not just where they work.

    My other posts/strategies you may be interested in:

  11. BOG AAS Pierpont Community and Technical College  (for those who graduated high school more than 2 years ago)

  12. University of the People  (a free accredited college)
  13. Guaranteed Scholarships (legitimate scholarships for EVERYONE that qualifies)
  14. Sources of Free College Credits (great to use at Thomas Edison State College)
  15. 100 Employer / Employee Scholarships (great companies for your teen!)
  16. Reader Question: Is there a low-cost way to do medical school?  (Yes)
  17. Working During College: Yes or No?  (Yes)
  18. We just saved $96,780  (A member shares how they did it)
  19. Completely FREE Tuition (The follow-up to my book Completely FREE Colleges)
  20. Cost of Tuition in the United States  loan

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

FREE EVENTS: North Carolina College 101

I’m so thrilled to be asked back again this year to participate in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library District’s College 101 series.   There are DOZENS of fantastic presentations (in addition to mine!) that make this series worth your time.

ALL of these events are totally free, but registration is required.  (Events are canceled if there aren’t enough signups – so make a reservation asap!)

Monday, October 2, 2017

College 101: Jennifer Cook-DeRosa and Homeschooling for College Credit

6:00pm at Community Room at Mountain Island

An informative program for homeschooling parents and teens. Learn how to make the most of your high school years through resourceful curriculum planning, dual enrollment, and credit by exam.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

College 101: SAT Practice Exam with the Princeton Review

9:30am at Community Room at University City Regional

Kick off your SAT prep with a free redesigned 2016 SAT exam. After the test, the Princeton Review will email you a detailed performance report with personalized tips on how to improve your score.

College 101: SAT Practice Exam with the Princeton Review

9:30am at Cornelius

Kick off your SAT prep with a free redesigned 2016 SAT exam.

College 101: SAT Practice Exam with the Princeton Review

10:00am at Davidson Meeting Room at Davidson

Kick off your SAT prep with a free redesigned 2016 SAT exam.

College 101: SAT Practice Exam with The Princeton Review

10:00am at Community Room at Hickory Grove

Kick off your SAT prep with a free redesigned 2017 SAT exam. After the test, the Princeton Review will email you a detailed performance report with personalized tips on how to improve your score.

College 101: SAT Practice Exam with the Princeton Review

12:30pm at Community Room at Mountain Island

Kick off your SAT prep with a free redesigned 2016 SAT exam. After the test, the Princeton Review will email you a detailed performance report with personalized tips on how to improve your score.

College 101: Free SAT Sample Class with the Princeton Review

Students get the opportunity to experience the first session of Princeton Review’s full SAT Ultimate Course.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

College 101: The Blueprint: Surviving College

6:00pm at Meeting Room at Scaleybark

Learn from undergraduate, graduate, and professional panelists on how to take advantage of resources available to make the most of your college experience.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

College 101: FAFSA Completion Day

4:00pm at Computer Lab at West Boulevard

Join us for this informal drop-in program where you can get assistance from an expert volunteer and library staff member who can connect you with the resources you need to succeed.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

College 101: SAT Practice Exam with the Princeton Review

9:30am at Community Room A at Beatties Ford Road Regional

Kick off your SAT prep with a free redesigned 2016 SAT exam. After the test, the Princeton Review will email you a detailed performance report with personalized tips on how to improve your score.

Monday, October 30, 2017

College 101: ACT Practice Exam with the Princeton Review

9:15am at Dowd Foundation Learning Studio at Main Library

Prepare for college and kick off your ACT prep with a free practice exam.

College 101: SAT Practice Exam with the Princeton Review

Kick off your SAT prep with a free redesigned 2016 SAT exam. After the test, the Princeton Review will email you a detailed performance report with personalized tips on how to improve your score.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

College 101: The Blueprint: Surviving College

6:00pm at Children’s Room/MPK Meeting Room at Myers Park

Learn from undergraduate, graduate, and professional panelists on how to take advantage of resources available to make the most of your college experience.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

College 101: Jennifer Cook-DeRosa and Homeschooling for College Credit

6:00pm at Meeting Room at Scaleybark

An informative program for homeschooling parents and teens. Learn how to make the most of your high school years through resourceful curriculum planning, dual enrollment, and credit by exam.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

College 101: Resources to Help Pay for College

6:00pm at Community Room at Mountain Island

This informative program, led by a College Foundation of North Carolina representative, will introduce you to the FAFSA and how you can find resources to help pay for college.

College 101: The Blueprint: Surviving College

Learn from undergraduate, graduate, and professional panelists on how to take advantage of resources available to make the most of your college experience.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

College 101: ACT Practice Exam with the Princeton Review

10:30am at Community Room at Matthews

Prepare for college and kick off your ACT prep with a free practice exam.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

College 101: The Blueprint: Surviving College

6:00pm at Community Room B at West Boulevard

Learn from undergraduate, graduate, and professional panelists on how to take advantage of resources available to make the most of your college experience.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

College 101: Resources to Help Pay for College

6:00pm at IB Community Room at Independence Regional

This informative program, led by a College Foundation of North Carolina representative, will introduce you to the FAFSA and how you can find resources to help pay for college.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

College 101: Planning for College with Central Piedmont Community College

6:00pm at Community Room B at Beatties Ford Road Regional

This program will provide information on the college preparation timeline, differences between high school and college, factors to consider when selecting a college, information about the FAFSA, an

Saturday, November 18, 2017

College 101: ACT Practice Exam with the Princeton Review

9:30am at Cornelius

Prepare for college and kick off your ACT prep with a free practice exam.

College 101: ACT Practice Exam with the Princeton Review

12:30pm at Mountain Island

Prepare for college and kick off your ACT prep with a free practice exam.

College 101: Free ACT Sample Class with Princeton Review

2:00pm at Community Room Full at Sugar Creek

Students get the opportunity to experience the first session of Princeton Review’s full ACT Ultimate Course.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

College 101: Resources to Help Pay for College

6:00pm at Teen Media Room at Hickory Grove

This informative program, led by a College Foundation of North Carolina representative, will introduce you to the FAFSA and how you can find resources to help pay for college.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

College 101: Resources to help pay for college

6:00pm at Community Room at Plaza Midwood

This informative program, led by a College Foundation of North Carolina representative, will introduce you to the FAFSA and how you can find resources to help pay for college.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

College 101: Resources to Help Pay for College

6:00pm at Community Room at University City Regional

This informative program, led by a College Foundation of North Carolina representative, will introduce you to the FAFSA and how you can find resources to help pay for college.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

College 101: Resources to Help Pay for College

12:00pm at Dowd Foundation Learning Studio at Main Library

This informative program, led by a College Foundation of North Carolina representative, will introduce you to the FAFSA and how you can find resources to help pay for college.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

College 101: Resources to Help Pay for College

This informative program, led by a College Foundation of North Carolina representative, will introduce you to the FAFSA and how you can find resources to help pay for college.

 

Posted in Credit by Exam, Curriculum, DSST

Ken Burns Documenatries & DSST

Ken Burns.  Ever hear of him?  He’s an American filmmaker.  Specifically, he is a history documentary legend.  His trademark is to use a lot of actual photos, video and audio clips from the time period, and create these really long multi-hour films.  These aren’t just boring educational films, these are award-winners.  Even adults who aren’t really “into” history usually enjoy Ken Burns’ work.

Today, I want to highlight 2 of his films: The Civil War (1990), and his newest release The Vietnam War (2017).  These two films just happen to align well with the two upper-level DSST exams  and fit in perfectly with a US History curriculum.   If your teen has studied US History, or better yet- taken either US History CLEP exam, the Civil War is a perfect fit right in between the US History 1 and US History 2.  For those who just studied US History 2, you’ve probably already covered a bit about the Vietnam War.   Either subject can be studied as an “Advanced US History” course, taken separately or as part of a year-long course.

If your teen has studied or is currently studying US History, the Civil War and Reconstruction DSST is a perfect fit right in between the US History 1 and US History 2 CLEPs.  For those who just studied US History 2, you’ve probably already covered a bit about the Vietnam War.   Either subject can be studied as an “Advanced US History” course, taken separately, or as part of a year-long course.

For those who haven’t started teaching US History yet, you can do it over 1 or 2 years.

If you were studying over 1 year, you’d cover the content like this:

United States History  (1 year / 1 high school credit/12 college credits)
1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter
United States through Civil War Civil War and Reconstruction United States from Reconstruction The Vietnam War
CLEP: US History 1

(3 college credits)

DSST: Civil War

(3 college credits)

CLEP:  US History 2

(3 college credits)

DSST: Vietnam War

(3 college credits)

If you were studying United States history over 2 years, it would look like this:

United States History  (2 years / 2 high school credits/12 college credits)
1st Semester 2nd Semester 3rd Semester 4th Semester
United States through Civil War Civil War and Reconstruction United States from Reconstruction The Vietnam War
CLEP: US History 1

(3 college credits)

DSST: Civil War

(3 college credits)

CLEP:  US History 2

(3 college credits)

DSST: Vietnam War

(3 college credits)

I’ve included the documentary content and DSST exam help for both subjects.   In each section, you’ll also find a few selected study resources so you can DIY a course for your teen.  An upper-level exam credit by exam is rare.  If you have selected a target college and know that they accept DSST exams for college credit, these 2 exams will yield a total of 6 college credits in history / social sciences.  For those earning a degree in Liberal Studies, History, or Social Sciences, these two exams are very valuable because they won’t simply fill the “general education” but may fill part of an area of study or major!

If your teen hasn’t selected a target college, but you’re studying these subjects in high school anyway, I strongly encourage you to consider adding these to the schedule anyway.  The potential upside is very good since the average cost of upper-level credit is over $500-$1,000 per credit. In other words, these exams could save you somewhere around $3,000 – $6,000 in tuition if accepted by a target college.  You’ll save another $500-$2000 if you add in the two lower level US History CLEP exams.

If you don’t end up getting to use the exams for college credit, you’re only out the cost of the exams ($80 each).  All high school credit earned is ALWAYS counted on your homeschool transcript – regardless of whether or not the exam was passed or a college awards credit in the future.  That’s the way Advanced Placement (AP) works, and that’s a good model to follow.

Personal side note:  He also executive produced The Emperor of All Maladies (film) that is a knock-your-socks-off documentary about cancer. In 2011, the book was required reading in my graduate biology course at Harvard University.  I took a course called Newsworthy Topics in the Life Sciences through their Extension campus.  The book was nothing like I expected.  It was phenomenal.  When the documentary came out in 2015, I didn’t expect it to be great, after all, movies are never as good as books….I was wrong.  While I recommend the book, honestly, the movie “added” so much more to the book.  I recommend both!  The link above takes you to PBS site, but it is also to instant stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime.


The Civil War

NOTE:  I tried really hard to find a free source for this documentary, but haven’t been successful.  I hope you can find it at your library since it is a little pricey to purchase.  If you find a free (legitimate) source, please let me know so I can share it here.    

Link to the documentary on PBS (check your local programming)

Link to the box set (digital) and tons of reviews on Amazon

Link to Amazon Prime (pay per episode)

“The Civil War is a 9-part, 11-hour American television documentary miniseries created by Ken Burns about the American Civil War. It was first broadcast on PBS on five consecutive nights from September 23 to 27, 1990. Approximately 40 million viewers watched it during this broadcast, making it the most-watched program ever to air on PBS. It was awarded more than 40 major television and film honors. A companion book to the documentary was released shortly after the series aired.” –Wikipedia

The Wikipedia chart is helpful planning curriculum because it breaks out the date range covered in each episode!

No. Episode Original air date
1 “The Cause” (1861) September 23, 1990[8]
All Night ForeverAre We Free?; A House Divided; The Meteor; Secessionitis; 4:30 a.m. April 12, 1861; Traitors and Patriots; Gun Men; Manassas; A Thousand Mile Front; Honorable Manhood
2 “A Very Bloody Affair” (1862) September 24, 1990[9]
Politics; Ironclads; Lincolnites; The Peninsula; Our Boy; Shiloh; The Arts of Death; Republics; On To Richmond
3 “Forever Free” (1862) September 24, 1990[9]
StonewallThe BeastThe Seven Days; Kiss Daniel For Me; Saving the Union; AntietamThe Higher Object
4 “Simply Murder” (1863) September 25, 1990[10]
Northern Lights; Oh! Be Joyful; The Kingdom of Jones; Under the Shade of the Trees; A Dust-Covered Man
5 “The Universe of Battle” (1863) September 25, 1990[10]
Gettysburg: The First DayGettysburg: The Second DayGettysburg: The Third DayShe Ranks MeVicksburg; Bottom Rail On Top; The River of DeathA New Birth of Freedom
6 “Valley of the Shadow of Death” (1864) September 26, 1990[11]
Valley of the Shadow of Death; GrantLeeIn the WildernessMove By the Left Flank; Now, Fix Me; The Remedy
7 “Most Hallowed Ground” (1864) September 26, 1990[11]
A Warm Place in the FieldNathan Bedford Forrest; Summer, 1864; Spies; The Crater; Headquarters U.S.A.; The Promised Land; The Age of Shoddy; Can Those Be Men?; The People’s Resolution; Most Hallowed Ground
8 “War Is All Hell” (1865) September 27, 1990[12]
Sherman’s March; The Breath Of Emancipation; Died Of A Theory; Washington, March 4, 1865; I Want to See Richmond; Appomattox
9 “The Better Angels of Our Nature” (1865) September 27, 1990[12]
AssassinationUseless, Useless; Picklocks Of Biographers; Was It Not Real?

DSST:  The Civil War and Reconstruction Resource List

InstantCert DOES have flashcards for this test ($5 off use code 100150)

Official DSST Exam Content  (link to pdf)

Free CLEP Prep Study Guide and Practice Test 

Civil War Trust (a MUST SEE site)

History of the United States: The Great Courses Plus 

DSST officially suggests the following textbooks for your consideration when studying for this exam (the two with links are books that I own.  Both are excellent.)
1. Foner, Eric (2011). Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New York, NY: Harper and Row, current edition.
2. Goodwin, Doris Kearns (2005). Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Current edition.
3. McPherson, James (1988). Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, current edition.
4. McPherson, James & Hogue, James K. (2010). Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 4 th Ed.




 

The Vietnam War

This is available for instant streaming now for free on PBS to watch on any device!

You can’t currently watch it using Amazon Prime, but they are selling the box set.

“The Vietnam War is a 10-part, 18-hour documentary television series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick about the Vietnam War. The documentary premiered on the Public Broadcasting Service on September 17, 2017.” –Wikipedia

The Wikipedia chart is helpful planning curriculum because it breaks out the date range covered in each episode!

Episode Original airdate
1 “Déjà Vu” (1858 – 1961) 90 minutes September 17, 2017
After a century of French occupation, Vietnam emerges independent but divided into North and South.
2 “Riding the Tiger” (1961 – 1963) 90 minutes September 18, 2017
As a communist insurgency gains strength, President Kennedy wrestles with American involvement in South Vietnam.
3 “The River Styx” (January 1964 – December 1965) 2 hours September 19, 2017
With South Vietnam near collapse, President Johnson begins bombing the North and sends US troops to the South.
4 “Resolve” (January 1966 – June 1967) 2 hours September 20, 2017
US soldiers discover Vietnam is unlike their fathers’ war, while the antiwar movement grows.
5 “This Is What We Do” (July 1967 – December 1967) 90 minutes September 21, 2017
Johnson escalated the war while promising the American public that victory is in sight.
6 “Things Fall Apart” (January 1968 – July 1968) 90 minutes September 24, 2017
Shaken by the Tet Offensive, assassinations and unrest, America seems to be coming apart.
7 “The Veneer of Civilization” (June 1968 – May 1969) 2 hours September 25, 2017
After chaos roils the Democratic Convention, Richard Nixon, promising peace, narrowly wins the presidency.
8 “The History of the World” (April 1969 – May 1970) 2 hours September 26, 2017
Nixon withdraws US troops but when he sends forces into Cambodia the antiwar movement reignites.
9 “A Disrespectful Loyalty” (May 1970 – March 1973) 2 hours September 27, 2017
South Vietnam fights on its own as Nixon and Kissinger find a way out for America. American POWs return.
10 “The Weight of Memory” (March 1973 – Onward) 2 hours September 28, 2017
Saigon falls and the war ends. Americans and Vietnamese from all sides search for reconciliation.

DSST:  The Vietnam War Resource List

InstantCert DOES have flashcards for this test ($5 off use code 100150)

Official DSST exam content (link to pdf)

Free CLEP Prep study guide and practice test

History of the United States: The Great Courses Plus  (lecture 76)

National Military Archives (government resource page)

DSST officially suggests the following textbooks for your consideration when studying for this exam: 
1. Frankum, Ronald B., Jr. (2011). Historical Dictionary of the War in Vietnam. Toronto: Scarecrow Press. Current Edition.
2. Goldfield, David (2011). The American Journey: A History of the United States. New York: Pearson. Current edition.
3. Karnow, Stanley (1983). Vietnam: A History. New York: Viking Press. Current edition.
4. Lawrence, Mark Atwood (2010). The Vietnam War. USA: Oxford University Press. 
5. Sheehan, Neil (1989). A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. New York: Vintage. Current edition.
6. Tucker, Spencer C. (ed).(2001), Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History. Current edition

Posted in Blue Collar, High School, working

Blue Collar Homeschool

Today’s post features a homeschooling site (and Facebook group) run by a friend of mine and a long time friend to Homeschooling for College Credit- Cindy LaJoy.  Her page is called Blue Collar Homeschool, and I’m so excited to share it with all of you.

But wait, doesn’t the notion of “blue collar” conflict with earning college credit?  Heck no! In fact, injecting college credit into a homeschool program doesn’t mean you only focus on a certain type of education.  One thing I’ve learned by meeting thousands of parents my Facebook page is that trying to “define” what successful homeschooling looks like is a fool’s errand.

First, let me introduce you to Cindy and her homeschool family:

“We are “Team LaJoy”!  We believe that the family that works together AND plays together, stays together!  All of our kids have experienced public education, either in the United States or in orphanage schools overseas.  All love learning at home, and the cindyability to work at their own pace.  In our homeschool we have done a wide variety of experiential and traditional learning, with our kids doing such things as studying interior design, purchasing and refurbishing a home that was bank owned, learning about Profit and Loss statements as they help with our businesses, traveling the Lewis and Clark trail, building sheds, pottery, flying planes, and volunteering at the animal shelter, the library, the food bank, the homeless shelter and our local nursing home.  We have been out in the world, as well as dedicated to class around our kitchen table! “

Cindy is one of those fantastically enthusiastic people with a lot of passion.  When we first spoke, she told me her children had challenges.  The topic of our conversation wasn’t homeschooling,  but I underestimated HER challenges.  Her children include a mix of Dysgraphia, English as a Second Language, Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Gifted and Talented, suspected Dyscalculia, Sensory Processing Disorder, Developmental Delay, Executive Function Disorders, and Speech Impairments.

Moving into high school with our kids and thinking about their futures, it was easy to see that there was an underserved group, and that was families like us…families who had kids not destined for college, who had access to few resources that truly “fit” their child’s needs.  Few homeschool online groups speak to those parents of kids whose career aspirations do not include a degree, leaving us feeling inadequately equipped, and as if we are somehow underachievers.   I began to develop a passion for helping our kids see the wide variety of career possibilities, not at the sake of eliminating college, but for seeing there were even more choices.”

If I can take a moment to distract you from Cindy’s specific story, I want to caution you against making the mistake that professional guidance counselors make all the time. They “track” students into paths based on early test scores and grades.  In my own past, I was “guided” into food service from the moment I set foot in high school. My test scores were average, clearly not “college material.”  After learning about Advanced Placement (AP) I had to get special permission to take an AP course in 10th grade (which required my parent’s signature to go against professional advice).   My point is that it’s easy to default into the old idea that underachievers go to vocational school and “smart” kids go to college.  We have an entire population of kids with part of a college degree who are unemployable because they can read Latin but can’t put together an Ikea bookshelf.

We need “smart” kids in trades too!

If you’ve never heard of Mike Rowe, he’s the champion of blue collar.  His own liberal arts education (BA in Communications from Towson University) and career as an opera singer make him an unlikely advocate for the trades, but you might know him better as the host of Dirty Jobs.

My ALL TIME FAVORITE youtube interview is Dirty Job’s Mike Rowe on the High Cost of College (full interview below).  Mike Rowe explains how he thinks we’ve gotten off course by encouraging every child to attend a 4-year college.

 “if we’re lending money that we don’t have, to kids who really have no hope of paying it back, in order to train them for jobs that clearly don’t exist, I might suggest that we’ve gone around the bend a little bit.”  -Mike Rowe


If you want to incorporate some blue-collar classes into your curriculum, or maybe even help your teen select a career in one of the trades, I’m going to list a combination of resources that Cindy pulled together as well as a few of my own.  (and some of them are even for college credit!)

Apprenticeship in the USA

Considering a Gap Year? List of resources

High School Curriculum – electives

Research any career using REAL DATA

Vocational Schools and Training Resources

Pages on Homeschooling for College Credit you might also like:

HELP! My high school graduate doesn’t want to go to college.

Say YES to Home Economics

Working During College: Yes or No?

Trending: Non-College Learning

Math Success 4 Math Averse

 

Posted in CLEP, Resources, Self-Paced Learning

Modern States for CLEP & AP

Modern States is a new, totally free, mini-curriculum that is aligned specifically to CLEPwindow exams.   Their AP catalog is really just a collection of MOOCs that they’ve assembled in one place.  Still, a great resource.  I want to tell you how much I love them, but instead, I’ll tell you that I like them, but I have problems with their deceptive marketing.

Modern States Official Website

When you visit their site, you’ll notice their tagline “Freshman Year for Free.”  Before we go forward, I want to help you understand what Modern States is, and what it isn’t – as much as I want to promote this new opportunity for parents and teens, I can’t understand why they aren’t more transparent – the nuances of college credit aren’t easy to grasp, so to be less than clear does everyone a disservice.

Their website:

“Take tuition-free, high quality courses online from top institutions for college credit.”

In my opinion, this statement is really misleading because you’re not taking courses from a top institution for college credit.  You’re taking courses developed by Modern States for you to learn independently.  In the case of the AP courses, you’re simply taking an open courseware course.

Make no mistake, you are not an enrolled student at a college when you take courses through Modern States.  Further, the courses themselves do not award college credit in any way.  There is no direct ACE credit (as is the case with Saylor, Straighterline, or Studycom) and you must also pass a CLEP exam that is accepted by your receiving college in order to earn college credit.  In short?  It’s CLEP prep.

As a CLEP-prep resource?  It’s great!  These mini-courses are meant to fit into your busy (homeschool) schedule.  Estimated completion at 6 hours per week is 4 weeks.  A big benefit to parents is that they can either offer this as an accelerated course, or there is enough time in the school year to use this as a “final quarter” course that follows a traditional homeschool curriculum.  It really depends on the subject, and how important it is to you that your teen get a full-robust experience.  Doing Modern States alone will not provide enough contact hours, homework, writing, research, etc. to merit counting as a full course for most parents.  On the other hand, not every subject needs depth, so in that case, you would be fine.

You have to dig- but once you get into the site and visit their FAQ page, allllll the way down at the bottom you’ll get the real truth.  There is nothing to be ashamed of, I’m not sure why this isn’t on the front page?

“How does it work?

Modern States offers free, high-quality online courses taught by college professors that prepare you for virtually all of the major AP and CLEP exams, which are well-established and widely-accepted. Solid performance on the exams (each participating college decides what scores you need for credit) can earn you college credits and enable you to save tuition dollars. You can take one course or many; if you do well on eight exams, you can potentially earn Freshman Year for Free.”

Did I mention the cost?

It’s free.  As in, totally no cost at all. You will, however, have to pay for your CLEP exam, any proctoring fees, and any transfer fees to your college if applicable.

But wait….there’s more.

Modern States is currently running a voucher program.  In short, if you complete the entire Modern States course as outlined in their instructions, you can receive a voucher to pay for your CLEP exam!  The program was initially open to the first 500 people, but they’ve extended time and time again.  My contact with them recently suggested there was “no indication of ending the voucher program anytime soon.”  So, there is plenty of time for you to sign up.   Modern States Voucher Program


 

Their catalog as of today:

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American Government

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American Literature

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Analyzing and Interpreting Literature

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Biology

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Calculus

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Chemistry

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College Algebra

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College Composition

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College Mathematics

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English Literature

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Financial Accounting

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French Language

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History of the United States I

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History of the United States II

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Introduction to Educational Psychology

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Human Growth and Development

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Humanities

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Information Systems

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Introductory Business Law

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Introductory Psychology

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Introductory Sociology

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Natural Sciences

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Passing the CLEP and Learning with Modern States

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Precalculus

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Principles of Macroeconomics

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Principles of Management

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Principles of Marketing

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Principles of Microeconomics

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Social Sciences and History

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Spanish Language

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Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648

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Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present

AP Courses

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AP

AP Biology – Part 1: The Cell

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AP Biology – Part 2: Genetics

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AP Biology – Part 3: Evolution and Diversity

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AP Biology – Part 4: Ecology

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AP Biology – Part 5: Review and Exam Preparation

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Calculus 1A: Differentiation

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Calculus 1B: Integration

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Calculus 1C: Coordinate Systems & Infinite Series

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AP Calculus BC

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AP Computer Science A: Java Programming

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AP Computer Science A: Java Programming Classes and Objects

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AP Computer Science A: Java Programming Data Structures and Loops

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AP Computer Science A: Java Programming Polymorphism and Advanced Data Structures

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AP English Literature & Composition – Part 1: Stories

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AP English Literature & Composition – Part 2: Poems

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AP English Literature & Composition – Part 3: Plays

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AP Environmental Science – Part 1: The Living World

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AP Environmental Science – Part 2: Populations

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AP Environmental Science – Part 3: Pollution and Resources

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AP Environmental Science – Part 4: Exam Review

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Introduction to AP Human Geography

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Introductory AP Microeconomics

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AP Italian Language and Culture

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AP Macroeconomics

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AP Physics 1 – Part 1: Linear Motion

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AP Physics 1 – Part 2: Rotational Motion

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AP Physics 1 – Part 3: Electricity & Waves

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AP Physics 1 – Part 4: Exam Prep

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AP Physics 2 – Part 1: Fluids and Thermodynamics

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AP Physics 2 – Part 2: Electricity and Magnetism

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AP Physics 2 – Part 3: Optics and Modern Physics

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AP Physics 2 – Part 4: AP Review and Exam Preparation

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AP Psychology – Course 1: What is Psychology?

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AP Psychology – Course 2: How the Brain Works

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AP Psychology – Course 3: How the Mind Works

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AP Psychology – Course 4: How Behavior Works

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AP Psychology – Course 5: Health and Behavior

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AP Psychology – Course 6: Exam Preparation & Review

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AP Spanish Language and Culture