Blog Posts

Posted in HS4CC, Resources

ASU Earned Admission Copycats – Olivet Nazarene University

LOVE that we are looking at our first ASU Earned Admission copycat! In fact, I hope 2021 brings us a dozen more copycats because I love the ASU EA program! The Earned Admissions educational model: enroll in a course, complete a course, pay tuition after you finish (optional) if you want college credit. The ASU EA program has taken our HS4CC community by storm this past year and I was ecstatic to learn of this program from HS4CC parent Barbara G. The program at Olivet differs from ASU in 2 big ways.

Continue reading “ASU Earned Admission Copycats – Olivet Nazarene University”
Posted in HS4CC

Degree Planning 101 (part 4)

PART 4 of 4

Degree planning, in contrast to high school planning, is when your teen’s courses are selected to meet the requirements for a college degree. Resourceful high school planning, something we’re especially focused on here, is considering those requirements while your teen is still in high school and thoughtfully injecting college credit into your homeschool program where it makes sense. Since planning a high school diploma is already a big job for most of us, degree planning can feel unachievable. In this 4-part series, I’d like to talk more with you about degree planning.  Continue reading “Degree Planning 101 (part 4)”

Posted in Breaking News, Dual Enrollment

BREAKING NEWS: Get 2 free dual enrollment courses (classes start Monday)!

Special thanks to HS4CC parent Rob B for this lead! Husson University in Maine (yes, regionally accredited) allows high school students to take 2 free online courses per semester. ANY STATE except California. Details below.

Continue reading “BREAKING NEWS: Get 2 free dual enrollment courses (classes start Monday)!”
Posted in CLEP, High School, Science

Curriculum for Biology –> CLEP

In this post, we’re going look at some ideas for biology curriculum that gets a solid foundation for teens that want to take the Biology CLEP.

Official College Board Biology CLEP Page: here

The Biology examination covers material that is usually taught in a one-year college general biology course (2 semesters) covers 3 areas of general biology:

  1. molecular and cellular biology (33% / about 38 questions)
  2. organismal biology (33% / about 38 questions)
  3. population biology (33% / about 38 questions)

Skipping “curriculum” and just starting with “test prep” is a mistake. This is a very large exam covering an enormous scope of content. The trick to success is allowing sufficient learning time using high school (or college) curriculum as your foundation and following up with test prep. You should choose the foundation (curriculum) that aligns well with your student’s ability. Students working well above grade level may enjoy the challenge of using college level content, but students working on grade level can still be successful with the CLEP exam by learning with high school curriculum! Learning for this exam could easily take 2 high school semesters.

If you’d rather have your teen take biology directly for college credit, you can can explore the many options here: 30 Ways to Earn College Credit in High School. Using CLEP means you’ll award high school credit for the curriculum work your teen does at home, and they’ll earn potential college credit by taking the CLEP exam later. Acceptance of CLEP varies by college.

Should you add a lab? High School Biology often includes a lab, though it isn’t required as preparation for this exam. It may, however, be required by your state’s graduation requirements or your target college’s admissions requirements, so I like the idea of adding a lab unless you’re sure you don’t need one.

Build Your Curriculum

(choose 1)

Khan Academy High School Biology (secular / free)

Apologia High School Biology (Christian/ cost)

Easy Peasy High School Biology (Christian / free)

Khan Academy AP/College Biology (secular / free)

MITx Introduction to Biology (secular / free)

add a lab (optional)

High School Biology Lab Kits (physically do at home)

College Biology Lab Simulation (do on the computer)

add a text book (optional)

College Biology Textbook (online / free)

Test Prep Voucher (Take a CLEP for free)

Modern States is a free online CLEP prep class that upon completion will pay for your teen’s CLEP exam. Get your voucher first! Besides giving your student some extra test prep, the voucher pays for your exam!

Test Prep

REA CLEP Biology Book with Practice Tests (try your local library!)

Hippocampus (for any topic still giving you trouble)


Are you preparing for the CLEP Biology exam or already taken it? If so, what resources are your favorite? Share below!

Posted in AP Advanced Placement, Breaking News

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!! Barron’s AP Books are FREE right now on Kindle!

Thanks to our HS4CC Florida moderator Frances for sharing this deal with our group!! Barron’s Advanced Placement prep books are free on Kindle right now. Frances confirmed that she was able to get all 9 books today. (Yes, you can use AP books & practice tests to help you prepare for CLEP!) You can read a Kindle on any device. Links below.


AP Psychology Premium: with 6 Practice Tests (Barron’s Test Prep) Kindle Edition

AP Chemistry with 3 Online Tests (Barron’s Test Prep) Kindle Edition

AP World History: Modern Premium: with 5 Practice Tests (Barron’s AP) Kindle Edition

AP Computer Science A: with 6 Practice Tests (Barron’s Test Prep) Kindle Edition

AP Statistics Premium: with 9 Practice Tests (Barron’s Test Prep) Kindle Edition

AP Biology Premium: with 5 Practice Tests (Barron’s Test Prep) Kindle Edition

AP English Language and Composition Premium: with 8 Practice Tests (Barron’s Test Prep) Kindle Edition

AP United States History with Online Tests (Barron’s Test Prep) Kindle Edition

AP European History Premium: with 5 Practice Tests (Barron’s Test Prep) Tenth Edition, Kindle Edition

Homeschooling for College Credit will challenge you to reconsider the wisdom of popular college propaganda and how to make better choices for your family. Even if you’ve never been to college, this book will turn you into a well-informed homeschool guidance counselor ready to proceed with confidence. 

Posted in College Admission, financial aid, High School

Member Question: Should we graduate high school earlier than usual?

A Texas parent asks: “Hello. I am new here and to full homeschool in general… In a nut shell, my daughter is THRIVING in her online high school curriculum… We want to allow her full homeschool to give her control over her pace as she would like to graduate earlier and have control over her personal schedule. She is very disciplined and we know it’s the right move for her.”

Continue reading “Member Question: Should we graduate high school earlier than usual?”
Posted in ASU EA, Dual Enrollment, Transfer Credit

Taking College Courses through ASU Digital Prep

ASU’s Digital Prep program offers 2 interesting options to high school students. Students who wish to use their full-time high school program can take up to 2 free university courses per semester. This program is free to Arizona students. Out of state full-time students are charged tuition based on the program they choose.

The second option they offer is part-time Concurrent Enrollment. Students pay $600 per course for ala carte university classes, plus books/supplies. Students can complete as many courses as they’d like at this rate.

Unlike ASU’s Earned Admissions program, that offers low-risk, high-reward courses with no record of failure, Digital Prep’s University courses are subject to the “normal” college rules, such as drop dates, paying up front for the course, and the additional purchase of books and supplies may be required. Failing or substandard grades would become part of their permanent ASU transcript, if the student does not drop or withdraw from a class by the deadlines.

ASU Digital Prep provides several suggested Career Pathways to a wide variety of careers, including engineering, business, arts, sciences, law, pre-med or vet, and many more. ASU’s Digital Prep program expands the number of courses offered to high school students at a deeply discounted rate of $600/course.

Have more questions about ASU Digital Prep or Concurrent Enrollment courses? Digital Prep has a handy FAQ that will answer any of your questions, or join one of their regularly scheduled Live Q&A sessions on their Enrollment Page.

One more thing!

If you enroll in one of these courses, be sure to join our ASU Homeschooling for College Credit Facebook group! You’ll learn how to get the most out of the program with us!

Posted in celebrate, CLEP

Homeschooling with CLEP: Game-changer for Sean’s Future

I am thrilled to share with you this homeschooling success story of how Sara used CLEP in her homeschool with her son Sean during 11th (and now 12th) grade. She posted her celebration inside our Illinois HS4CC Facebook group and gave me permission to share it with you here. I know you’ll find it as inspirational as I did!

Continue reading “Homeschooling with CLEP: Game-changer for Sean’s Future”
Posted in Curriculum, Distance Learning, High School, Self-Paced Learning, Straighterline

Straighterline Dissected: What to Take

I first published this story in February 2017, though some of the point distributions have changed since then, the strategy is still going strong! Since you can see every Straighterline syllabus by entering their website and clicking on the course you’re interested in, you can adopt these ideas for any class you choose!

update.png


Not all Straighterline courses follow the same format.  In this document, we’ll explore the structure of each Straighterline course, and I’ll help you break down the differences between them.  This will help you choose courses that meet your specific need.


Courses are generally considered “easy” and/or “fast” to complete when they:

  1. Consist only of only exams, a midterm, and a final.  Those three exam types are multiple choice format, open book, and instantly graded by computer.  
  2. The course point distribution allows you to accumulate enough points to pass the course before taking the final.
  3. The course textbook is available digitally, which allows you to search out answers quickly during exams.  Tip: hold the Ctrl button and press the F key.  A “find” box will open, and you can search the text for any word or phrase.

Courses are generally considered “hard” and/or “slow” to complete when they:

  1. Have assignments that must be uploaded to Straighterline.  The assignment will be graded by a human, and can take 3-5 days.
  2. Are subject to a human’s interpretation of the course instructions, which can result in a low grade.  The nature of the grading system means your grader is anonymous and you can not ask follow up questions or make revisions.  You will likely have a different person grading each of your assignments.
  3. Require labs.  Science labs can stretch several days each, especially if you’re waiting for a reaction or culture to grow.  Labs also require uploading photos in every lab report.

Courses are generally “more expensive” when:

  1. You take a science lab.  Science labs all require lab kits purchased through the link in the course syllabus.  Lab kits can cost as much as $200. 
  2. You don’t use a discount code.  There are usually at least 2 codes at any time.  I keep a log of current codes on this website. Discount Codes

A passing score for every Straighterline course is 70% unless your college says differently.

Straighterline credit comes into every college as PASS/FAIL credit unless your college says differently.  

Charter Oak State College (CT) is the only college I know of that awards letter grades for Straighterline courses.  They use a standard 90=A, 80=B, 70=C grade scale.

When the “pre-proctor” column is 700 or more, you can pass the course before taking the final exam. Note, they still require you to take it, but there’s no pressure.


I pulled all of the following MASTER TABLE information from the Straighterline website on 2/25/2017.  I’ve kept the table for reference, but be sure to use a current syllabus when doing the math for yourself.

MASTER TABLE

STRAIGHTERLINE COURSECONTENT SUMMARYPRE-PROCTORPROCTORED EVENT
Accounting 14 exams @ 150 / midterm 200800Final exam 200
Accounting 24 exams @ 150 / midterm 200800Final exam 200
American Government4 exams @ 125 / midterm 200700Final exam 300
Anatomy & Physiology 116 exams @ 40 / midterm 160800Final exam 200
Anatomy & Physiology 1 Lab9 exams @ 42 *lowest score dropped

 

9 written lab reports @ 83 *lowest score dropped

1000-0-
Anatomy & Physiology 213 exams @ 50 / midterm 150800Final exam 200
Anatomy & Physiology 2 Lab9 exams @ 42 *lowest score dropped

 

9 written lab reports @ 83 *lowest score dropped

1000-0-
Biology13 exams totaling 700700Final exam 300
Biology Lab8 exams @35 / 1 homework @ 40

 

8 written lab reports @ 85

1000-0-
Business Communication14 exams @ 25 / midterm 150

 

3 written papers @ 100

800Final exam 200
Business Ethics4 exams @ 175700Final exam 300
Business Law4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250750Final exam 250
Business Statistics6 exams @ 125750Final exam 250
Calculus 14 exams @ 125 / midterm 150650Final exam 350
Calculus 24 exams @ 125 / midterm 150650Final exam 350
Chemistry6 exams @115690Final exam 310
Chemistry Lab8 exams @35 / 1 homework @ 40

 

8 written lab reports @ 85

1000-0-
College Algebra4 exams @ 125500Final exam 500
Criminal Justice12 exams @ 50 / midterm 200800Final exam 200
Cultural Anthropology4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250750Final exam 250
English Composition 1*15 exams totaling 610

 

9 written assignments totaling 400

1010-0-
English Composition 217 exams totaling 510

 

8 written assignments totaling 500

1010-0-
Environmental Science4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250750Final exam 250
Financial Accounting4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250750Final exam 250
First Aid4 exams @100 / midterm 200

 

1 demonstration 100 / CPR verification 100

800Final exam 200
Introductory Algebra7 exams @ 100700Final exam 300
Introduction to Business4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250750Final exam 250
Introduction to Communication4 exams @ 100 / midterm 100

 

3 speeches totaling 300

800Final exam 200
Introduction to Nutrition15 exams @ 40 / midterm 150750Final exam 250
Introduction to Philosophy4 exams @ 75 / midterm 200500Final exam 500
Introduction to Programming C++4 exams @ 50 / midterm 200

 

8 Program assignments @ 25

600Final exam 400
Introduction to Religion4 exams @ 125 / midterm 200700Final exam 300
Introduction to Statistics5 exams totaling 500 points500Final exam 500
IT Fundamentals19 exams totaling 700 points700Final exam 300
Macroeconomics*19 exams @ 40 / midterm 120880Final exam 120
Managerial Accounting4 exams @ 125 / midterm 200700Final exam 300
Medical Terminology4 exams @ 125 / midterm 200700Final exam 300
Microbiology6 exams @ 100 / midterm 200800Final exam 200
Microbiology Lab8 exams @ 48 *lowest score dropped

 

8 written lab reports @ 95 *lowest score dropped

1001-0-
Microeconomics*24 Exams @ 30 / midterm 140860Final exam 140
Organizational Behavior4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250750Final exam 250
Personal Finance14 exams @ 50 / midterm 100800Final exam 200
Personal Fitness10 Exams @ 70

 

Fitness test/Caloric Inventory/5K race @ 0

700Final exam 300
Pharmacology 14 exams @ 125 / midterm 250750Final exam 250
Pharmacology 24 exams @ 125 / midterm 250750Final exam 250
Physics4 exams @ 150/ midterm 200800Final exam 200
Physics Lab9 exams @ 42 *lowest score dropped

 

9 written lab reports @ 83 *lowest score dropped

1000-0-
Pre-Calculus4 exams @ 175700Final exam 300
Principles of Management4 exams @ 150 / midterm 200800Final exam 200
Psychology*4 exams @ 175700Final exam 300
Sociology10 exams @ 50 / midterm 150

 

5 discussion assignments @ 20

750Final exam 250
Spanish 14 exams @ 75 / 2 written assignments @ 75

 

2 oral assignments @ 75 / midterm 150

750Final exam 250
Spanish 24 exams @ 75 / 2 written assignments @ 75

 

2 oral assignments @ 75 / midterm 150

750Final exam 250
Survey of World History18 exams totaling 700 points700Final exam 300
United States History 14 exams @ 125 / midterm 200700Final exam 300
United States History 24 exams @ 125 / midterm 250750Final exam 250

NOTE: the quizzes, labs, homework, exams, and even mid-term exams are all open book.  The only closed book activity is the FINAL EXAM, and not all final exams are closed book!  In other words, your teen should be able to earn nearly perfect scores on everything leading up to the final exam.

SL courses WITHOUT webcam proctored final exams

English Composition 1
English Composition 2
Microbiology Lab
Anatomy & Physiology 1 Lab
Anatomy & Physiology 2 Lab
Biology Lab
Chemistry Lab
Physics Lab

SL courses approved as “Advanced Placement” by College Board

English Composition 1
Macroeconomics
Microeconomics
Psychology

SL courses you can’t pass unless you also pass the final exam

Chemistry
Calculus 1
Calculus 2
Introduction to Programming C++
College Algebra
Introduction to Philosophy
Introduction to Statistics

SL courses that require written essays

Business Communication
Sociology
English Composition 2
English Composition 1

SL courses that require giving speeches/video recording

Spanish 1
Spanish 2
Introduction to Communication

SL courses that require a 3rd party to verify your activity

First Aid
Personal Fitness

SL courses that require purchase of a lab kit

Anatomy & Physiology 1 Lab
Biology Lab
Chemistry Lab
Microbiology Lab
Anatomy & Physiology 2 Lab
Physics Lab

TIP:  If you have multiple children that are earning lab credit, you only have to buy 1 lab kit.  Email Straighterline at Advisor@straighterline.com and request a “group lab form.” 

SL courses that can be “passed” before taking the final exam 

Macroeconomics
Microeconomics
Introduction to Communication
First Aid
Business Communication
Accounting 1
Accounting 2
Anatomy & Physiology 1
Anatomy & Physiology 2
Criminal Justice
Microbiology
Personal Finance
Physics
Principles of Management
Spanish 1
Spanish 2
Sociology
American Government
Business Law
Business Statistics
Cultural Anthropology
Environmental Science
Financial Accounting
Introduction to Business
Introduction to Nutrition
Introduction to Religion
Organizational Behavior
Pharmacology 1
Pharmacology 2
United States History 1
United States History 2
Western Civilization 1
Western Civilization 2
Personal Fitness
Psychology
Biology
Business Ethics
Introductory Algebra
IT Fundamentals
Managerial Accounting
Medical Terminology
Pre-Calculus
Survey of World History

Jennifer’s TOP 10 Suggested SL Courses

based on: fewest computer graded activities that can result in a pass before the final exam

  1. Psychology – not only is this course approved as an AP course (record it as such on your teen’s high school transcript) but it only has 4 exams @ 175 points each + final. If you want, your teen can also take the AP exam and/or CLEP exam.  The content of this course aligns with both very nicely.  Note: a target college will only award 3 credits for intro psychology once, even if you take the CLEP too.
  2. Business Ethics – some partner colleges consider this a philosophy or ethics course, which meets a general education requirement!  Only 4 exams and a 300 point open book final.
  3.  Accounting 1 & 2 – These don’t make sense for all of my readers, but if you’re looking for math alternatives or business courses for your teen, these two courses follow the same structure and can yield a full year of math.  There are 4 exams and a midterm (all open book) totaling 800 points.  Since only 700 is needed to pass the course, you can pass long before attempting the 200 point open book exams.
  4. Principles of Management- Also a less traditional option, the structure makes this class a winner.  4 exams and a midterm (all open book) totaling 800 points.  Again, easy enough to pass before attempting the 200 point open book exam. CLEP also offers an exam for this course.
  5. American Government- Almost every high school student takes a government course, so this acts as a great DIY dual enrollment option.  A straight-forward structure consisting of 4 exams and a midterm (all open book) totaling 750 points.  The final is closed book, however, it’s possible to pass this course before taking the final. CLEP offers an exam for this course, however, the pass rate is very low.  SL would be a significantly easier option if deciding between the two.  *While there is an AP exam in this content area, the SL course is not an approved AP course.
  6. Environmental Science– Considered a nice and easy science by most, the structure here makes this course a great option.  4 exams and a midterm (all open book) totaling 750 points followed by an open book final.  *While there is an AP exam in this content area, the SL course is not an approved AP course
  7. Introduction to Religion- This course is usually considered a general education course, not a theology course, making it a good option for any degree.  The structure is simple with 4 exams and a midterm (all open book) followed by a 250 point open book final exam.  In my opinion, I thought this course covered the major religions well and without a strong bias toward one over another.
  8. United States History 1 & 2 – Like Accounting, these two courses can be taken individually, but when taken together make a full sequence.  Both have the same structure: 4 exams, a midterm, and a final.  US History 1’s final is closed book, while US History 2’s final is open book.  Either way, it’s possible to pass both before taking the final.  There are CLEP exams for US 1 and US 2, but if you want to plan for an AP exam, be sure to take both classes!
  9. Western Civilization 1 & 2 – Identical in structure to US History 1 & 2, but both have open-book final exams.  Like all the courses on this list, you can pass the class before taking the final exam.  There are CLEP exams for Western Civilization 1 and 2.
  10. Cultural Anthropology- This course is an alternative to Sociology or Psychology as a social science option.  In some colleges, this course also meets requirements related to world cultures or diversity.  The structure is very similar to the others on this list- 4 exams and a midterm with a 250 point open book final.

If you want to learn how to Homeschool for College Credit, I recommend picking up the second edition from amazon or your local library! 

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Homeschooling for College Credit
Posted in ASU EA, Dual Enrollment, HS4CC, Transfer Credit

Register now for Spring 2021 Dual Enrollment Courses at ASU

ASU is a favorite dual enrollment option in our community, and their Spring line up has some great courses! ASU published start dates for some of their Spring courses, AND added a new course in Accounting! Registration is open. Please note that these dates are subject to change.

Continue reading “Register now for Spring 2021 Dual Enrollment Courses at ASU”
Posted in HS4CC

Has Your Homeschooling for College Credit Program Gone too Far?

Throwback to 2012 when I wrote this, “Whatever credit your child earns, even if it’s just one, is a step in the right direction!” I’ve always been a cheerleader for average students gifted with motivated parents- mainly because those are my people- that’s me. Deliberate and intentional homeschooling with average and sometimes passive kids. What could go wrong? Continue reading “Has Your Homeschooling for College Credit Program Gone too Far?”