Posted in Breaking News, Curriculum

Udemy *Black Friday* Sale

11/29/2017  NOTE:  this sale has ended.  Post remains for reference only.

A Black Friday sale on *CLASSES* of all things?  That’s my kind of sale.  Once a year, Udemy has a $10 sale, and that is happening now (Nov 16 – 28) for their Black Friday promotion.   ALL COURSES are a flat rate $10. (normal costs range from $20-$200 each).

What you need to know:

  • Udemy courses are not for college credit. (How to use MOOCs for College Credit)
  • Udemy courses vary in length from 2 hours to 100 hours, so check that in advance!
  • Udemy courses are self-paced and do not carry a grade.
  • You can preview the syllabus and content at every link.
  • Udemy courses purchased during this sale have lifetime access. Start whenever.

Udemy sent me an email with the “Top 5 most popular courses in each category.”  They offer thousands of courses, but this list is a great place to start because these courses will have excellent ratings and user feedback.  I’ve narrowed the category down to academic subjects, but they have personal development courses too!

I’ve added the regular price of each course from the list.  As you can see, some of these are good deals, and some are great deals.

Remember, EVERY COURSE they offer is part of the $10 sale- not just this list! 


Writing Short Stories: The Essential Guide (regular price: $95)

Write a Book: Basic Creative Writing Skills for Beginners (regular price $200)

How to Write Better Essays: Improve Your Grades Today! (regular price $80)

How to Write an Effective Research Paper (regular price $70)

Composition: Quality Paragraph and Essay Writing (regular price $30)


Music Theory Comprehensive Complete! (Levels 1, 2, & 3) (regular price $60)

Music Theory Comprehensive Combined: Part 4, 5, & 6 (regular price $100)

Music Theory Comprehensive Combined: Part 7, 8, & 9  (regular price $100)

Elite Singing Techniques – Phase I (regular price $100)

Complete Guitar System – Beginner to Advanced (regular price $145)


Become an Algebra Master (regular price $100)

Algebra 1, 2, & 3 – Intermediate & College Level Course (regular price $200)

Become a Calculus Master (regular price $200)

Learn Trigonometry and Calculus Step By Step – Guideline (regular price $200)

Workshop in Probability and Statistics (regular price $40)


Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from zero to hero in Python (regular price $195)

The Web Developer Bootcamp (regular price $200)

Complete Java Masterclass (regular price $195)

Learn to Code by Making Games – Complete C# Unity Developer (regular price $150)

iOS 11 & Swift 4 – The Complete iOS App Development Bootcamp (regular price $200)


The Collection of 3D Digital Content for CHEMISTRY PART-1 (regular price $200)

The Collection of 3D Digital Content for CHEMISTRY PART-2 (regular price $200)

The Collection of 3D Digital Content for CHEMISTRY PART-3 (regular price $200)

The Collection of 3D Digital Content for PHYSICS PART – 1 (regular price $200)

The Collection of 3D Digital Content for PHYSICS PART – 2 (regular price $200)


The Collection of 3D Digital Content for BIOLOGY PART -1 (regular price $200)

The Collection of 3D Digital Content for BIOLOGY PART – 2 (regular price $200)

The Collection of 3D Digital Content for BIOLOGY PART – 3 (regular price $200)

The Collection of 3D Digital Content for BIOLOGY PART – 4 (regular price $200)

AP Environmental Science



Learn Social Psychology (regular price $95)

U.S. History 201 (regular price $35)

History of the Middle East – 600 A.D. to Today (regular price $25)

United States History – Prehistory to Reconstruction (regular price $20)

Art History Renaissance to 20th Century (regular price $25)


Chinese Made Easy L2: Understand 79% of Chinese in 10 hours (regular price $50)

Learn Portuguese in LESS than 30 Days (regular price $30)

Learn Korean! Start Speaking Korean Now! (regular price $75)

Learn Hungarian Tutorial for Beginners (regular price $20)

Learn to Read Biblical Hebrew (regular price $75)

Learn to Speak: Conversational French – Full Course (regular price $95)



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 ACE, ALEKS, Breaking News


ALEKS, an ACE-evaluated online math course that many of our families have used as homeschool curriculum and college credit may be dead effective this week.

ALEKS posted this statement on their website:

It is uncertain whether ALEKS will be recertified for the ACE credit program. Unfortunately, after August 31, 2017, users will not be able to request ACE Credit approval for work done in ALEKS. We are working to resolve the recertification issues.  We cannot guarantee success in these efforts. If and when we are successful, requests for approval will again be accepted, including work done during the interval of suspended certification. We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

Anyone who completed an ALEKS assessment with 70% or better BEFORE August 31, 2017 can still submit their score to ACE for college credit.  If you are in progress, you can continue to use the program for high school credit, but college credit is currently off the table unless ALEKS gains new approval.

For years, I’ve followed ALEKS through renewals and extensions, all while they’ve continued to use the same platform and course structure.  Read ALEKS has problems…to understand some of the issues I thought might be the cause of constant uncertainty. Earlier this year, we saw the first expiration happen, and then a renewal.  ALEKS Has EXPIRED *again* – what now? And then an expiration, and then a renewal.  Our suspicions about change were confirmed when they did a revamp of their platform, a change suspected to improve user experience, but also partly to please ACE.

I’m confident that their lack of proctoring is a problem.  In private conversations with an ACE Evaluator (off the record) my suspicions were confirmed, and frankly, I expected the 8/31/2017 renewal to happen with the added proctoring.  It appears, however, as if ALEKS may not even be trying to add this safeguard to their program.

For now, ALEKS is dead.  As always, I’ll keep you posted.


Posted in ALEKS, Breaking News

ALEKS Expired – Changes Coming?

BREAKING NEWS:  ALEKS is currently approved as a curriculum provider and NOT for college credit.    

Briefly, ALEKS is an online inexpensive math curriculum that awards college credit for a handful of their courses.  Over the past several years, they’ve undergone a renewal of their accreditation, and most recently, they’ve been in a back-and-forth tug between renewal and expiration of their accreditation.  You can read all about ALEKS’ history in several posts:  ALEKS follow-up & shut-down and how we built a strategy to deal with the constant uncertainty here: ALEKS Has EXPIRED *again* – what now?.

I want to share the correspondence that was forwarded to me today by an ACE reviewer. Of course, names have been removed.  I expect HUGE changes to the ALEKS platform this summer.  As such, you have from now until then to complete an ALEKS course in its current format.

“Good Afternoon [removed],
I hope this note finds you well. I wanted to provide you an update on the ACE accreditation for our ALEKS platform that we discussed at [removed].  I have been in close communication with our math product team and was told this morning we are in the middle of going through the reaccreditation process now. The initial [removed] with ACE will be in the next week and the onsite course review is proposed for June. The goal is to have everything approved by early July. In the meantime, our accreditation has been extended until ACE can prepare a final report.”


Posted in Breaking News, Dual Enrollment, Free Tuition, Science, Self-Paced Learning, Straighterline

*FREE Straighterline Labs, AP, and $3/credit classes through 6/3/17*

If you currently have an active Straighterline account – I want to share an unexpectedly great deal I just discovered today!

As you may know, there is a current Straighterline code through June 3rd for $50 off (enter code Homeschool50 at checkout.)  I used it for #2 son, but not #3, because #3 won’t have time to complete another class before summer break and I hate wasting time just as much as wasting money.

On a whim, I called Straighterline and asked what would happen to a class that I purchased now but we didn’t get to use.  They told me it would sit in our account FOREVER.  I wasn’t sure she understood my question, so I clearly explained that we were closing our account for summer vacation.  She assured me that purchased courses are in our a=jumpccount forever, will never expire, and will never disappear when we close our account.  So, in the fall, if I reactivate his account, it would be ready and be waiting for him to pick up where he left off!

What that means:  Active members (those currently paying the $99/month fee) should purchase one of the following courses using the HOMESCHOOL50 code before June 3rd or before your account membership expires- whichever happens first.   This short list contains the least expensive SL courses, that when the code is applied, brings the cost down to $0 – $9 each!!  That price is not per credit, it’s for the ENTIRE course PLUS the required e-book/textbook. The code can only be used one time per account.

Free Straighterline Labs

The student must purchase the lab kit on their own!

  • Anatomy & Physiology I Lab (1 credit) $0
  • Anatomy & Physiology II Lab (1 credit) $0
  • General Chemistry Lab (1 credit) $0
  • General Physics Lab (1 credit) $0
  • Biology Lab (1 credit) $0

AP Classes

Straigherline is an approved provider of 4 Advanced Placement classes.  Completion of one of these courses allows you to list the course on your homeschool transcript as Advanced Placement.  Taking an AP exam is optional and the responsibility of the student.

  • Macroeconomics (Counts as an official AP High School Course) (3 credits) $9
  • Microeconomics (Counts as an official AP High School Course)  (3 credits) $9
  • Intro. to Psychology (Counts as an official AP High School Course) (3 credits) $9

College Classes for $3 per Credit or Less!

  • Introduction to Statistics (3 credits) $0
  • Accounting I  (3 credits) $9
  • Accounting II (3 credits) $9
  • Business Ethics (3 credits) $9
  • Business Law (3 credits) $9
  • Business Statistics (3 credits) $9
  • Financial Accounting (3 credits) $9
  • Macroeconomics (3 credits) $9
  • Managerial Accounting (3 credits) $9
  • Microeconomics (3 credits) $9
  • Organizational Behavior (3 credits) $9
  • Personal Finance (3 credits) $9
  • Principles of Management (3 credits) $9
  • Anatomy & Physiology I (3 credits) $9
  • Anatomy & Physiology II (3 credits) $9
  • Medical Terminology (3 credits) $9
  • Microbiology Lab (1 credit) $0
  • Pharmacology I (3 credits) $9
  • Pharmacology II (3 credits) $9
  • American Government (3 credits) $9
  • Cultural Anthropology (3 credits) $9
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 credits) $9
  • Introduction to Philosophy (3 credits) $9
  • Introduction to Religion (3 credits) $9
  • US History I (3 credits) $9
  • US History II (3 credits) $9
  • Western Civ I (3 credits) $9
  • Western Civ II (3 credits) $9
  • College Algebra (3 credits) $9
  • PreCalculus (3 credits) $9
  • General Chemistry (3 credits) $9
  • Environmental Science (3 credits) $9
  • Introduction to Nutrition (3 credits) $9
  • Intro. to Psychology  (3 credits) $9
  • Introduction to Sociology (3 credits) $9

If you want help picking a class my post  Straighterline Dissected: What to Take should help a great deal!






Note:  Non-subscribers or inactive members can do everything in this post, but you’ll have to pay to restart your subscription fee ($99) so this is NOT a good deal unless you were already planning to enroll your student at this time. In addition, you should know about the pros and cons of using SL in your homeschool.  See this post to get started:  Straighterline Basics and explore manyStraighterline posts by clicking the Straighterline tab.   

Posted in ALEKS, Breaking News

ALEKS Has EXPIRED *again* – what now?


It looks as if we’ve once again hit the ALEKS extension deadline without any word about renewal or extensions.  If you’re still working on ALEKS, the strategy we talked about in March is still a good one.  (Continued below)

If you have missed the ALEKS saga, or want to know more about them, you should read my previous ALEKS post here.

Let’s move forward with a strategy. 

     Many members have shared the feedback they’ve received from ALEKS, I’ve received feedback, I’ve talked to ACE, I’ve talked to a friend that is an ACE evaluator, and when I sort it all out, I think we will probably see some type of renewal, eventually.
To be clear: no one has confirmed anything, which means this is only speculation on my part.  If I had to put odds on my speculation, I think it’s better than 50:50 that we’ll see a renewal.
as such…
     I’m going to operate under the assumption that there will be an eventual renewal.  It could happen tomorrow, it could happen next week, it could happen in 6 months- I don’t dare to guess.  But if we operate under the assumption that a renewal will happen, let’s plan what this means for your teens starting tomorrow morning.
  1. DO NOT SUBMIT THEIR COURSE TO ACE!!!!  Your teen can keep working, but when your teen finishes (70% or greater on an assessment) do not submit their course to ACE.  Submitting your teen’s course now means they’ll have a date attached to it during a period when they are not approved to award credit.  You won’t be able to change this date later, even if ALEKS receives approval later.  Submitting a course during this unapproved date range will result in NO CREDIT.
  2. KEEP YOUR SUBSCRIPTION ACTIVE.  If you can continue your monthly subscription without placing a hardship on your family’s finances, keep doing so while we wait this out.  Have your teen continue to work their pie, practice, refresh their memory, and just keep their account active for at least the next several months.  Submitting a course as complete during this unapproved date range will result in NO CREDIT.  If we see several months pass without word, you may want to consider canceling, but if you can hold out a little bit, it may work in your favor.
  3. WAIT FOR RENEWAL.  Once the renewal is granted, go ahead and “finish” the course by submitting their course to ACE.  As long as their account with ALEKS is active and their last assessment was 70% or better, they’ll receive credit.

Historical Pattern for ALEKS

     Since ALEKS first appeared on the scene, we’ve watched their credit period expire twice.  Twice before, ALEKS’ college credit approval did not immediately renew but did eventually renew.  Twice before, we had a couple months of lag before a new extension was granted, and twice before, ACE “backdated” the renewal date to match the date of expiration.  In other words, they fudged the numbers so there was no “gap” period in their credit status.  This made a lot of people happy.

     There are at least 2 cases of members over on the InstantCert forum who actually completed ALEKS during the unapproved period and were GRANTED credit before ACE renewed.  I believe both members were students at Thomas Edison State University (an exceptionally generous university regarding credit).  It is my strongest suggestion not to play those odds.  We can’t count on ACE backdating a new approval, and if they don’t, we’ll have a “dead zone” of unapproved credit.

     So, be patient.  At this point, use ALEKS as your math curriculum and carry on business as usual.  As always, I’ll keep you up to date on any developments as soon as they are released.  I hope we hear something soon.
Posted in Breaking News

For Profit Education…buh-buy

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Huge news in my email today- EDMC (Education Management Corporation) which is arguably THE biggest for profit player right now, is done.  Selling their inventory of colleges.  A non-profit called  Dream Center Foundation will buy them for an undisclosed amount.  It’s a philanthropic organization of the Pentecostal church.  (the colleges will remain secular)

What did  EDMC own?

All of the Argosy University campuses (18 locations)

All of the Art Institutes (45 locations)

All of the Brown Mackie colleges (20 locations)

For-profit vs non-for-profit education- it’s a big battle.  Have you heard?  In short, for-profit education has been severely criticized in the past few years for taking advantage of students and selling a product that results in high student loan debt and underwhelming employment rates.  Add to the mix that the most of us look for “accredited” programs, and never dig deep enough to understand the nuances of accreditation types…accreditation isn’t a yes/no question, it’s a category with  hierarchy.

I’d love to remind you that just 6 months ago it was GAME OVER for the  HUGE  national accreditor  Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, causing 245  for-profit schools/colleges to lose their ability to participate in the Federal Student Financial Aid program.  It’s not nearly as important to have customers as it is to have paying customers.  R.I.P. Le Cordon Bleu.


So, what happened?  The for-profit bubble just burst.  On one hand, the market loved these programs, evidenced by soaring enrollment!  But, we live in a country that tangles higher education and our tax dollars. It’s not as simple as “buyer beware” when our government *literally* backs the student loans that drive enrollment.  In other words, if your son can’t repay his $60,000 student loan to Sallie Mae after graduating from Argosy, we’ll pick up the tab.

I love the summary provided by By Daniel Moore / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (link above)

EDMC again became a publicly-traded company in 2009 and its stock price soared to a high of $27.99 a share on Dec. 30, 2011.

But lawsuits from the U.S. Department of Justice, along with attorneys general from 39 states, claimed EDMC illegally paid incentives to recruiters based on the number of students they enrolled. The suit demanded $11 billion in federal student loan money be returned and tarnished EDMC with allegations of fraud, deceptive marketing and steering students into debt they couldn’t pay back.

EDMC’s stock plummeted to $3.27 a share in August 2012. By 2014, when the stock was worth a few cents, the shares were delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange.

So, that’s it.  Buh-bye.

There are a few stragglers in the for-profit arena, and there always will be.  Some occupations like barber and cosmetology or massage therapy just haven’t broken into the community college arena like culinary arts, automotive, allied health, computer tech, and apprenticeship.

What does this mean for parents of teens?  As a parent of 3 teen sons myself, the short answer is to choose programs that are non-profit private or public.  The risks of losing financial aid, losing accreditation, being bought or sold, and closing doors are real. It’s happening now.  What will happen to these schools as they change from for-profit to non-for-profit?  Only time will tell.