CLEP 101 (College Level Exam Program) for Homeschoolers

CLEP 101 (College Level Exam Program) for Homeschoolers

At True North Homeschool Academy, we are all about launching our kid successfully as young adults.  Ideally, we like this launch to be with little to no debt, and in a way that equips them to succeed vocationally, as well as in life. One of the ways we are doing this is by providing CLEP prep classes.

What is CLEP?

CLEP is College level Exam Program. There are over 33 exams available that are accepted by 2900 colleges and universities in the following areas:

  • Literature & Composition
  • World Languages
  • History & Social Science
  • Science & Mathematics

By taking a CLEP test, you can save “Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars.” CLEP exams have been in existence for over 50 years and had over 1800 test centers. This program allows students to demonstrate mastery in college-level material and earn college credit through testing. There is no minimum age at which your kids can start taking CLEP exams and your test scores will “bank” for up to ten years!

Not every college accepts every CLEP exam, and if you know where your high school student plans to attend college, you can check with their admissions counselor or website. If it’s not stated on the website, and you are assured by someone on staff or faculty that the CLEP exam will be accepted for credit, get that in writing. In my state, the state college system will take up to 10 CLEP exams toward a degree, but it varies by major and school.

If you are interested in taking some CLEPs as upper-level high school courses, I would suggest starting with some basic general education requirements: College Algebra, English Comp I and II, Environmental or Natural Science, Psychology or World Religions or Government. Taking just 5 Clep exams totals 15 College Credits (and can go on a High School Transcript for one credit as well and can be counted for a higher weight, which affects the G.P.A.) which is an entire semester’s worth of college. Considering that even inexpensive school cost around $20,000 a year, half of that is significant savings!

If you are looking to earn you Associates degree or even entire undergraduate degree through Clepping, Dual Enrollment, and other less conventional methods, be sure to check out the “Big Three”; Thomas Edison State College, Excelsior State College, and Charter Oak State College.  All of these consider life experiences, extensive CLEP exams, and dual enrollment creidts towards an Associate of Arts or a Bachelor’s Degree.

We have a friend who got their entire undergraduate degree in two years through Clepping and then went on to Medical School.  Of course, he had terrific MCAT scores and references along with his degree, but it is doable to take an unconventionally earned Bachelor’s degree and go on to a competitive graduate program.

True North Homeschools Academy is committed to utilizing the freedom and unique opportunities we have as homeschoolers to bring classes to you that prepare your students to take CLEP exam.

This fall, for instance, we have an amazing group of young adults (10th-12th graders) meeting weekly for 90 minutes to study Psychology. This class has been challenging and thought-provoking, required a boatload of homework, reading, studying and learning vocabulary, provided great discussions and some good laughs and readied participants to take the CLEP exam at the end of the semester.

This class is offered for one semester (just like a college class would be) and uses Zoom and Moodle (also, like many college classes) and counts for 1 High School Credit.  If the CLEP exam is taken and passed 3 College Credits under the General Education requirement of Social Science will be earned. Not only are our students receiving college credit for pennies on the dollar but they are avoiding the social indoctrination that is so prevalent on College campuses, especially in the area of Social Sciences.

Why pay for these classes when our kids can study and take a CLEP test on their own?

For the simple reason, that upper-level classes are challenging, and difficult things are often more exciting and enjoyable when done with others (Ecc 4:9), the teacher brings their experience and expertise to bear,  and the kids have incentive to keep going even when the going gets tough!

If CLEP tests are not something you’ve considered before, I hope you take a look at them. We’d love to partner with you to guide your student through some fun and challenging High School classes that also prepare your students well for CLEP exams!

(This spring we will be offering Civics as well as Environmental Science– both count towards one credit of High School and are also CLEP prep classes.  Check those out today!)

Would you like your high school student to get a jumpstart on college credits?  Then you need CLEP classes!  Check out this post to find out the whys and hows of CLEP Exams for homeschool students! #homeschool #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #CLEP

5 Reasons to Love Live Homeschool Classes

5 Reasons to Love Live Homeschool Classes

We all know that homeschooling is fantastic right?  I mean, we can tailor our children’s education to their specific needs.  There’s also plenty of time to be spent together, meaning that we can build deep and lasting bonds with our children.  However, if we are honest, there can be some downsides.  Group projects are hard to come by, and sometimes it’s hard to instill a sense of deadlines and responsibilities that come with a group school setting.  So what’s the remedy?  Live homeschool classes of course!  See five reasons why we love live homeschool classes.

(So what if you are ALL for live homeschool classes but there are none offered near you?  True North Homeschool Academy has a solution for that too!  Keep reading.)

The first reason to love live homeschool classes is the fellowship.

This is often an overlooked aspect of live online classes and one of the big differences between live and self-paced or pre-recorded classes. At True North Homeschool Academy our students can see and hear the teacher and each other.  They know each other’s names and even work in small groups in our zoom break-out rooms.

They have a sense of community and fellowship with classmates in a controlled, adult-directed setting.  A setting that is geared toward academic growth, and based on Judeo-Christian values. For instance, in our Writing Club, the kids regularly send each other their writing outside of class for critique and evaluation. Kids are meeting and growing in relationships with teachers and students around the country — and outside of it!

Another great reason to love live homeschool classes is that they provide accountability.

Live online classes require that your student shows up ready and prepared at regularly appointed times. Given assignments have deadlines and our teachers provide a rubrics and standards of expectations. Students learn to understand the importance of a Syllabus, how to use it, and how to negotiate if they can’t meet deadlines.

The Goldilocks Principle makes another case for live homeschool classes.

The Goldilocks Principle is an often overlooked and powerful principal! This principle simply means that people yearn for novelty and new challenges. Kids want to be pushed to explore and expand beyond what they know in a way that allows them to excel- not too easy, not too difficult, just right. Live, online learning can help you achieve that sweet spot.

At True North Homeschool Academy, our teachers have taught in a variety of classroom settings for a long time.  They understand how to personalize the material.  This personalization means that students who are struggling can continue to grow and excel, while students that are ready for more significant challenges can take off and fly fast. Our classes are personalized and prepared to accommodate students so that they can excel, regardless of their starting point.

Live homeschool classes can also help your students acclimate to someone else’s standards.

Let’s face it, as homeschooling mommas, sometimes we give our kids a lot of leeways. Maybe too much. If our kids don’t make our deadlines or perform up to our standards, they know we are still going to love them, and they probably will still “pass.” In fact, one of my daughter’s friends in college told her that she was “spoiled” because she got to learn to mastery- never having suffered through a failed test or deadline.

Having an external person to be accountable to can take a lot of pressure off of both parents and students. Our expectations are clearly stated at the beginning of each class and students know where to find the syllabus. Students receive regular feedback and assessments, and our teachers are available to talk with parents through each course.  Instructors also give semester and year-end grades, along with a Certificate of Achievement, upon course completion. Because class standards and expectations are clearly stated ahead of time students get no surprises and can work towards stated expectations, knowing that they’ve accomplished along the way.  Sometimes this falls by the wayside with busy homeschool parents.

Finally, live online classes can help your homeschool student become more tech savvy.

At True North Homeschool Academy, we utilize tech that your students will encounter in college, like Zoom Rooms and Moodle. Our teachers spend time allowing the kids to explore and use the tech we have at our disposal, such as electronic chats, hand raising, break-out rooms, and whiteboard capabilities. Students learn about email, how to submit homework electronically and how to interact with teachers who live in different time zones and perhaps in different countries. Students learn first hand about the valuable and beautiful connections tech provides.  These tech skills will serve them well for life.

So now, what if you are convinced that live homeschool classes are something that you HAVE to have in your homeschool, but you are MILES from even the closest co-op?  Well, True North Homeschool Academy has a solution for you!  We offer live ONLINE homeschool courses.  And we hate to brag, but they are kind of amazing.  We have top-notch technology, amazing teachers, and a fantastic course line-up.  Don’t just take our word for it, check it all out today in our course catalog!

For a Limited Time all courses are 10% off!!! Hurry and shop now, these prices won’t last forever!

Do you love homeschooling but feel like something is missing? Maybe it's time to check into some live homeschool classes! See 5 reasons why we love them. #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #onlineclasses #homeschooling


Executive Functioning & Why it Matters in Your Homeschool

Executive Functioning & Why it Matters in Your Homeschool

Executive Functioning a big “buzzword” in education right now.  If you have a child diagnosed with ADHD/ADD, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Autism, Aspergers or a Learning Disability, you have probably come across the term Executive Functioning.  

So, how does Executive Functioning affect your child? Have you seen any of the following?
  • Easily frustrated – fights or quits tasks easily, melts down easily.
  • Anxious – worries about things out of their control, or about making mistakes excessively.
  • Worried or bothered by seemingly “little” things –  could by physical things or academic things.
  • Frustrated by sitting still – constantly on the move, needs to have hands/body moving
  • Following directions is arduous labor – can follow one direction at a time (well, maybe sometimes?), may have difficulty with more than one direction at a time.
  • Difficulty completing tasks – may start things and not finish, or gets frustrated and stops rather than ask for help.
  • Struggles with getting started in tasks – even seemingly simple assignments (or larger ones) are difficult to get started because they don’t know where to begin
  • Strains to keep track of the processes of math and reading – forgets to go back to the passage to help find answers or reread, loses their place in a multi-step math problem or with long division/multiplication type processes.
  • Easily bothered or distracted by light levels (high or low) or noise (too loud or too quiet) – textures, sounds, lights, cold, heat, blue skies, gray skies, dogs barking, someone says something unexpected – these and more distract and bother our kids at times.
  • Flexibility is an issue; may struggle greatly with being able to “switch gears” when life demands it.
  • Planning and prioritizing are difficult or impossible to the chagrin and frustration of the person.
  • Working memory can be faulty and frustrating.
  • Response inhibition (ability to control one’s own emotions) is a struggle or lost battle.

What is Executive Functioning?

The official definition from LDONLINE (LD Online) is: “The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.” This means that a lot of the above behaviors that are sometimes considered “careless” and “willful” can be traced back to issues with Executive Functioning.

In the course description for True North Homeschool Academy’s Creating Priorities Class for Executive Functioning, I describe it as it looks at my house… Perhaps your child struggles with executive functioning skills, as mine does. When it is time to do his schoolwork, my son loses his pencil, loses his worksheet, will solve the problem with blocks but forget to write the answer, disappears, jumps up and runs around the house, find a million other things to do, and then will finally sit down, solve two questions, and then he’s off again…. My son, like many others, struggles with executive functioning skills.  He doesn’t MEAN to be unorganized and distracted, but his brain just can’t help it. Like many people with a diagnosis, he also struggles with time management, self-control, memory and other cognitive issues; common for those whose brains are developing differently. As a family, we are working on many things to help him learn how to better manage his time and his work.

What can be done to enhance and teach Executive Functioning Skills?

You can focus on specific skills that may be lacking.  For example –

  • How to study – how to make outlines, study key terms, pay special attention to charts, summaries and footnotes, go over review questions
  • Using a checklist – provide younger children with a checklist of tasks (you might have to begin with 1 at a time and slowly increase), have them check off tasks as they complete them.  You can even work in breaks or “rewards” as tasks are completed.
  • Using a planner – older students can utilize a planner with assignments for the day or week to be completed.  To gain independence, allow students to complete the assignments in their own order. If needed, specify which tasks can be done on any day, and which must be done on specific days (if your child needs repetition in math, set the expectation that one math assignment must be completed each day instead of doing them all on a single day).
  • Using graphic organizers for writing, or reading – graphic organizers are great tools for analyzing fiction and nonfiction literature, and for brainstorming and organizing writing assignments.
  • Using anchor charts or a math notebook to show the steps needed to solve math problems – Math notebooks (classrooms usually also use anchor charts) are great tools to help students remember how to solve specific types of questions, and to follow step-by-step directions on more complicated math (like long division or multiplication)
  • Create vocabulary or sight word flashcards – index cards create great flashcards to review sight words, vocabulary for any subject or to create your own math fact flashcards.
  • Give choices (make sure all choices presented are acceptable to you) – A child who is easily frustrated or tends to “battle” you about schoolwork is sometimes feeling out of control of the situation.  So they work to regain control by fighting against what they see is the source of the problem (you). When you provide choices, it helps them feel back in control. The catch is, you only present choices that are acceptable to you. If it is not acceptable, it is not a choice.  If there is still an argument, write the choices down or draw pictures. You can’t argue with something that is written. If they continue to try to argue with you, you just point. Eventually, they will make a decision from the choices provided. (It might take a little while the first time, but it gets easier as you continue).

Where can you go for help?

There are a lot of resources out there to get help.  Here are a few suggestions of things to consider:

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We will definitely be downloading a copy of Paul Revere’s Ride- Copy working in Print, Cursive and Manuscript Style by Bonnie Rose. There are several copy workbooks to chose from. We’ve used Copybooks for years and love them. It’s just a simple, easy way to learn great truths, memorize beautiful words and copy your handwriting. Perfect combo to my way of thinking!

Also, Philosophies at a Glance- the Pre-Socratic Edition by Stacy Farrell. We studied Philosophy last year and I’m excited to add this to our high school homeschool morning basket. We’ve also used Stacey Farrell’s Philippian’s Bible study in the past and found it to be excellent. Love using products from homeschooling authors that we know and trust. Stacy’s work is always well researched and excellent- this will be a great way to cement our understanding of philosophies and a perfect tie-in to our continued logic studies this year.

And because my 15-year-old has taken over most of the cooking, I’ll be downloading Cooking up History with the founding father- a 4-week micro unit. Coupled with the Culinary Arts course that she is taking through True North Homeschool Academy. They had us at the pie featured on the front cover. We are definitely pie people!

Of course, don’t forget to grab a copy of the Freebie we’ve included! We’ve learned so much through celebrating biblical feasts and festivals and it all began by celebrating Sukkot years ago. You can read a bit more about our adventure, what it all means, how to get started and download some colorful printables, including prayer cards as well.

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Homeschool Tools for Tomorrow Healthy Imagination

Homeschool Tools for Tomorrow Healthy Imagination


Perhaps the most important tool in a young adult’s toolbox is imagination.  Imagining where your career might take you enables you to play out future scenarios without expending significant resources.  Game-changing innovations are often the by-product of a healthy imagination.  So how do you sharpen and direct your imagination?  Read. This. Post. Slowly. It’s meant to be an opportunity to let your imagination relax and stretch before running wild.

Actively Feed Your Imagination

First, actively feed your imagination. Look for new things to learn, places to explore, and people to meet.  Intentionally learn something new so you go to bed smarter each day.  For example, let’s say your home town has an old museum that you have driven by a hundred times. You wouldn’t be caught dead visiting there because it’s just not cool. That stuffy old museum has existed as long as you can remember. It’s a fixture on the street corner that neither you nor your friends would ever dream of visiting. However, at one time, something historically remarkable occurred which motivated thought leaders of the day to catalog and memorialize that event.  The museum has elements that were innovative and creative and still demonstrate exceptional imagination.  Even though something is “old,” what might you learn from the work of the past?

Converse with Others

Feeding your imagination requires you to experience new things routinely, and conversations with others is a great place to start. Begin by touring that old museum or seeking out conversations with people who are diverse from your traditional domain.  An intentional conversation with an elderly person who tells you their “story” forces your mind to see the world through a lens of yesterday. Conversely, spending a little time with a research scientist working to bring a new technology to market will cause you to imagine future scenarios and applications for their work.  Take time to feed your imagination.

Exercise Your Imagination

Second, exercise your imagination. Try this little exercise…  With the stage lights to the theater of your mind burning hot, the amp cranked, your cell phone off (and in another room), your gaming console in sleep mode and your headphones put away, pause and explore the picture out the window before you.  What do you see? Your car parked in the driveway? Trees in the background? The sidewalk in front of your house? The neighbor kids playing in the front yard? Same picture, different day, right?


Now… With your imagination in stretch mode and the theater of your mind prepared for showtime, think back to the day you bought your car. Remember the excitement and freedom you felt that day?  Think about where that little four-wheeled freedom maker might take you next. What about the trees? Consider the picture of the people who planted those trees so many years ago. What was their story? Why did they plant in that spot? Where are they today? How long have those trees been there?

Let’s explore the sidewalk for a minute.  The sidewalk in your picture was formed naturally right after Noah’s flood, right? Ehm… cough, no! Somebody took time to measure, dig, form and pour the concrete for that sidewalk – probably on a hot summer day. How many people helped pour that concrete? Because it’s old, it’s likely the concrete was mixed by hand in a wheelbarrow.  Maybe a dad used the “sidewalk project” as an opportunity to teach his sons the value of hard work.  Imagine a couple boys, one on each handle of that heavy wheelbarrow, clumsily pushing the heavy load from the mixing location to the wooden forms of the sidewalk.  They’re staggering and stumbling as they practice synchronized wheelbarrow pushing (a future Olympic sport!).  They pour the concrete while dad smiles.  Well done, boys.

How’d you do?  Was that stretch?  Might you set a reminder on your phone to do this for three times a day for five minutes?

What Did You Fail to Imagine?

Think back to our sidewalk and what you failed to imagine. Rewind those images of the dad and his boys pouring concrete.  In your haste to get through the movie of that dad and his boys, what did you fail to imagine? What color were the boys’ shoes? Did they have their shirts on? Were dad’s helpers all boys? Was one significantly older than the other? The scene was set to cause you to think the boys were small, yet their age was never stated.  Maybe they’re older and working in their dad’s concrete business. Did you fail to imagine the length of the sidewalk they’re pouring?  Did you fail to imagine how the concrete might be decorated?

What’s Limiting You?

As you consider decisions before you – academic choices, career options, or choosing a mate – pause and ponder what is limiting your decisions.  Are the limits placed upon your decisions self-induced?  Are you limiting your imagination through biases, prejudices (not talking about racial prejudices) and clichés due to your upbringing or cultural surroundings?  Or, heaven forbid, are the limits due to a lazy imagination because you couldn’t put down your smart phone?

Everything you see in your world is connected to a story.  The person you passed on the sidewalk, the kid boarding the school bus, even the mug you’re sipping coffee from has a story! It’s these stories which feed and stretch your imagination.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat

Remember: repeat three times a day for five minutes.

Read the entire Tools for Tomorrow series!

Empolyability Ron Brumbarger

Ron Brumbarger is one of Indiana’s most recognized technology and education entrepreneurs and visionaries. As a dedicated husband, father, friend, mentor, business owner and volunteer, Ron continually strives to weave his many passions into a unique tapestry to serve others. He has spent his entire professional career leveraging an entrepreneurial mindset to help disruptively change education, apply technology to enhance business practices and facilitate organizational growth. He co-founded BitWise in 1992 and served as the company’s president and CEO until January 2018. He was tapped in 2006 by Indiana’s Governor Daniels and Ball State President Gora to start Indiana’s first, statewide, virtual-charter school. In 2013, he founded Apprentice University ®, an award-winning, competency-based college of higher education, preparing future leaders.Content goes here

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Feeling overwhelmed and not even sure where to start as you begin or continue your homeschooling journey? We’ve got you covered! From freebies, to e-books, live on-line classes, Career Exploration, Struggling Learners, Academic Advising and testing, we bring decades of experience, dedication and enthusiasm to our classes and programs. We are here to link arms with you to ensure that this is your best homeschooling year ever! Join our community!