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A Homeschool Graduate’s Tips for College

A Homeschool Graduate’s Tips for College

A Homeschool Graduate’s Tips for College

Looking Back: a Homeschool Graduate’s Tips for College, while it’s still fresh in my memory! I still remember that day in the fall of my junior year when I realized that college was actually approaching, and I had to make my own decision about a major step in my life. I felt unable to choose from all the options; being the introvert that I am I planned to be cautious by choosing a small Bible college close to home. It had nothing unique to what I was interested in, didn’t offer my chosen major, and was really just a cop-out because I wanted to attend college. However, my entire perspective on what college could be for me was changed when I attended a college fair and found out about Patrick Henry College.

Getting into a college like PHC

PHC is small (less than 300 students), classical, and (in my opinion) one of the few Christian colleges in the United States that still follows true Biblical doctrine. After finding my dream school back in 2016, the next step was the application process. I submitted the required materials and then spent two and a half hours on the phone with my admissions counselor discussing my spiritual life, high school classes, community involvement, life goals, and biggest failures. Next, my counselor committed to push for my acceptance. The day I was accepted is one of my favorites even now.

What do classical colleges look for?

When I visited the school, I learned from current students and my admissions counselor that PHC was looking for a specific type of person—not necessarily the person with the best SAT score or the longest list of AP classes. This was what I heard when I visited Grove City College in Pennsylvania as well. Private classical liberal arts schools often prioritize phone interviews over submitted work.

Patrick Henry was interested in the fact that I worked at Chick-fil-A, taught a kindergarten class at my church, and had a passion for classical education. They appreciated that I played the violin and participated in a couple mock trials. I realized that the team at PHC focused on the character of the students they accepted more than the standardized test scores they received. This became a new draw for me to attend the school because I knew that they valued full people, not just numbers.

Did my education equip me for life at PHC?

As a second-semester college freshman, I can’t say that I always fully appreciated my classical homeschooling journey back in high school. The hours I spent wrestling with Latin homework, digesting classic literature, and discussing philosophy were taken for granted when they passed by, but they are definitely paying off now. Instead of drowning in my first semester of college Latin, I was able to enjoy it most days.

Attending a classical academy one day each week equipped me to be comfortable with participating in class discussions at PHC. Reading many of the Great Books back in high school gave me a chance to get a deeper understanding in my second read here at PHC. My freshman year has still been the hardest venture I’ve ever attempted, but I can’t imagine going into it without the high school experience I had.

If I could send one message to high schoolers and their parents at this point, I think it’d be the cliché saying repeated to students all the time: fight the good fight. What you are doing now may seem mundane and insignificant. It may feel like you’re peddling only to come around a bend to more of the same.

However, one day you’ll sit down to reflect and realize that in those seasons of hustling to and from activities and squeezing schoolwork in between it all you were doing good, true, and beautiful work to further your earthly walk and, more importantly, to further the kingdom.hustling to and from activities and squeezing schoolwork in between it all you were doing good, true, and beautiful work to further your earthly walk and, more importantly, to further the kingdom.

Author bio:

Olivia, or Livvy, Dennison is an 18-year-old freshman at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. A native of Mt. Hope, WV, she plans to major in History with a minor in Classics. When not working on school, Livvy loves reading, playing basketball, and living life with her two younger brothers and her dog, Amos. Livvy was always homeschooled by her mom and, for her last two years of high school, attended Appalachian Classical Academy, a Christian homeschool tutoring program that meets one day each week.

Are you wondering what life after homeschool may look like for your child? Check out this former homeschool student's experience with a classical college. #homeschool #lifeafterhomeschool #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #classicallearning

SAT and ACT Prep for Homeschool Students

SAT and ACT Prep for Homeschool Students

(The following is a guest post from Erika Oppenheimer, an SAT and ACT test prep coach in New York City and the author of Acing It! A Mindful Guide to Maximum Results on Your College Admissions Test.)

The SAT and ACT preparation process is challenging, regardless of a student’s life or educational background. An independent education provides students with an incredible opportunity to learn in a way that fits into their lives and learning styles. Homeschooled students may have some advantages in the SAT and ACT prep process over their traditionally educated peers. For example, homeschooled students may have more experience directing long-term projects and self-motivating.

However, there may be some aspects of the SAT and ACT that homeschooled students initially experience as greater challenges than their peers who have spent more time in school settings. By paying attention to their individual strengths and limitations going into the prep process, students can achieve optimal results on their college admissions test.

Here are a few aspects of the SAT and ACT prep process that are important for all test takers, but which may be especially important to highlight for students who have been homeschooled in the years leading up to the SAT and ACT.

Building Endurance

The SAT and ACT are administered over 3-4 hours, depending on whether students take the Essay Test, which many colleges require of applicants. The longest section on the SAT lasts 65 minutes; the longest section on the ACT lasts one hour. If your independent program includes frequent opportunities for the student to stand up, stretch, or dialogue (generally good practices for learning and wellbeing), then you may want to begin incorporating longer periods in which students must work independently and without a break. Building endurance for the test can happen both through taking SAT and ACT practice tests and through completing other coursework. Either way, it is important for students to be able to direct their attention for long periods of time in order to perform well throughout the SAT and ACT.

  • Test Prep Action Step: Work independently and without interruption for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break to stretch or move around. Build up to one hour of focused productivity.

Working around Other People

Students without special testing accommodations will take the SAT or ACT at a local test center, surrounded by other test takers. If your homeschool program consists mostly of the student working alone in a room (supervised or unsupervised) or in small groups, then the student may want to gain experience focusing in less isolated or familiar settings. The public library is a great place to take SAT and ACT practice tests. The library is mostly quiet, but still has more activity than an empty room.

    • Test Prep Action Step: Move your SAT/ACT practice test—or your homeschool or homework session—to a local library or other public space.

Do you worry that your homeschool student will be unprepared for all those important steps to make it into college?  High school can be a stressful time for a homeschool mom, but we are here to help.  Check out these ACT and SAT tips for homeschooler, and make sure you are on the right path today! #homeschool #testing #testprep #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy

Managing Time

The SAT and ACT are, of course, timed tests. The element of time shouldn’t be thought of as an obstacle to top performance, but rather an aspect of this particular “game.” The challenge of the game is answering as many questions correctly as one can within the time limits.

There are three elements of this challenge: first, a willingness to adapt one’s approach to tasks such as reading passages so that time isn’t wasted rereading portions of the passage or reading for details that won’t later be covered in the test questions; second, developing a strong understanding of the concepts being tested; third, discovering an overall pacing strategy that balances the quality of a student’s answers (his or her accuracy) with the quantity of questions answered—disproportionately favoring one over the other will have a negative impact on a student’s scores.

    • Test Prep Action Step: Rather than simply taking practice test after practice test, do an initial review of the concepts tested on the SAT or ACT and the format of the test for which you are preparing. After this review, apply your knowledge within the test through taking practice tests. See where you get stuck, and review those concepts in greater depth. At first, you may not finish a given section, but as you build comfort with unfamiliar topics and the test format, you’ll naturally begin to work more quickly. Within the Reading section of either test and the ACT’s Science section, which depend less on preexisting knowledge, you may not need to do an initial review, but you can spend time considering what approach to reading the passage will enable you to work most efficiently. You may also do timed drills, in which you break the section into smaller parts to get a better sense of your pacing and experiment with different approaches.

(Does your student need practice testing?  Check out the Performance Series Tests from True North Homeschool Academy.)

Managing Nerves

Given that the tests are an important part of the college and scholarship application processes, they often bring up nerves for students. This stress is compounded for students who will take the test in unfamiliar settings. By exploring and adopting habits that help manage stress and nerves, students will be better able to apply what they know in the test room.

  • Test Prep Action Step: Try taking a few full, conscious breaths breathing in for four counts, holding for two counts, and exhaling for four counts. Do you feel any different after than you felt before? A conscious breath is a habit that can be easily incorporated into test taking. Take a conscious breath in between test sections and halfway through each section or if you begin to feel overwhelmed by a test question.

If you feel overwhelmed within the test prep process, consider partnering with a tutor or coach (like me) who is an expert in navigating the test prep process. There’s a lot of information out there about the SAT and ACT, and the person with whom you work will help you determine the strategies that will work best for you. You may also use my book, Acing It! A Mindful Guide to Maximum Results on Your College Admissions Test, as a more complete resource for learning how to effectively navigate every step of the SAT and ACT process.

Erika Oppenheimer

Erika Oppenheimer is an SAT and ACT test prep coach in New York City and the author of Acing It! A Mindful Guide to Maximum Results on Your College Admissions Test. In addition to teaching test content, she helps students manage the stress of the test prep process. Coaching sessions may take place in Manhattan or over Skype.

Learn more about Erika’s coaching programs at

Receive a free chapter of Acing It! and her One Month SAT & ACT Prep Plans when you sign up for her email updates here.

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

How to Prepare Your Kids for Life After Graduation

How to Prepare Your Kids for Life After Graduation

How to Prepare Your Kids for Life After Graduation

Choosing how to prepare for adulthood and High school is no joke. Everyone believes they have the perfect plan for your life. They all have suggestions of which college you should attend, for how long, and what you should do after you finish. 

By the time many kids finish high school, the pressure is so strong that they feel they have no chance but to pick SOMETHING.

Too many end up with a career they hate and debt on their shoulders.

When you think about it, it’s strange to expect that a 16-18 year old should have a future perfectly mapped out. And especially when the stakes are high, it’s unfair to expect them to commit their lives to a specific career when they don’t know if they’re going to like it or not.

So if your teens don’t know exactly what they want to do yet, don’t panic.

There are many options outside college for your teen to pursue. In fact, college is the option with the least return on investment! Think about it- your child will pay thousands of dollars to learn about a career. Even if you are fortunate enough to get school paid for by scholarships, you still have to deal with the time cost of 4 years. Those are 4 years that could be spent getting experience.

Prepare with Tools and Grit

In today’s world, with the right tools and grit, you can build a career out of almost anything. And if you start young, you have an advantage.

Take Alec Steele, for example.

How to Prepare Your Student for After High School


He dropped out of high school at 16 (a mother’s nightmare, right?). He started blacksmithing full-time to learn the trade. At the same time, he started documenting his work through Youtube videos. He’s good at it: he now has over 1.1 million subscribers. He also makes money through his blacksmithing courses and his online store.

I don’t know what his mom thought when he left school. I do know, however, that nobody looks at his work and says “Wow. His mom should have made him stick with Algebra!” or “Look what happens when you drop out of school!”

Think Alec Steele is the exception? Soon, he won’t be. Technology is advancing. Information is everywhere- the cost of getting it through college is rising. Many young people are realizing that they can prepare for their future and reach their goals much more efficiently by learning on their own terms.

And remember- many of the top entrepreneurs of the 20th-21st century didn’t have college degrees. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Milton Hershey, Michael Dell, Henry Ford, and Mary Kay Ash are a few.

Think Tools

Don’t push your teenagers toward college. Instead, give them the tools they’ll need for a strong professional foundation. Instead of taking a planned approach to the teen years, take an exploratory approach!

Here are three things you and your teen can do to prepare for life after graduation!

  • Build a personal brand. Create a website where you host all your projects and ideas! This is a way to learn multiple skills at once: some coding, graphic design, branding techniques, and much more. Along with building a personal website comes the bigger task of digging into yourself and finding what drives you. At Praxis, we encourage participants to pick 3 words that describe them at their core. (Yes, these will change some as you grow. That’s ok!)
  • Maximize on writing. This is a skill that every business needs. If you can write well, you’ll give yourself an edge no matter what job you’re trying to get. Write about what you love to do or what your newest idea is. Take some time to play around with different forms of writing. There’s copywriting, haiku, poetry, short stories, business articles, and much more!
  • Complete projects based on interests. Nothing is more invigorating than diving head-first into something you love. Even if you don’t stick to it for long, do it 100% while you’re at it. Have a musical interest? Don’t just learn the piano. Take videos of your practice, write about the tips you have for beginners, or compose your own music. Think coding is cool? Invest in a short course and go build something.

When it comes down to it, life readiness is more important than a life map. Being able to prepare for what’s ahead requires focusing on the opportunities ahead of you, and grow through the process!

How to Perpare Your Kids for After Graduation Lolita Allgyer

Lolita Allgyer is a Marketing Associate at Praxis, an apprenticeship program for the mold-breakers of this world. She is passionate about self-education, and about empowering other young people to carve their own paths in life. Her life philosophy is to live each moment to the fullest. If you can’t find her, she’s most likely outside on some new adventure! She writes on the Praxis blog, Quora, and She hosts her own podcast that dives deep into new ideas about education, called Educationeering. Ask her anything at lolita(at)discoverpraxis(dot)com!


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Tools for Tomorrow: Cohorts

Tools for Tomorrow: Cohorts

Tools for Tomorrow – Cohorts

You’re likely asking what in the world is a cohort and why is it worthy of an article.  Let’s begin with the definition.  A cohort is defined as, “A group whose members share a significant experience at a certain period of time or have one or more similar characteristics.”  I believe cohorts have significantly more value than mere groupings of like individuals. As such, cohorts are a subject worthy of exploration for three reasons:

  • First, it’s highly likely you’re going to be self employed at many times in your career. Your ability to thrive independently while simultaneously depending upon others is imminent. The necessity to rely upon your cohort for support and understanding is inevitable and when the going gets tough, you have camaraderie with your cohort members.
  • Second, the days of working alongside co-workers in an office are dwindling. Working remotely is very acceptable these days, but it comes with a price. The price is self-discipline, accountability and reliability – all traits common to a healthy cohort.
  • Third, organizations are increasingly flat. Minimal are the hierarchical layers of management which instilled command and control in days gone by. You’re expected to be self-organized as a unit of one or twenty-one. Further, because the boss isn’t necessarily looking over your shoulder, it’s incumbent upon each cohort member to push the others to ever higher levels of performance.

Accountability and Growth

At Apprentice University, we have integrated cohorts into nearly every aspect of student engagement. Cohorts are not group or team projects where one student does all the work and the others bask in the rewards (or losses). Unlike team projects, cohorts are a tight-knit unit, stitched together to hold one another accountable with each member being responsible for his or her own work. Further, cohort members learn from another and feed off one another’s strengths and weaknesses.

High Stakes

Created from the counsel of a half-dozen retired military elite, including a retired Delta Force Colonel, a Thunderbirds pilot, and many more, we modeled our cohorts to operate with a similar, high-stakes mindset. On the surface this might seem a bit extreme, but we know that in order to prepare young adults to thrive in tomorrow’s economy, understanding how to leverage a cohort for everyone’s success is critical.

Let’s use a real-world example of a cohort. During my time as the CEO of Bitwise Solutions, I helped create a program for fellow CEOs of like companies – a cohort. For the past half-dozen years, this group has met semi-annually and grown consistently year after year. Some members are better connected and engaged than others and each represents an independent business. We all know that the sharing of best practices, industry trends, hiring strategies and marketing tips benefit one another yet we remain fiercely competitive with each other in the marketplace.

Stronger Together

We often find ourselves competing for the same business one day and teaming together to win another piece of business the next. Our competitors are our partners and we make one another stronger. Much like the first bullet point above, we thrive on our own yet we know we are dependent, to some degree, upon one another. This fascinating interdependency between firms scattered across North America closely parallels how cohorts comprised of individuals can thrive in tomorrow’s economy.

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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