Saturday, April 26, 2008

Home Education Conference Notes

I'm winding down from two days spend at the SHEM Home Education Conference. It is always a rejuvenating, yet exhausting and sometimes overwhelming, weekend. However, I needed it. I have not experienced homeschool burnout as badly as I have lately. It's not that I don't love being home with my boys and homeschooling them, I've just given in to lethargy lately, which produces larger-than-normal guilt trips (you homeschool Moms know what I'm talking about). I needed a shot in the arm, and that's what I received this weekend.

As Noah is preparing to enter his high school years, I have been seriously evaluating what we've done and where we're going. I've had to give up some of my ideals in recognizing Noah's interests and abilities and limits as well as facing my shortcomings. It has been a humbling few weeks, and I'm not "there" yet where I can say with confidence that I now know exactly what we're doing the next four years, but I am excited about a program of Accelerated Distance Learning (ADL) that I learned about this weekend.

In a nutshell, a student can earn their bachelors degree by the time they're finished with "high school" by learning study skills, taking CLEP tests, and using ADL. This system can be used at any age to complete a degree in 18-24 months at a cost of approx. $5,000 as opposed to $110,000+ for a typical brick-and-mortar college experience.

Let me try to explain in more detail: First, the student goes through several weeks of study skills training, including speed reading, memorization devices, tips for writing college papers, advanced note taking and persuasive writing and speaking. All of these resources plus the book Accelerated Distance Learning can be purchased as a set called "College in the Bag" at Global Learning Strategies.

The high school student continues to do their math, science, and english on a normal weekly schedule, and the remainder of their studying is spent on one target subject at a time. Once they've finished that target subject, they take the CLEP test. Upon passing this test, they have received college credit in that subject. For instance, the student may spend 6 weeks studying U.S. History I, take the CLEP test, pass it, then move on to U.S. History II, etc. In this way, the student can complete their first two years of "college" during one year of high school. (The first two years of college is only high school review, so why not get it done the first time through.)

The next year, the student will complete their Bachelors Degree through Accelerated Distance Learning at an accredited university. Using their study skills, they will be able to complete their remaining 60 hours of college in one year, if they choose. Of course, they can choose to take as long as their schedule and desire permits.

By earning a Bachelors Degree by the age of 16-18, the young person can then choose to pursue a specialized Masters Degree or get an apprenticeship/internship in their field of interest.

CollegePlus! is a counseling service that guides the student through the entire process. By using their services, a typical bachelors degree will cost $15,000. Compared to $107,000 for a private university and $41,000+ for a public university, that is (obviously) a significant savings.

I realize these are "new and complicated" thoughts, but that's what homeschoolers are best at! Our world is rapidly changing, and our preconceived ideas must/will change with it. In fact, some predict colleges will be obsolete in the next 20 years. Furthermore, studies have shown that ADL learners out perform traditional students.

I am excited that the Lord has brought this information across my path at just the right time. I think this is truly something that may work for my son! Stay tuned . . .

1 comment:

Donna said...

This sounds interesting. Would U let me know if you learn more about this? My oldest DS is finishing his first year of 'high school' and this may be something he would like too.

Sounds neat!

Also, if you have the time, I'm real dumb about the degrees and what they will mean as far as a REAL job. I would love to understand that more if you have a post about that.