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HELP! Homeschooler...Need ideas for a Computer Engineering Degree
#11
I'm concerned that a decision to pursue a degree he hasn't expressed interest in is being made before he even sees what kind of financial aid he will qualify for. A computer science degree is not a computer or electrical engineering degree.
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#12
I think you're putting the cart before the horse here - you're trying to plan out college credits and even a degree, when he hasn't expressed much of an interest in one yet. I would maybe do some CLEP exams, but I would NOT spend a lot of money on ACE/NCCRS credit at this point. If he ends up in a traditional school, he won't be able to use those credits at all.

Now, if you want to use some of the free/cheap ACE/NCCRS and MOOC platforms to learn material, that's another story. By all means, do that.

I would look at a few degree programs at your local 4 yr school, maybe a couple of online ones with decent prices, and see if the coursework interests him. A lot of parents either choose for their kid, or say the title and think the kid would know what that entails. When I'm working with my kids (and others) on choosing a major, I actually make them look at all of the courses required to see what they think. If your kid looks at an EE degree and says "No way do I want to do Calc III and Physics!" then you can move onto something else. If you look at CompSci and it looks interesting, try a couple of classes in the major. Same with a BSIT. Or Computer Engineering.

What state are you in? Do you have free/inexpensive dual enrollment? Cheap in-state school prices? Those are much better roads to travel with a student who might want a degree like what you're describing.
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#13
(10-14-2019, 12:48 PM)davewill Wrote:
(10-13-2019, 08:20 PM)ACI Wrote: Hello!

My son is 16 and we home school.  He is not very motivated in general...doesn't really know what he wants to do... but has shown interest recently in engineering (programming code that tells electrical components what to do).  

...

Thanks so much!  Heart

I work in this field, called "embedded software" which basically means instead of writing software for people to use on a general purpose computer, you're writing software to control devices. Everything from your microwave oven, to the entertainment system in your car, to the radar and avionics in aircraft require embedded software to work.

There are three main degrees people who work in this field have:

Electrical Engineering: You study electrical circuits and learn to design everything from the electrical service for large building or the design of computer circuit boards, or even semiconductor design. It's a "hardware" degree rather than a "software" degree although a EE will also learn enough programming to write software, especially for directly controlling hardware. A significant number of embedded software engineers have this degree.

Computer Science: You study the science of writing computer programs. This includes algorithms, computer architecture, computer languages, systems analysis, etc... I'd say most embedded software engineers will have this degree.

Computer Engineering: This degree integrates parts of both of the above. It would be a solid choice for someone who wanted to enter embedded software, although it's less common simply because it isn't offered as widely.

The general ed credits for all three (I'm speaking generally) are going to be much the same. Math through Calculus (how much calculus varies), Linear Algebra, or Discrete Math. He'll also need science with labs for most schools. Personally, I wouldn't tie a 16 yo down to the Big3 for this field. I would instead try to get real college credits from a community college. I would have him aim at getting good grades, applying to a good school, and trying to score a good aid and scholarship package. WGU and the Big3 will always be there, but a degree from a decent engineering program will make a significant difference.

In the meantime, in the name of developing his interest further, I'd suggest he start experimenting and teaching himself a bit. The Arduino Starter Kit is a cheap and simple way to get his feet wet in both hardware and software. It comes with a how to book of interesting projects. 

https://store.arduino.cc/usa/arduino-starter-kit

Thank you so much for all this information!  Very helpful! You said pretty much what my brother said.  And, actually the reason I am looking at this field is because we got him an Arduino Kit and it's the one thing he's shown interest in (I mean, he'd rather play video games...sigh...but it's something he's sticking with).

(10-14-2019, 12:51 PM)sanantone Wrote: I'm concerned that a decision to pursue a degree he hasn't expressed interest in is being made before he even sees what kind of financial aid he will qualify for. A computer science degree is not a computer or electrical engineering degree.

I'm definitely not trying to make a decision about a degree for him at this point.  I just needed some kind of general direction to head with him. And of course that could change. How many kids know what they want to do at 16?  Not very many.  But, as a parent - I'm choosing curriculum each year and then trying to align that with tests he can take to get college credit.  Having in my mind that he likely will not go to one of the Big 3 actually helps me in my planning.
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#14
(10-14-2019, 06:40 PM)ACI Wrote:
(10-14-2019, 12:48 PM)davewill Wrote:
(10-13-2019, 08:20 PM)ACI Wrote: Hello!

My son is 16 and we home school.  He is not very motivated in general...doesn't really know what he wants to do... but has shown interest recently in engineering (programming code that tells electrical components what to do).  

...

Thanks so much!  Heart

I work in this field, called "embedded software" which basically means instead of writing software for people to use on a general purpose computer, you're writing software to control devices. Everything from your microwave oven, to the entertainment system in your car, to the radar and avionics in aircraft require embedded software to work.

There are three main degrees people who work in this field have:

Electrical Engineering: You study electrical circuits and learn to design everything from the electrical service for large building or the design of computer circuit boards, or even semiconductor design. It's a "hardware" degree rather than a "software" degree although a EE will also learn enough programming to write software, especially for directly controlling hardware. A significant number of embedded software engineers have this degree.

Computer Science: You study the science of writing computer programs. This includes algorithms, computer architecture, computer languages, systems analysis, etc... I'd say most embedded software engineers will have this degree.

Computer Engineering: This degree integrates parts of both of the above. It would be a solid choice for someone who wanted to enter embedded software, although it's less common simply because it isn't offered as widely.

The general ed credits for all three (I'm speaking generally) are going to be much the same. Math through Calculus (how much calculus varies), Linear Algebra, or Discrete Math. He'll also need science with labs for most schools. Personally, I wouldn't tie a 16 yo down to the Big3 for this field. I would instead try to get real college credits from a community college. I would have him aim at getting good grades, applying to a good school, and trying to score a good aid and scholarship package. WGU and the Big3 will always be there, but a degree from a decent engineering program will make a significant difference.

In the meantime, in the name of developing his interest further, I'd suggest he start experimenting and teaching himself a bit. The Arduino Starter Kit is a cheap and simple way to get his feet wet in both hardware and software. It comes with a how to book of interesting projects. 

https://store.arduino.cc/usa/arduino-starter-kit

Thank you so much for all this information!  Very helpful! You said pretty much what my brother said.  And, actually the reason I am looking at this field is because we got him an Arduino Kit and it's the one thing he's shown interest in (I mean, he'd rather play video games...sigh...but it's something he's sticking with).

(10-14-2019, 12:51 PM)sanantone Wrote: I'm concerned that a decision to pursue a degree he hasn't expressed interest in is being made before he even sees what kind of financial aid he will qualify for. A computer science degree is not a computer or electrical engineering degree.

I'm definitely not trying to make a decision about a degree for him at this point.  I just needed some kind of general direction to head with him. And of course that could change. How many kids know what they want to do at 16?  Not very many.  But, as a parent - I'm choosing curriculum each year and then trying to align that with tests he can take to get college credit.  Having in my mind that he likely will not go to one of the Big 3 actually helps me in my planning.


Have you looked for any robotics teams? There are many different jobs on the team that resemble some real live jobs. FIRST has two programs for this age. FRC (FIRST Robotics Championships), and FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge). FTC is lower budget and you might find a neighborhood team. Or a school might let him join either one. FRC is big budget and usually only schools have them - the team gets paired with engineers, often through companies. They work side by side with engineers to learn, but it’s very common to see the adults doing a lot of the work. In FTC the kids are supposed to do all the work, with advice from mentors and coaches. All FIRST programs are international and they have 2 world championships usually on back to back weekends (Houston and Detroit), bc there are so many teams competing. Worlds is awesome! <3

BEST Robotics is another program, this one is sponsored by Texas Instruments. As of a couple years ago, it was free to compete. The only costs were machinery and if you want to buy the robot components that normally are returned end of season. They send a box of consumables that get machined into parts, such as wheel hubs or harvesters or arms. BEST is much heavier in mechanical design, but I understand they’ve added some low end sensors for better automation in recent years. Occasionally I come across a BEST homeschool team. The cost for this is so low, it’s nice for homeschoolers.

Vex Robotics is another competitive robotics program. I know less about this, only what I’ve seen.

There are also college teams in various areas. We had a guy in one of our FTC trainings that coached a sort of college level battlebots team. I’ve seen posters for something at my son’s community college. He just started dual credit, so I haven’t looked into it.

There are other challenges too. Solar Car challenge —this was on my radar, as it often launches from the Texas Motor Speedway. It’s very expensive, bc you’re building a solar powered vehicle that drives on a road. They get sponsors to help with costs and mentors.

Some makerspaces have classes and resources. The one in Dallas was discussing starting a battlebots team, I don’t know if it ever got off the ground. One of the members has competed previously. If you have access to one of these groups, even without a robotics team, he may find something that really grabs his interest. Ours hosts DPRG meetings monthly, where they discuss all things robot related, and they host competitions. For example, some meetings are specific to arduino/add ons.

I noticed UTD had drone courses last summer - this is an important and developing field. There might be courses (I think they were 1 credit survey courses for 6-8 weeks), where he could get his hands on things.

Nutshell-maybe see what’s available locally to get him more hands on experience and give him a chance to try things out.

Doing some CLEP in the meantime, as others mentioned, is a great idea. I have syllabi for USH1-2, American Gov and American Lit that can be done together, since there’s lots of overlap, if you want it. The first 3 seem to be required courses for every degree I’ve found so far. If the school accepts CLEP at all, they probably accept these and apply to degrees. They’re good ones to start with, and not too hard IMHO.


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#15
Not necessarily college credit, but Udemy.com is a great place to study for various computer certifications as well as learn programming skills. Never pay full price for their classes, they frequently go on sale for $10-15 per class. Do note that some certifications are accepted for college credit depending on what school you go to.
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#16
At 16, as a homeschooled teen, the parents get to make the plan unless or until their teen shows interest in influencing that plan. That's the very essence of homeschooling. Yes, you need curriculum. It doesn't "have to" bring in college credit today, and I would say it's too soon to degree plan, but it's not too soon to start a "path" toward certain things. For instance, in the degrees mentioned in this thread, we seem to notice it's math-heavy, so taking your lead from that, know that he should be using a good-solid- homeschool math curriuclum (Saxon for instance) that will take him up through Precal. He can THEN pursue higher maths through the community college (which serves as dual credit - high school and college) as well as giving him access to smart math teachers. Wink
So, since you mentioned having read my book twice, you probably already know that my opinion is to bring college credit into your homeschool instead of trying to make your homeschool follow a degree plan. Focus on the diploma, and bring in college credit where it makes sense. Dual enrollment is an excellent opportunity if it's reduced tuition in your state (or free) but if it's not, then you'll have to be more creative (DIY style like AP and CLEP) but you can absolutely get college credit for very low cost and absolutely it can happen post-high school too, so don't think you're running out of time. Earning even 1 college credit in high school puts him ahead.

PS do you have access to dual enrollment? Is it free?
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#17
(10-15-2019, 11:35 AM)cookderosa Wrote: At 16, as a homeschooled teen, the parents get to make the plan unless or until their teen shows interest in influencing that plan. That's the very essence of homeschooling.  Yes, you need curriculum.  It doesn't "have to" bring in college credit today, and I would say it's too soon to degree plan, but it's not too soon to start a "path" toward certain things.  For instance, in the degrees mentioned in this thread, we seem to notice it's math-heavy, so taking your lead from that, know that he should be using a good-solid- homeschool math curriuclum (Saxon for instance) that will take him up through Precal.  He can THEN pursue higher maths through the community college (which serves as dual credit - high school and college) as well as giving him access to smart math teachers. Wink  
So, since you mentioned having read my book twice, you probably already know that my opinion is to bring college credit into your homeschool instead of trying to make your homeschool follow a degree plan.  Focus on the diploma, and bring in college credit where it makes sense.  Dual enrollment is an excellent opportunity if it's reduced tuition in your state (or free) but if it's not, then you'll have to be more creative (DIY style like AP and CLEP) but you can absolutely get college credit for very low cost and absolutely it can happen post-high school too, so don't think you're running out of time.  Earning even 1 college credit in high school puts him ahead.  

PS do you have access to dual enrollment?  Is it free?
 Hi Jennifer!  
Thank you for your reply!  I'm definitely not trying to degree plan.  Just head in a direction. Since I'm planning the curriculum each year, I feel kinda crazy knowing I have a 16 year old/Junior and not having a direction to go in. My goal is definitely to bring college credit into homeschool.  Three of his classes this semester will end in a CLEP test.   I love that they are free through Modern States, although he does NOT like pressure of having to take a single big test.  That's one reason I was hoping to know what direction to go b/c I'd love to be able to take advantage of the ACE credits (Sophia etc.) b/c he'd like those so much better.   It's so hard with this kid - b/c he's just 'fine' at all subjects...doesn't particularly love or hate any of them...he can do them, but doesn't really love anything... 

Right now we use Teaching Textbooks for math...do you think that isn't strong enough?  I really need a curriculum that is video based and shows HOW to complete all questions (not just gives a right answer)...when we used Saxon in the early years, that was not the case and it was very frustrating.

We do have dual enrollment (New Jersey), but it isn't free unfortunately.  The community college near us is 1/2 price for classes (so like $300 per class). But they only offer a few lower level class options.  Actually, that's something I don't understand.  Can we take dual enrollment classes from ANY school in NJ (if they are online?).  

Thank you so much for your help!  I really really appreciate it!

(10-15-2019, 09:38 AM)jamshid666 Wrote: Not necessarily college credit, but Udemy.com is a great place to study for various computer certifications as well as learn programming skills.  Never pay full price for their classes, they frequently go on sale for $10-15 per class.  Do note that some certifications are accepted for college credit depending on what school you go to.

Thank you! I've not heard of Udemy.  I will look into it!

(10-14-2019, 05:17 PM)dfrecore Wrote: I think you're putting the cart before the horse here - you're trying to plan out college credits and even a degree, when he hasn't expressed much of an interest in one yet.  I would maybe do some CLEP exams, but I would NOT spend a lot of money on ACE/NCCRS credit at this point.  If he ends up in a traditional school, he won't be able to use those credits at all.

Now, if you want to use some of the free/cheap ACE/NCCRS and MOOC platforms to learn material, that's another story.  By all means, do that.

I would look at a few degree programs at your local 4 yr school, maybe a couple of online ones with decent prices, and see if the coursework interests him.  A lot of parents either choose for their kid, or say the title and think the kid would know what that entails.  When I'm working with my kids (and others) on choosing a major, I actually make them look at all of the courses required to see what they think.  If your kid looks at an EE degree and says "No way do I want to do Calc III and Physics!" then you can move onto something else.  If you look at CompSci and it looks interesting, try a couple of classes in the major.  Same with a BSIT.  Or Computer Engineering.

What state are you in?  Do you have free/inexpensive dual enrollment?  Cheap in-state school prices?  Those are much better roads to travel with a student who might want a degree like what you're describing.
Yeah, perhaps I am putting the cart before the horse.  I'm not trying to nail down a degree right now.  Basically just determine if he will likely be able to go to one of the Big 3 schools.  Basically whether or not to pursue the huge variety of ACE credits available.  Because I plan his school courses, incorporating those is something I'd have to proactively do.  And, geez it's just low hanging fruit if it actually translates into credit.  But, I don't want to do it just to do it.  Just to be able to say..."My kid has 40 college credits!"...when the reality is they are only able to use like a fraction of them toward a degree.

That's good advice to have him actually look at the courses required for that major. 

I'm in New Jersey.  We have dual enrollment, but it isn't free. Out local CC has a handful of lower level classes available for half price (so like $300 per class).

(10-15-2019, 01:14 AM)alab21 Wrote:
(10-14-2019, 06:40 PM)ACI Wrote:
(10-14-2019, 12:48 PM)davewill Wrote:
(10-13-2019, 08:20 PM)ACI Wrote: Hello!

My son is 16 and we home school.  He is not very motivated in general...doesn't really know what he wants to do... but has shown interest recently in engineering (programming code that tells electrical components what to do).  

...

Thanks so much!  Heart

I work in this field, called "embedded software" which basically means instead of writing software for people to use on a general purpose computer, you're writing software to control devices. Everything from your microwave oven, to the entertainment system in your car, to the radar and avionics in aircraft require embedded software to work.

There are three main degrees people who work in this field have:

Electrical Engineering: You study electrical circuits and learn to design everything from the electrical service for large building or the design of computer circuit boards, or even semiconductor design. It's a "hardware" degree rather than a "software" degree although a EE will also learn enough programming to write software, especially for directly controlling hardware. A significant number of embedded software engineers have this degree.

Computer Science: You study the science of writing computer programs. This includes algorithms, computer architecture, computer languages, systems analysis, etc... I'd say most embedded software engineers will have this degree.

Computer Engineering: This degree integrates parts of both of the above. It would be a solid choice for someone who wanted to enter embedded software, although it's less common simply because it isn't offered as widely.

The general ed credits for all three (I'm speaking generally) are going to be much the same. Math through Calculus (how much calculus varies), Linear Algebra, or Discrete Math. He'll also need science with labs for most schools. Personally, I wouldn't tie a 16 yo down to the Big3 for this field. I would instead try to get real college credits from a community college. I would have him aim at getting good grades, applying to a good school, and trying to score a good aid and scholarship package. WGU and the Big3 will always be there, but a degree from a decent engineering program will make a significant difference.

In the meantime, in the name of developing his interest further, I'd suggest he start experimenting and teaching himself a bit. The Arduino Starter Kit is a cheap and simple way to get his feet wet in both hardware and software. It comes with a how to book of interesting projects. 

https://store.arduino.cc/usa/arduino-starter-kit

Thank you so much for all this information!  Very helpful! You said pretty much what my brother said.  And, actually the reason I am looking at this field is because we got him an Arduino Kit and it's the one thing he's shown interest in (I mean, he'd rather play video games...sigh...but it's something he's sticking with).

(10-14-2019, 12:51 PM)sanantone Wrote: I'm concerned that a decision to pursue a degree he hasn't expressed interest in is being made before he even sees what kind of financial aid he will qualify for. A computer science degree is not a computer or electrical engineering degree.

I'm definitely not trying to make a decision about a degree for him at this point.  I just needed some kind of general direction to head with him. And of course that could change. How many kids know what they want to do at 16?  Not very many.  But, as a parent - I'm choosing curriculum each year and then trying to align that with tests he can take to get college credit.  Having in my mind that he likely will not go to one of the Big 3 actually helps me in my planning.


Have you looked for any robotics teams? There are many different jobs on the team that resemble some real live jobs. FIRST has two programs for this age. FRC (FIRST Robotics Championships), and FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge). FTC is lower budget and you might find a neighborhood team. Or a school might let him join either one. FRC is big budget and usually only schools have them - the team gets paired with engineers, often through companies. They work side by side with engineers to learn, but it’s very common to see the adults doing a lot of the work. In FTC the kids are supposed to do all the work, with advice from mentors and coaches. All FIRST programs are international and they have 2 world championships usually on back to back weekends (Houston and Detroit), bc there are so many teams competing. Worlds is awesome! <3

BEST Robotics is another program, this one is sponsored by Texas Instruments. As of a couple years ago, it was free to compete. The only costs were machinery and if you want to buy the robot components that normally are returned end of season. They send a box of consumables that get machined into parts, such as wheel hubs or harvesters or arms. BEST is much heavier in mechanical design, but I understand they’ve added some low end sensors for better automation in recent years. Occasionally I come across a BEST homeschool team. The cost for this is so low, it’s nice for homeschoolers.

Vex Robotics is another competitive robotics program. I know less about this, only what I’ve seen.

There are also college teams in various areas. We had a guy in one of our FTC trainings that coached a sort of college level battlebots team. I’ve seen posters for something at my son’s community college. He just started dual credit, so I haven’t looked into it.

There are other challenges too. Solar Car challenge —this was on my radar, as it often launches from the Texas Motor Speedway. It’s very expensive, bc you’re building a solar powered vehicle that drives on a road. They get sponsors to help with costs and mentors.

Some makerspaces have classes and resources. The one in Dallas was discussing starting a battlebots team, I don’t know if it ever got off the ground. One of the members has competed previously. If you have access to one of these groups, even without a robotics team, he may find something that really grabs his interest. Ours hosts DPRG meetings monthly, where they discuss all things robot related, and they host competitions. For example, some meetings are specific to arduino/add ons.

I noticed UTD had drone courses last summer - this is an important and developing field. There might be courses (I think they were 1 credit survey courses for 6-8 weeks), where he could get his hands on things.

Nutshell-maybe see what’s available locally to get him more hands on experience and give him a chance to try things out.  

Doing some CLEP in the meantime, as others mentioned, is a great idea. I have syllabi for USH1-2, American Gov and American Lit that can be done together, since there’s lots of overlap, if you want it.   The first 3 seem to be required courses for every degree I’ve found so far. If the school accepts CLEP at all, they probably accept these and apply to degrees. They’re good ones to start with, and not too hard IMHO.


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Wow, what a lot of great ideas - thank you!  I will see if I can find anything like this.  I would love for him to do cooperative learning projects with other kids in this area.   The problem is, we live in a very rural area and most high schools are not welcoming of home school kids into their classes/sports etc.  So, I'm doubtful I will be able to find something close by.
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#18
<<Hi Jennifer!  
Thank you for your reply!  I'm definitely not trying to degree plan.  Just head in a direction. Since I'm planning the curriculum each year, I feel kinda crazy knowing I have a 16 year old/Junior and not having a direction to go in. My goal is definitely to bring college credit into homeschool.  Three of his classes this semester will end in a CLEP test.   I love that they are free through Modern States, although he does NOT like pressure of having to take a single big test.  That's one reason I was hoping to know what direction to go b/c I'd love to be able to take advantage of the ACE credits (Sophia etc.) b/c he'd like those so much better.   It's so hard with this kid - b/c he's just 'fine' at all subjects...doesn't particularly love or hate any of them...he can do them, but doesn't really love anything... 

Right now we use Teaching Textbooks for math...do you think that isn't strong enough?  I really need a curriculum that is video based and shows HOW to complete all questions (not just gives a right answer)...when we used Saxon in the early years, that was not the case and it was very frustrating.

We do have dual enrollment (New Jersey), but it isn't free unfortunately.  The community college near us is 1/2 price for classes (so like $300 per class). But they only offer a few lower level class options.  Actually, that's something I don't understand.  Can we take dual enrollment classes from ANY school in NJ (if they are online?).  

Thank you so much for your help!  I really really appreciate it!>>


I'm having a hard time getting the quote feature to work, humm. Ok, you're welcome, and TT is fine for math - it covers the same scope and sequence as Saxon, I was just using it as an example. My point was just to emphasize that your regular curriculum will provide a good plan that you can build on.

Based on his neutral approach, my advice is to just keep doing what you're doing. For his 3 Modern States courses, you may want to enrich them so you feel confident awarding high school credit and covering a bit "more" in terms of reading, writing, research - Modern States is passive (watching) with a bit of evaluation (quiz) but isn't otherwise doing much.

Since your tuition is still really high (even at half price) you can certainly look at other colleges. Yes, you can enroll anywhere that will let you! There are colleges that even their out of state tuition is under $100/credit, which is cheaper than what you're paying at $300/class... but CLEP is currently free, so if that works for you, you'll be fine and it won't cost you anything.

My #3 son was ready academically to try his hand at college level but did not do CLEP well at all. I can't remember exactly, but I think he tried 2 CLEPs (UNsuccessfully) before I realized we needed a different plan lol. He used Straighterline a lot, but there are many curriculum providers that meet various needs. For instance, Straighterline (as well as Studycom, Sophia, and others) all are good for awarding ACE credit. ACE credit isn't accepted everywhere (it is accepted at Thomas Edison which is in your state btw!) whereas if you're looking for very rigorous academics you could look at Veritas Press (but not cheaper than your CC) so there are options, but each option has a different list of pros and cons.

In my opinion, just plan your high school curriculum as if you didn't know anything about college credit, and then once it's spelled out, you can bring in college credit options that make sense.

Looking ahead, my advice is to carefully consider 1-2 classes in person at the community college. Since these are expensive for you, choose wisely. Choose the subjects that he may find super exciting as opposed to what "looks right" for his hs transcript. If he loves fitness, choose weight lifting and nutrition. If he loves gaming, choose something with computers (not Intro to Computers- that's a mind-numbing class that teaches how to use MS Suite) but actually something he'd like. Drawing, game simulation, music, science, etc. Being exposed to different teaches outside the home will be a big change, and in the case of my son, it helped him find his passion! And when your teen finds their passion, you won't have to work nearly as hard as you are right now. Wink You'll simply be his facilitator and advocate, which is one step closer to feeling them grow up and start taking ownership of their future, and it's so rewarding!!

You'll do great! Smile
Jennifer
10-year member

MS Applied Nutrition, 2014 Canisius College, NY
Premed/Prenursing Sciences, 2011 Ocean County College, NJ
BA Social Science, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, NJ
AA General Studies, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, NJ
AOS Culinary Arts,1990 Culinary Institute of America, NY

Homeschooling for College Credit
Cookderosa & Dfrecore's Degree Planning Masterclass
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  • alab21
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#19
(10-15-2019, 08:47 PM)cookderosa Wrote: <<Hi Jennifer!  
Thank you for your reply!  I'm definitely not trying to degree plan.  Just head in a direction. Since I'm planning the curriculum each year, I feel kinda crazy knowing I have a 16 year old/Junior and not having a direction to go in. My goal is definitely to bring college credit into homeschool.  Three of his classes this semester will end in a CLEP test.   I love that they are free through Modern States, although he does NOT like pressure of having to take a single big test.  That's one reason I was hoping to know what direction to go b/c I'd love to be able to take advantage of the ACE credits (Sophia etc.) b/c he'd like those so much better.   It's so hard with this kid - b/c he's just 'fine' at all subjects...doesn't particularly love or hate any of them...he can do them, but doesn't really love anything... 

Right now we use Teaching Textbooks for math...do you think that isn't strong enough?  I really need a curriculum that is video based and shows HOW to complete all questions (not just gives a right answer)...when we used Saxon in the early years, that was not the case and it was very frustrating.

We do have dual enrollment (New Jersey), but it isn't free unfortunately.  The community college near us is 1/2 price for classes (so like $300 per class). But they only offer a few lower level class options.  Actually, that's something I don't understand.  Can we take dual enrollment classes from ANY school in NJ (if they are online?).  

Thank you so much for your help!  I really really appreciate it!>>


I'm having a hard time getting the quote feature to work, humm.  Ok, you're welcome, and TT is fine for math - it covers the same scope and sequence as Saxon, I was just using it as an example.  My point was just to emphasize that your regular curriculum will provide a good plan that you can build on.  

Based on his neutral approach, my advice is to just keep doing what you're doing.  For his 3 Modern States courses, you may want to enrich them so you feel confident awarding high school credit and covering a bit "more" in terms of reading, writing, research - Modern States is passive (watching) with a bit of evaluation (quiz) but isn't otherwise doing much.

Since your tuition is still really high (even at half price) you can certainly look at other colleges.  Yes, you can enroll anywhere that will let you!  There are colleges that even their out of state tuition is under $100/credit, which is cheaper than what you're paying at $300/class... but CLEP is currently free, so if that works for you, you'll be fine and it won't cost you anything.

My #3 son was ready academically to try his hand at college level but did not do CLEP well at all.  I can't remember exactly, but I think he tried 2 CLEPs (UNsuccessfully) before I realized we needed a different plan lol.  He used Straighterline a lot, but there are many curriculum providers that meet various needs.  For instance, Straighterline (as well as Studycom, Sophia, and others) all are good for awarding ACE credit.  ACE credit isn't accepted everywhere (it is accepted at Thomas Edison which is in your state btw!) whereas if you're looking for very rigorous academics you could look at Veritas Press (but not cheaper than your CC) so there are options, but each option has a different list of pros and cons.  

In my opinion, just plan your high school curriculum as if you didn't know anything about college credit, and then once it's spelled out, you can bring in college credit options that make sense.    

Looking ahead, my advice is to carefully consider 1-2 classes in person at the community college.  Since these are expensive for you, choose wisely.  Choose the subjects that he may find super exciting as opposed to what "looks right" for his hs transcript.  If he loves fitness, choose weight lifting and nutrition.  If he loves gaming, choose something with computers (not Intro to Computers- that's a mind-numbing class that teaches how to use MS Suite) but actually something he'd like.  Drawing, game simulation, music, science, etc.  Being exposed to different teaches outside the home will be a big change, and in the case of my son, it helped him find his passion! And when your teen finds their passion, you won't have to work nearly as hard as you are right now.  Wink  You'll simply be his facilitator and advocate, which is one step closer to feeling them grow up and start taking ownership of their future, and it's so rewarding!!

You'll do great! Smile
Thank you!  Just to clarify - I am having him complete Modern States just to get the free test voucher.  But we are incorporating a LOT of other curriculum to make the content well-rounded and complete.  I have actually not been a big fan of Modern States' content AT ALL!  

Yes, I know TSEU takes so much ACE credit and it is in NJ!  That was the school I was hoping to have him go to.   Blush   I have been reading/researching so much and see so many options for college credit if you go to a school like that...

My big thing:  I don't want him to graduate with debt.  But, I know we can't financially help him get through college. So helping him get a big jump start in high school (a lot of college credit) was my way of helping.  But that option kinda flies out the window with a degree path like engineering.  

Thank you for the advice to choose a college class he'd really enjoy.  I probably wouldn't have necessarily done that.  You are right...when he finds his passion, I won't have to work as hard at this.  That is something I'm really looking forward to, lol!

Do you have ideas on how to find other dual enrollment options?   I'm at a loss unless I just look up 'NJ colleges' and start working my way through websites/phone calls?
Reply
#20
(10-15-2019, 10:43 PM)ACI Wrote:
(10-15-2019, 08:47 PM)cookderosa Wrote: <<Hi Jennifer!  
Thank you for your reply!  I'm definitely not trying to degree plan.  Just head in a direction. Since I'm planning the curriculum each year, I feel kinda crazy knowing I have a 16 year old/Junior and not having a direction to go in. My goal is definitely to bring college credit into homeschool.  Three of his classes this semester will end in a CLEP test.   I love that they are free through Modern States, although he does NOT like pressure of having to take a single big test.  That's one reason I was hoping to know what direction to go b/c I'd love to be able to take advantage of the ACE credits (Sophia etc.) b/c he'd like those so much better.   It's so hard with this kid - b/c he's just 'fine' at all subjects...doesn't particularly love or hate any of them...he can do them, but doesn't really love anything... 

Right now we use Teaching Textbooks for math...do you think that isn't strong enough?  I really need a curriculum that is video based and shows HOW to complete all questions (not just gives a right answer)...when we used Saxon in the early years, that was not the case and it was very frustrating.

We do have dual enrollment (New Jersey), but it isn't free unfortunately.  The community college near us is 1/2 price for classes (so like $300 per class). But they only offer a few lower level class options.  Actually, that's something I don't understand.  Can we take dual enrollment classes from ANY school in NJ (if they are online?).  

Thank you so much for your help!  I really really appreciate it!>>


I'm having a hard time getting the quote feature to work, humm.  Ok, you're welcome, and TT is fine for math - it covers the same scope and sequence as Saxon, I was just using it as an example.  My point was just to emphasize that your regular curriculum will provide a good plan that you can build on.  

Based on his neutral approach, my advice is to just keep doing what you're doing.  For his 3 Modern States courses, you may want to enrich them so you feel confident awarding high school credit and covering a bit "more" in terms of reading, writing, research - Modern States is passive (watching) with a bit of evaluation (quiz) but isn't otherwise doing much.

Since your tuition is still really high (even at half price) you can certainly look at other colleges.  Yes, you can enroll anywhere that will let you!  There are colleges that even their out of state tuition is under $100/credit, which is cheaper than what you're paying at $300/class... but CLEP is currently free, so if that works for you, you'll be fine and it won't cost you anything.

My #3 son was ready academically to try his hand at college level but did not do CLEP well at all.  I can't remember exactly, but I think he tried 2 CLEPs (UNsuccessfully) before I realized we needed a different plan lol.  He used Straighterline a lot, but there are many curriculum providers that meet various needs.  For instance, Straighterline (as well as Studycom, Sophia, and others) all are good for awarding ACE credit.  ACE credit isn't accepted everywhere (it is accepted at Thomas Edison which is in your state btw!) whereas if you're looking for very rigorous academics you could look at Veritas Press (but not cheaper than your CC) so there are options, but each option has a different list of pros and cons.  

In my opinion, just plan your high school curriculum as if you didn't know anything about college credit, and then once it's spelled out, you can bring in college credit options that make sense.    

Looking ahead, my advice is to carefully consider 1-2 classes in person at the community college.  Since these are expensive for you, choose wisely.  Choose the subjects that he may find super exciting as opposed to what "looks right" for his hs transcript.  If he loves fitness, choose weight lifting and nutrition.  If he loves gaming, choose something with computers (not Intro to Computers- that's a mind-numbing class that teaches how to use MS Suite) but actually something he'd like.  Drawing, game simulation, music, science, etc.  Being exposed to different teaches outside the home will be a big change, and in the case of my son, it helped him find his passion! And when your teen finds their passion, you won't have to work nearly as hard as you are right now.  Wink  You'll simply be his facilitator and advocate, which is one step closer to feeling them grow up and start taking ownership of their future, and it's so rewarding!!

You'll do great! Smile
Thank you!  Just to clarify - I am having him complete Modern States just to get the free test voucher.  But we are incorporating a LOT of other curriculum to make the content well-rounded and complete.  I have actually not been a big fan of Modern States' content AT ALL!  

Yes, I know TSEU takes so much ACE credit and it is in NJ!  That was the school I was hoping to have him go to.   Blush   I have been reading/researching so much and see so many options for college credit if you go to a school like that...

My big thing:  I don't want him to graduate with debt.  But, I know we can't financially help him get through college. So helping him get a big jump start in high school (a lot of college credit) was my way of helping.  But that option kinda flies out the window with a degree path like engineering.  

Thank you for the advice to choose a college class he'd really enjoy.  I probably wouldn't have necessarily done that.  You are right...when he finds his passion, I won't have to work as hard at this.  That is something I'm really looking forward to, lol!

Do you have ideas on how to find other dual enrollment options?   I'm at a loss unless I just look up 'NJ colleges' and start working my way through websites/phone calls?

MS + curriculum = good plan. Wink Yeah, it's all about the voucher lol.

He doesn't have to graduate with debt if he uses TESU, in fact, I think that's probably why most people choose it, for the price! The price of THEIR credit is high, so the way to keep your degree cost low is by using cheap/free credit and transferring it in. You have to do good planning to make sure this works out, because DIYing a degree takes some work - but homeschool parents are clever enough to do it, so there is no question in my mind that you CAN do it, it's just a matter of deciding if it's the right degree to pursue and how fast or slow he will go.
Using Modern States to augment his hs curriculum is a great plan, if he does well with CLEP, you can accumulate a TON of credit for $0. If you focus on brining down the number of credits he needs, and then more, and then more, and then more, you will eventually hit on a degree that only requires you to pay rack rate tuition for a few classes. And those, you and he can cash flow.

Engineering is inconsistent with a "test out" degree through the big 3. If he's exceptionally motivated, then there are other ways to get a college degree debt free, but since he's not yet there, just keep planning his high school credits and bring in college credit as you go. That way, if in the end he does head off to a traditional college on full scholarship, you've not lost time OR money.

Other colleges for dual enrollment in NJ - I do not have a list, however are you a member of Homeschooling for College Credit in New Jersey Facebook group? The parents there who are homeschooling in NJ AND earning college credit would know better than I about specific colleges and who has the best prices/programs. Let me link you to that group and hopefully, you can make some connections with other parents like you!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1048906355143719

Also, you can use dual enrollment as a distance learner. I keep a list of colleges that charge low out of state tuition AND allow high schooled homeschoolers to enroll (sometimes you can find low tuition but it's not open to high school students and or homeschooled students - other times you can find dual enrollment for high school homeschooled students but the tuition is ridiculous). Anyway, this short list is built based on what other parents are using and sending me and telling me is working for them.
https://homeschoolingforcollegecredit.co...t-schools/
Jennifer
10-year member

MS Applied Nutrition, 2014 Canisius College, NY
Premed/Prenursing Sciences, 2011 Ocean County College, NJ
BA Social Science, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, NJ
AA General Studies, 2008 Thomas Edison State University, NJ
AOS Culinary Arts,1990 Culinary Institute of America, NY

Homeschooling for College Credit
Cookderosa & Dfrecore's Degree Planning Masterclass
[-] The following 2 users Like cookderosa's post:
  • alab21, TwinMom
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