Question. I recently discovered that homeschoolers can test through college while completing high school requirements through AP, CLEP and Dantes exams. When is a good time to get my homeschooler started in doing this college level work?
Answer. As you mentioned, AP exams, CLEP exams, and Dantes exams are a great way to accelerate both high school and college education. AP exams are available to all high school students, though the parent will need to go through the school to gain access to them. CLEP exams are available at numerous testing centers and they are available to anyone who feels they have prepared for the test. It is not unusual for 12 year old homeschooler to begin taking CLEP and DANTES exams.
It is important to remember that in order to pass any of these exams, the homeschooled child will need to master college level subjects. Their ability to do this will depend on maturity, academic abilities, and subject matter. Some homeschooled children will excel in math, and have no problem passing and AP math or College Math exam. Others may be a whiz at science subjects, or language arts. For this reason, it is important to allow the child to direct their study of these advanced subjects to eliminate stress and to encourage the student to tackle more of these tests.
There are a couple of different approaches to tackling the testing through college while homeschooling process. Some homeschoolers study for and take college level tests after studying a subject at the high school level. For instance, After taking Algebra 1 and 2 at the highschool level, they would tackle the study guide for the college Algebra CLEP then take the exam. This is an efficient way to approaching testing through college classes as the material is most fresh in the students mind, they only have to study a bit more to get a college level understanding.
Other homeschooled students will take CLEP, Dantes, and AP exams near the end of their high school studies as they would if they were in public school. For example, in math, they would study. Algebra in grade 8, Geometry in Grade 9, Algebra 2 in Grade 10, Calculus in Grade 11, followed by studying for a series of AP and CLEP exams in grade 12. This gives children a chance to slowly graduate their understanding of subjects in a traditional order. If a child is unsucessful at taking AP, CLEP or Dantes tests in younger grades, they may want to revisit testing through classes in their 11th and 12th grade years.