Homeschooling High School and Pursuing College Credit through Personalized Learning

Homeschool High School and College Credit with Personalized Learning

Can you pursue college credit while homeschooling high school without compromising your unique educational vision? Yes! Personalized learning makes it possible.

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Personalized Learning

Does the thought of homeschooling high school make you nervous? Maybe you’ve always taken an outside-the-box approach to education, and worry you’ll have to give that up now that your child is in high school. Maybe you’ve heard about creative ways to pursue college credit at home, but you haven’t wanted to give up valuable flexibility and control over the homeschool curriculum.

I’m here to tell you that it is possible to continue your own unique style of education at home while also finding simple, creative ways to prepare for college-credit opportunities like the CLEP exams.

Our family pursues a Christian classical education filled with wonder and delight. We go textbook-free whenever possible, and even my high schoolers learn many (if not most) subjects through extensive books lists, reading journals, discussions, and hands-on activities. Yet my oldest son has already passed 3 CLEP exams, and plans to take an additional 1 or 2 in each subsequent high school year. No traditional textbook required!

Here are 3 simple ways to help your high schooler embrace the flexibility of homeschool while simultaneously preparing for potential college credits:

  1. Choose Rigorous Reading Plans over High School-Specific Textbooks
  2. Cultivate a Positive Test-Taking Experience
  3. Choose Simple Study Tools for Easy Test Prep

Skip the graded high school textbooks

Choose quality, well-crafted prose from interesting authors instead of textbooks-written-by-committee. Look for ways to engage the mind of your high schooler with big ideas, deep questions, and hands-on experiences. A student who learns to contemplate deeply, read widely, and question humbly will be much better prepared for college-level work than one who learns just enough to fill in a typical high school level worksheet.

Personalized Learning

Although many of us will feel more comfortable using a traditional textbook for subjects like science and math, don’t ignore the value of assigning adjacent, challenging reading in those areas of study as well. The Disappearing Spoon, for example, makes a fascinating addition to high school Chemistry studies. The supplemental documentaries from Is Genesis History provide fascinating material for Geology, Life Science, and more.

{Check out our free high school curriculum plan for US Government and Economics and this World War 2 reading list for examples of how our family takes this unique approach to personalized learning in our homeschool high school education!}

Test-taking is a unique skill

Even if your child isn’t quite ready for a college-credit level exam, you can set them up now for future success by encouraging a positive test-taking experience. Don’t teach to the test, but do teach how to test! It’s never too soon to acquire skills like educated guessing, creating a strategy to beat the timer, and learning how to choose the best answer between two correct possibilities.

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Homeschoolers, rightly, tend to reject the modern obsession with standardized testing. It is probably foolish, however, to ignore the reality that knowing how to test well is a skill that many of our children will have to face in their collegiate or even professional life. It doesn’t take that much time to learn test-taking skills, and it will help future test days be as stress-free as possible!

{Fun snacks on test days don’t hurt, either. Apple puzzles are a multi-generational family tradition around here.} for homeschool high school test prep

How do you know if your student is almost ready to take what they’ve learned and apply it to a CLEP exam? Don’t go in blind; start with a practice test! Taking a practice placement test will not only help you see if they’re ready (or almost ready) to take the exam. It will also show you the specific areas your high schooler needs to beef up on prior to test day so that neither of you waste time on unnecessary busywork.

Save time and energy by focusing on areas of weakness., for example, has easy to navigate CLEP study guides. Once you create an account, you’ll have access to over 500 practice tests, 100+ hours of video instruction, thousands of practice questions, and more! (You can check out some sample videos on their YouTube channel here.) for homeschool

You don’t have to give up your educational ideals and spend your school year teaching-to-the-test. With the personalized learning plans available at, your student can efficiently (and independently!) prepare for college credit exams without changing your overall educational approach for the rest of the year.

This could also be a fantastic option for motivated, accelerated students who wish to graduate high school early or cut costs in their future college education.

Additional Test Prep Tools for Personalized Learning

Other useful tools our family has enjoyed for CLEP Test Prep include the REA Study Guides, Crash Course YouTube videos, and Modern Scholar Lecture Series. Many of these can be easily found at your local library or online!

Because you or your student will have to sift through these resources on your own, of course, it is a more labor-intensive and less-intuitive process than the personalized study plans at

Does your child plan to take any tests to earn college credit? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Homeschooling High School and Pursuing College Credit through Personalized Learning”

  1. I imagine that my kids might do some AP exams. Are you at all worried that they will go to a school that does not accept CLEP? My undergrad (a state school) did not accept them. Even not all APs are accepted for credit. Some are just used for placement.

    I’m interested in the free courses available here as well as on Khan academy that hep prepare for AP or CLEP.

    1. Great question! I definitely think each family should plan ahead depending on their own future college plans. Before we took any CLEP exams, I examined the CLEP exams accepted by our local state universities, our local community college system, and a private Christian college that is a potential option for my kids. It’s really easy to get the list of exams that are accepted by these schools on their websites. I went through and found the accepted exams that corresponded to what we were already studying or planned to study in our homeschool. So, no, based on my research and the exams we have chosen to take, I am not worried about it at all. Also, worst case? They don’t get the college credit or the credit doesn’t end up being applicable to their course of study. But my goal is to give them options. And CLEP exams are inexpensive, fairly easy to pass, and are much more widely accessible than AP exams. They don’t require that much extra prep or time on our part, and since my goal is to prioritize our own home education learning goals? The CLEP exams have been a good fit for us. I personally took 6 CLEP exams as part of my own degree program. (I had no desire to take full semesters of Sociology or Psychology. )

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