Homeschooling High School? Start Here!

Hi, I'm Lee Binz, The HomeScholar. This blog answers commonly asked questions about homeschooling high school.

Search a topic. Browse the Quick Links and Archives. Add a comment. Visit my website to learn about my Products and Services. Dig Deeper into some tough high school issues. Finally, shoot me an e-mail if there is a specific topic you would like to learn more about. Make sure you bookmark or subscribe to this blog because I update the content (almost) daily. Enjoy your visit!

We Have a Winner!

Thank you to everyone who encouraged their friends to sign up for my free newsletter! A big thanks to Chrissie Hasenohrl, Sharon Hicks, Sonja Knight, Kristine McGowan, Chris Ryan, and Karla Sigrist. The winner of our July contest is Renee Gardiner in Germany! Renee was named by the most new subscribers, and she wins a free one hour telephone consultation.

Congratulations Renee Gardiner!

Are CLEP Exams Graded?


I read with interest your article on CLEP exams and have a question. How does taking the exams affect your GPA in college? I understand that in some instances you can get college credit for passing the exams, but are you assigned a grade that factors into your GPA?
Thank you, Maureen

Hi Maureen,

I'm glad you found the article useful to you! Every college has its own unique policy about CLEP exams, and some colleges give a grade that affects GPA and other's give credit but not grade, and others don't give credit but do give placement into upper level classes. 3 of the schools we applied for provided CLEP credits, but none of them gave a grade, so our GPA was not affected. I haven't read about many college giving an actual GRADE for a CLEP exams.

In contrast, AP exams usually do have a grade that is applied. Generally for an AP exam, a score of 5 (perfect) is an A, 4 is B, 3 is C, and less is not given college credit. I do know one homeschool student who took an AP exam and scored a respectable 4. She was disappointed, though, because that was the only "B" for her entire college career.You might want to check the colleges your student might apply for, and see what they have for their own unique policy.

I wish I could give you a more direct answer to your question, but each college makes up their own rules. I can suggest a website that provides some free lessons plans for CLEP study available online: I hope that helps!


If you are interested in asking Lee a question, just send an email to with the subject line "Ask the HomeScholar." You may see your question and the answer in a future edition of The HomeScholar Record.

Homeschooler in the News!

Homeschooler wins the

National Geographic Bee!

Read about this homeschooler who won the National Geographic Geography Bee! This young woman demonstrates a passion and specialization that colleges love. Don't discourage your children from pursuing their interests! Encourage them! Colleges would rather have students display unusual interests than see a "cookie cutter" student.

Geo Bee Winner Caitlin Snaring

We had the pleasure of meeting Caitlin recently at a homeschool event. She is a charming, brilliant, witty and vivacious young lady.

Important Dates!

Seniors - Apply for College and Register for Tests
It takes a long time to complete a college application. Start now, and send it in as soon as they start accepting applications. Financial decisions may be made "first come first served" and applying early may help you get the best financial aid package. Register for ACT test by August 10th if you want to take the test on September 15th. Register for the SAT online before September 10th if you want your student to take the SAT or SAT II subject tests on October 6. This time of year, it's usually the seniors who take the SAT, while younger students concentrate on the PSAT instead.

Juniors - Register now for the PSAT exam
The PSAT will be given on Wednesday October 17 or Saturday October 20th this year. You have to register at a local high school, public or private. Contact them as soon as possible to register - at least by the first week of school. Warning: Students must take the PSAT/NMSQT in eleventh grade to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship! There is only one opportunity to take this test each year, so register now for the October test!

Sophomores - Consider taking the PSAT
You may want to take the PSAT for practice, along with high school juniors. It won't count for the National Merit Scholarship Competition yet, but it is good practice for next year, and at $13, it's a cheap way to get a standardized test if required by your state. About half of the students who take the PSAT are actually sophomores.

Freshmen - Choose challenging courses!

Choose challenging courses
this fall, so that you have maximum flexibility when it's time to choose a college. Don't skimp on the math and writing!

Kristine comments about The HomeScholar in her blog!

"I've posted before about my amazing online homeschool support group.
Lee has been one of my loopy friends for many years. She no longer homeschools her boys but she stays on our list to inspire and encourage us. Even though her kids are much older than mine, she's been a great source of support for me in topics like chess, Latin, math, literature, science and more.

Both of her boys went off to college this year. One of them was just 16. They both received full tuition scholarships to their first choice college, and both skipped their freshmen year entirely through CLEPing several classes.

Impressive? Yes.
Unusual? Maybe.
Smart boys? Yep.
Impossible? No, in fact entirely possible.

When Lee's boys started college, instead of returning to her professional nursing career, she decided to continue doing what she knew, what she loved best--homeschooling. She started her own business to help other homeschool families successfully make the transition from home to college. She offers a wide variety of support services, including planning curriculum, creating transcripts, scholarship searches, and help with the college admissions process.

Check out her terrific website, The HomeScholar, and sign up for her free monthly newsletter. She's full of great advice and her recent topics include:

  • tips for studying and passing CLEP exams
  • brilliant ideas such as planning a writing curriculum around scholarship essays
  • how to keep skills sharp over the summer (like my post yesterday, although her newsletter didn't come out until today)

Holly's only going into 7th grade. But it's not too early for me to keep an eye on high school and how those choices will affect college. This would be true whether or not we homeschool high school.

I am so grateful for those truly courageous families who forged the homeschool path ahead of us, making possible the many wonderful options we have now, which continue to grow each year. (Homeschooling wasn't legal in every state until the mid-1990s.) Lee is one of those people who not only blessed her own sons by teaching them at home, but she's also blessed so many of us, making a difference in the lives of our children. It's amazing what you can do just by encouraging someone else."

Thank you, Kristine, for your wonderful comments!

Why is Math Important?

Marcia asks:

"Can someone tell me if most colleges require students to take a math class higher than Algebra 2 for admission? Is math the only indication of how a student will do in college? Isn't writing important at all?"

I considered this question, and decided to ask an authority. I interviewed a college professor, to get his opinion. This is his response:

"Math requirements vary by school. You don't necessarily have to have extra math to get into a college, but you do need it to be well educated. Upper level math can train your mind. Math is a good discipline, and teaches problem solving in a variety of subjects, beyond math.

"Societal expectations have a lot to do with math achievement. I met a Japanese student going into business, and he actually apologized for ONLY having two years of calculus. In the US, our math expectations are so much lower than the rest of the world. We project those low expectations onto kids even from the grade school level; telling them that math is so hard and it's no fun. That promotes a negative view of math. It is a cultural issue that trains children to think 'I can't do this.' The only real solution is a cultural shift in the perception of math.

"Math is fundamental to science and engineering. Right now many of our country's science and engineering professionals are nearing retirement, yet there are few up-and-coming students able to take those jobs. There are too few people with the math skills necessary to take those jobs. Foreign technical workers are taking those technical jobs, because there are simply too few US students who can do the work. For example, right now there is a deficit of aerospace engineers, and they can't find people to fill those jobs for defense contracts.

"Math is fundamental for all students going into engineering sciences. I have had many students over the years who want to go into engineering but stumble on the math. They may have made good engineers, but they couldn't take the math. Because this is such a large national problem, the government is working on solutions. Grant money from US government and corporations is promoting science and math curriculum and providing hands-on curriculum for math and science. There needs to be a revolution on how science is taught in grade school and middle school. Portray math as fun and exciting! It can be done!"

Don Peter, M.S., P.E.
Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering
Seattle Pacific University

Don and JoAnn Peter homeschooled their two daughters for many years. Don used Saxon math and multi-sensory games for a supplement. His family used unit studies for science. He made it clear that his children were required to complete science and math study, and even required his girls to complete calculus for high school graduation.

The College Board has more encouraging articles about the importance of math, if you would like to read more.

Family Math

To encourage a love of math in the younger grades, as Don Peter recommends, I used the book Family Math. It is filled with fun math games and activities for grades K-8. We played math games frequently during the week, and my children loved it!