Are you and your teen considering dual credit studies for the upcoming school year? Maybe credits earned on a junior college campus…maybe you’re thinking credits earned by taking online college classes…or perhaps credits earned by studying at home and then taking a college level exam? Whichever your path, dual credit is a great option for students who want to get a head start on their college education while still in high school.
It’s an especially rewarding choice for us homeschool parents because we have the flexibility to design a highly customized educational program that meets the unique interests and educational needs of our teens.
Let me share 3 specific things I’ve worked on to help prepare my teens for dual credit studies.
I have fostered independent learning by giving open-ended assignments and allowing my teens to research, study, and absorb material in the way that works best for them. Instead of grading daily assignments, we discuss what they’re working on or what they’ve learned. Also, instead of creating a strict schedule, I allow my teens to work at a pace that is comfortable for them. All I want to see is progress and them taking personal responsibility!
Taking college-level courses and exams requires my teens to challenge themselves in many ways. Learning to manage their time efficiently can be especially difficult if they aren’t used to deadlines or following through with assignments. It can also be tough for students who have their days planned for them to the minute. So we’re doing our kids a favor when we give them freedom to manage their own time.
As you are venturing into dual credit studies, you must help your teen learn and practice critical time management skills. Encourage them to plan out their week so they can complete their assignments without being stressed. Give them assignments for the whole week on Monday, so they have to think things through and make a plan. Then you watch from nearby and help them navigate the week’s assignments. Learning to recognize their good and bad habits and then flex their plan or reschedule school work is a really important part of growing up!
All dual credit programs work a little bit differently, but most have one thing in common — credits are awarded after a student can demonstrate their knowledge of the material by passing one or more exams.
Many homeschoolers have limited experience with exams, and even students who know the material inside-out will benefit from knowing how to take notes, study, and prepare for a test.
When reading the material, students should write down the most important points, along with questions, names and dates, and discussion points. Discussing the material with others will help them to understand concepts more clearly. Read this post on developing test-taking skills for more ideas.
With some thought-out preparation, your teen will be ready to dive into dual credit studies regardless of which dual credit path you choose. (Here are 10 benefits your teen will experience by earning dual credit). Take some time this summer to help them develop the ability to work independently, and improve both their time management and test-taking skills. These are the skills they’ll need most as they begin to add college-level courses and exams to their high school transcript.
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