My son (18yo) started his first semester at Clovis Community College this month. The school is located in Clovis, New Mexico. If you've read the About Me page or kept up with this blog, you know we live in Florida. He didn't go across country to attend school. He's still right here with us at home. He's taking a full lineup of online courses.

I got a chance to play around a little in the school's online system yesterday, to see what it was like. It's very well set-up and easy to navigate. When my son logs in, he can see a list of all upcoming assignments for all his classes for the week, and what date and time they are due. It's even color-coded, so that he can tell in a glance which classes have assignments.

Clovis charges $89 per-credit-hour for out-of-state students, plus $50 per course for online courses. This means a 3-credit course costs $317. This is obviously more than a CLEP test and more than a StraighterLine course; however, if your child would qualify for a Pell Grant, you may be able to offset some or all of your costs. My son's Pell Grant paid for everything, even his books. Clovis has regional accreditation, so the credits earned will transfer to one of the Big 3; has open enrollment, so you aren't jumping through the SAT/ACT/college-application-essay hoops; and does not charge a fee to apply. (You do need to be a high school graduate. No, this does not mean you suddenly have to have an "accredited" high school diploma from a public or private school. A homeschooled high school graduate may apply.)

So far, he's been enjoying his courses, though I think it took him a few days to adjust to the idea of set due-dates versus building his own schedule. That's not a bad thing - most of us encounter deadlines not of our own choosing at some point in our lives.

I will post another "review" of the school at the end of the term.

I was recently on a website where someone posted in a comments' section that you can only retake a CLEP test one time and if you fail it again, that's it. You can never take it again.

This is NOT true.

Here's the 411 about retakes:

Different colleges/universities have different policies. For instance the University of Oklahoma states you can only take a CLEP once. However, the College Board does not limit the number of times you can take any of their CLEP exams. There is a 6-month waiting period between retakes, but nothing prevents you from taking it multiple times.

When you take a CLEP, you can enter a school code, if you know where you want the scores to go. This makes sense if you are already enrolled at a certain school. You do not have to enter a code, though. The College Board will hold your scores for up to 20 years, and you can request a transcript to be sent at any time. Additionally, if you are enrolled in a college or university, you can decide right at the time of the test (once you see your score) not to send a failing score on to your school.

Your CLEP transcript only contains passing scores and does not state how many times you took a certain exam. 

What it amounts to is an ethical decision on your part. If you take a number of CLEPs before choosing/enrolling in a certain school, and you fail and retake a test several times before passing, then learn your school has a no-retake policy, it would be up to you whether or not to send the passing scores of those tests you retook. The school will not know how many times you took the test.

To be clear: Yes, I have confirmed all this information directly with the College Board. I can't seem to find the comment I saw last week, and unfortunately I didn't bookmark the page. If you come across it (or any blog post/forum post) that states the same misinformation, please feel free to send people to this blog post for clarification.
I've had a chance to more thoroughly investigate the free courses offered by Carnegie Mellon, and I'm pretty impressed. (You can find them here.) While several universities now offer free openware courses, mostly those seem to consist of video-taped lectures, some class notes, and readings from a textbook you must buy. Carnegie Mellon has created fully online, interactive courses in several subject areas. Check 'em out!
We've been so busy the last few months. I have a confession. Sitting on my counter is a large pumpkin we bought in mid-October with some vague plans to carve this cute scarecrow design we saw on the Better Homes & Gardens website. We never did. We were going to take it to a Fall Festival on October 27th, but the weather was so bad, we skipped it.

Now I'm wondering if I should just try to cook it. I've heard cooking pumpkins this large isn't a good idea, but then I've had other people tell me they do it all the time. I guess I don't have much to lose, and if it works.... mmmm... pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies and pumpkin soup.
I had a conversation with someone some time ago discussing whether or not "people cook any more." Her theory was generally not. I countered that I know plenty of people who do, but she then dismissed that (rightfully?) as some sort of quaint and quirky aspect of homeschooling.

When I wanted to teach my children the basics of cooking, I went about it the way I do everything else. I sought out free resources online and through the library and began twice-weekly cooking lessons. Now they can handle dinner when I'm pressed for time.

My feeling on the matter is that *everyone* should learn how to cook. We don't all have to be four-star chefs, but we should all know how to put together several different, decent meals. If nothing else, it's a money-saver. Dining out or relying strictly on convenience foods will drain your budget big-time. Beyond that, it can be a matter of health as well. Cooking a wholesome meal is much better for you and your family than a stop-off at the drive-thru.

Too bad there's no CLEP for Cooking & Nutrition! Maybe that would spur more young people on to learning. :)
Help me spread the word about The University of You, and you could win a $25 gift card to Amazon for yourself, or you could even have us send it to a friend just in time for the holidays.

I will host a random drawing on November 5th, and announce the winner on The U of YOU's Facebook page by 5:00pm Eastern Time. The winner is responsible for replying to the announcement, letting me know if he/she will be claiming the gift card for him/herself or would like it to be sent to a friend or family member. If the winner does not respond by November 20th, the prize will be considered forfeited and I will conduct a new drawing and announce a new winner.

To enter, do any or all of the following by November 4th, 5:00pm Eastern Time:

1. Like The University of You on Facebook. Everyone who has liked The U of YOU by the deadline will get 1 entry into the drawing. This includes anyone who has already liked us.

2. Send us a friend. Have a friend comment on The U of YOU Facebook page with, "My friend [your full name] sent me here!" and you both get 1 entry each. (Maximum of 4 entries total per person in this category.)

3. Promote The U of YOU. Give us a shout-out on your blog, website, or online journal that includes a link to and you can get 5 additional entries into the drawing. Simply visit the contest announcement post here and leave a comment with a link to your site or page where you've mentioned us.

You could earn as many as 10 entries into the contest. Good luck!

I will be using a random number generating software program to select the winner. You will be entered into a spreadsheet that will assign a number to your name. If you have more than one entry, you will be entered into the spreadsheet for as many entries as you have earned, assigning you a new number for each entry (increasing your chance of winning). I will then use the program to generate a winner. (Read more about it here.)
All the links have been checked. Whew.
I've officially launched my new site, The University of You. Or U of YOU, because sometimes I can be too cutesy for my own good. ;) The U of YOU site is focused specifically on earning a 4-year degree from Thomas Edison State College for now. I will be adding information about Charter Oak State College and Excelsior College as soon as I can.
THIS SITE includes many Christian and Bible study courses that can be completed for free. They also offer "certificate" courses that do have a fee. One of the courses is a basic introduction to the major world religions and could be used as a primer to begin studying for the DSST Introduction to World Religions exam.
It's a sad fact that in today's job market, it's quite common that the first person to see your resume or job application isn't a person at all, but rather a computer program designed to scan for key words like "bachelor's." If you don't have the proper words, you never even make it through the first round. That's a pretty scary thought. It makes me wonder how many companies have missed the chance to hire really good, strong, dedicated workers because the software doesn't know a great employee from a poor one.

I read an article once that talked about how most jobs are actually filled through "informal" means, rather than the formal process of answering an advertisement, going through an interview (or even more than one) and then receiving an offer. Most jobs, apparently, are acquired through word-of-mouth need or cold-call approaches. In the first case, it really is a matter of who you know over what you know. Someone at Company X knows a position is about to be open and lets you know while simultaneously recommending you to the company for the job. In the second case, it's about recognizing a need in a business or company, often before the company itself sees that need. For instance, you have website programming and graphic design skills, so you approach someone with a badly designed website and offer to create them a new one, in exchange for goods, services, or monetary remuneration.

What this all says to me is we need to be mindful of making sure our kids learn the value of several things. The first is networking, and I do NOT mean getting the most friends on Facebook to help you with Farmville! This is building relationships with professionals who can provide mentoring and recommendations. 

The second is developing the confidence and skills to approach people while actively seeking a job. Even if the initial job application process is computer or digital based, it doesn't hurt to get dressed nicely and go visit a manager or hiring agent in person, to put a "face" to the name. While the conversation may only last a few minutes - introducing yourself to the manager and explaining your keen interest in being employed with his company -  it is something that likely will stay with him as he evaluates all the prospects. (This is especially true if you follow this up with a thank you letter for his time.)

Third, is considering job opportunities where they aren't always readily apparent, as with the example of the website redesign above. This could even grow into a new business, if done right. While being self-employed has inherent risks, it also has many great benefits. 

In all, we want to be sure that we aren't only helping our children with the nuts-and-bolts part of their educations. Who fought the War of 1812? What's the chemical formula for methane? We also want to be sure they have the skills necessary to support themselves in the adult world.