High School Homeschool

Earn College Credit While Homeschooling High School

One of the many benefits of homeschooling high school is that you can choose to have your child earn college credit while homeschooling high school! This can also be called dual credit.

Earn College Credit While Homeschooling High School from Hip Homeschool Moms

There are multiple ways to earn college credit while homeschooling high school. Each option offers its own set of guidelines, limitations, and benefits. It is best to work with your child to decide if any of these choices is the right one for him or her. Remember there is no reason your child must earn dual credit, but there can be multiple advantages to doing so.

Reasons to Earn Dual Credit in High School

  1. Save Money – If your child  can take a class for high school that will afford him/her both high school credit and college credit, this will save money during the college years. For instance, my daughter took Psychology in high school at home through JumpCourse and then spent a couple of weeks studying specifically for the CLEP Psychology Exam. By earning a passing score on the CLEP Exam, she now has her Introduction to Psychology out of the way for college.
  2. Save Time – By earning dual credit while in high school, your child is not doubling up on courses.  For instance, my daughter took U.S. History as a full credit high school course. By repeating the same study process as she did for the CLEP Psychology Exam, she earned her college credit for U.S. History I, thus saving her from having to take it in her first two years of college.

Earn College Credit While Homeschooling High School

1. CLEP Exams

CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program. These exams are usually taken by people who acquired knowledge outside the classroom and wish to bypass certain college courses and earn college credit. There are 33 CLEP exams offered by the College Board including things like Psychology, American Government, English Literature, College Composition, Biology, Chemistry, Calculus, and Spanish. By passing a CLEP exam with a satisfactory grade, a person can earn 3 to 12 college credits. Typically a score of 50 on a CLEP exam is considered to be the recommended credit granting score. Each exam costs $80 and must be purchased through the College Board website.

More Important Things to Note About CLEP Exams:

  • If you know what college (or maybe a few possible options) that your child wants to attend, check with that college on their credit granting policies via CLEP exam.
  • To schedule a CLEP exam, you must first register and pay through College Board; then you sign up for a test date at your local testing center. (You can find out on the College Board website where the nearest center is that offers the exam.)
  • If your child is planning to do a course at a high school level, I highly recommended taking a few weeks upon completion of the course to do specific CLEP preparation with the many CLEP prep resources that are available.
  • If your child fails, don’t panic! You can retake a CLEP exam after a 3 month waiting period. (And yes, I know this from experience because my daughter failed one and later retook it.)

To learn more about CLEP Exams be sure to check out this CLEP Exam series that contains the what, why, how, and resources for the taking a CLEP exam.

2. AP Exams

AP stands for Advanced Placement. The College Board (yes the same place that governs the CLEP exams) offers more than 30 AP courses such as Art History, European History, United States History, Statistics, Physics, Environmental Science, and Latin. With so many options, it easily allows your child to pursue college level studies while still in high school.

More than 90 percent of four-year colleges in the United States offer credits based on AP exam scores. Typically a qualifying score for an AP Exam is a 4 out of 5. Sign ups for AP exams are usually done through your local school district.  You need to contact them no later than March 1st of the year your child wants to take an AP Exam to set it up.

Important Facts to Note About AP Exams:

  • One of the things that makes AP unique is that you can take an AP test without taking an AP class.
  • As with CLEP, be sure to check with your child’s colleges of choice as to their credit granting policies for AP exams.
  • Taking AP courses during the high school years allows your child to get some of the introductory level college courses done before even stepping foot on a college campus. This saves time and money!
  • While you can freely schedule to take a CLEP exam throughout the year, AP exams are given at schools across the country at one set time each year, and only once each year. This means everyone across the country would be taking the AP English Language exam at the same time.

3. Community College

There are two ways to earn college credit while homeschooling high school using a community college. You can either have your student attend classes at your local community college, or he/she can choose from the many online college courses available.

How does this work? You can enroll your child in one or two classes while she is still in high school. For instance, my daughter Chloe took Chemistry at our local community college so I would not have to provide Chemistry lab at home. In this way, she earned her high school credit for Chemistry while earning college credit for Chemistry.

Earning college credit while homeschooling high school may not be the best path for all high school students, but it is a viable option that can save your college bound teens both time and money when it comes to earning college credit!

Do you have any tips for earning college credit while homeschooling? Please share them here! Or share your student’s experiences earning college credit while homeschooling. Did it work well? Do you have ideas for others who are considering doing this? We want to hear from you! 

About the author


Heidi lives in upstate New York where the winters are long & cold, but where she truly appreciates the lack of extreme weather such as tsunamis and hurricanes! Her house is filled up with her loving husband of 17 years, 3 busy children, & 2 dogs (Muffin & Oscar). Homeschooling started out as a trial run with a child beginning 2nd grade, & almost 9 years later has become a lifestyle which brings great joy. You can often find her behind her camera, or working something out in Photoshop. With 3 children homeschooling multiple ages is the norm in their house. You can find her writing at on her own blog, Starts At Eight where she often focuses on homeschooling high school, elementary unit studies, and books/reading.

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