Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Six Reasons Why We Chose Dual Enrollment for our Homeschooled High School Students

In August, we started on a new adventure in homeschooling ~ a dual enrollment class at our community college. Our then-16yo began a class called Introduction to Microcomputers, a 100-level class that teaches how to use the Microsoft Office applications Word, Power Point, Excel, and Access. Dual enrollment is the term used to describe college level classes that count for both high school and college credits. This means that these classes go on her high school transcript but also apply toward the required credits for an associate's degree.

This semester, the 15yo and the 13yo have joined her. These two are taking the Introduction to Microcomputers class together, and the three are taking French 101.

Even though my husband is a full-time faculty member at the college, it was still a decision that took some thought and prayer. In the end, here are six reasons why we chose to enroll our children.

They can have half of an associate's degree done by the time they complete high school, if not more. I'm not intending to start a debate of college vs. no college. My only point is that if a degree can be achieved without any more effort than high school already is, why not get a head start?

We can avoid the expense of homeschool curriculum for twelfth grade. Since we don't do the DVD program, our curriculum is not expensive. But if college credits can be acquired, then why spend money and time and effort on the homeschool curriculum? We have not decided completely that we will do this, but it’s nice to know that we have that option.

It's inexpensive {at least compared to four-year universities}. My husband is a professor at the community college, so our children don't have to pay tuition. It's true that this is a rather personal advantage.  {They do still have to buy books and pay minor fees.} However, community colleges are generally affordable, and a two-year degree at our local college costs around $7,000. 

It gives me a bit of a break. Okay, I'm being completely honest here. Organizing a homeschool for six children can be challenging at best, overwhelming at worst. I'm not complaining. It's been a tremendous experience for all of us, and I have no intention of quitting. But it has been helpful to hand over even just a teeny bit of the educational experience to someone else I know and trust.

The college transcripts lend credibility to our high school credits if the child should choose to continue education elsewhere. To my way of thinking, our homeschool high school transcript should be sufficient for any college to which our children may want to apply. Unfortunately, not every college sees it that way. With dual enrollment, more than a year of credits will come from an accredited community college. That doesn’t even include the completion of the associate’s degree.

The introduction to college classes and what some call The Real World can be accomplished while still under our sheltering wings. I'm not an advocate of a child going to live on a campus, except, perhaps, maybe, for a few particular Bible colleges. But with dual enrollment, my child is experiencing a new environment with her father and me right by her side.

We're several months into this dual enrollment experience, and our three teenagers are enjoying both the challenge and the independence. It's been a true blessing to be by the side of each child as he or she has spread wings and explored more of the world.

What are your thoughts on dual enrollment for homeschooled high schoolers?

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  1. Great information Meghan.
    I'm homeschool my two teenagers and have been considering enrolling them into dual credit. This helps.

    1. I'm glad it was helpful, Connie. It was one of those decisions that we weren't sure about, but now? Now, I wish we had started sooner. :-)

  2. Thank you for sharing this information, Meghan. I had no idea that this was even an option. I would love to explore this more...so, where is a good place to start? My 14 year old daughter loves the idea...and really it appears to be a win/win situation. Would love your input on how to begin the process. Thank you! Jessica

    1. I would start with your local colleges or universities. Do you have a community college nearby? Take a look at their website or make a phone call to ask about dual enrollment and they should be able to lead you from there. My husband recommends starting with a community college. Dual enrollment can be online classes as well. I hope that helps, but feel free to ask more questions.


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