Dual Credit Options for My Kids

Friday

Dual credit is when you are in high school and take a college level course to earn both high school credit toward graduation and to earn credit toward a college degree.

I was surprised to find that here in Texas inside the high schools, students can take dual credit classes quite easily.

An option for homeschool co-ops is to offer classes at the co-op location that are accredited as dual credit courses through specific colleges. The co-op that my sons attended this year is offering dual credit courses through Houston Baptist University for the first time.

A friend in Connecticut said that this is going to be implemented in her public school system starting in the fall. The only time I ever heard of this being done in Connecticut was in private schools when the student was ready for college level math and it was not being offered by the school itself. This is what my husband did at his parochial school back in the 1980s.

Anyhow in Texas homeschoolers can take dual credit classes on the college campuses. I was told that Texas state schools must accept all the credits so long as they fit for the final major. A homeschool mother told me last night that her son was admitted to an engineering school at a state university in Texas and they are not accepting all the electives such as all the art courses that he took to satisfy his curiosity and for his interest-led (unschooling) homeschooling method, and she and he are fine with that.

My older son is going through the community college admissions process right now. The goal is to take one easy class next semester to get his feet wet. This may be an intro English course or something like that.

There are some dual credit classes offered as online only and others that are a hybrid of online and in classroom. I prefer in classroom for my older son. He needs a human teacher and someone to interact with and to ask questions of. He is not one who can rely mostly on reading to learn, so the online work would not be a good fit for him. He is a strong auditory learner and learns well by listening to lectures.

I have been thinking a lot about the difference between taking a dual credit class through a homeschool co-op or at the college campus. I had decided that I'd rather have my kids take classes on campus as there is a larger selection of classes and professors. The college is new, clean, and safe. I would rather have them in a more adult environment where the standards are set high instead of in a small bubble type protected environment in the little island homeschool co-op run by moms. I want my kids to be a part of the bigger world out there, part of a more real world setting instead of being like the boy in the bubble in the tiny class in the comfortable homeschool co-op classroom.

We are Christian and I want my kids to be able to function in the world, while not partaking in all that is worldly such as drinking and smoking pot, which is what surely some of the community college kids do. So many parents are afraid that their high school homeschooler will suddenly fall in with the wrong crowd if they take college physics or pre-calc on campus. Given the effort we have put in to parenting our kids well and raising them as authentic kids I do not think that sudden exposure to some kids taking advanced math or science is going to turn them into potheads or something else that the other Christian moms fear may happen if their kids share the same space with potential "corrupters". I tend to think that most of the people in the world are good people, including those taking classes at the local community college campus.

About the cost of dual credit classes in Texas, in my county (Montgomery County): one of the taxes I pay that is attached to home ownership is to fund the college. We pay $750 a year toward that school. If I enroll my kids in grade 10 or earlier I pay $200 a class. If my kids attend in grade 11 or 12 I pay nothing for tuition as they are "dual credit" and the state pays the college that portion. All we have to pay in addition are lab fees, class fees, and textbook fees.

Another plus for us is that homeschoolers in my county in Texas is homeschoolers are allowed to register on the same date as every other type of student. There is no favoritism or exclusionary policies, such as existed in Connecticut. There, enrollment opens one week before classes start which means many of the desirable courses are full, and it also does not allow for reasonable planning of the student's academic studies.

I am thrilled with the excellent policies in Texas.

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