High School Planning Guide

| July 25, 2017

Whether you are a homeschool parent planning your students course of study, or a parent with students in public or private school, you might not recognize the repetition that often happens within education. Some subjects, like US History, are favorites of curriculum writers and the result is that students study the same subject multiple times across middle school, high school, and again when students take the required general education courses in college. Here is an example of a typical student schedule for Social Studies:

  • Grade 6: Social Studies ~ People, Places and Civics
  • Grade 7: Social Studies ~ Ancient Civilizations
  • Grade 8: American History
  • Grade 9: World Geography
  • Grade 10: US History
  • Grade 11: World History
  • Grade 12: American Government and Economics
  • College: US History

Study it once, Study it well and move on!Certainly, students will study the material from different perspectives or more in depth with each passing, but is repeating the same subject the best use of our students’ time? If given a choice, students would rather tackle a new subject or learning opportunity, than repeat something they have already studied. If only we had the insight or vision to plan the next four, six, or even eight years ahead. Students would sing our praises if we would simply end the repeat.

Study it once, Study it well, and move on!

Here is what a “no repeats” schedule might look like:

Grade 7: Ancient History (no CLEP, so study this when they are in the younger grades)

Grade 8: World History and Geography plus World Religions* (Include the World Religions DSST. If they love history, add the Western Civ CLEPs)

Grade 9: US History I* and II plus American Government (Include US History I CLEP, if desired, add CLEPs and DSSTs for US II, Gov’t, Civil War, Vietnam War)

Grade 10: Psychology* and Sociology* (Include CLEP for Psychology, Sociology is optional)

Grade 11 / 12: Dual enrollment, or Macro* and Micro* Economics / Marketing* / Management*/ Introduction to Business*

Finding out about CLEP when my kids were middle school-age changed the way we approached education. First, it provided an incentive to study a subject once, study it well, and move on! No longer were subjects repeated. Instead, they were offered up in a sequence that allowed my students to maximize their learning ability and capitalize on the time they put in. Second, they were rewarded for their efforts, not just with an immaterial grades, but with credits that would allow them to accelerate their college degree, saving them both time and money.

For example, as you plan courses for your students, consider teaching US History and American Government in the same year. Why separate them? Consider this year your “United States” year. Focus your students’ literature reading, field trips, volunteer activities, family movie nights, current event reading, speeches, research assignments all around the topic of US History. Teach it once, teach it well, and move on! At the end of the first major time period (Civil War and Reconstruction), have your students take the corresponding CLEP exam. Include US History in your students’ schedule sometime between grades 8 – 10, when they have acquired the skills and ability to take a CLEP exam. By waiting until your students can CLEP the subject, your student is studying the topic once, not three times. This opens up enormous blocks of time for them to add other subjects of interest into their day including entrepreneurship, career exploration, music or theater, gardening and nutrition, etc. Or, allows them to complete their high school requirements early and accelerating college through dual enrollment in grades 11/12.

Save time and money!

My 10th grade son was a history buff and eventually chose that as his college major. He was eager to max out his test options during the year we studied US History. During that one year, he took CLEP and DSST exams in American Government, US History I, US History II, Civil War and Reconstruction, and The Vietnam War. Fifteen college credits during that one year of social studies, and a lot of celebratory lunches!

When my daughter entered 10th grade, she had already taken US History I in 9th grade and that was enough history for her! Her interests were in a different area of social studies. After studying Psychology and Economics, and CLEPing both of those, she included a series of exams that shared similar course content including Sociology, Educational Psychology, Marketing, Management, and Introduction to Business. She earned over one year of college credit this year by focusing her studies on courses that built on her study of Psychology.

Give your students vision and purpose for their studies!

Create a multi-year plan that presents opportunities to integrate credit-by-exam into each year. Since 75% of middle-school students plan on going to college, it is beneficial to help them understand what college courses are required and how they can avoid repeating subjects by making choices now.  My book, Credits Before College, is written to help families maximize their credit-by-exam options, and help students graduate debt-free. It is the resource I wish I had!


Credits Before College Resources


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Copyright 2017 Cheri Frame – All Rights Reserved







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