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Whether your kids are homeschoolers or public schoolers, dual credit is an invaluable program that I think all families should look into. With dual enrollment, your child can take one class and earn both high school and college credit for it. These classes are often free, since many states have programs that will pay for a certain number of credits per school year. This year my son is allocated 12 credit hours. That means that 3 to 4 classes he takes during the school year will be completely paid for by the state of Ohio. Beyond that, we are responsible for paying for any additional classes he takes. As homeschoolers, we are also responsible for the cost of the books.
To find your state’s requirements just Google “dual enrollment [insert your state’s name]”.
Dual credit can be a huge time saver for teenagers who are self-motivated and eager to get a head start on college. My son is one week away from his first final exams and following that, he will have 6 college credits to his name!
How to survive college as a high schooler
(5 practical tips from my son)
1. Take online classes
So many classes are now available online. Especially the easier courses that are typical completed in the first two years of a student’s college education. As a 14-year-old, my son is thrilled that he won’t need to attend an actual class on campus for quite a while. Online classes allow students to teach themselves and complete their work at their own pace.
From an early age, we felt it was important for him to have his own laptop. School has always taken place in various rooms of the house, from doing science experiments in the kitchen (requires a laptop or tablet for instructions), online math on the couch, writing essays and research papers at his desk, and of course we cannot forget gaming in his spare time and Skyping with his friends!
Now that he is a teenager, this freedom is even more important than ever. His workload is much greater and he needs to be able to move around the house with his laptop, doing work when necessary, without the burden of being required to do anything between certain hours.
2. Test out organizational techniques
Test out organizational techniques until you find the one that works best for you. We have always used a very simple planner to keep track of what we are covering and what my son is learning on a day-to-day basis. Because he moves at a faster than average pace and we rarely had due dates, I’ve never needed to schedule anything for him. We were never really worried about this adjustment phase, but it did come with a lot of trial and error. We tested out several new organizational methods to help him keep up to date with (what seemed like a million) assignments and due dates. It turned out that the simpler, the better.
A color coded at-a-glance spreadsheet on Google Drive is what he ended up liking best.
For privacy reasons, this is an entirely made up version, but it will give you an idea of what I mean. Each class, requirement, or activity has a color. This gives him a very easy at-a-glance idea of what is coming up and how much time there is to prepare.
The actual details of each assignment are in another tab on the same spreadsheet.
3. Use Google Chrome and Google Drive
In addition to his laptop, my son has a PC, a phone, and a Kindle. I have a laptop, a Kindle, and a phone. That is a lot of devices to keep up with. This is why a Google account is crucial. Google Chrome can sync your account across all of your devices. All of your documents on Google Drive can be accessed on any of your devices as long as you are logged into your Google account.
This is so important because although my son is taking college classes and I am not his teacher, he is still a teenager and I am still his mom. Being his facilitator and support system does not stop just because the classes are college level and I am no longer in charge of the content. I still need to teach him good habits and to do this, I need access to his documents, his email, and his schedule so that I may help him learn the right way to stay organized and on track.
Synchronization is very beneficial. Take this hypothetical example…my son has a paper he has to write and he is in the brainstorming stage. He types out a rough outline in Google Docs on his laptop in the living room and puts it aside. It is automatically saved. Later that night, while playing a game on his PC upstairs, another point pops into his head. He pauses his game, loads the same Google document and adds his thought. The next day, on the way to taekwondo, another thought comes to him and he adds it to his outline via his phone. He asks me to look over his outline, which I do, on my Kindle sitting in the car.
See how convenient that is?
4. Use Quizlet
Quizlet is an online study portal. Think of any college and any class and there is probably a study set already available for it. The study sets can be comprised of flash cards, fill-in-the-blank questions, multiple choice questions, and animated games.
My son’s new HP laptop has a touch screen, and it makes playing the study games so much easier than using a mouse.
5. Work hard, but take breaks
When I asked my son for some of this best tips, this was actually number one: work hard, but don’t overload yourself. College is naturally harder and the professors have higher expectations than high school teachers. Encourage your teenager and remind him or her to not be too self-critical. It is OKAY to need downtime. Breaks in between homework and studying is necessary to prevent burnout. This balance may be something that your son or daughter needs your help with. But do it politely. I am sure you know what it feels like to be overwhelmed and just wish you could have some much needed downtime, so treat them as you would like to be treated. Although they may not say it, they will appreciate your kindness.
My son’s new HP laptop is one of the newer brands that can be found at Walmart in the electronics section. It is an incredibly affordable model that packs a punch and is the perfect fit for a teenager.
Empowered to do more: Tackle all your daily tasks with an affordable laptop that comes packed with the features you need.
Product overview for our HP Touch
- Dependable performance: With the latest Intel processor and plenty of hard drive space, you can multitask and store more.
- Vibrant display: The crisp HD screen lets you enjoy your photos, videos, and web pages in detail.
- Measurable quality: Enjoy outstanding performance backed by over 200 tests.
Do you have experience with dual enrollment? I’d love to hear your survival tips! How has your equipment empowered you to do more?
If you love YOUR HP computer like we do, be sure to visit Walmart to share your thoughts! Your online reviews will encourage other parents to shop smart this back to school season.
*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.