Sarah, my youngest is in her last year of high school. She has homeschooled from birth. This year she is enrolled in two university courses, while she completes her grade 12 program. She is not graduating with a dogwood diploma. Does this mean she didn't graduate? Not at all.
In BC homeschooling through high school is a legal option and she will graduate as a homeschool student.
Sarah found pre calculus math very hard. After struggling through it since September, we decided to drop it this week. Her university program doesn't require it. She does have grade 11 math. Dropping the class doesn't mean she failed it -- since we are homeschooling. In the school system this would mean a fail. I am proud of her that she attempted a course for 6 months that she found challenging. Math has never been her favorite course.
On the other hand, she completed her grade 12 Biology course in January. She likes biology. It fits with her love of plants and nature. Growing up on a farm made Biology and human anatomy much more sensible to her than logirythms and quadratic equations.
Yesterday we found out that Moody Bible Institute, Sarah's university, offers highschool juniors (grade 11) and seniors (grade 12) the option of taking distance ed university courses for credit while still in high school. Sarah is enrolled in two of their courses but we didn't realize that it was an option in grade 11. It means that a motivated student could begin their university studies at 15 and have their first sememster of university completed before they graduated from grade 12.
Another interesting thing about Moody is that they accept CLEP test scores for credit. What this means is that for some general studies courses like English Lit, Math, Biology, Intro to Psych and Developmental Psych, a student can study on their own, take the exam and receive credit for the body of knowledge, if they achieve a 50% on the exam. This allows up to 21 credit hours of college credit to be achieved without the expense of tuition, if a student is motivated to self study -- something homeschoolers are used to.
Students that begin their university studies in their junior year of highschool and take the CLEP exams as well could graduate with a full year's university credit -- 30 credit hours -- at the end of their high school. And once you have good grades on your university courses, they no longer look at your highschool studies. You can always pick up your lacks as a mature student -- even in sciences -- for any program of study that you desire.
We have only looked into Moody, because Moody offers a degree in leadership by distance ed, which is what Sarah was interested in. But other American universities may be similiar.
CLEP exams are not an option in Canada. They have to be taken at an American University. Successful CLEP students report studying about a month before each exam. Cost per exam is around $100 plus textbooks, so far less than the cost of the tuition for the same course. Only American universities accept CLEP credits in leiu of course work.
For the curious -- tuition costs on the distance ed courses are $250 per credit hour, through Moody. A semester of study is about 15 credit hours.