Friday, July 24, 2009

CLEP Tests

A lot of college students don't know about CLEP tests, or they are highly suspicious of them and fear that they will fail, or that they won't count, or many such things.
Well, here's my advice: Take all the CLEP tests you can take. If the school allows 30 hours...take 30 hours.

Yes, they cost money. But they only cost one fourth the money it would take you to actually take the class.

Yes, they take a few hours of study; But taking the class--the homework, the notes, the tests--that takes a lot longer.

No, you don't get a grade for them. It's just pass/fail. But if you pass by the skin of your teeth, who will know it? You don't have to take the class. You still get the credit. It's great.

There is a large book, put out by the CLEP test people, which has reviews for all the tests. My advice is that you take the sample test, grade it, and see how you do. If you pass easily, you will pass the real test. If you are close, I recommend subscribing to this website. InstantCert.
This site has an easy system of flashcard study that fully prepares you for tests in almost every one of the subjects.

It costs 20 dollars a month, so don't subscribe until you are ready to study, and be sure you unsubscribe after you pass all the tests you had time for. I've been subscribing every summer for the last five years so Elijah could study for the CLEP tests he needed to take that semester. Today...tada! Elijah passed his last one...a calculus test. He now has 173 hours on his transcript; 33 of those are CLEP. He never had to take a test twice. It ended up costing around 650 dollars for the tests. The equivalent in tuition for classes would have cost $4,110 plus all the textbooks. Besides, it may have taken another semester of school to meet all those requirements.

In a week, when summer session is over, Elijah will be able to pick up his diploma, apply for his teaching certificate, and begin his new job--teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders vocal music.
Ah. His parents sigh.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Road Trip

So we went to Texas to see my parents and a couple of my siblings as well. I took my daughter along and her two joyful offspring. We made quite a day of it.

On the way there, I took a picture of this little farm shed beside the road. I've long admired it, but had not taken the time to ask for its autograph. This time, I took the exit from the interstate that would allow me to park on the feeder road right beside it. You have to admit it is an intriguing way to paint a house.

That afternoon, we visited the park downtown. Mim and Zaya call it Castle Park...and they insist upon seeing it every time we travel in that direction. I'm sure you can tell why. All it needs are weapons, cloth flags flapping, and the smell of large sides of beef roasting in the open courtyard...well maybe a jester or two.

And of course we had to go see the garden. "Great Grandpa/Grandpa/Dad" showed us row upon row of melons, turnips, okra, corn, radishes, lettuce, and a very alien-looking plant called col-rabi. We tasted it later and decided that the texture was like a raw turnip, but the taste was milder...more like a jicama. With a little lime juice it was tasty. We drove around the pasture and looked at two new, black, baby calves.

Back at home that evening, Mim used a large sycamore leaf to make a "gravel taco" in our driveway. She offered it to me for supper, but I was still too stuffed from eating all the wonderful food at Mom's house.

It was a good day...a great day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer's Almost Over

So before that day arrives--the day when you have to get back into the routine and pick up the heavy textbooks...or lesson plan books (which can be heavy too)...I suggest you go to the lake. Pick a day when not too many people are around...and that's easy to do now that a lot of summer is over. Find a little lake. Sit and look at the water. Splash. Row a boat. Watch the ducks. Fish.

Or, you can do like I did and take a few pictures before sauntering back to the welcome air-conditioning of the cabin.