For Karen Metcalf, choosing to homeschool her five children is about family connections.
“I really want to know my kids well, and for them to know each other well,” Metcalf said in an interview. “They do, and I do.”
Metcalf, coordinator of the homeschool program for Maryville Christian School in Maryville, Tennessee, turned to Modern States’ free online courses to teach her youngest children, Hannah and Daniel, and as it turned out, to bond with them over her own educational background.
The first Modern States course Metcalf used to teach Hannah, now 20, was Introductory Psychology, taught by Dr. David Sitt, Ph.D., of Baruch College in New York. The free course covers the fundamentals taught during a semester of a college-level psychology class, preparing students to pass one of the College Board’s CLEP exams.
“I was a psychology major in school, so it was really neat to go back and review things I had learned so many years ago,” Metcalf said. “We absolutely loved the lectures and I enjoyed going through it with my daughter, so I did it again with my son the next year.”
Founded in 2017, Modern States is a charity that offers a free library of state-of-the-art college-level education classes for absolutely anyone to use. Our team at Modern States also pays the CLEP exam fees of students who take our classes, and those who earn passing CLEP scores earn free credit at more than 2,000 colleges and universities. No strings attached.
Hannah, now at the University of Tennessee, took two of our online courses, while Daniel, a 16-year-old high-school junior, has thus far taken four. The value of these credits vary due to state incentives, college costs, and other factors. In the Metcalfs’ case, Hannah saved more than $1,500 and Daniel has already saved between $2,500-$3,000.
“The credits I got through CLEP, AP and dual enrollment helped me be able to fit into my college schedule a lot of Spanish classes, such that at this point I’m fluent,” said Hannah, who initially planned on majoring in nursing with a Spanish minor, before changing her focus to linguistics.
“Having those credits under her belt gave her the flexibility to switch majors and still be on track to graduate on time,” said her mom.
As for Daniel, the credits he earned after taking our courses and passing CLEP exams are setting him up to take on college in exactly the manner he wants.
“It’s very exciting, because when I get to college, I can focus on classes that I really want to learn about,” Daniel said. “And also, it would be nice if I could do it more quickly and be able to graduate in three years. That would be cool.”
To the uninitiated, homeschoolers may appear free of the struggle that’s plagued in-school learners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such assumptions would be wrong, said Karen, pointing out that, under better circumstances, field trips and in-person co-op classes often play a vital role in homeschooling.
“It has put a damper on a lot of what homeschoolers typically do to provide an education for their kids,” Karen said. “So having online alternatives are very helpful.”
We’re absolutely delighted Dr. Sitt’s psychology class was one of those helpful alternatives, enabling Karen to bond with her kids, and to educate them. Of course, when it came to chemistry, Hannah was on her own.
“My mom didn’t watch that one with me because she’s not a chemistry person,” Hannah said with a laugh.
We’ll take what we can get.