The big news in the Catholic homeschool world is that Homeschool Connections has partnered with Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH to offer a post-secondary option to junior and senior high school students.
I have used Homeschool Connections in the past and was even an affiliate for a few years (until they unceremoniously ended that program - which is still a sore spot with me). Some of my children really enjoyed being a part of the subscription program and listening to pre-recorded classes. I listened to a few of them and found them to be educational, engaging and worthwhile. I particularly enjoyed the apologetics course two of my sons did. We also enrolled in some of the literature courses.
Overall, I would say that for two of my kids, this was an excellent resource. For one of my children, it wasn't a good fit, but I don't think we should ever expect any homeschool curriculum or product to be a "one-size fits all." That's why we homeschool in the first place!
This new partnership offers eligible Homeschool Connections junior and senior high students a chance to take online college courses through Franciscan University at a 10% discount. Their web site breaks it down this way.
- See more at: https://www.franciscan.edu/homeschoolconnections/#sthash.xi8x1BCG.dpuf
So that's a little over one year's worth of tuition at a 10% discount. I wasn't able to find what qualifies as "eligible" on their web site, so I do not know how many Homeschool Connections courses you have to take to qualify for the Franciscan discount.
However, for families in the state of Ohio there are some other things to consider. In Ohio, (where Franciscan is located) post-secondary classes at local universities are FREE - even for homeschooled students.
I had been reluctant to participate in post-secondary programs before. I blogged about that here. These days there are so many high-schooled students on the college classes it's almost like going to a regular high school. Noah sees several younger friends at his campus, and even has one in his Latin 2 class. So I don't think the worry of having young kids with older college kids is as much of a concern as it was a few years ago.
So I wondered, what would be the benefit of an Ohio student participating in this program instead of just going through the College Credit Plus program and going for free? One of the immediate benefits would be that Franciscan is a Catholic University and their courses would reflect solidly Catholic values. Another might be that these credits could transfer to another school and perhaps be NCAA eligible for student athletes.
But I wanted to see what Franciscan saw as the benefit to paying 10% vs. Free tuition for Ohio students - so I asked.
Franciscan DOES participate in the post-secondary program. You can take classes there on the campus for $100/course.
High school students must be 16 years of age by the last day of add/drop for the semester they will enroll and must have completed their sophomore year of high school. Students must have a current high school grade point average of 2.4 or a C+ average to participate in this program. A maximum of twelve (12) courses at Franciscan University at $100 per course may be taken.
So if you live close to Franciscan, it would probably be cheaper to go that route.
If you live in other parts of Ohio, I would also check out some of the other Catholic Colleges. Walsh University in North Canton, OH participate in this post-secondary program.
So does Ursuline, University of Dayton, John Carroll and Lourdes.
There are also other less expensive options of earning college credit from home. My family has been successful with CLEP Testing. Each CLEP test runs roughly around $100 including the cost of the test and whatever the testing center charges.
AP is also a good option. Last year, Noah took an AP Course online for roughly the same cost as what Homeschool Connections/ Franciscan is offering. His course was through Dr. Stobaugh at For Such a Time As This. It was rigorous and I think it prepared him very well for college. Noah tells me that learning to write an effective opening paragraph and thesis statement last year for Dr. Stobaugh gave him an advantage over some of his classmates who are still struggling to master that skill - so for that alone, it was worth it.
The HSLDA offers a list of other AP classes that can also be accessed online. Student Athletes who wish to participate in college sports should pay particular attention to the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers AP courses as they have done the extra work of becoming NCAA approved!