Tuesday, August 23, 2016

CLEP Co-op


This fall, I started a little CLEP Co-op.
In the past few years, I have seen my children work so hard. In fact, they worked harder than I ever did in college. They worked about as hard as I did when I was studying for the CPA exam. I started to question why we work so hard through high school. What is the purpose? What are we trying to accomplish? 

The last year my children went through the program, I really lost them to studying hours. They wanted to study through the weekend. They did everything they could to get caught up. My husband had been questioning me, “What are we doing this for?” We found that almost everyone was working towards college prep. They were prepping for college entrance exams and prepping so they would be strong in their foundation when they went to college.
A few years ago, I heard a preacher, Voddie Baucham, really challenge the idea of waiting to start college until college age. He proposed a radical idea to have children potentially graduate from high school and college at the same time. There is a mother in our hometown, Linda Newsam, who inspired me because she taught her kids college level classes and let them CLEP out of them. She was able to get them 18-20 hours before they graduated high school.
From the moment I started homeschooling, my eyes had been set on this. When Voddie Baucham spoke, it really shook me up, and I decided I was going to reach for this goal, as hard and as stretching as it may be because it’s unfamiliar territory.
Pioneers are people who do unfamiliar things and knock down doors trying to figure it out. Lots of people try to come in on the toes of pioneers, giving them ideas and telling them how to change things and make it different. But they aren’t the ones who plowed out the ground. They just got to go on the road that was paved ahead of them. It looks easy to them. It seems simple, so it’s easy to criticize. It’s easy to look in and say how you would change things. But you are not the pioneer. Sometimes you just need to be thankful for the ground ahead of you. I’m thankful to Linda. I’m thankful to Voddie.
My goodness! We are five to six weeks into our program, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with where we are, even if we were only doing it with my two children. We have a very small little co-op. I kept it small on purpose, with grace-filled mothers leading these children. I wanted to have a place to fail and an easy place to land. I didn’t want everyone’s slams, criticisms, and opinions floating through, in and out, and not giving us the grace to breathe, to move and change and make our way.
I can’t even tell you. No one’s passed an exam yet. We don’t have any successes. But I can tell you what we do have. We have children who are learning and loving. We have children who are being stretched beyond their imagination. They are learning to work hard but with a different purpose. They are doing things that would seem virtually impossible.
Right now, kids are analyzing and interpreting literature. What I have seen it do is create our children’s ability to think critically. Every leader on the planet needs to be able to think critically. They need to be able to look at something and get inside someone’s head and make proper assumptions. “What do you think they meant by this when they said it?”

I think we generally make assumptions about what people say or what we read based on email, text, or on Facebook. We make assumptions based on feelings and not based on, “Let’s get in their head. Let’s know the author of this well. Let’s really concentrate on where you think they were coming from on this.” That is what our children are learning. That is going to make them tremendous leaders in the future. I am pumped and excited.
We want you to know we are opening the doors to allow a few more students in. We are going to be cautious about who we invite and allow in because you’re going to have to have the grace to allow everyone to fail.
One thing I want to note is that whether our children pass or fail the CLEP exams, I don’t care because quitting would be the real failure. Failing isn’t missing the mark on the exam. Failing is never trying. Failing is not pushing your limits and finding your boundaries and finding where you can grow up. I just want to let you know we are pushing our kids to learn to fail and not to be afraid of failure. Our number one problem in America is that people are afraid of failing so they never try. They don’t realize that not trying is the failure.
May our kids press on and press through and fail often in Jesus’ name.

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