Homeschooling: Earning a College Degree Non-Traditionally


With costs of a college education going through the roof and parents wondering how on earth they can provide this for their children, it may seem like an impossible task, but, there is hope. First off, I’ve heard from parents that did not want to have more children simply because they feared how they could put them through college. I find that odd, from my own perspective. If a child wants college, he/she can find a way to make it happen. When I had my children somehow I missed the memo that said it was MY responsibility to put them through college. Every child has to make their own choices in life. Some of my children have not gone to college (gasp!), and some have. And for the ones that have, they have done it on their own.

It is possible for a child to earn a degree, work a full time job and pay for their degree on their own. I know because I have children that have done this. You just have to think outside the box. College just does not always happen inside an institution and dorm room. Those are certainly options, but not the only options.

Here is how two of my children have earned their degrees and another child who is more than half way through earning his degree:

They found a college that would accept credits from many varied sources. Not just classroom time. Both of my girls have graduated from Thomas Edison State College. It is an accredited college that thinks outside the box. They accept CLEPS, Dantes, real life experience, credits from other colleges, etc.. 


First my kids found the degree they wanted, then looked at Thomas Edison’s requirements and began to fulfill them by taking CLEPS (College Level Examination Program). They were able to earn the first 2 years of their degree requirements through CLEPS. They would study on their own for a test, go to a local community college, pay the fee, and take the test. The CLEP board kept track of their tests and scores. After that they took Dantes. These are mostly 3rd year courses. They had to go to the local state university to take these tests. The scores were kept by the Dantes board. They also took online classes from colleges such as Louisiana State University. Finally they were down to the select classes needed specifically for their degree. At this point they enrolled in Thomas Edison State College. Then requested all their transcripts from the CLEP and Dantes boards and the extra colleges they had taken classes be sent to Thomas Edison. Then they met with an advisor (over the phone) who told them what classes they would need to be able to finish their degrees. They took the classes, and earned their degrees.

Their experience is that their degrees have been accepted everywhere they’ve applied for jobs without issue (one daughter is currently a senior account at an accounting firm in the city and the other spent one year in S. Korea teaching English and has since worked as and ESL teacher since coming home). Thomas Edison was originally started for military personnel because it can difficult for people in the military to commit to full time college. Since the advent of the internet, the college is used by many, many varied people. Especially homeschoolers.

Not only is this a faster way to earn a degree (one daughter earned hers in 2 ½ years and the other in 2 ¾ years all while working full time), but it is much less expensive. We calculated that both girls’ degrees cost them less than one year (with dorm “experience”) would have cost at a traditional college. Do either of my girls feel like they missed the college “experience”.. nope.. they were thrilled to earn their degrees and get busy with real life. And most importantly.. to not leave school carrying a HUGE load of debt. Neither daughter owes anything. 


My son is currently working his way through the same path, and working full time, paying for everything himself. He looks forward to earning his degree; paying for it himself (anything worth having is worth working hard for and that in and of itself is a truly valuable lesson for children to learn. If they are given everything on a platter, will they really appreciate what has been handed to them? ).

Simply making the choice to homeschool your children is thinking outside the box. Are there really a whole lot of reasons to jump back inside the box when it comes to a college education? Granted there are a few degrees that cannot be earned this way.. but there are many, many that can.



  1. Well written! So many more options today for obtaining a college education. I truly believe the less debt one has, the more freedom and options in life they will have post graduation :)

  2. Thanks so very much for this helpful and informative post Crystal! My son had been trying to decide what to do for college after being discouraged with our local community college's lack of class availability :( We have contacted CP and he is heading in that direction :) Teresa

    1. College Plus was amazing for Emily! It paved the way for how to earn a degree non traditionally.. I wish your son the best!!


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