Category Archives: Parenting Articles

Understanding the Differences Between CLEP Tests and AP Exams

A high school senior getting ready to pursue some form of university studies will often encounter a variety of tests required for college entrance. Often, students may be confused by exams required for college entrance, such as the ACT or SAT and exams that can grant college credits, such as CLEP (College Level Examination Program) tests and AP (Advanced Placement) exams. Both CLEP and AP exams can be beneficial for students entering higher education, but they serve different purposes and are approached in different ways. Learning these differences will help students maximize the academic benefits from each type of exam.

CLEP is designed to give students a chance to gain college credit without taking college courses. These exams cover material taught in introductory or general education college courses and require students to demonstrate knowledge of a subject equivalent to that of a student who has taken the course. CLEP exams can be taken at any time before or during a student’s college career, providing the opportunity to pick up credits before actually enrolling in college, during the freshman or sophomore year of college, or even right before college graduation. Preparing for a CLEP may involve a simple review of previous knowledge for students who are already familiar with the material or few days or weeks of studying for students who have no background knowledge of a subject. Students register to take their test at an official testing center and often can test when their schedule best allows. Students can earn between 3 and 12 college credits by simply passing a CLEP exam.

Unlike CLEP tests, AP exams are designed for students who are already taking advanced placement courses in high school. After a year-long high school AP course, a student can take an AP exam that will offer college credit based on the score that a student receives. A student’s score is based on a one to five scale; many colleges and universities will grant credits to students who obtain a score of three or higher on the AP exam. These tests are only taken by high school students who complete an AP class and sit for the exam on a designated date. Each college of university will determine the number of credits it will grant to a student based on the specific AP exam they take and the score they obtain.

CLEP tests and AP tests both serve the same purpose by giving students the opportunity to earn college credit without taking college courses. Since CLEP exams are available year round at any level of study, students have a wider window of opportunity to earn credits using these exams. That said, there is a greater variety of AP tests available for students to take, and they are offered for more specialized courses. On occasion, a passing grade on an AP exam can result in credit for more than one college course, essentially killing two birds with one stone.

Preparation for a CLEP is usually far less rigorous than that which is involved for AP testing as the student can study in a matter of a couple of days and then take the exam. Both tests cost about the same amount of money, but for some states, students only have to pay for the first AP exam they take every year. This allows students to pursue multiple tests without having to shell out a lot of money along the way like they may have to when taking multiple CLEP tests. As a whole though, the $70+ it takes for each exam is well worth the tuition savings that will occur, so paying for individual tests in either situation is not something to fret about.

Overall, a student can vastly benefit from both AP and CLEP tests. Both offer college credit without taking college courses, and both act as a way to enhance university studies. Students don’t have to choose one or the other as they can use their time in high school to take AP tests and then move on to CLEP exams during college. The opportunities are endless with CLEP and AP tests, and a student could literally enter college as a sophomore or better with the right amount of testing under his or her belt.

The clep exams can be really helpful for many students. For more information, you can visit the clep tests website.

Article Source:  Rober Ron

Home Dads, New Breed of a Changing World

Home dads are not as uncommon as they were in your parents generation. I have been a stay at home dad for the past eight years, and I have witnessed the trend grow rapidly in our changing economy. When we had our first child, daycare would have absorbed most of my income. It only made sense that since my wife made double what I did, that I would stay home with our son. As time went on I soon realized this dad had a lot to learn. I was quick to learn I needed a better way to make my days go smoother. By planning each day ahead of time, and scheduling enough time for myself, I was able to enjoy my new life a lot better.

I was also faced with incredible criticism from friends and family for not working and for letting my wife be the “breadwinner”. I couldn’t let other peoples views, guide how I lived my life, and neither should you. I even got some flack from a few stay at home moms, who thought a man wasn’t right for the job. I must admit at first I wasn’t sure I was right for the job, but with time, and as I got into the role, I figured out that home dads can be just as good as home moms, “if not better.”

My first two kids are boys, which made bonding and teaching them very easy. My third child changed the game when she came into my world. She forced me to be more understanding and patient, being that she responded to the world different then the boys and I. Dirt, mud, and bugs were not quite that fun. It’s all about baby dolls, dress up, and jewelry for her.

Every day is filled with a new challenge, and a reward for being brave enough to go against the norm. I have come to know a few home dads over the years, and there is one thing we all seem to agree on. The hardest part, was our state of mind about what we have become. Once we were OK with being a stay-at-home dad inside ourselves, the rest was a piece of cake.

I have since apologized to my mother for all I put her through as a kid. She used to warn me, “one day your kids will be just like you, and pay backs a bi*** .” She’s quick to remind me of what I did, when I fill her in on our latest mishap at home.

Being at home with the kids is simple, but it sure isn’t easy. So if you are, or if you’re thinking of being a stay at home dad, just do your best. Don’t judge yourself, and never let anyone else judge you either. Make the most of the time you have with your kids, and enjoy everyday. Don’t get hung up on set backs or mistakes, because tomorrow is a new day. Before you know it, they’ll be off to school and you’ll be missing the time you had with them. So make the most of it!

I am a stay at home dad, with many years of experience. I crafted my daily life as a home dad, to become easier, and more efficient, simply by learning from my mistakes. I feel I could pass this knowledge on to those becoming a home dad. It has been the best choice I have made in life. You can read more about it here:

Teaching Your Children to Start Saving Their Money

Most children these days do not understand the concept of saving or earning money. This has never been a major priority in their lives, or a necessary way of living for them. But as parents, it is absolutely crucial that you teach your children the importance of saving their earned money.

Before beginning to teach your children how to save money, you want to make sure they are old enough to understand the concept of saving money for items that they want or need. Your child should also be able to understand how they can save their money to invest in things, and learn money management.

Below are some tips to help you teach your children how to save their money:

* Once your child is old enough to count money and understand how much they are counting, this is a perfect time to start teaching them the real meaning of money. This is also a wonderful time to start a piggy bank and to start allowing your child to earn money for chores they do around the house.
* A great way to start their interest in saving money is to establish a chart on their wall with a goal for a certain toy that they want to purchase. Each time they put away money into their piggy bank for that item they mark off on the chart how much they just saved or invested for that toy that they really want. By using the chart and implementing them to save their money you are starting to show them how to save their money, and how rewarding it is purchase the item they want with money they earned by doing chores.
* Divide their allowances. This is a great trick that we use in my family, when handing out allowances to my children we made sure they put some money away for their savings piggy bank, some money away in their toy piggy bank and some money they could keep to use on items when we went shopping as a family. By not giving your child their entire allowance in one lump sum you are teaching your child to manage their money and to save and invest. Friends of mine have even gone further by dividing their children’s allowances the following way. One third towards their church for the offering, one third in savings and one third in their pocket. This is another great way to teach your child to give back by donating to your church’s offering plate weekly.
* Even small children are able to earn money for chores that do around the house, your child can start as early as two years old. Make their chores brushing their teeth, cleaning their room up weekly, and helping to clean up their toys throughout the week. Start your children early by teaching them that everyone in the family has to help straighten up the house, and this will avoid your children being lazy and not cleaning up after themselves in the future.
* Other chore ideas are to help care and feed their pets, help with yard work such as picking up trash out of the yard, help with leaves, watering plants or your garden, doing dishes, putting dishes away, and so on.
* You can also teach them to save their money by opening their first savings account once their piggy banks are full. Most banks offer child savings accounts and some banks have incentives for the children to open their own accounts. Our bank US Bank offers incentives for the more money they put away they are rewarded with small toys and gifts for every $25 they save, this is a wonderful encouragement for my daughter to put her money in the bank for a rainy day or for a special item she really wants. This also has helped her to understand banking procedures.

Teaching your children to save money is not going to work over night; this as with most teachings in life will take time for them to truly understand. This can be a very fun and rewarding experience for them to truly learn the value of money and working to earn their own money. Just remember to be patient and consistent in teaching them the importance of saving their hard earned money.

About the Author:

Angie is the owner and host of Frugal WAHMs Talk Radio a show dedicated to Moms and Work at Home Moms

Tips on Raising Frugal Kids

One of the hardest challenges that we face in our life is raising children. Not only to feed and clothe them, but raising them to be good adults in the future by cultivating well-rounded values, and nurturing their abilities and talents.

Aside from ensuring your child’s safety, health and correct development, there are so many things to prioritize and inculcate as they grow up, and the challenges include outside factors that sometimes are too overwhelming. When you’re trying to raise a child to live a simple life and instill the value of saving, it’s not very helpful that today’s world is so focused on materialism, owning things, and pouring negative values to children’s impressionable minds.

Children can be very easily swayed, given that everywhere there’s a huge billboards, ads, posters, for toys, clothing, food, and other products. Media has barraged our children’s senses with advertising and promotions, designed to heighten materialism without our children understanding that that in itself is a bad thing. Here are several helpful tips to remember as you guide your child to the right path of money-smarts:

The most important is that you serve as a role model for your child. There’s nothing that will get a clearer message across than your own example. For example, talking to them about your savings goal, a clear explanation of the family finances, and the things you do to put more money into savings. Let them know their responsibility, without having to resort to nagging or scolding and instead use a firm but gentle tone when lecturing about money and spending.

Teach your children the practical aspects of money, where it comes from and why it is essential. Children need to realize than money doesn’t grow on trees or fall from the sky and the like, but that money is earned by working hard for it. This will help them realize that money is no little thing, but is an important tool to use for necessities like food, clothes and shelter, and as well as to get things that make life easier.

Pass down the significant values, especially to “be satisfied with what you have”. With this in mind, children will lessen their need to want more items that they see. Remind them that “the best things in life are free” and that having fun doesn’t mean to shopping or spending a cent. Teach your children to look beyond the superficial. Tell them that advertising is pretty to look at, but it is truly deceiving. Also, teach them the value that “its the thought that counts” when receiving gifts, to make them realize it’s not about the object inside the box but the thoughtfulness of the person giving it to you.

Help your child get started with saving, too! If your child is old enough to have his or her weekly allowance, start introducing savings option that lets them grow their money in a piggy bank, handing them over to you, or start up a junior savings account for them. Let them know how they can start saving no matter what the amount may be and how to grow their it! Money can be spent easily on unnecessary things, but saving them to get the things that is essential, or at least important for them (like finally getting a favorite toy or game), is more fulfilling.

Above all, provide your children your support, consistent attention, and love. Children learn more in an environment that is geared toward learning and good discipline. A strong relationship between their parents will help develop a sense of security and trust that children need during their childhood and teenage years.

Dave Stack is a huge fan of saving money and using coupons, coupon codes and promotional codes. He operates which has been saving people money since 2007

Family New Years Resolutions – Make This Year a Family Year!

I know that at this time with our economy as bad as it is, and many of us face the hardest times that we can remember. It is now, at this time of year that we need to look at all we each have to be thankful for and focus on how to make those connections stronger then ever. What are the reasons you get up each and every day and try to do your best? The answer is the family that you have around you. With a strong family bond in place, it makes even the toughest of times easier to get through. Plus you are teaching your children what is really important in life, and it will encourage them to always strive to not just do their best, but to keep them grounded and focused as they grow.

I pray that we have done that with our children, as I am sure that you do. Now that we have the right focus, our family, it is time to come up with a list of resolutions. I recommend everyone sitting down together to create this list. If everyone has input into the list then everyone is more likely to follow through on the resolutions. Besides, listening to what your kids think on how to bring the family closer may surprise you. For example, we have a 13 year old, a 10 year old and now a 1 week old. While my husband and I always include the kids in what we do (I am not kidding, the only time we have a “date” is if our children already have social engagements with friends), which to many may be obsessive on our part, but that is just the way we have always been and our children actually like it. The point I was trying to make here is that when we asked them what they wanted to see change in the next year it wasn’t that they wanted more or less time with us, they wanted alone time with each of us. So we set up “Dates with Dad” and “Dates with Mom” days.

I would like to tell you that we were great about doing this every other weekend, but we weren’t. We did do it frequently enough though that our children were happy. We also had to get a little creative with what the “dates” entailed, but it could be simply our son going with my husband to run “man errands” such as going to Home Depot or helping my husband put things together. What the kids wanted was our undivided attention for 30 minutes or an hour. It was simple, and they were happy and we were happy. It helps you know your children as people, not just as your kids, and it helps your kids to see that yes you are their parent, but you are a person that they can hang out with and talk to.

There are other things that you can do to help bring your family closer. As a matter of fact, there is a game company that has made a great commercial about “Family Game Night.” One day a week all the televisions are turned off, the video games are put away, you pick out your favorite tunes to play in the background and you all sit down together and play a game, start to finish. Our family game nights are usually either Yahtzee or rummy. We have our own set of rules for Rummy, which makes it a bit more of a challenge, but it is always fun because the kids are constantly trying to go out before their dad who usually beats us all point wise.

If games aren’t your thing and you prefer a movie, don’t go out to the movies, rent or buy one and watch it together as a family at home. Make homemade popcorn, get a couple boxes of movie candy from the store, everyone’s favorite soda and curl up on the sofa together and watch a good movie. The options are endless really. Pick the things you like to do as a family and commit to doing them more often.

Now, you should also focus on ways that you as a family can not only spend time together but make the community around you better. So one resolution that you can make is one weekend a month your family is going to have a “Treat your neighbor day,” pick a neighbor in your neighborhood and do something nice for them. This could be the elderly couple down the road who needs help taking out the trash or doing yard work or perhaps they would just like to come over for dinner. This could also be the family across the street that you know is having a hard time, so as a family you invite them to dinner and a movie at your place. For this one, it isn’t important that your children know another family is struggling, you are doing it simply to be neighborly. If you don’t want to have people over, spend a weekend baking, cooking or creating something to hand out to everyone that lives on your street. Cookies are inexpensive, homemade cards that say “I am glad we are neighbors” are also wonderful.

Finally, a great recommendation for the New Years is taking your kids and spending one day a month at the homeless shelter serving food or volunteering. When you do this as a family it accomplishes a multitude of things. First, it will make each of you appreciate each other a little more. Second, when your kids see you putting the needs of others first it encourages them to do the same. Third, it will instill gratitude for whatever you have in your lives.

The best resolutions are those your family can do together, whether it is more exercise by going on family hikes, or going to museums, art shows, or just about anything you can think of your family can do together. The best part of these types of resolutions is that they are a lot easier to keep because of family peer pressure. Just site down with your family and make a list of activities the whole family can enjoy or help with. This will help your family be accountable to each other.

Don’t forget to share your personal resolutions. Make it a point (or a resolution), that everyone in the family must help and encourage each other to achieve these goals. Ahh, family peer pressure, its a pretty powerful thing.

Make this New Year, the best year for you and your family. Strengthen your family bonds with a family New Year’s Resolution list.

I hope 2010 will be great for everyone! Happy New Year!

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Mr. Heath is a writer and the chief editor at, a website devoted to parenting and families. Copyright 2010 More4kids Inc.