I have met people whom expressed their desired to go back to school to earn their High School diploma and they have varying reasons that obstructed them to complete their education when they were teenagers.
Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States alone. That’s a student every 26 seconds – or 7,000 a day.
In my first ever job in USA, somebody asked me if I have a desire to go back to school and pursue a degree I am seeing myself being passionate about. My answered was yes, but in the right timing. I also said that, “I’ll take it one step at a time. One season at a time.” Its more on prioritizing. Though I already earned my Bachelors Degree in Agricultural Engineering in the Philippines, here in USA, it doesn’t have any bearing for I was tagged us “foreign-educated” as referred to migrants like me whom received the highest degree of education in a foreign country. The diploma, and years of study aren’t recognized. Everything was reset and back to zero. Though the title isn’t recognized, I am thankful to God, to my father and to myself that all the knowledge I have gained years and after years of study are with me and usable everywhere I go. Even the experience and expertise I’ve learned from my previous job, I am confident that I can use it well as the need arises. I remembered the words that my father instilled in my mind and my heart,
Wala akong ano pa mang materyal na kayamanan na maari mong mamana sa akin, ngunit ang halaga ng edukasyon na aking sinuportahan at pinagkaloob sayo ay ang natatanging kayamanan na maari kong iwan sayo. Ito’y mamumunga at walang sinuman ang makakakuha sa’yo. Ito’y kasa-kasama mo saan ka man magtungo. -BALAGTAS I. CALDERON
Translation in English:
“I don’t have any material riches that you can inherit from me, but the value of education I supported and empowered you to have is the best inheritance I can left you with. It will bear fruits that nobody can take away from you and it will be with you everywhere you go”
“Education and knowledge has its own way of showing it self out, it keeps the feet of the foreigner grounded and both his hands up reaching out to his goal.”
It has been a long time plan, preparation, investment and prayer that we will take the homeschooling path for our child even before Abigail was born and even before Joshua and I got married. Together, we share the same conviction of God calls us parents to assume responsibility of our children’s education. In fact, our family already attended two consecutive years of successful Homeschooling Convention in Nashville Tennessee which were attended by many Homeschooling families across the country.
Though there was a minor technicality, when I was checking the Homeschooling requirements, it is listed that the primary teacher or parents education must have a High School Equivalency Diploma or GED. (Source: Homeschooling in Tennessee). Its actually not a huge issue since my husband, has already attained his Bachelor of Arts in Human Services Administration, and this month of June, he is about to complete his masters degree in Public Sociology. With the motivation that us parents to assume responsibility of our child’s education, and driven as husband is, I took the initiative to become more qualified and meet the requirement for High School Equivalency Diploma through HiSET® .
WHAT IS HiSET® ?
The HiSET® or High School Equivalency Test is one of three tests U.S. states and territories use to measure high school equivalency skills. The General Educational Development (GED®) and the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC™) are the other options. Some states offer only one of these tests. Other states offer all three tests and let you decide which one you wish to take. What’s important to know is this: All three tests allow you to earn your high school equivalency credential from your state. (Source: hiset.ets.org/what)
TENNESSEE OFFERS FREE HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY TESTING
The state of Tennessee offers two test options to earn a high school equivalency diploma. The HiSet is managed by the nonprofit organization Educational Testing Service, and the GED is administered by Pearson Education. The HiSet’s original cost is $75 compared with $125 for the GED. In order to reach as many potential graduates as possible, the HiSet will be the only test offered at no cost by the Adult Education program. Once a student passes either the HiSet or GED, an official state high school equivalency diploma is issued that does not make reference to which test was taken. (Source: Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development)
HOW DID I FIND OUT ABOUT HiSET® ?
I found out that Chester County Adult Education offers “Free Classes! Free Books! Free Testing!” to earn a “High School Equivalency Diploma the moment after I consummated the one year work timeline my husband and I agreed on (a different story to share). One day we went to the local library, I noticed the piece of paper hanged in the library’s bulletin board. I snapped a photo to sent to people I knew whom expressed their desired to finished high school. Never I thought that, I would later used it for myself.
What are the steps I underwent in earning my High School Equivalency Diploma?
With Joshua’s support and encouragement, I immediately called the number provided in the flyer, and inquired. I found out that the only requirements the participants needed to submit are two forms of identification, a photo ID & a Social Security ID. For my status, I provided my Social Security ID, my photo ID which is my permit to drive, and plus of course my permanent resident card or commonly called as green card.
April 15, as I recalled was my first day at Chester County Adult Education Center. That same day, I had my first pre-test using the TABE® or Test of Adult Basic Education.
TABE® is the most comprehensive and reliable academic assessment product in adult basic education. Educators use TABE testing to provide a solid foundation for effectively assessing the skills and knowledge of adult learners (source: www.tabetest.com ). It is scientifically validated test that is both timed and untimed depending upon the content area.
On my first day at the Center, Ms. Tammie Phillips, the Administrative Officer at Chester County Adult Education Center, was the one who facilitated my introduction to the Adult Education Program and the one who handed to me the pink paper or the welcome form for new students (which I also provided below). Thankfully, I was accepted 🙂 YES!
On the succeeding scheduled days, with the kind assistance of Adult Education teacher Ms. Connie Blackwood, I was able to complete my TABE Test on the computer, Reading & Math, and thankfully the results were good, and it both gave me a Level 4 in reading & Level 4 in Math. According to the blue paper I provided below or (Steps to Getting your Diploma) for Level 4, I was only required to invest a 12 hours of class instructions for Mathematics, Language Arts- Reading as well as Language Arts-Writing, Science and Social Studies. Once I measured that I was ready, I took the OPT or Official Practice Test. The purpose of OPT is to predict readiness.
My Adult Education Classes Journey (April 29 to May 30)
The FREE classes for Chester County Adult Education Center are scheduled Monday and Thursday from 9 AM to 12 NN. That means, that each accepted adults in the program have a choice to invest 3 hours of learning in each day’s entire session. Since my goal was to earn my High School Equivalency Diploma before the official school year on August. I found it more motivating and effective to set a time frame to complete my entire credentials. My strategy was, I opted to invest a 3 hrs of learning each class and that gave me a total of 6 hrs of learning investment each week. To sum up, I invested a total of 24 hrs of spread-out instructions (which I only completed for 4 weeks) in the class together with some persevering adults at the center under the instructions of Ms. Blackwood. During these entire period, I strategically planned my learning.
By the way, I strongly believe that every individual has different learning styles. This mean that, the way I completed the program is not the only strategy others can follow to complete the program. Remember, all of us are coming from different walks of life, with different priorities, of varying level of stored knowledge and schedules to consider. The good thing about HiSET, is that you can go at your own pace. You have your options! For more info, check this: How long does it take to earn a HSE credential?
How Did I prepared for my Exams?
Since my goal was to earn my High School Equivalency Diploma before the official school year on August will start, to become more qualified for Homeschooling requirement, I strategically planned my course of actions. I used the 6P’s and these are Patience, Perseverance, Prayers (Of course), the People, Practice and Passing the Exams.
The first three P’s which are Patience, Perseverance, and Prayers that I first put emphasized to are pertains to my character to achieved my goal aligning to our family’s core values and to say it again, our believe and conviction that God calls us parents to assume responsibility of our child’s education. This is very important for me to have in conquering my fear of failing my own exams before.
My last and worst experience of taking an examination before I took the HiSET was the Agricultural Engineering board examinations. I failed it. It was a nightmare!
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9 NLT
The second sets of P’s are as equally important of the first set. The people, who has given me ton’s of motivations of achieving my goal. First and foremost, my husband and our daughter, Abigail. They too are the source of my encouragement, my support system and my prayer partners. My Adult Education Teacher Ms. Blackwood, who relentlessly answered my questions in the subject matter, and generously shared her techniques in Mathematics mostly algebra 🙂 . Of course, the inspiring Ms. Phillips, who tirelessly showed her compassionate heart towards us the Adult students. My sister, Beejay who always cheered me up on our online chat and exchanged of stories, and placed her confidence on me. As well, as Sis Deng and Sis Pam (a two decades of Homeschooling Mom) who prayed for me. My mother-in-law who sent me off of good luck words, and warmed hug. Our wonderful friends and families Roxanne, Cristina, Jhessa, Tita Esther, Sis Evelyn, Veronica, Kuya Nath, Christian (my nephew), Aunt April, Shelly and Clarissa whom I shared my plan with. Of course, Aunt Kathy, how can I forget. For expressing her joy for my accomplishment. For my father, Balagtas I. Calderon you are my roots. I will always make you proud.
Practice and Passing the Exams. Earning a USA High School Equivalency Diploma for me was a fruit of committed learning and practices. As an old saying goes, there’s no such thing as overnight success. It took an hours of reading, and committed days of Practice Test for me to complete all the paper works and passing all the examinations for all the subject areas. The 24 hrs of formal instructions at the center together with the class helps a lot too. It helps me to refreshed my stored knowledge. The adult students I was privilege to work with, they inspired me. I learned from them too. I also like that I learned new techniques in mathematics and broadened my understanding in United States Civics and Government, its History, as well as its meaningful Culture & Society through Social Studies which of course God willing in the future I can use for Naturalization. Nothing was wasted. Its all worth it! Aside of my formal instructions at the center, I also did a self-practice/review using the online Interactive Practice Test. It helps me to estimate my level of readiness for the real test. How Can I forget, snacking food & unlimited coffee from my husband (its helps a lot too ) 🙂
Registration & Scheduling my HiSET Exam.
Right after I passed all my OPT in all the covered subject areas, my instructor Ms. Blackwood, requested a vouchers on my behalf to covered the cost of my exams. When the vouchers were issued and released (Praise God :), she then created a HiSET account for me which I was provided an access codes. Since I strategically planned my learning, I already pre- aimed my computer-delivered test dates. I took my first three (3) sets of exam for Social Studies, Writing-Language Arts, and Reading-Language Arts dated June 4 at Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Jackson & Science and Math dated June 11 at the same testing center. For more information about HiSET, here’s the Frequently Asked Questions About the HiSET® Exam
A NO, NO!!!
Don’t skip sleep! Well, the night prior my last schedule, I was reviewing my mathematics and Science so I didn’t sleep. I was in zombie mode the day of exam. So DON’T SKIP SLEEP. As much as possible, have a rest. OKAY! 🙂
Adult Education Graduation is happening soon! 🙂
Having an established family core values makes it easier for me to see which path to take. I am THANKFUL to God, for clearly giving me the vision and a heartbeat of the desire He wanted me to pursue. Its easier to filter out my choices. Because of that desire, I efficiently plan well, and invested my time well in achieving my goal in Adult Education. Proverbs 3:5-6 says,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the wonderful & hard working people behind Adult Education. Its a program that helps adult like me not just to earn a High School equivalency diploma, and be skilled but it also helps families to achieved goals, and be a message of encouragement from one family to the other and to the community at large. After all, nothing is impossible if we will persevere. Options are given, so its yours to take. 🙂
PAY IT FORWARD: If you have a desire to earn your High School Equivalency Diploma through HiSET®, and you are unsure how to start, you can message us here or, you can go directly at the contacts I provided in this article (if you are from West Tennessee Area) or you can check the official www.hiset.ets.org