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Smart College Idea: Save 80 Percent - Dual Credit at Home

We met Becky Muldrow in San Antonio, Texas at a conference where we were speaking. Becky is a mom, and a smart one at that. With 10 kids she has to be. But what stood out most to us was her absolutely ingenious way of helping her kids get through college in less than 2 years, at minimal costs and mostly from home. If you have kids who want a fast track through college or, if you're an adult looking for an inexpensive and fast way to finally finish that degree, you've GOT TO READ what Becky and her kids have done. It's absolute GENIUS.


While this concept is designed for Home Schooling families, we're asking you to think a little deeper. This concept could work for adults wanting to finally get that college degree, or for motivated kids who attend public or private school to get a jumpstart on college. Think, think, think. 


Warning, this is a long article . . . actually it's a transcript of Becky's presentation she shares around the country. A decision to use Dual Credit at Home isn't going to be a quick one. But if you do decide to pursue the system that Becky has created, at the bottom of this page you'll find a discount offer she's giving exclusively to our readers.




How to Earn a Bachelor’s

Degree During High School

Learn how with Dual Credit at Home

Hi, my name is Becky Muldrow and like many of you, I am a home school mom. Our family has been blessed with ten children, from age twenty-eight all the way down to ten.

I’m sure that all of you parents will agree that there is a BIG difference between home educating a ten year old and a teenager. When your son is ten, you’re just worried about helping him stay focused long enough to get a whole day of school finished! But when he reaches those teenage years, you start to worry about a big seven-letter word. C-O-L-L-E-G-E!



College is our culture’s pinnacle of educational achievement. It’s also the bane of our pocketbooks. Worrying about your child’s future education has the potential to keep you up at night AND empty your savings accounts. A degree doesn’t just consume money. It can also cost our young people many extra years of their greatest commodity —- time.

For many families, college isn’t always a blessing. It can also be a problem.

As home school parents, we’ve obviously been thinking outside the box. My husband and I love to challenge our kids to be creative, innovative problem solvers. One of the most respected home school students of all time, Albert Einstein, has great advice for all of us: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Now you and I didn’t create the existing problems with higher education. But when it comes to deciding how we’re going to approach college, both the METHOD of education and the COST, in our own families, we can’t use the world’s way of thinking.

Today I’d like to share with you how our family has solved our college problem. Over the next few minutes, I will explain a different approach to earning an accredited bachelor’s degree that has been successful for not just our family, but thousands of other families as well. You’ll know six key advantages about the dual credit approach and how to earn a bachelor’s degree during high school.

Home schooling high school is a good time to remember these words of Galatians 6:9.

It breaks my heart to hear of parents who give up homeschooling as their kids reach high school. This is an awesome time to finish strong! Parents, you’ve been creative and thought outside the box all during the early school years. Let me encourage you to stay creative!

But before we go any further, I want to introduce you to my family!


Gene and I just celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. Here we are with our ten children — Adam, Katie, Stephen, Melanie, Dianna, Nathan, Julie, Kristin, Michael, and Jason.

I would like to begin with Adam’s story because it’s the reason why I first started exploring options to traditional college. When Adam was fifteen, he told us that he wanted to be a lawyer and asked “how fast can I earn my bachelor’s degree?” In my ignorance, I told him four years. But after seeing his passion, I started to do my own research.


That was when I discovered one of mainstream education’s best kept secrets. It’s called the credit-by-exam approach and goes FAR beyond “clepping” out of one or two classes.

Let’s define some keywords. First, dual credit, or dual enrollment. This is simply earning both high school and college credit at the same time for the same course. Students can do this by taking a class or an exam. You, the parent, then list these credits on their high school transcript and award high school credit – always stay within your state’s home school requirements. (And remember – this same approach can be applied to any student – public, private, or home schooled!)


When many parents hear the term “dual credit” they automatically think of an on-campus class, generally at a junior college. It’s important to know that is not the only dual credit option available for your teen! An on-campus class takes an entire semester of your child’s time for only three credits. On campus classes do not lessen the time a student spends earning a degree; instead they spread it out over a longer period of time. Most students that take traditional on-campus dual credit classes during high school still spend 4 or more years completing a degree after high school graduation.


While many junior colleges may offer “no tuition” or “reduced tuition” for dual credit courses, when you look into those offers more closely you realize that the choice of classes is very limited, and the cost of the textbooks, campus-use fees, and other costs are not waived or reduced.


upright freezer is a mess

Freezing Bread—The Secret is in the Freezer

Question: Some of my store bought loaves of bread get freezer burned on the  outside even though I wrap them individually in plastic bags before freezing. But I heard on one of your videos that you freeze your bread in a brown paper bag.  Do you put them in plastic bags first, then store them in the paper bag before freezing?  I do store the bread to one side of my upright freezer—should I put it in the middle so the sides of the bread aren't near the side of  the freezer?  Thanks a million for your advice.  Wouldn't have bought the freezer without having read Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half!  It's a  real money saver.  Diane

Answer: The secret to successfully freezing bread is in the freezer not the brown paper bags! We use the paper grocery sacks to organize our chest freezer putting similiar items in each bag (pork in one, frozen veggies in another etc.). Our grocery book has a section that illustrates how we stack items in our chest freezer.

Plastic bags: When freezing bread you do want to keep air and moisture out. To accomplish this, we wrap our store bought bread in a second plastic bag. But the type of bread you freeze plays a roll too. Whole wheat bread freezes fine, if put in a plastic bag and stored for only a couple of weeks. White bread doesn’t freeze well and becomes mushy when defrosting. You can put a paper towel in the bread bag as it’s defrosting to absorb moisture and it should help.

Your Freezer: Another factor is the type of freezer you have. Usually upright freezers are frost-free, which means they have a fan that runs constantly to keep frost from forming, but that same fan also will dehydrate and cause freezer burn for items left in it for too long. Where the bread goes in your freezer should not matter. Most likely the problem you’re experiencing is from storing the bread too long in a frost-free freezer. When it's time to replace your freezer consider buying a non-frost-free model. It's a little more work, but will keep your food fresher, longer.


windfalls, tax, refunds, returns, bonus, overtime, gifts, money, cash, bonuses

Windfalls: Bonus or Bust?

Have you ever dreamed that you won the lottery or that an extremely rich, 32-times-removed relative died and left you a fortune? Of course, you know exactly what you would do with all the money — new houses for yourself and all the relatives, a major vacation around the world and maybe even a little charitable giving. Despite the unlikelihood of this type of situation, smaller “fortunes” on which we fail to capitalize, come our way on a regular basis.

Think about tax refunds, cash birthday gifts, overtime pay, bonuses, garage sale proceeds, stock dividends (remember those?) and overcharges in your impound account. These additional funds aren’t fairy tales or dreams, but financial “prizes” that can help you reach goals faster or throw you into depression if they are squandered or have to be used to catch up on bills. We’re talking about windfalls, extra money that comes at unexpected times. If you take a walk through last year’s checkbook register, you’ll find them sitting there, those wonderful little unexpected bonuses. What did you do with them? If you’re like most of us, they evaporated . . . absorbed into the abyss of everyday living and bill paying.

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Years ago, we decided to stop letting the windfalls evaporate. We came up with a plan, a general agreement between the two of us on how we would deal with any excess, big or small, that came our way. But before we get into the specifics of the plan we used, we’ve got to define how to tell when you truly have excess.
Planned Spending   We’ve always had a spending plan. It’s a system similar to the “envelope system” we use to teach our kids to handle money (see Issue 1, “Kids and Money”). Of course our system is a bit more complex than theirs. We track our spending plan on paper while all the money actually resides in the bank. We have categories for every regularly occurring expense. Nineteen different accounts cover categories such as Utilities, Food, Pets and Gifts. The balance in all the accounts, added together, equals the total in our checkbook. So, when we want to make a purchase, instead of consulting the larger balance of our checkbook, we review the smaller balance on the corresponding account sheet. If the money is there, we buy, if not, we wait.

The beauty of the spending plan is knowing that all our living expenses and savings goals are provided for. We know exactly what it takes to fund our monthly budget. Some accounts accumulate money for months without being spent, and others are simply flow-through accounts.

Because we regularly update and consult our spending plan, we know when we really do have a windfall – money that can be spent outside of normal spending-plan limits. This kind of money truly is excess that can be used for what we call The Windfall Plan.

I Want a Boat! This is our standing joke. Whenever we’re out driving around and see a boat for sale, Steve will usually quip, “Honey, there it is, the boat I want to buy with our next windfall.” He admits, “As a man, I seem to have an incurable ability to find all kinds of toys – most of them costly to maintain –  on which to spend our money.” Author Larry Burkett observes that most women will overspend a bit on groceries or buy a few too many clothes, while their husbands will come home with a new car or boat.

After having a few extended “discussions” about different desires or goals for a specific windfall, we knew we needed to do things differently. We started out using a “wish list” on which we both wrote things we would like to buy with the extra money. Then we discussed the items and came up with agreed-upon priorities. While this system was better than the wrangling of the past, the situation was still pretty stressful. It’s hard to negotiate and be patient while the money is just sitting there in the bank waiting to be spent. We needed something better so we could really enjoy the benefits of the windfall and avoid martial conflict.

Plan Before the Windfall   What we needed was a more proactive approach. So we developed a percentage plan before any more windfalls came into our possession. This proved to be much less stressful and increased our enjoyment level.

When we were paying off our first house, we came up with a plan. Whatever excess money came in would be divided into three categories:

  1. one-third to an extra house payment;
  2. one-third to charitable giving;
  3. one-third to special projects – buying stuff we wanted and having fun.

We were debt-free except for the house, and through the application of this percentage plan, we paid it off in nine years. We could have eliminated the special projects/fun portion of the plan and paid the house off faster, but we came to the conclusion that if we allowed ourselves some enjoyment in the midst of working toward a sacrificial goal, we would be more likely to stay the course and reach the goal. It was truly amazing to see the mortgage principal amount plummet as we applied the extra payments. We still remember the last payment, the phone calls to the mortgage holder, setting the final date and payment amount, writing the check and getting the deed in the mail! WOW, what a great feeling.

Start with These Ideas  

So what might your plan look like? Of course, it’s different for every family, but you might consider the following if you’re liquidating debt:

  1. 60% to liquidating your smallest debt
  2. 20% to save (emergency funds to keep from using credit)
  3. 10% to charitable giving
  4. 10% to enjoy

This Dad gave his 16 year old a 1965 Mustang! Would you?

We are on an email list for family issues and were sent a link to an intriguing article about a family with 12 kids. The dad of the family wrote the article and shared how as an engineer he earned a good salary, but determined not to financially support his kids at HIS EARNING LEVEL.

Instead he taught them to work and to save and to plan. All of the kids paid for their own college education (and several paid for graduate degrees).

BUT . . . They almost lost us when he said that he gave each of his kids a car when they turned 16.  This Dad gave a 16 year old a 1965 Mustang! 

You've got to read what he did . . . it is ingenious, clever, smart and . . . something we wish we had done! 

The Thompson Family followed many of the same principals we wrote about in our award winning book, "The MoneySmart Family System - Teaching Financial Independence to Children of Every Age." 

Read the entire article here:

How I made sure all 12 of my kids could pay for college themselves

By Francis L. Thompson.

My wife and I had 12 children over the course of 15 1/2 years. Today, our oldest is 37 and our youngest is 22.  I have always had a very prosperous job and enough money to give my kids almost anything. But my wife and I decided not to.

I will share with you the things that we did, but first let me tell you the results: All 12 of my children have college degrees (or are in school), and we as parents did not pay for it. Most have graduate degrees. Those who are married have wonderful spouses with the same ethics and college degrees, too. We have 18 grandchildren who are learning the same things that our kids learned—self respect, gratitude, and a desire to give back to society.

We raised our family in Utah, Florida, and California; my wife and I now live in Colorado. In March, we will have been married 40 years. I attribute the love between us as a part of our success with the children. They see a stable home life with a commitment that does not have compromises.

Here’s what we did right (we got plenty wrong, too, but that’s another list):


  • Kids had to perform chores from age 3. A 3-year-old does not clean toilets very well but by the time he is 4, it’s a reasonably good job.
  • They got allowances based on how they did the chores for the week.
  • We had the children wash their own clothes by the time they turned 8. We assigned them a wash day.
  • When they started reading, they had to make dinner by reading a recipe. They also had to learn to double a recipe.
  • The boys and girls had to learn to sew.

Study time

Education was very important in our family.

  • We had study time from 6 to 8pm every week day. No television, computer, games, or other activities until the two hours were up. If they had no homework, then they read books. For those too young to be in school, we had someone read books to them. After the two hours, they could do whatever they wanted as long as they were in by curfew.
  • All the kids were required to take every Advanced Placement class there was. We did not let entrance scores be an impediment. We went to the school and demanded our kids be let in. Then we, as parents, spent the time to ensure they had the understanding to pass the class. After the first child, the school learned that we kept our promise that the kids could handle the AP classes.
  • If children would come home and say that a teacher hated them or was not fair, our response was that you need to find a way to get along. You need find a way to learn the material because in real life, you may have a boss that does not like you. We would not enable children to “blame” the teacher for not learning, but place the responsibility for learning the material back on the child. Of course, we were alongside them for two hours of study a day, for them to ask for help anytime.

Picky eaters not allowed

  • We all ate dinner and breakfast together. Breakfast was at 5:15am and then the children had to do chores before school. Dinner was at 5:30pm.
  • More broadly, food was interesting. We wanted a balanced diet, but hated it when we were young and parents made us eat all our food. Sometimes we were full and just did not want to eat anymore. Our rule was to give the kids the food they hated most first (usually vegetables) and then they got the next type of food. They did not have to eat it and could leave the table. If later they complained they were hungry, we would get out that food they did not want to eat, warm it up in the microwave, and provide it to them. Again, they did not have to eat it. But they got no other food until the next meal unless they ate it.
  •
How's Your Attitude - A Prescription for Perspective

A Prescription for Perspective


We are bombarded with messages that say we must have the latest and greatest “WhatChaMaCallIt” out there. And that we’ve got to dress or look like everyone else or we’ll miss something great. Stop looking at what everyone else appears to have — the truth is, much of it is on payments and those payments are crushing the life out of them.

Realizing how much we already have and how rich we are in relationships brings the greatest sense of peace and rest.

Honestly, we do struggle with this once in a while. It's usually when were going through a tough time  . . . like a couple of years ago when one of our kids had four knee surgeries. We were all really discouraged, and it was really hard to watch her pain and try to see the bright side. But we were able to get through that tough year with the help of friends, family and our faith in God, and we saw many blessings as a result of this struggle too. Our daughter met her husband as she was recovering from her last surgery. We've also met some awesome people (doctors, nurses and new friends) who have come along side our daughter and us to encourage and support. The bright side is that we have a great network of friends and family. (Cloud Image courtesy of khunaspix/

And we've made lists of things we're grateful for, and honestly, making the lists was such a wonderful prescription for perspective that Annette started a Thankful Book that we write in a couple of times each week during dinner.
Here are five things you can do to help cultivate an attitude of gratefulness:

  1. Write a quick list of the things you are thankful for.
  2. Write a note or email, to a friend who gave you a gift.
  3. Call an old friend and get together to recall “the good old days.”
  4. Go outside at night and look at the stars.
  5. Take a look at all you do have and say a prayer of thanksgiving (we really do have a lot).

Try this for perspective: 
Public relations expert Robert L. Dilenschneider sent out a letter to his clients, where he encouraged them to have a more accepting and understanding view of people from different backgrounds. His numbers are not completely accurate, but they illustrate that we have much to be thankful for.
If we could shrink the whole earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look like this:

  • 59% of the wealth would be in the hands of only 6 people and all six would be citizens of the US
  • 80 would live in substandard housing
  • 70 would be unable to read
  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition
  • 1 would be near death
  • 1 would be near birth
  • 1 would have a college education
  • 1 would own a computer

The Atlantic - How to build a happier brainA Happy Brain? 

Steve recently read this article from Atlantic Magazine: How to Build a Happier Brain. The take-away was, that while bad things will happen in life, and we will spend time thinking about them — we need to also force ourselves to take time to appreciate the hundreds of good things that happen too. We actually need to savor a sunset, a delicious bite of dessert, a friendly smile or a kind driver who allowed us to change lanes. Rehearsing those good things, taking time to dwell on them, creates positive pathways in our brain and will help us enjoy life more. Read the article and see if you take away the same things we did.

If you have a moment, we'd love to hear a couple of the little things happened to you today that you're thankful for! 


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