As soon as your child enters 8th grade, questions about homeschooling through high school preoccupy your mind. Some of the biggest questions revolve around high school credits:
- How many credits does a kid need to graduate?
- How many are needed for each subject area?
- What constitutes a full credit or a half credit?
- Who decides the credit requirements?
For most of us, it’s been quite a while since we graduated and credits are a hazy distant memory. So, this topic can be super confusing!
Credits are crucial
Credits are important because the credits your child earns will signal to colleges that they are ready for college coursework. So figuring out the mystery of credits is a top priority and the foundation on which you will build your school planning.
It’s wise to give yourself a good amount of time to absorb this information. I would recommend beginning in the spring of your child’s 8th-grade year to avoid stressing yourself out by trying to do it too close to your child’s first day of high school.
Who decides about credits?
For public school students, the state education association is the decision making authority. The Education Commission of the States has compiled a handy resource describing public school credit and graduation requirements. There is a surprisingly wide variety of requirements among the states, with California requiring 13 credits to graduate and Florida and a few other states requiring 24 credits.
For home schools, your state education code may have requirements, or you may be considered a private school by your state, which means that you get to decide what the graduation requirements are for your student. It’s important to learn this information as soon as possible so that you can make a basic plan for each year of high school.
Where to begin
Let’s say that you discover that your state has not set requirements for graduation for homeschool students. Where do you begin? I highly recommend taking a look at your local high school’s website and reviewing their requirements, which will be in line with what the state requires.
Seeing what is expected of students in each year of high school helps you to temper your expectations of what your student will be able to accomplish in a year of school. While you probably don’t want to replicate public school for your homeschool, you can learn a lot from the courses and course names they list, the credits they award for subjects, and how many credits they require in a subject area for graduation.
Additionally, becoming familiar with the terminology of what courses are called will be helpful when you begin creating a transcript for your student.
Asking other parents whose kids are homeschool graduates is also helpful in planning your high school graduation requirements for your student. But bear in mind that the responsibility for knowing the requirements to graduate rests solely with you. Still, other home educators are an invaluable resource because they can warn you of pitfalls to avoid, help you to know when important deadlines are for your state, and just be an encouragement to you along the way.
High school and high school credits may seem daunting, but just remember that there is just as much support and information to be found for this step of the journey as there was when you began it. So grab a cup of coffee, open your laptop, and take the first step into high-school credit land.