Homeschool to College: High School Credits

The largest benefit of homeschooling high school has been the ability to create a customized, engaging course of study. You can do this AND satisfy graduation requirements at the same time.

You might have to get creative - and that’s the fun part!

I mentioned in the first part of this series that you need to begin your thinking and planning EARLY. When your child hits seventh or eighth grade you must start the planning process.

And, I am also an advocate of letting your child take the lead, and not losing the homeschool wonder in the upper grades years, but you cannot forget the planning and record keeping involved in the upper grades, either.

Let’s talk about how to combine the wonder and the requirements in high school, and how to plan your high school credits with all of that in mind.

 Homeschool to College: Part One in this series - dealing with how to determine and assign high school credits

I sat down with my daughter in eighth grade. I purchased a cute notebook (because for the girls this speaks to them!) and took her to Starbucks for a high school planning date.

I had the following things ready to share with her for our planning session:

  • state graduation requirements

  • college entrance requirements

  • Mom and Dad’s graduation requirements

We then had a heart to heart about what we wanted high school to look like, what (and HOW) she wanted to learn, and more.

Keep in mind, this plan will change for each child over the course of high school, but having a shell of how many and what type of credits are needed is immensely helpful.

*Refer to HSLDA for information on evaluating credits. This will answer questions like “How many hours of instruction constitutes a high school credit?” and more!

I cannot stress to you what a valuable resource HSLDA is to you as a homeschooling parent!

Check Your State Requirements

Each state has a Department of Education website. Investigate your graduation requirements carefully.

In the state of Georgia the requirements are:

  • English: 4 credits

  • Mathematics: 4 credits

  • Science: 4 credits

  • Social Studies: 3 credits

  • Modern Language/Latin/and or Fine Arts: 3 credits

  • Health and Physical Education: 1 credit

  • Electives: 4 credits

TOTAL: 23 credits

Print these requirements and put them in your notebook.

There are further explanations, so be sure to read your state requirements carefully.

Each state also has different homeschool graduation requirements. In our state (GA) homeschooling is not highly regulated, but in other states it may be more heavily regulated.

In our state there are requirements for state funded college scholarships.

I can’t emphasize enough: do your research!

Check college entrance requirements

Target a few places you could see your child attending college.

Poke around on their websites and become familiar with the entrance requirements. Requirements will vary from school to school. Many schools will have a special tab just for homeschoolers (we like those schools!).

I even called a couple of colleges and spoke to their admissions counselors. I found that they were more than happy to explain requirements to me and how the path to college for a homeschooler would work.

Print those requirements and keep them in your notebook.

 Homeschool to College - Part I: High School Credits

What are your child’s desires?

What interests your child? Is there something they would like to know more about, or a passion you can continue to help them pursue?

During your high school planning session begin to brainstorm ideas for what your child would like to study.

If they have a bent towards science, seek out unique science opportunities. If they have an artistic or musical talent, seek more of those opportunities. Take advantage of adults in your community to help nurture these interests.

My daughter has an interest in music and also special education. We designed courses specifically for those interests. On her transcript one of the courses is “Music Lessons and Performance” and another is “Working with the Special Needs Adult.

(Again, refer to HSLDA about specific hour requirements, etc…)

Part of her music lessons and performance credit was working with a ukulele choir that her guitar teacher started - she observed him teaching but also helped him with the younger children. Perfect.

This year, in the “Working with the Special Needs Adult” course, Anna is volunteering twice each week with our special needs groups at church. She is teaching their Sunday School class, and she is shadowing a special education teacher. I have also selected a few books for her to read that we can discuss. The course doesn’t even feel like work to her and she is learning SO SO much, while making lifelong connections with the folks she is working with and the adults who are mentoring her.

It is a beautiful thing to watch - makes my heart so happy. THIS is why we homeschool!

 Homeschool To College: Customizing your high school credits

Keep Your Records!

Here is the simple way I keep high school records:

  • Dedicate a file drawer just for your high schooler!

  • Create a general folder that contains graduation requirements, a copy of your child’s birth certificate (they will need it for things like their driver’s license), your intent to homeschool, and anything else that you feel is necessary.

  • Create a folder for each class they take.

  • Write the “course description” inside the folder and the dates/year they took the course (The description is either given in the course catalog if they are taking online or you can construct your own description if it is a course you have designed.)

  • Keep all materials for the course in that folder. (assignments, papers, tests, etc… If the course was online be sure to print the final grade report)

When it comes time to put together your child’s high school transcript you will simply go to your file drawer and life will be good!

See, all of this is not as hard as you would think!

You can plan your high school credits with a little bit of planning and simple recording keeping.

Do you have question about high school credits? Ask me in the comments below and we’ll wrestle with them together!

In the next installment in this series we will talk about the transcript, and you won’t believe how EASY that will be!

Homeschool to College

If you’re wondering what a homeschooler’s journey to college looks like you’re in the right place.

When we decided to homeschool we abandoned the traditional ideal of public school.

It was easy to leave those ideals behind when our children were younger, but as our children matured things changed - the stakes were suddenly higher. It felt like my children’s future after high school hinged on so many of the decisions that were made in high school.

I wanted to remain true to my daughter’s interests and our family’s commitment to a Christ centered home education. I needed to be sure we weren’t missing the most important thing. It was important to my husband and me not to “sell out” just because we were worried about a child getting into college!

 The Homeschool Journey to College

Take heart, parents - I am every bit as confident of our decision to homeschool as the parent of a 17 year old as I was when I was the parent of an 8 year old!

Preparing a homeschooler for college has been easier than I expected, and not nearly as stress-filled as I had been led to believe. These are exciting times, and I’d like to share them with you.

For what it’s worth, here’s a little advice to get this series started:

Start Early

Begin researching and thinking about your child’s high school education as early as 7th grade. Bookmark this page at HSLDA and refer to it often. It contains a WEALTH of information.

Plan with Your Child

Include your child in the planning of their upper grades education. Ask them what they want to study, what kinds of volunteer work and extracurriculars they want to take part in.

That investment in their education will build ownership - and ultimately we are preparing them for life beyond our homes, which includes A LOT of ownership!

Pray with them

Last year during the 40 days of Lent we made the commitment to pray aloud every evening as a family. This wasn’t always easy to do with two teens in the house, but we did it!

The blessings that came out of those 40 days blew us away and we found ourselves continuing this practice after Lent was over.

The habit of prayer is perhaps the most valuable you can instill in your children - at any age.

Seek Community

A supportive community of families who are on the same path can make all the difference!

Are you walking this road with other parents whose children have similar values and goals?

Bearing one another’s burdens and sharing information will be invaluable to you. There are many wonderful online resources for support, but nothing can compare to families in your community who are going through the same thing as you.

Find a Mentor

If at all possible, find another parent who has walked this road before you and can hold your hand along the way.

If at all possible, find another homeschooler who was walked this road before your homeschooler and can hold THEIR hand along the way.

Don’t Check Out

You might be tempted to assume that because your child is older and more independent that you can step back a bit in the high school years.

I have news for you. In many ways you need to be MORE present during this time. It’s just a different kind of present - it’s an emotional and mental availability all teens require.

There are many big ideas our kids will be facing during these years, and they need to know you are there with them, learning alongside them, and advocating for them. You need to be available for your child 24/7.

Don’t Get Caught Up in the Rat Race

I don’t know about you, but there can be a lot of pressure for kids to achieve a lot in high school - especially in traditional school. The emphasis is on doing MORE and being BUSY.

Is this how we want our children to live the rest of their lives?

We need to remember the most important thing: we want our children to be good people, serving God through serving others, developing their talents, and growing in their faith.

Yes, a college education is of value, but it is not the ULTIMATE goal of our efforts.

Keep this in mind as you travel through high school with your child.

 Homeschool to College

Savor Each Moment

I know I don’t need to tell you this, but sometimes the days go slow but the years go fast. It seems we were just doing thumbprint art and making LEGO landmarks.

It goes in the blink of an eye.

Don’t forget to allow your family plenty of time to be together - play games, take field trips, read aloud. (You can still do these things when your child is in high school! )

This series will continue with these topics:

  • High School Credits

  • The Dreaded “Transcript” - coming soon!

  • Testing - coming soon!

  • College Visits & Applications - coming soon!

  • Preparing for Launch - coming soon!

Do you have any questions about the homeschool journey to college?

Ask in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them in the upcoming series.

You might also like:

Homeschool High School: Follow that Child

Homeschool High School: Don’t Lose the Wonder