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.
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.
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!
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.