Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

High School Credits

 One thing that many homeschool parents start to get worried about in the high school years is keeping track of high school credits.  This really is not as hard as some people may think.  Some states do have guidelines in place and I urge you to check into your states homeschool laws and find out what guidelines you need to follow.  If you are in a state that does not have specific guidelines (like me) there still is a lot of information out there on counting credit hours and how many credits your high schooler needs in order to graduate.

As a general rule, most courses that the textbook takes a whole year to complete in the main subject areas (math, science, english, foreign language, history) will equal one credit hour.  Elective courses that only take half of a year to complete receive 1/2 credit.  Another way to figure out how much a course is worth would be to figure out the number of hours your child has worked in a particular subject area.  This way if you are using several sources or unit studies and not a traditional "text book", or if you review 5 different math curricula in one year (does this happen to anyone else?) you will know how much credit to give.  120-180 hours is worth one credit.  Many traditional text book course take about 150 hours (50 min/day, 5 days/week, 36 weeks.)  Courses with labs may take closer to 180 hours and electives will be in the 120-150 hour range.  Using those numbers as a guideline you can figure out 1/2 and 1/4 credit courses also.

Now that we know how many hours equal one credit, how many credits and in what areas does your child need?  As I stated above, my state does not require anything specific for homeschool high school graduates.  I go by the guidelines suggested by the Education Alliance for college bound high school students.  If my child knew for sure they weren't going to college I would follow the Public School basic requirements for graduation for our state.  The Education Alliance recommend the following credit hours for college bound students:

Subject Suggested Credits Possible Courses
English 4 credits Composition, American Lit, British Lit, World Lit, Rhetoric,
Creative Writing, Speech/Communication, Journalism, Debate;
also consider AP courses

Math 4+ credits Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus,
Calculus, AP Calculus

History 3-4 credits ESSENTIALS: World History, American History, American
Government. CONSIDER: Economics, Geography,
Constitutional Law and AP courses
Science 3-4 credits Physical Science, General Science, Earth Science, Biology,
Chemistry, and Physics. CONSIDER: AP courses

Foreign Language 2-4 credits French, Spanish, Latin, German, Russian, etc. (2 years same
language preferred)

Physical Education 1-2 credits Many options available

Fine Arts 1-2 credits Art, Music, Drama, Photography, etc.

Electives 5 credits Practical Arts, Life Skills, Home Economics, Bible, Computer
Skills, etc.

Total Credits: 23-27 credits

Don't let worry over counting credits for high school make you feel inadequate.  It really is not a big deal at all and is very easy to do.  Homeschooling high school is not hard, and in fact I think it is much easier than homeschooling elementary school!
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