How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year?

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year?

How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year?

How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year?

If you have been wondering about how many credits your teens need to graduate, you are in the right place! What does it look like each year? Let’s talk about how many credits you need each year for homeschool graduation requirements and make it a bit more practical to understand and follow!

Do you know how many credits your teens need to graduate each year? If not, it’s quite alright as we all know how confusing it can be to figure out the yearly breakdown, especially when we often focus on the overall number of credits needed for graduation. So let’s make it practical and dive into the details!

Understanding State Requirements

First things first, it’s important to meet the minimum credit requirements set by your state. Each state has its own set of credit requirements for high school graduation. While some homeschoolers choose not to follow state requirements, most of us do. 

If you are unsure about your state’s requirements, you can check your state department of Education or reach out to organizations like Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) or National Homeschool Advocacy for guidance. 

Typically, states require between seventeen and twenty-six credits, with the majority falling between twenty and twenty-four. If you are a member of HSLDA, you can also access this information through their resources.

General Guidelines

Although there’s not ONE right way to homeschooling high school, we have gathered some practical guidelines based on our experience raising our own high schoolers and advising others in our local community. Let’s talk about some of those guidelines now that have worked for us over the years. 

Keep in mind that these are not set in stone, and you should always do what is best for your teens. 

College-Bound Teens

Let’s shift gears and talk about college-bound teens. In addition to meeting the state’s homeschool graduation requirements, college-preparation homeschoolers often need to go above and beyond. 

Colleges may look for a higher level of rigor or specific courses on the transcript, so it is a good idea to research the colleges your teens are interested in to see what they are looking for in incoming freshmen. This can help you determine if your teen needs additional credits or more challenging coursework.

For example, some colleges may require three years of World Language, even if your state only requires two. They may also expect four years of Social Studies, Math, and Sciences, even if your state only requires three. It is important to tailor your teen’s transcript to meet these expectations and showcase their interests and strengths.

(Here is more on what college-bound teens should be doing.)

Some motivated teens may have the goal of graduating in three years instead of the standard four

  • This is certainly achievable, but it requires careful planning and a heavier academic load. 
  • By dividing the total number of credits required by your state by three, your teen will need to earn more credits each year. They may need to double up on certain subjects or spread out credits over multiple years to meet their goals. 

Teens Bound For The Workforce

If your teen is not-college bound and aims to enter the workforce after graduation, meeting the state requirements is usually sufficient. 

Divide the total number of credits required by your state by four to determine the number of credits needed per year. 

  • For example, if your state requires twenty credits, your teen would need five credits per year. In states with higher requirements, such as twenty-four credits, your teen would need six credits per year.

If you are unsure whether your teen will be headed towards college or go straight into the workforce, sit down with them to have a serious discussion about their future. If you still cannot come up without a clear path, try some Career Exploration

Another class or two never hurt anybody, and they may be grateful for that if they do decide to go to college!

Regardless of the career path your teen chooses, certain subjects are typically required by most states. These include:

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • History/Social Studies (such as American History, World History, Civics, and Economics)
  • Social Sciences
  • Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, and other elective Sciences). 

Some states may have additiona. requirements, such as:

Although these are the typical subjects required by state, it is important to check your local area for any additional homeschool graduation requirements.

Building A Strong Transcript

One of the great things about homeschooling high school is the flexibility to customize your teen’s education. If your teen has a specific interest or career goal, you can build elective credits around that. This not only adds depth to their transcript but also shows their dedication and passion. 

For example, if your teen is interested in History, they can earn elective credits in specialized areas like World War II or European History. There is no limit to the number of credits your teen can earn as long as they are honestly earned. 

You can create a transcript that reflects their unique interests and accomplishments. Just make sure to keep a balanced approach and avoid overwhelming your teen with too many credits.

For college-bound teens, it’s also important to demonstrate a higher level of rigor on their transcript. This can be achieved through challenging coursework and advanced placement (AP) classes. 

It’s crucial to prepare your teen for the academic demands of college and show admissions officers that they are ready for the next level.

How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year?

Homeschooling high school allows you the flexibility to customize your teen’s education according to their goals and aspirations. When you understand the credit requirements for graduation, you can ensure your teen is well-prepared for their chosen path, whether it be entering the workforce or pursuing higher education. 

You’re not alone in this homeschooling adventure. We’re all in it together, and we’re here to support you every step of the way!

If you have any questions or need support, join the 7Sisters Homeschool Facebook group. It’s a wonderful community where you can connect with other homeschoolers and get valuable advice. 

Don’t forget to explore the resources available on our website, including free articles and downloadable curriculum. Our curriculum has been designed with input from teens themselves, ensuring a meaningful and engaging learning experience. We even offer special discounts for co-ops and reimbursement-friendly options for certain states.

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool & Humor for writing this blog post!

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Seven Ways to Earn High School Credits

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Seven Ways to Earn High School Credits.

Seven Ways to Earn High School Credit

Seven Ways to Earn High School Credits

Some parents who are homeschooling a high schooler may be wondering how in the world they can earn a high school credit? Is there just one way or are there other ways? Well, you may or may not know this, but there are in fact seven different ways to earn high school credits! Your child will be building a valuable transcript for their high school years before you know it.

7 Ways to Earn Credits In High School

Because there are seven different ways to earn credits in high school, that means there is not one “right” way to homeschool your high schooler and therefore not one right way to earn credits as well.

You can choose from a variety of different topics. For instance, you might have a textbook you would like to use for math, and then you might want to do independent study for history. These would count for your credits. 

You can use all these different, creative ways to earn credits for different subjects, for all kinds of learners, and to meet your family needs.

Textbook Credits

The classic way to earn credits for homeschool high schoolers is with a textbook. If you read the textbook description, it will usually tell you how much credit is earned when teens complete the work of that textbook. 

And usually with textbooks, there’s associated tests or assignments that they do. When they’ve completed all that work, they have either earned half a credit or a full credit.

Online Courses

Another way to do that is to do some online courses. There are two kinds of online courses:

  • Live online courses: If you have a subject you want your teens to learn from somebody else, this is a good way to do that. It also puts the responsibility for getting that information to your teens onto someone else. They can teach your teen in a way that might even be more understandable than you could do, or even more understandable than you’re interested in doing it (which is totally okay by the way!).
  • Self-Paced courses: One-off courses are also available where the courses are not live but instead are self-paced. Teens just simply go online and take the course on their own schedule in their own time. This is great for teens who like to study late in the veenings or want to knock out a chunk of school or credits really quickly.

You can find a few places online right now that have online course academies for teens! Places such as True North Homeschool Academy, Funda Funda Academy, and Dreaming Spires Home Education are just a few of them.

Also, our 7Sisters course, Psychology, is self-paced which is perfect to go on a high school transcript. But keep your eyes open for more!

College Classes

Another way to earn credits is with college classes. So very often local areas, like community colleges, will make teens wait until they are juniors or seniors. And sometimes teens can do online courses through a university a little bit younger than that.

Just check with the different schools around your area. If you get to something that you just don’t want to teach, or that your teens have outgrown the information you have available for them, then they may be ready to take a course college level. 

Independent Study

Another way to earn credits for our homeschool high schoolers is independent study. We very simply call that logging hours because it’s just so clear what teens are going to do. 

For example, let’s say you have a teenager who loves history. They just want to learn everything they can about a specific topic in history, like maybe the World Wars or the Colonial Era fashion. They can simply just study and learn everything they can from valid websites on the internet and library books and field trips and crafts and cooking, and just all kinds of online and in-person experiences. These make rich electives on the transcript.

And your teen will log the hours down. They will write down what they did on a certain day and how long they did it until they reach a Carnegie unit credit.

Side Note:

If you go to the Carnegie website, generally they’ll say it is 120 hours of instruction, but each state has adapted that to their own wish. Like in our area, a Carnegie credit for teens is 135 hours of education or instruction, which is about average. But some states need 180, so make sure you look at your state’s Department of Education site or check HSLDA. Both should tell you how many equals a credit, but you should aim for at least 120. 

The good thing about that is teens can earn a credit in anything that is meaningful to them. The tough thing is they have to remember to log that. Sometimes you may need to meet with them regularly and go over their progress by having them show you what they’re doing so that you’re sure they’re actually logging it down.

As the saying goes, if you didn’t write it down, it did not happen!

Here are some more tips from Carol Anne Swett in this Homeschool Highschool Podcast discussion about practical credits for reluctant learners.

Take Co-0p Classes

Another way to earn credits for high school is to take co-op classes or umbrella school classes. These are like live in-person classes, and they’re usually so much fun to do because:

  • They usually get a different teacher each class or term
  • They get to hang out with friends in person
  • They get local expertise

Your kids can learn about so many topics that you just don’t have the talent nor knowledge – nor energy – to teach about. For example, your kids can learn all about poetry or how to cook.

Generally, you know how much credit a teen is earning in a co-op class or an umbrella school class because it will be in the course description. If it’s not, you can ask and work with whoever the teacher is to clarify how much credit is being earned. Because you don’t want to shortchange your teen, but then you don’t want to exaggerate either.

Read Real Books

Another way to earn credits that is actually quite popular among the teens who love to read is…reading! Some of teens are bookworms and love to read. They will explore an area of particular interest by reading real books of historical novels, biographies, nonfiction, and so on. 

And as they read real books, they are accumulating hours of knowledge. Generally, teens will have them do a study guide, book summary or a reaction paper to show they had read it and interacted with the material in order to show they’ve learned from it. Because you don’t want them to passively read something. You want them to engage it and think about it and write it. You can have some kind of written interaction for them to do. 

And for a Carnegie Credit, usually around sixteen books will be pretty close to one Carnegie credit, but it varies. Also, if you have a monstrous book, you may count that as a couple of books, like an anthology book you could count as several books. 

Have teens keep a book list and their interaction papers or study guides that they have completed, so you could count those as a credit in that interest area.

Life Experiences

The final way to earn high school credits is through life experiences. Teens sometimes get opportunities to do a variety of things, like traveling or mission trips. These could easily count as an immersion experience because of seeing different cultures, hearing different languages if they are out of the country. This is experience and education that you can get in no other way!

When teens are having an immersive experience, you could count a week’s activity or a week’s travel as a quarter credit, so your teen could get a quarter credit for missions if they were headed for a Christian college. If they are headed to a secular college, a week would be a one-quarter credit called cross-cultural.

If your teen is going to do an apprenticeship, this experience looks incredibly valuable. Generally, teens will put a lot of hours in there, and it will really inflate what their transcript could look like. They might get two Carnegie units worth of hours done. 

Seven Ways to Earn High School Credits

As you can see, there are so many ways a teen could earn credits in high school. As a recap, they could earn from:

  1. Textbooks
  2. Online courses or self-paced, asynchronous courses
  3. College classes
  4. Co-op and umbrella school classes
  5. Independent study
  6. Reading real books
  7. Life experiences

Also, you  can combine credit styles to earn credits, check out this episode for details. Here is information on leveling up the credits to Honors.

And all of those go together to make a credit on their transcript. So sit down with your teen and discuss with them about how they can have a really awesome educational experience and a mighty transcript for their homeschool high school!

Thanks to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for transcribing this episode.

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Credits and Transcripts

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Lisa Nehring, demystifies high school Credits and Transcripts so that you can confidently move forward with homeschooling High School!Credits and Transcripts

True North Homeschool Academy Director Lisa Nehring, demystifies high school Credits and Transcripts so that you can confidently move forward with homeschooling High School!

Credits are based on Carnegie Units

High School credits are based on both time and rigor.

Career Exploration for Homeschool students blog post

Special Needs Homeschool Credits and Transcripts blog post

Career Exploration Summer Bootcamp

Career Exploration full year class

True North Homeschool Academy Academic Advising

Everything you need to know about Credits, Transcripts and Testing with usable worksheets: Survive Homeschooling High school E-book,

FREE Log Sheets to track PE, Music, Community Service and Work Experience

How to get started with Homeschooling? FB short

Getting Started Homeschooling with FREE printables

FREE 5 Tips for Homeschooling through High School

 

Check out our most popular podcast series

Communication:

 

Authentic Values Series

JOIN our online community with others headed True North!

Hear Lisa speak in person at the Great Homeschool Conventions in SC, OH and TX! She’ll be talking about the Future Proof Your Kids Towards Success and Credits, Transcripts and Tests, Oh My!

Marketable Skills Classes at True North 

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Create Powerful Homeschool Transcripts by Combining Credits

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Powerful Homeschool Transcripts by Combining Credits.

Create Powerful Homeschool Transcripts by Combining Credits. Use integrated-learning style combined credits to build a college-attractive transcript.

Create Powerful Homeschool Transcripts by Combining Credits

One of the ways to build a college-attractive transcript is to develop credits that have what college admissions officers call “sparkle” or “pop”. These are credits that show that your homeschool high schooler has worked on exploring interests and developing talents.

We at 7Sisters help our teens develop some sparkle on their homeschool transcripts by combining credits. (You might call it “integrated learning” or even high-school level unit studies.) Join Vicki today as she give an example of some ways one of her homeschool high schoolers combined credits for a powerful transcript.

Vicki’s youngest son, Seth, has graduated from high school now, but when he was a teen, he was part of his church’s worship team. He played guitar, sang and sometimes, led worship. As adolescents will do, he asked probing questions like:

  • Why do we sing the kinds of songs we sing at our non-denominational church?
  • Why do some churches have different kinds of music? Some have hymns with organ and piano. Some sing a cappella hymns…or chants.
  • What’s the right kind of music?
  • How did we get to this kind of music?

Asking questions is a developmentally appropriate part of adolescents (have your teen take a Human Development course to understand this). So we leaned into his questions by spending several years exploring:

  • His Christian faith
  • The history of Christian music
  • The theory and skills of music

We integrated many of Seth’s high school courses around his Christian Music questions (since these questions defined his interests).

There's not just ONE way to create meaningful credits for a powerful transcript.

We have done this concept of combining credits (or integrated learning) in our other classes.

For instance, I had a goal of developing thinking skills in my homeschool high schoolers, so wanted them to learn Philosophy.

A simple Life Skills elective by combining credits that several of my homeschool high schoolers completed:

Check these other ways we have combined credits with our homeschool high schoolers.

BTW- How did it all turn out? Seth is a college graduate now, works as an elementary school’s music teacher and leads worship at his church.

Join Vicki for an informative episode on Combining Credits. And while you are at it, 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group is a great place to join and ask questions. SO would you join us there, too?

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Powerful Homeschool Transcripts by Combining Credits