Monday, January 20, 2014

Homeschool Essentials For Graduating - Required Coursework and Credits

Homeschool Essentials for Graduating - Required Coursework and Credits on Homeschool Coffee Break @

There are some things that you simply have to learn before graduating high school, no matter where you receive your education. While details and number of credits vary, the academic requirements are the part that most of us agree on and are prescribed by state or local education standards. By the time a student finishes high school, they should have a number of other skills and abilities that may not be as neatly covered in a textbook, but may well be essential to their success. One great advantage to homeschooling is that 'book-learning' and real life learning often go side-by-side. This series - 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials: For Graduating - highlights some of the things that I deem essential for my students before they graduate from my homeschool. 

First up, the most obvious essential for graduating - completing the required courses and number of credits.This is on my mind right now, as first semester just ended so I have been working on grades and report cards!

Required Coursework and Credits
The specific requirements for graduation from high school are slightly different depending on the school district or state requirements; and some homeschool oversight groups have specific requirements as well. At present, my group's minimum requirements look something like this:
Bible - 2 credits
English - 4 credits
Social Studies - 3 credits
Math - 3 credits
Science - 2 credits
Phys.Ed. - 1 credit
Technology - 1 credit
Fine Arts - 1 credit
Electives - 6 credits
Total - 23 credits

English must include both literature study and creative writing. Personally, I am not too fussy on whether my students can do a detailed sentence diagram, but I think it's essential that they can express themselves intelligently in writing. At least one of the Social Studies credits must be US History. And my personal requirement is that they learn some Canadian history as well, so I make sure that it's included somewhere during the middle school or high school years. One of the Math credits must be Algebra 1. My rule is that no one graduates from my home school without passing a full credit Consumer Math course - we use a nice basic one that teaches things like amortized loans, compound interest, wages and benefits, and simple accounting. One of the Science credits must be Biology. I believe it's essential that science is taught from a Bible-based creationism viewpoint, although I do want my students to learn about evolutionary theory so they're prepared for what they may encounter if they take science courses at college.

It's always a good idea to check with the colleges a student is considering to find out what they expect to see on a transcript, and plan a high school course of study accordingly. 

So far we haven't encountered difficulties with meeting the requirements for college entrance. My first graduate went to a broadcasting school and our transcript was accepted without any problem. My second graduate isn't attending college yet, so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Landon is next in line to graduate, and is a freshman this year. We think he'll probably go to the community college and take some business courses, and there's a good possibility that he'll take some courses as a dual-enrolled student in his junior/senior years, so we'll find out what might be required then.

Perhaps it's not as easy to quantify or show on a transcript, but I think it's essential for students to be familiar with the Bible as literature - to have some familiarity with great literature, even if they aren't excited about reading - to be exposed to quality music and art, even if they aren't particularly musical or artistic themselves - to have some working knowledge about world cultures and geography - and to have some historical and cultural context to help them understand current events at home and abroad.

Related posts from my archives:
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due (some practical help on determining credits earned in coursework without a traditional textbook) and I Love It When A Plan Comes Together (planning a high school course of study and other lesson planning tips)

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials
Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew are writing about Homeschooling Essentials this week as well. Visit the Crew Blog for links to all 89 participating blogs and see what they consider essential for homeschooling. Don't have time to visit all of them? Try this sampling from the entire group - you'll still get a variety of ideas on what's essential, and there's something here for everyone, whether you're a homeschooling veteran or just thinking about getting started.

Lisa @ A Rup Life (Lisa is sponsoring an iPad Mini Giveaway - visit her blog to enter!)
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog (Crystal is another sponsor for the iPad Mini Giveaway - visit her blog to enter and see what tools her family considers essential for homeschooling!)
Jordyn @ Almost Supermom (Jordyn is another sponsor for the iPad Mini Giveaway - visit her blog to enter!)
Jenn @ Teaching Two Stinkers (Jenn's list of homeschool essentials is inspired by Frog and Toad)
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy
Brandi @ Brandi Raae
Wendy @ Simplicity Breeds Happiness
Jodi @ Insane in the Mombrain
Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles

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A Rup Life said...

Great post! I'm going to come back and read the two additional post you linked to. I have an 8th grader so we are just about to jump into the high school stuff!

Jenn@Teaching Two Stinkers said...

Oh My Gosh! High school sounds very overwhelming! I'm so glad I've got some time to prepare for all of that! Thank you for the insight :)

Kym said...

It can seem overwhelming, but it's really not. Especially when you have the benefit of easing into it through the middle school years. :-)

Lynn said...

what a great post about graduating. I just graduated my first child (homeschool) last May 2013. I agree that paying attention to credits in regards to college entrance are important. My daughter had no issues w/ her homeschool transcript when entering college this past fall 2013 receiving a degree in Graphic Design.. Looking forward to reading your posts this week..

Brandi said...

Thanks for the info as this is my first year to have a child in high school! It's always so encouraging to hear that other homeschool graduates are thriving in college and in the world. :)

Brandi said...

Thanks for the info as this is my first year to have a child in high school! It's always so encouraging to hear that other homeschool graduates are thriving in college and in the world. :)

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