How do your homeschool high schoolers earn those credits for their transcripts?
Homeschool High School Transcript: How to Earn Credits
One of the big changes when homeschoolers graduate from middle school to homeschool high school is the pressure of earning credits. In order to have a valid transcript, credits must be earned honestly and clearly.
Generally, high school credits are assigned in Carnegie Units. A Carnegie Unit is defined as *120 hours of study in one subject*. (You can check the Carnegie Foundation’s website for more info on this.)
While it may feel like pressure and bothersome to have to do all the record keeping to track credits, we have some good news for you:
Actually, high school credits are useful.
They the way of proving that your homeschooler has met educational requirements for a subject.
However, although the original Carnegie unit was 120 hours, these days many states have extended the numbers of hours needed to earn a credit. Some states require up to 180 hours per credit.
Many homeschoolers also join a supervising organization, which uses and sometimes exceeds state guid
Each state has a different requirement for number of hours per credit. To clarify the hours needed for your state, we encourage you to check Homeschool Legal Defense Association (we are not affiliates). On the other hand, you can just be safe and aim for 180 hours of education per subject.
Each Carnegie Credit can be earned in various ways.
There are several basic ways to earn high school credits for the homeschool transcript. Remember, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school…or to earn credits.
Here are a few ways to earn credits for the homeschool transcript.
1) Study with a curriculum.
Most high school college-prep texts will require about 120-150 hours of study to properly complete for a full-credit course, or 60-75 hours for a half-credit course. You generally do not need to log hours if you are completing a textbook.
BTW- 7SistersHomeschool texts follow these guidelines with the additional benefit of instructions on how to complete the requirement at various levels (from average high school to rigorous honors) which gives the homeschool transcript power.
2) Log 120-180 hours of educational experiences.
Educational experiences can include:
- field trips
- research and writing
- instructional videos or documentaries
- group projects
- public speaking experiences
- memorization (check out this cool freebie that helps teens memorize important American documents)
3) Reading of real books on one topic of interest.
Real books include:
- historical fiction
- poetry (7Sisters has an American Poetry: Reading and Writing curriculum that teens tell us they love)
We have found that often 16 books with study guides or written summaries will fill the required hours for an average high school freshman. Here’s a post with more details.
4) One semester college course.
Colleges assign credits in a different format. Usually a one-semester course at a college is three credits to the college, but it equals one Carnegie Unit for the high school transcript.
Here is a post with some pros and cons of earning high school credit by taking college courses. It is worth the read, as well as this Homeschool Highschool Podcast post on making the most of college classes.
5) Online courses or local classes.
Lots of homeschool groups offer local classes or online courses. These are usually based on Carnegie Units, but it is good to ask.
Check out this post that explains asynchronous learning versus synchronous learning in online courses for homeschool high schoolers.
Homeschool High School Transcript: How to Earn Credits: SOME IMPORTANT NOTES:
1) Many states and colleges these days are looking for more hours of instruction in each credit assigned. It is a better rule of thumb to aim for 135-180 for each unit of study. Check Home School Legal Defense Association’s website for information.
2) Many states and colleges are looking for an additional 30 hours of lab (hands-on) work in most science courses.
3) English/Language Arts is considered by many colleges to need much more than 135 hours of study. ELA should include: reading literature textbooks OR real books, writing assignments (of numerous varieties, especially large research papers), grammar, vocabulary, public speaking. 7Sisters has tackled this requirement for you in our Literature and Composition texts in a NO-busywork, don’t-kill-the-love-of-learning format.
4) Paper Trails: Your job as homeschool parent is to keep paper trails of your student’s work on each credit. This includes tests, papers, log sheets, college transcripts, and course grades. It is wise to keep a master portfolio of your homeschool high schoolers’ work.
This might seem intimidating, but it is the game to play to get a solid, honest transcript. Once you get used to it, the game is actually fun. For some encouragement, download Homeschool High School: You Can Do It!
Also, take our free mini-course for parents on homeschooling high school.