Homeschool High School Transcript: How to Earn Credits

How do your homeschool high schoolers earn those credits for their transcripts?

Homeschool High School Transcript: How to Earn Credits

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* (see the Important Note below). You can check the Carnegie Foundation’s website for more info on this.

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Homeschool High School Transcript: How to Earn Credits: Each Carnegie Unit/Credit can be earned in various ways.

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 don’t need to log hours if you are completing a textbook. 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.

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2) Log 120 hours of experiences.  Educational experiences can include field trips, research and writing, instructional dvd’s. This is a good choice for classes like physical education and fine arts or courses that combine credits.

3) Reading of real books on one topic of interest. Real books include biographies, nonfiction, historical fiction, and poetry. 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 3 credits to the college, but it equals 1 Carnegie Unit.

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.

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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!


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Homeschool High School Transcript: How to Earn Credits

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

12 Replies to “Homeschool High School Transcript: How to Earn Credits”

  1. My daughter is a horse rider. Spends hours at the barn working, she works 2 days a week at a market(Livestock) unloading animals, tagging cows ect… She already has an Agriculture Science credit but how can I make this experience of hers into a credit. (She still needs a fine arts credit but I don’t think this will count for that will it?) ( she also needs 1 more Science with lab credit) She wants to go to school for Agriculture. We live in Florida and she has been doing FLVS but we are switching to homeschool to finish up 11/12th grade courses. I am going off the standard HS requirements but not sure if Homeschool is different. We are shooting for 18 credits. Is this homeschool transcript requires. 4 English, 4 Math, 3 Science(2 with labs), 3 Social Studies and 4 electives? If she can graduate with less credits I would like to know. I read somewhere homeschool is 16? But im confused and just want to make sure im doing everything right. Thank you!

  2. My daughter has been chronically ill dealing with not congenital disorder but also multiple diagnosis since she was born. We went from Montessori pre-school, pre-k to public a school to fundamental grade school to middle school then missing school to partial home bound with a tutor, full-time home bound online to full time & partial homebound with a tutor and finally part time FLVS, all online and then now choosing home schooling. We were dropped every time she got behind or got sick, they did not recognize her 504, no support from our assigned counselor and no county support. The only person who has reached out gas all elementary in a Christian co-op in another town. I am very frustrated because my daughter has a learning style which does not work with online, so I feel like I need a program that offers us support, written materials, a way to track (software), resources of all types and we feel like an in person tutor would be the best. We do live in Florida. Ty

    • Hi Laura,

      You and your daughter have had a tough time! If she is heading into high school now, you can get how-to’s for developing your own program in our Homeschool Highschool: You Can Do It! self-paced online course for parents.

      Since you are in Floria, you would benefit from the MANY resources there. FPHE is a large, active group and has a terrific podcast. If you connect with them, I’m sure you will find some good resources to help.

      Also, Homeschool Legal Defense Association has a special needs branch that you can connect with. It is an excellent resource.

      You can also look into coaching. A number of us homeschoolers do that (we have coaches at 7Sister, Betsy Sponger coaches). If you google homeschool coaches, you’ll find some good ones.

      Will be praying for you and your daughter.

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