How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year?

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How Many Credits Do You Need Each Year? This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

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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Vicki Tillman

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

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