20 January 2013

High School Credit Planning For Homeschoolers

Whew, this last week I've been looking more into planing for Sania's high school years. Basically what I'm finding is that it's a real headache just planning for it. As a homeschooler, her possibilities for earning credits are endless. However, I've found different colleges actually require different numbers of credits and may have slight differences in the basic classes they may or may not require. One site suggested checking with possible colleges your child plans on attending before planning out high school course work.

When I start a conversation with Nia about high school, her eyes kind of glaze over. She is clearly uninterested. Who can blame her, if she were in public school, Sania would be a 7th grader this year. Being homeschooled, she is working on 3 high school level classes right now. She is interested in her future, but like any 13 year old, right now she is more interested in right now. If I were to try and get her to figure out her top college choices, I think she would have me taken straight to the looney bin. 

So how do we plan for the future. Obviously, I'm not going to ask my 13 year old to make any concrete plans on the mater. I was 30-ish before I actually knew what I wanted to do with my life. There are several basic credits you can plan on your son or daughter needing. Then electives should be based on things they are interested in or if they do have a planned college major or a few they are thinking about, plan electives around these. Nia recently picked out a few possible career choices (you can read about that in a post here), and we are looking at electives that will help her decide if she is really interested in these choices. Here is a bit of break down on what high school credits are generally needed.

Math - 3 to 4 credits, Most colleges require Algebra 1 and Geometry.

English - 4 credits

Science - 3 credits - Some colleges ask that all 3 have labs, others require only 1 lab.

Social Studies - 2 to 4 - US and World history are generally required, some colleges also require a credit in government.

Foreign Language - 2 to 4 -  Most colleges require 2, some require 4, and there are a few colleges that do not require any foreign language credits.

Physical Education - 1 to 2, some colleges may require this to be broken into health and p.e. components.

Fine Arts - 1 - This may or may not be required.

Electives - Enough electives should be included so that the student has a total of 21 to 25 credits.

Ok, now that I've gone over all the things your kid needs to qualify as a high school education, I'll go over what exactly it is that qualifies work as a high school credit. High school credit can be counted in 1/2 credit or 1 credit increments. If your child is working out of a High School level book, then, obviously in earns a high school credit. If your teen is working through book that would equal 1 credit in public school or one designed similarly for homeschoolers, then finishing that book earns them 1 high school credit. If you are not using a traditional curriculum then you can count up hours. This can be done either by literally counting up the hours or looking at hours per week.

1 Credit = between 120 and 180 hours = 3 to 5 hours per week for an average school year

1/2 Credit = between 75 to 90 hours = 1 to 3 hours per week for an average school year
The above information was gathered from eHow, The Princeton Review, and from a webinar  done by Lee Binz. You can find Lee Binz's blog here.

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