It doesn’t seem like there could be anything “basic” about homeschooling high school, right? Nightmares about calculus and college essays threaten to overshadow fantasies of interest-led learning and early entrepreneurship. What classes should they take? Can I teach them? Do I have to? What about transcripts?! Before you let yourself get overwhelmed, start with a good foundation of the basics you need to know, and you’ll have no trouble sailing through the secondary years!
The Homeschooling High School in NC FAQ
If you have questions about homeschooling through high school, rest assured that you are not alone. Besides how to register and start homeschooling in the first place, questions about high school are the most frequently asked in local forums and support groups. This article addresses the most frequent questions and misconceptions people have about secondary home education.
1) What classes does my child need to graduate?
The short answer is none. But that’s only part of the story. The State of North Carolina does not set any particular requirements for a homeschooled high schooler to graduate. There is no specific number of credits, or particular science topics, or any such standards that need to be met or completed before a diploma is issued. You, as the homeschool administrator, determine what education your student should have that would qualify as having completed high school.
Now, of course, it serves no one, least of all your child, to say, “well, then, I guess we don’t really need to do anything. Here’s your diploma.” You are homeschooling to provide an education; just how you do that and what that entails should take into consideration your homeschooling goals and your child’s future plans.
1a) Does my child need to take calculus in high school?
That’s up to you, and probably the colleges they are considering IF they’re considering college at all. They may not even need to take much math beyond the basics of algebra if they will head straight from high school into a career.
1b) My child is a blogger and does a lot of writing. Can I count this as English credits?
That’s up to you. If they are planning on furthering their education, what kind of writing will they be expected to do? Will blogging prepare them for that? If yes, then I think you’ve got an English class for their transcript.
1c) What electives should my high schooler take?
That’s up to you. And your child. One of the best things about homeschooling through high school is that all of a student’s time can be utilized toward pursuing curiosity and passions. There is no elective your school can’t offer! Your local library, the community college, the internet, and countless other sources are at your disposal.
Driver’s Ed is a great half-credit high school elective!
I’m sure you see the pattern here.
As a homeschooler in North Carolina (this can be very different in other states, so please check your local regulations if you are not in NC), you have a great deal of hard-won freedom. I hope you are able to take advantage of it so that your students can have fulfilling and meaningful secondary years!
2) How many hours of work go into a high school credit?
Say it with me now: that’s up to you.
Actually, in this case, there are some guidelines. But remember, NC does not specify how many credits your high schooler even needs to graduate.
The generally accepted standard is 120-130 hours of work for a class, 150-180 hours for a class with a lab.
That said, there are different philosophies about what makes a class complete, and here’s my take on what it boils down to. If your child is taking a class to check a box on their transcript and they aren’t working to prepare particularly for the next level, then let them work at their pace, and get what they can out of it in the recommended number of hours. This is pretty much what is happening in most American high school classrooms. It gives an appropriate level of exposure to a topic but doesn’t seek mastery.
On the other hand, if there is a particular ambition to be pursued, it may only take a driven student with aptitude 60 or 80 hours spent on a topic to master the same amount of material that is covered in a year of public high school. Count that as a credit, and then count any further work as additional credit, or be sure to label the class as “Advanced” (but not AP because that is a trademarked class identification used by the College Board and carries specific requirements). Or if your student is done with that topic and wants to pursue classes more relevant to their interests, why waste their time just to check of a particular number of hours?
3) Will my homeschool student be able to get into college?
Ah, now, here’s a reason why what you do with the high school years might need to look a little more similar to what the schools around you are doing.
Colleges are definitely more accepting of homeschoolers now than in the past. In fact, they sometimes seek out homeschoolers, who are known for being self-motivated and better at time management than their peers.
The best advice is to plan ahead. Look at colleges and programs your student might consider and find their admissions requirements. Even if your 7th grader has no idea what field of study they may want to pursue, you can still map out a plan for the general education requirements that you will see many schools have in common.
For example, if you are a North Carolinian, the UNC system of schools has a page for homeschooled applicants entitled “A Great Education Starts At Home.” Now isn’t that encouraging?! They are also very forthcoming about their expectations for minimum course requirements.
Once you have a general idea of a roadmap for high school, head on over to the North Carolina Community College Career and College Promise page to learn about Dual-Enrollment, which gives your student a chance to take courses that will count toward their high school AND college transcripts for $0 tuition.
This is also a great way to tackle those tricky classes that you’re just not sure you can teach on your own, like Anatomy with a Lab (eeeeew!) or Calculus. You can also look for those classes in co-ops and online!
Homeschooling for College Credit is worth its weight in gold. Learn more about opportunities beyond Career & College Promise for acquiring college credit at a fraction of the cost.
4) Will my high schooler miss out on fun high school experiences?
They absolutely don’t have to! From sports to proms, and debate club to yearbooks, there are opportunities out there in the homeschool community for all of these things! I guarantee that your high schooler can have great memories of their teen years at home.
5) Who will make my child’s transcript and where will they get a diploma?
That’s up to you.
Ha! Just kidding this time. Sort of. Actually, you are responsible for the transcript and diploma. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association is a good place to start for some help in this area. So is Google, of course. Just don’t click on one of the links that say you can buy a “fake diploma and transcript” for the low, low price of $49. Yes, they’re really out there, and no, that doesn’t count.
If you do some online classes or correspondence learning, the curriculum provider may keep grades and make a starter transcript for you. Be sure to check that out for any classes you outsource because it can be a big help!
Here are some additional resources for transcripts and diplomas:
- Demystifying the Homeschool High School Transcript (from Annie and Everything)
- Creating a Quality High School Transcript for Homeschoolers (from Life of a Homeschool Mom)
- A beautiful custom Diploma from Academic Excellence
What other questions do you have about homeschooling high school? Let me know in the comments!
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