Homeschool parents can be such worriers! We always struggle to find a balance in our home, our homeschool, and our life. High school is no different. We still struggle to find a balance. It’s particularly challenging to find the balance in counting high school credits. Do we have enough structure in our homeschool? Not enough? Are my grades too lenient? Too strict? And what about homeschool credits in high school? Some parents wonder about homeschool credits, and whether their child will have enough to graduate, while others are embarrassed by the large number their child has accumulated. How many credits are normal? How much is normal? Let’s take a look at the possibilities.
Not Enough Credits
If you think your child doesn’t have enough high school credits, examine your expectations. Are you sure they don’t have enough? Most public and private schools allow 5-7 classes each year for their students. Six is pretty standard. Perhaps you think that your child should be earning too many credits per year, when in fact they are meeting, or even exceeding expectations.
If you think your child doesn’t have enough credits, examine your definition of a credit.
Are you expecting high school credit is only determined by curriculum? Homeschool parents can award a child credit for courses that don’t use a formal curriculum. Natural learning happens in many areas, such as when your child learns the piano, or learns to ski, or competes in speech club. Even with natural learning, those kinds of activities can and should be included on their transcript. Sometimes when people think their child doesn’t have enough credits, it’s because they have forgotten to include the natural or delight directed learning their child loves.
Of course, some students really are short in credits. If this is the case for your student, check high school graduation and college admission requirements. Remember that students should meet those requirements, but don’t need to exceed them. I encourage parents to meet college admission requirements so their child has the freedom to choose any path in the future. A lack of motivation in high school can suddenly change, becoming a passion for higher learning. Don’t laugh! I’ve seen it happen! So check with a few of the colleges they are interested in, and find out what they require. If your student still doesn’t have enough to get into college, they could do an additional year of high school to compensate, or study over the summer to fill in the gaps they are missing.
Too Many Credits
On the other end of the spectrum are students who have an overabundance of
credits. What happens then? A typical college prep transcript will include between 20 and 24 high school credits, but it’s not wrong to have 35-45. It’s unusual, but not unbelievable. If your student has in the upper 30’s or 40’s, it might be helpful to review their transcript. If you have included courses that are not particularly academic in nature, consider removing them from the transcript. If your student has tons of credits, perhaps you may choose not to include their Driver’s Education, or Home Economics, for example. You could also remove some of the half credit courses, since they often are not requirements for college.
There are some colleges that limit the number of credits they will accept on a high school transcript. This typically only applies to college credits (dual enrollment), and might impact your student’s entry as a freshman. This doesn’t mean that you can’t include 25 high school credits on your student’s transcript; only college credits are usually limited. If this might apply to you, consult with the colleges to learn their policies. You don’t want to limit your child’s access to freshman scholarships, unless you think their extra college credits will result in early college graduation, which might balance everything out!
There are other things that might be impacted by a large amount of college credits as well, such as access to freshman housing, or a requirement to declare a major. If you enter college as a junior because you have so many college credits, some schools may require you to declare a major, which can be pretty overwhelming for an 18-year old on their first day of school. Some students could handle that, but most would need a little more time to make important decisions like that. The key here is to get all the information you can, so you can make well-informed decisions.
Honest and True
The bottom line is simple. Be honest and true on your transcript. Be knowledgeable about high school credits, and understand how much flexibility you have. And then honestly record what you know to be true. Whether too many credits, or too few credits, being honest about your homeschool is the right decision. If your child has too many credits, or too few, it can be explained if necessary.
Figuring out high school credits is just one of the MANY critical concerns for successful college admission and scholarships! Make sure you learn all the OTHER important tips and keys to success from my new book, “The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships,” available on Amazon today!
evelyn krieger says