Thanks for joining me in this 5 day series dedicated to homeschooling high school.
Yesterday, I wrote about how I know you can actually do this and today we are going to start planning. High school is not something you can do by the seat of your pants. I have to plan and you have to plan ahead. Now is the time to at least get an idea of what you want the next four years to look like. Note: I do know that now there are some high school credits that start prior to ninth grade but I’m old school and still consider high school to be ninth through twelfth.
State Requirements for Graduation
First, you have to find out what your state requires for graduation. Home School Legal Defense Association has a map with state requirements on their website. Each state should also have a statewide organization that will list the graduation requirements. And as my number one choice – when in doubt,Google it!! Something else to keep in mind – be sure to check the requirements for any state you might be moving to if moves are in your near future, check out several colleges to see what their requirements might be. Each state is different but I will share my experience with you.
We live in Florida and I homeschool through an umbrella school. I’ve graduated two so far through them with no problems. Then comes my oldest son. It’s his senior year. And he wants to shake things up a bit. The church we attend has its own private Christian school. Connor wants to go on the senior trip and do the whole graduation ceremony with all of his friends. But he still wants to be homeschooled. Luckily, they have a home-based option so basically for him, I’m just changing the umbrella school. However, the graduation requirements are different. Thank goodness, we haven’t skimped any during the previous years and he will still end up graduating with more credits than necessary. But there was definitely the possibility for disaster there. And I did have to change up one of the classes we were going to do.
I really hesitate sharing specifics because you must check the requirements for your own state. However, this is what my son that is a senior will have completed by graduation:
English: 4 credits
Math: 4 credits (check your state to see what levels are required!!)
Science: 3 credits (again, check your state, science with lab is usually required)
History: 1 credit in US History, 1 credit in World History, .5 credit US Government, .5 credit Economics
Geography: 1 credit World Geography (I felt like he should get 1 credit in this because we did a year long study and did more in depth in the cultures), .5 credit in US Geography
Personal Finance: .5 credit (this was a requirement for our umbrella school…maybe for FL too)
PE: 1 credit was required but he will have completed a total of 3.5
Health: .5 credit
Electives: Because of the differences between what is required by FL state and what was required by our umbrella, some “required” courses by one is now considered an elective and some that we did as electives are now fulfilling another requirement. Some of his additional courses are: Bible, Driver’s Ed, Flight School, Computer Programming, Art Appreciation, Work Experience, Introduction to Micro-Business, Multimedia Applications. (He also did a online course for Civics that I didn’t even include and I am thinking of adding Speech and Communications.)
Make a Plan
What I recommend doing, is making a chart in Word (or Google Docs). Simply put the years across the top and the subjects requirements down the first column. Pencil in what you would like to accomplish. This is your plan. It’s not written in stone and as new talents and interests are discovered, feel free to change a few things.
Your plan will look different depending on your student’s goals. Is he planning on going to an university or a community college? What about a vocational/tech school? Start his own business? Did you notice I did not include foreign language in my son’s transcript? He did study some languages but I did not feel that he became fluent enough in any to really count it as a credit and he wanted to do them more for fun. However, if he was planning on going to an university, I would have made sure he had two foreign language credits.
If you are struggling to find courses, do a Google search for “(your state) High School Course Codes”. Here is the site for Florida’s. Just click on the link you need and you will find courses that are offered in public high schools. It will give you an idea of what electives can be chosen. As a homeschooler, you are not limited to those choices though. You can design your school to your student’s interests but looking through those codes can be a springboard for your own brainstorming session with your teen.