There are different ways to earn high school credit when you are legally homeschooling. These ways don't overlap - you can't give four credits because four of the following criteria apply, or two credits because two criteria apply. Only one of these must apply to give a credit: one criteria met = one credit. Read below ~ I'll explain the criteria!
Remember: one and done. If the course meets one of the criteria, it gets one credit. If the course meets MORE than one criteria, it still only gets ONE credit.
1. Credit based on high school level work at any age:
This is where you consider your textbook or curriculum to help you determine credit. One high school level textbook is one credit. One semester book is 1/2 credit. The textbook or curriculum description will let you know that it's high school level. Common examples include math (Algebra 1 and higher), science (high school biology textbook or greater), and foreign language (using a high school level curriculum).
2. Credit based on hours worked at high school age:
This is where you count or estimate hours because a textbook or curriculum wasn't used, or you mixed and matched materials. A credit is 120-180 hours, or 5 hours per week most of the school year. A half credit or semester class is 60-90 hours, or 2-3 hours of work per week most of the school year.
3. Credit based on completed curriculum:
One whole credit is one high school textbook. One half credit is a textbook that says it's for a semester. When using a curriculum, your student only needs to complete 80% to call it "done" and earn a high school credit for that course.
4. Credit based on college level work at any age:
This means your child successfully completed college level work, such as passing AP® or CLEP® exams, taking community college classes, or taking dual enrollment classes at the university level. In general, I do not recommend weighting grades. However, college class credits are different than high school class credits. They are measured differently, like meters and yards are measured differently. A general rule of thumb is that one whole college class equals one whole high school credit, even though it only takes a semester to complete. A simple formula might be these: 3, 4, 5, or 6 credit hour college classes = 1 high school credit. And 1, 2, or 3 credit hour college classes = 1/2 high school credit. I have seen 3 credit hour classes used both ways, so I put it in both formulas.
5. Credit based on demonstrated expertise:
This can be the most challenging way to determine credit. If an expert tells you that your child is excelling, take it into consideration. This might mean they have a mentor or college professor friend, or they have been published in a journal or competition.
Know that you CAN determine course credits with confidence, even if your child chooses to earn high school credit through a non-traditional route for a particular course. My criteria above will help you. If you have legal questions about earning credits, be sure to consult your state homeschool laws HERE. Happy transcripting!
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