Homeschool parents can be worriers, "Do I have enough structure in my homeschool? Not enough? Are my grades too lenient? Too strict?" In addition to a long list of other potential worries, 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 accrued. How many 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, the first thing to do is examine your expectations. Are you sure they don’t have enough? Most public and private schools offer 5-7 classes a year. Six is fairly standard.
Don’t forget that you can award your child credit for courses without a formal curriculum. Natural learning happens in many areas, such as when your child learns to play piano, or to ski, or competes in speech club, and these should be included on their transcript. Sometimes when people think their child doesn’t have enough credits, it’s because they haven’t included the natural or delight directed learning their child has engaged in.
Of course, some students really are short credits. If this is the case for your student, remember that they only need to meet college admission requirements. Check with a few of the colleges your child is interested in and find out what they require. If your student doesn’t have enough to get into college, they can take an additional year of high school to compensate, or study over the summer to fill in any gaps.
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 includes between 20-24 high school credits but it’s not wrong to include 35-45. It’s unusual, but not unbelievable. If your student accumulates credits in the upper 30s or 40s, it might be helpful to review their transcript. You may want to remove courses that are not particularly academic in nature. If your student has tons of credits, perhaps you can remove their driver's education or home economics courses. You could also remove some half credit courses, since they are often not requirements for college.
If your child still has too many credits, consider combining some activities. For example, if you have included a half credit in hula dancing, perhaps you could incorporate it into another dance credit. Even if a student has taken 15 different kinds of dance, include hula dance in the credit and note in the course description that it included hula.
Some colleges limit the number of credits they accept on a high school transcript. This typically only applies to college credits (dual enrollment), and might have an impact on your student’s entry as a freshman. This doesn’t mean you can’t include 25 high school credits on your student’s transcript because usually only college credits are limited. If this might apply to your child, consult with 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!
Other factors may have an impact on a large amount of college credits, such as access to freshman housing or the requirement to declare a major. If your child enters college as a junior because they have so many college credits, some schools may require they declare a major, which can be overwhelming for an 18-year old on their first day of school. Some students could handle this, but most would need a little more time to make important decisions. The key here is to gather all the information you can, so you can make well-informed decisions.