Before you begin home schooling your ninth grader, you and your child should sit down and plan out, in general, what you will cover over the next four years. If you have already begun high school, making this plan should be a priority. In the state of Washington, an independent home schooling family must complete courses that approximate the courses that the public school students in their school district must complete before graduation. If you are home schooling through a private extension program, you are responsible to fulfill the graduation requirements of that private school. Other states will have other guidelines, but they should be similar. Be sure and learn about those guidelines from your statewide home school organization. They often have that information on their website.
Most states would have similar graduation requirements. This can also vary depending on what the student plans to do after graduation. First, find out your state’s the minimum requirements for graduation. Second, find out what students planning on attending community college should do. Finally, find out the requirements for students who plan to begin at a four-year college.
Another variable is how credits are counted. Traditionally, a one-credit class in high school meets for 50 minutes for 180 days. These credits count 150 clock hours as one credit which is the equivalent of 50 minutes times 180. Schools have diversified this standard, so be sure you know how they will be counted in your state or school district. For the purpose of this article we will assume one credit as 150 clock hours. College-bound students should earn approximately six credits each of the four years of high school, or three each semester. Most classes are one credit, but some are one-half.
Generally, students are required to earn 3-4 credits (or years) of English and Math. History or related classes comprise 2.5 – 3 years, including State History (if not studied in Junior High or Middle School), American History, and World History (and/or geography, government, economics). Lab Science and math-based science is essential for those going into a related area in college. Students need two-three years of science. Other requirements or electives include physical education, health, occupations, world languages, and fine arts.
Other important considerations include:
- “What does the student plan on doing beyond high school?”
- If going to college, “What does the college requirements for admittance?”
- Whether going to college or not, “What job skills can the student learn to gain job experience and a means to help pay for college expenses?
Home school families may get help on these steps with variations of these two:
1. Find a consultant that will help you in your initial planning and anytime you need help.
2. Find a private school extension program to plan with you and provide a constant guidance and possibly accredited diplomas.
For general information, including your state laws, statewide home school organizations and resources visit: http://www.hslda.org
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