You put in love and time educating your children at home year after year with that goal in mind: Graduation! Mike and I had to ask the question, “What does graduation mean to us as a family?” When we turned the tassel and handed over the diploma–what was that all about? What accomplishments and requirements should be completed? How would we educate our children so that degree meant something?
After prayer and discussion, we came up with our own graduation requirements for our family’s home school. We are not limited by what the state requires and you don’t have to be either. Ask God for wisdom of your own family’s requirements for graduation. In our house, our requirements for high school graduation are harder than the state’s.
I’m sharing what Mike and I require for our children to graduate from our family homeschool high school. Please realize that every family is different. What is important to your family?
Some of these courses will be one credit courses; others will be half credit courses. Remember that you can count some classes from eighth grade!
There are things we want our children to have investigated and explored before we hand over the diploma and turn the tassel.
There are things that we want our children to study. They can be done in eighth grade or high school; or even seventh grade, if they really learn it well. Our goal isn’t to load our kids down with tons of knowledge, but to introduce them to the knowledge, wisdom, and skills they will need for life.
Subject by Subject
In Bible, we want our children to read the Old and New Testament before they graduate so they have a personal overview of the Bible and learn to use simple Bible study tools. They just read and complete simple assignments. Our teens explore worldviews, apologetics, church history, and the Great Commission. Sometimes it was separate courses; other times combined or added into other classes.
In History, we want them to explore American history, ancient world history, and modern world history. We have found at least 2 years is required to study world history from Creation to present-day. Of course, these courses can be taken in seventh and eighth grade. We want our children to understand our American Government, as well as how other governments work and to be able to understand Economics, be able to manage finances, and learn to start their own business.
Somewhere between seventh and twelfth grade, our teens take the following courses: American History, Government, Economics/Finances/Business, World History I, World History II, and 20th Century History.
We try to get all of our teens to Calculus in Math, but we didn’t get all of them that far. All of our children have made it to Pre-Calculus, though.
We want to introduce our teens to different areas of Science. There are the basics: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Human Anatomy/Health. Or the kids might want to pursue other sciences like Oceanography, Astronomy, Forensic Science. Ours have pretty much stuck to the basics, though two have studied oceanography.
When we talk about English, we are talking about reading great works of literature and learning to communicate clearly, concretely, concisely, and graciously through speech and writing. We have studied literature and writing as separate half credit courses and combined as English courses. In literature, our children read Ancient Western literature, British Literature, American Literature, specialized literature, great works, and possibly Shakespeare. Communication includes basic public speaking, essays, research skills, writing a research paper step-by-step, analyzing literature, writing short stories, and spending one year to write a novel. We finish up grammar in middle school, but do use Daily Grams (once a week) to stay up on grammar through high school.
Our students all took at least these five English courses: British Literature & Writing, American Literature & Research, Foundations of Western Literature, Communication 101: Essays & Speeches, and Who Dun It? (students write a cozy mystery).
We like our teens to stay physically active and count however they do that as P.E. Some of our girls took ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and Zumba. Jimmy played football, soccer, and worked out with weights. Jenny Rose got into running and ran a 5K. All of our teens enjoyed English Country Dancing. Our hope for all was to choose a life sport like basketball, tennis, running, or dance to enjoy for the rest of their lives.
Fine Arts is a big thing in our house: music, art, and drama, so all our children had several credits that included piano, singing, songwriting, sound production, watercolor, drawing, drama, and guitar. We just gave them credit for what they did and created specialized courses for each child to grow in their giftings which included lessons, watching instructional videos, and participating in choirs, worship team, and sound team.
I know colleges like to see Foreign Languages, but I do, too. I think learning another language is exciting! It expands our ability to communicate and allows us to talk about Jesus in another language. We have fun with foreign languages and then during senior year, my teens often dual enroll and get their 2 high school credits of Spanish. Two of my children went on to major in Spanish in college (both as part of a double-major).
Life Skills are important for today and tomorrow! There are so many things to pass on to our children from money management to healthy relationship habits. We life to teach life skills and future life preparation through reading living books, memorizing Scripture, and enjoying practical hands-on activities.
Another things that is important to us is for our children to demonstrate computer literacy and to pursue interests and talents. These interests and talents are often Electives. As I mentioned before, many of our electives are in the Fine Arts category. Electives have included debate, sound engineering, architecture, web design, car maintenance, and child development.
How That Looks In Credits
2-5 Credits Bible (New Testament Survey; Old Testament Survey; Worldviews & Apologetics; Church History; Great Commission)
4-5 Credits Social Studies (2 World History; 1 USA History; 1 Government/Current Events/Politics; 1 Economics/Business/Personal Financial Management)
5 Credits Math (Algebra I/Geometry/Algebra II/Pre-Calculus/Calculus)
3-4 Credits Science (Biology/Chemistry/Physics/Anatomy & Health, Oceanography)
4-5 Credits English [Literature (American Lit; British Lit; Shakespeare; Western Lit; Great Books) & Writing (Oral & Written Communication; Essays & Research; Fiction Writing; Literary Analysis)]
1-2 Credits P.E.
1-5 Credits Fine Arts
2-5 Credits Life Skills/Homemaking/Relationships
2-3 Credits Foreign Language
Homeschooling High School Resources
So, you see my children graduate with far more credits than the state of Florida requires! But I have my own set of requirements so that my children are equipped for living a productive life that honors the Lord and can move in any educational direction they choose.
We love teaching high school at home and have had a blast learning together with our teens. If you would like to learn more about homeschooling high school, I wrote a book with my friend Laura Nolette just for you. Unlocking the Mystery of Homeschooling High School equips parents to homeschool high school with joy and confidence. When you are finished reading this book, credits, creating courses, transcripts, choosing living books, making a four-year plan, and planning a high school graduation will seem much more do-able. You can do it!
Unlocking the Mystery of Homeschooling High School is available in print at Amazon. The E-book is available at PowerlineProd.
We took some of our courses in a homeschool co-op. In fact right now, I’m teaching homeschoolers online at True North Homeschool Academy. Check it out HERE.
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling!