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Four Tips for Determining High School Credit

Lee Binz

Some things about homeschooling high school really are NOT hard.  Scary words like “grades” and “credits” can be simple when you know the easy way to do it!  Let me take away that worry for you and show you the easy way to calculate high school credits.

1. Give Credit for High School Level Work at Any Age

High school credit can be awarded at any age. If your child is younger than high school age but is doing high school-level work, you can include that work on his high school transcript. This tip is particularly helpful for gifted young children.

The big question is, how do you know something is high school level?

You’ll know because someone will tell you. The textbook publisher is helpful. When Saxon says Algebra 1 is a high school freshman course, then you record it as such. If Apologia labels their biology text as high school level, then you can feel confident doing the same. You can also determine curriculum level according to a book’s catalog listing. A Rainbow Resource or Sonlight catalog might say something is appropriate for a ninth through twelfth grader, for example.

If an accrediting agency identifies a course as high school level, then the course is high school level for your student as well. For example, Rainbow Science is often considered high school level general science if you complete it in one year.

Sometimes the parent will simply know best. If you supplement a curriculum heavily, perhaps you will know it is high school level, even if the textbook wasn’t designed as a one-year course.


2. Give Credit for Work Completed at High School Age
Give high school credit for every class your student completes at high school age. Whether a high school student takes a class at home, in a co-op, or in a school setting, it goes on their transcript if they are high school age. This tip is particularly helpful if you have a student who struggles in one or more areas.

It may seem obvious if your child is working at grade level and doing typical high school classes, but what about other situations? If your child was in public school and was not quite up to grade level in English, the course would still be included on their transcript. Each class would be accurately labeled “Remedial English” or “Basic English Composition,” but the class would still be on the transcript. Whether your child is above or below grade level, when they are doing work at high school age, it should be included on their transcript. Clearly labeled remedial work can go on the high school transcript.

This does NOT mean, however, that you have to graduate every student when they reach a certain number of high school credits. You determine graduation requirements for your child. You can decide they will graduate in five years instead of four.


3. Give Credit for College Level Work at Any Age
If your child does any college level work, include it on their transcript. This works for public schooled children as well, so don’t think for a minute that you’re cheating. When a child is enrolled in a public school and in a community college at the same time, it’s called “Dual Enrollment.” The student can receive high school credit and college credit at the same time. You will also know it’s college-level material when your child can pass a college-level test, like a CLEP or AP exam.

Your transcript should include all college-level courses, including dual enrollment in community college, AP exams, CLEP tests, and any college credit earned with correspondence school or distance learning.


4. Give Credit Based on Demonstrated Expertise

If a student is working with adult-level expertise, you can give them high school credit. For example, if your child has their work published in a magazine, they are functioning on an adult level in their area of specialization. I know a homeschooled student who was published in National Geographic. He wrote an article on the migratory patterns of birds, and sketched all the artwork himself. This certainly demonstrates expertise! Feel confident about putting expertise on your transcript.

My son had his essay on economist Frederich Hayek published in a national magazine when he was sixteen. This demonstrated his expertise in economics, and I was able to include that credit on his transcript. There are other ways to demonstrate adult knowledge. You can tell that your child has demonstrated expertise when a college professor, high school teacher, or professional in the field tells you that your child is working at an adult or expert level.

For more information on making your own grades, credits, and transcripts, watch The HomeScholar Free Webinar, “A Homeschool Parent’s Guide to Grades, Credits and Transcripts” on

Lee Binz is an expert on how to craft a winning homeschool transcript. Her mission is to encourage and equip parents to homeschool through high school, and her practical advice helps parents muster up the courage to complete their homeschooling journey. Sign up for her free homeschool e-newsletter, The HomeScholar Record, at You can also find her at Be sure to attend her workshops at the HEAV convention!

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