Too often these days, I feel like Dorothy spinning in the tornado on my way to Oz. Instead of the nasty neighbor and Auntie Em blowing past the windows, however, I’m seeing course catalogs and the elusive high school diploma swirling about.
I’m knee-deep in high school planning these days. At times, it has my head spinning. I find myself second-guessing my ability to graduate my own child.
Isn’t that crazy! Isn’t that what I’ve been preparing for the last 16 years of this homeschool journey? The truth is, though, that my oldest went to high school for a little while. My middle went to public school all four years.
My youngest, the one who will be a freshman next year, will be my first (and only) to go all the way through from preschool to graduation. Most of the time I feel like I’ve got this! But, some days, I wonder if I can really see this all the way to the end.
Can you relate?
How to Earn High School Credits in Middle School
As Emma creeps closer and closer to high school, I’ve given a lot of thought to her graduation requirements and future college admissions. While not every student aspires to attend college, mine wants to be a veterinarian so I know that college is ultimately our end goal.
In my research about homeschooling high school, I kept seeing references to earning high school credits in middle school. I wondered if that was really a thing. I’m such a rule follower that it never occurred to me with my boys that if a child takes high school classes in middle school I could offer credit for them.
Determine Your End Goal
There are a couple of reasons one might consider offering high school credits in middle school. Some people may want to get an early start on high school in order to graduate earlier. Advanced learners can go at their own pace and work quickly through their lower level classes thus reaching the high school level sooner.
Others, like us, do it to free up time at the end of high school. I don’t have any intentions of graduating Emma early. I’m not sending her off to college early. But, by getting some high school classes out of the way in 8th grade, she’ll have more time in later years to volunteer at the animal shelter or find an internship with a vet. That’s where her passions lie, and I can free up time for her to pursue those opportunities if we spread high school out just a bit lightening her load at the end.
Decide Whether or Not Your Student Is Ready
If your child is not a motivated learner, it may not be beneficial to accelerate their studies. It’s up to you to determine whether or not your child is ready academically and emotionally to handle more advanced coursework.
I knew Emma was ready, because she’s a very independent worker. She is motivated and works diligently. She wanted to tackle some high school courses in eighth grade order to make room some higher level math and science later on.
Define High School Credit
It is important to realize what counts as a high school credit. Typically, a high school credit can be awarded for 120-180 hours of coursework. I shoot for the middle at 150 hours and half that for a 1/2 credit course. But I also learnt that it doesn’t matter so much if you need more credit because you can just use a high school credit recovery system, so it’s not the end of the world in that sense at least.
If my child finished a high school text in fewer hours than that, I would count it. There’s no reason to make up work to fill the hours if she legitimately completed the high school course work.
Decide What You’ll Count
For math and science, the natural progression of our curriculum put her in Algebra I and Physical Science this year (8th grade). These are both offered as freshman courses at our local high school. Therefore, I intend to offer her high school credit for both of those classes.
Giving her credit for these classes will free her up to take advanced math and science her senior year if she chooses to. If not, she’ll have quite a bit of time to build her resume around volunteering at the animal shelter and/or working at with our local veterinarian (her dream!).
If the text is specifically written for high schoolers, I’d offer high school credit – even if the course is completed in middle school. For example, Emma’s taking Writing Fiction [in High School] this semester. She’s learning a lot, and she’s writing a ton. It’s written for high schoolers (it even says so in the title) so I have no issue offering her high school credit. This has been a fun way to allow her to pursue her passion for writing while earning credit for a creative writing elective.
If’ you’re looking for a fun writing curriculum for your high schooler, I definitely recommend Writing Fiction [in High School]. If your child is not a natural writer, this curriculum takes them through various aspects of writing fiction. If your child is a natural writer, this text will take them to the next level. Be sure to read my review of Writing Fiction [in High School] if you’re looking for a great high school level writing course!
It works for us.
We both love the thought of her not having to spend 6 hours each day with her nose stuck in a textbook in her senior year. Even more, we love the idea of her having time to gain real world experience doing the things she’s most passionate about. Things that will move her one step closer to her ultimate end goal – veterinary school.
Do you have plans to offer high school credits for work done in middle school? Tell me about it in the comments.