Homeschooling High School - Core Studies, Graduation Requirements and More

Summary:  Tips from a veteran homeschool mom for planning and getting started with homeschooling high school.  What are core studies?  Are there homeschool graduation requirements?  Choosing your homeschool high school curriculum.  What about college? Making homeschool transcripts and more.

Are you considering homeschooling your teen?  Homeschooling high school is really not that hard.  But you have heard that before....and is it really true? 

It was harder for us than middle school was, just because there were more things to think about re college.  My teen wanted to go directly into a 4 year college, and we wanted her to have the high school years to just be a high schooler.

Are  you nervous about continuing to homeschool all the way through high school?  I was, when contemplating it during the middle school years...

Today I'd like to share how I became confident as a mom who was homeschooling her teen.  There were key pieces of information that were important to me for my high school planning....And once I got them under my belt, my confidence grew....a lot.

Then I was ready to take on high school with confidence.  

First of all, let's talk start with assigning high school credits.

1.  Assigning High School Credit

It is not that hard to assign high school credit.  Here are 3 ways to do just that.

I call them ...................1.  the Textbook method
                                         2.  the Hours method
                                         3.  the Mastery method

All of the work that your teen does can earn high school credit!   This includes courses that you make yourself, volunteer and paid work hours, internships, time spent reading, etc.  

The textbook method is the traditional way.  

The hours method involves keeping track of the amount of time spent in learning activities.  

The mastery method refers to assigning credit based on demonstrated mastery of a subject or a skill. That could be video making, playing an instrument, etc.

We did a lot of different kinds of learning, and all of it counted!  It is also included in my book, mentioned below.

2. What are core studies?

Core Studies are just the basic high school courses in math, English, social studies, science and foreign language.  I have a post on our favorite frugal homeschool high school curriculum for each of these core studies areas, if you are interested.

3. Are there homeschool graduation requirements?

What your choose for core studies is most often up to the individual homeschool family.  You do not need to follow the public school graduation requirements, only those laid out in your state's homeschool law.  

Most states do not lay out requirements for a homeschool diploma. It is usually left to the homeschool family to decide when to graduate their teen.  

So in most states, you can shape your teen's high school years around their needs, depending where they will be heading.

4.  Choosing your Homeschool Curriculum 

We worked together, my teen and I, to find her curriculum each year.  First we started with our favorites from middle school.  

I wanted to keep whatever was working  best for my daughter.  For example, we used SOS from for math in middle school, and just continued with it for most of high school.  That was a no-brainer.  

This site is full of curriculum reviews, written by a team of authors (me, too!) who have used the curriculum, at home with their families.  

We used a combination of faith based and secular resources.  My book on homeschooling high school with college in mind, has lots more information on choosing curriculum, and what we chose to use in our homeschool.  

Along with many other options, too.  You can also find more info on our favorite high school curricula, by searching my blog.

Thirdly, you want to be familiar with what core courses your student will need to complete.  And that depends upon the end in mind....

5.  What about college?

If your teens might be going to college, then you will want them to do the core studies that are outlined by the colleges, ie, the college entrance requirements.  

Checking likely college websites is essential for college bound teens. I have much more on that in my book, laying out typical requirements for a different kinds of colleges, mentioned below.  

If your teen is headed to community college, it is advisable to just check in with admissions there.  In our state of WA, the incoming students just take an entrance test, which evaluates their math and english skills.  

It is usually SO much less complicated compared than going into a 4 year college, and usually the SAT/ACT is not needed.

AGAIN - You do not have to follow the public school graduation requirements....those are for public school kids!

Now that you have the resources for finding your curriculum, and you understand what core studies are, let's talk about how your teen's interests can lead you in your searching for high school curricula.

6.  High School Electives and Interests

Before we ordered anything, we spent time talking about my teen's special interests. Those influenced our choices for core studies and also became my teen's high school electives!  

What is your teen passionate about?  How do they spend their time, when they have free time?  What are their gifts?What is your teen passionate about?  

The beauty of homeschooling high school is that you get to build and nurture your teen's interests and help them to discover their strengths.  Even with preparing for college, my teen had lots of time to do electives and try out her interests in activities.

Now that we finished talking about credits, curriculum, core studies and a bit about electives, let's talk transcripts. 

7.  Making your High School Transcripts

Volunteering is a great leadership building activity and the colleges love to see this on their applications.

Compiling your teen's transcript is really not that hard!  Really! Here is a post that includes frugal resources for compiling your transcripts, called of course Frugal Help for Transcripts

Transcripts are just a document that lists all of the courses that your student took, with grades, a place to put their SAT or ACT scores, with identifying information on it.  More on transcripts can be found on my blog.

My book below also has a full chapter on how to put your transcripts together, with lots of high school planning forms and a fillable and editable transcript form for you to just fill in. 

High School was my favorite time, of all of our homeschooling years. 

Yes, it was much more complicated than the earlier years.  But having my daughter at home meant that she her individual educational needs could be met. 

She also had more time to try out new activities and develop her interests, and go to youth conferences, etc.  And watching her blossom and grow, during the teen years... priceless! 

Are you homeschooling high school and wanting more information on transcripts, assigning high school credit, and all those other important details?

After helping my teen get into each of the colleges she applied to, I wrote this book - and it guides you through planning high school at home and helping with college application.

Below is the book and the table of contents.

Kindle and Paperback are On Amazon

For more information: Homeschooling High School with College in Mind. 

You are also invited to join my encouraging group for high school moms, called at Homeschooling through High School.  

Lots of moms just like you there, sharing triumphs and challenges.  Get your questions answered there, too. Join us here.  Below are the high school planning printables that are included in the book.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that this post will help you in your important work with your teens,


Betsy is mom to her now college grad whom she homeschooled from preschool.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote a new book on high school..   She offers free homeschool help and messages at BJ's Consulting

Want to stay in touch?  

This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.
Copyright, 2019
Revised, All Rights Reserved


  1. My son is Jr in high school but wanted homeschooling during his Sr. Can that be possible?

    1. Yes, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states of the US. The first thing you would want to do would be to find out the homeschool regulations in your state. The site at has a list of that for each state. Then the next step would be to begin your planning. I have a post on that here - I encourage you to browse around my blog, and look at some of the articles under High School/College if you like. Then feel free to send me a facebook message @ BJ's Homeschool facebook page. You have already done the hardest thing - You took the initiative to ask! I would be happy to chat with you further on my page just click the pic of my site that says - "Like BJ's Facebook" Nice to meet you!


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