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I sure have a lot of questions this week- But what makes

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I am just full of questions- but what do you consider a credit of work to be for High School? Let's look at English and History per se..


What would you require to receive a credit? How many credits does someone need to graduate from highschool? Or is that all based on your state? Who posted the awesome transcript log a while back ago?:)



Thanks for helping me - I love your experience and confidence!

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and I'm paraphrasing here (correct me if I'm wrong, Jean!) but something around the area of 120-180 hours? I believe that for public schools, state requirements vary. I think in Missouri it's somewhere around 130 hours; in other states it may be more or less. Now, that's the requirement for public schools. However, I think that Jean said something like: when the material is mastered. I think if you check under the Members List you might find Jean's "handle" (so to speak) and a link to her blog. I thought she had an excellent response.





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I'm not going to edit it, so ignore where I seem to be answering a slightly different question. I am. But I think this post still says what I think. ~Dolly








Everybody does English. In homeschool or other schooling scenarios. There is a huge wide variety of what constitutes an "English credit." Among all kids in all type of schooling.


If they are doing regular assignments and have a decent body of work to show for it, I think even 3 books and weekly writing could be enough for one credit. It certainly IS for some kids. :confused:


What about the kid who is reading 3 books a month, very difficult ones, writing carefully crafted five paragraph essays on each book, also doing a college prep vocab and grammar program and a separate advanced composition and research paper class, and attending a 1/2 dozen Shakespeare productions that year? Sigh - sorry, but still only one credit. For that year.


What I'm trying to say is that there is always going to be discrepancies about what constitutes a credit of English. I agree with you that 3 books per year and some lite writing assignments seems like not quite enough. College admissions folks would likely agree with that. But it would be enough to satisfy high school graduation requirement. And I think this is a GOOD thing, becasue for SOME KIDS that WOULD BE a load of work.


OTOH if your kid is able and willing to do more, then you give her more.... but she still only gets one credit for doing the "more."


FWIW: My DD's 9th grade English credit looked like the one described above. Her brother's 9th grade English looked like this: 5 meaty novels, 2 Shakespeare plays, along with a 5paragraph essay on each work; one research paper, workbooks on sentence composition and vocabulary. There will always be kids who do more, and kids who do less. They all got their credit of English.


DD's transcript said: English 9 Honors.

DS's transcript will say: English 9.

We have separate course descriptions that detail exactly what that included/includes. NONE of DD's colleges asked to see the "Course Description." But I had it, just in case.

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The number of credits required to graduate does vary by state. Here in Maryland I was able to google "Maryland High School Graduation Requirements" to discover what was the "norm" in our state - but I just used that as a guideline.


Really, for college bound kids, the "requirements" are determined by the colleges you apply to. I can say, that pretty much EVERY body requires four years of ENGLISH. Then 2-4 years of Math. 2-3 years of Science. 2-4 years of Social Studies (it's funny but they won't call it "history") And almost always some foreign language work (altho in Md you can scrap that in favor of a computer programming language. Really. Sheesh!)


You can complete a decent program with 5-6 credits per school year - ending up as a Senior with 20-24 credits. Some have more, others less.


Caution: if you have too many you'll look like you are 'padding.' If you have too few, there'd better be a robust section on "extra activities" to explain a light academic load.

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One of the issues that inevitably arises when credit computation is discussed concerns "classtime" vs. "homework". Students at my local public school attend school 180 days, on which each class meets theoretically for 50 minutes daily. Of course with early dismissals, pep rallies, etc., most classes do not meet for 180 contact hours. At the same time, most traditionally schooled kids have some homework to do nightly, which adds to their number of hours spent on each subject. So if you want to calculate credits like a traditional school, you have to consider several factors.


With math it is easy to say one credit when the book is finished. Same with Latin. But how much does one do when a course is cobbled together from assorted materials? This is where I think one needs to exercise good judgment.


I am giving my son two credits annually for his Great Books study which incorporates literature, history as well as some traditional "English" course work (grammar, vocab and writing on things that are not necessarily related to his Great Books study). We use Spielvogel Western Civ as a spine and watch Teaching Company lectures. He spends more than 10 hours on this a week, but I don't write down the time.


AP Biology probably takes twice as much work as regular biology, but most schools only award one credit for the course. Many traditional schools award more honor points in the GPA for challenging courses, but this is something that I would avoid. I tend to mistrust the "honors" label.


Before my son began the high school years, I attended my state's homeschool convention which proved to be very worthwhile both in terms of the planned sessions and in hallway conversations with those who have gone before me. Much reassurance was found.



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Okay, per Inge Cannon and Cafi Cohen, et all, there are numerous ways to assign credits.


The usual U.S. method for most schools involves completing 180 days x about 50 minutes per day of classroom "time". It is assumed that there will be about an hour of homework several times per week, as well. Schools vary widely, however, in the number of hours they use to assign this time, from about 105, to 120, 150, even up to about 180.


Note that this does not specify what amount of material, or what level of material, actually gets covered during this "time". It's just assumed, I suppose, that after a certain amount of "time", children will have learned something via osmosis, if in no other way, LOL.....


There is the approach of using a particular text set forth by the authors and/or publishers as representative of a year of high school level work. When one has completed this text, one has completed a year of high school level work. Move on to the next thing....


There is the method of having a child keep a diary of what activities they do throughout the course of the day and for how long, then assigning these activities to particular classes. So, for instance, watching the news for 30 minutes every morning might be assigned to completion of a current events class, might be assigned to a modern history class, etc., depending on what other things one uses to flesh out the course.


There is the method of pulling high school or college level texts and copying their indexes, then using that as a guideline for covering topics for a class of one's own design. So you're using the outline, but not the text. You're finding your own reading materials, etc.


For high school level English, I used a combination of things. I had my son completing the Abeka Grammar text, but not doing the writing portions of it, just reading through them for the knowledge. I had him completing the Writing Strands series for his writing. I had him working through the VfCR series for vocab. And I also had him in some outside classes. Most of our reading at home was historical fiction linked to history studies for early modern history. But we diverged from this for modern and he read from a variety of modern authors. I like to think of that as the year of mystery and science fiction, LOL. I don't think you need to do this much, but history and lit are sort of his thing, and so I wanted him to be able to begin to specialize in those areas. Because he completed so many things and read so much, I actually granted separate credits for "English" and for "Literature". If we had done less, I would have only granted one credit.


For history, we followed WTM suggestions, reading, outlining or taking notes, discussing, writing various sorts of papers on topics under study, watching movies related to our studies, further discussing those, etc. Again, because I allotted plenty of time for history reading during the course of the week, and because we covered so many books during the course of the year, I had no problems with assigning a credit for history at the end of the year. His last year at home, he took a dual credit college course for his history work. This allowed him the micro-focus that SWB recommends at the high school level. He adored it! He made me keep all his books. He's currently reading back through them in his spare time......


There are many ways you can complete a history credit. You can pick up a high school or college level text and just use it; perhaps doing some of the suggested readings included or looking up primary source documents online. You can enroll them in a group discussion that meets once a week in order for them to get those divergent thoughts which I think are so important at that age if you're doing this and I think that would make this an ideal sort of course. But you'd have to have a group who are all pretty much studying the same topic at the same time, even if not from the same books.


You could enroll them in online, or correspondence, high school or college level courses. They might be able to discuss online through these, but I still tend to think they aren't as good as live discussion.


You could study history using a wide variety of living books, combining reading and writing about those books with discussions with Mom, but I think it would also be good to be able to have discussions with others, as well.


There are many ways you can approach high school level work. Think about what you did in your high school level lit and history classes, and just step that up and make it better!



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