Skip to Content

A Parent’s Guide On How To Calculate High School Credits In Homeschooling

Homeschooling is popular in the United States, but sometimes it can be a bit confusing.

If you are new to homeschooling, you have to work out so many things, and one of the most important is high school credits.

In public school, high school credits are sorted out for you, but when you homeschool, you’re in charge of how they are distributed.

How To Calculate High School Credits In Homeschooling

So, how exactly do you calculate high school credits in homeschooling? If you are confused, then you have come to the right place.

We have put together a guide to help you as the parent calculate your children’s high school credits so you will know what you are doing.

What Are High School Credits?

Before we even get into how to calculate high school credits, let’s briefly go over what high school credits actually are.

In basic terms, high school credits are awards that are given to high school students once they have completed two semesters or one year of high-school-level study.

Kids will be graded in these time frames, and they get their credits if they pass the class.

In order to graduate from public school, most states require between 16 and 23 credits in order to pass and graduate, but homeschooling is a bit different.

In most states, there are no requirements for graduation, but it is still important for your children to get credits because they will help with further education and even future employment.

Calculating Homeschool High School Credit

Now that you have a better idea of what high school credits are, let’s talk about how you can actually calculate them when you are homeschooling.

It might seem like a complicated process when you are new to it, but as long as you follow the steps and use the information we have provided, you should have no issues when the time comes.

There are a few different ways you can calculate high school credits, so let’s look at some of the most common ways here.

The Carnegie Unit

The most common way that high school credits are calculated in the United States is by using the Carnegie Unit. The Carnegie Unit is based on the instructional time that is spent on each individual subject.

When you are using this method, one credit equals roughly 150 hours a year, or 150 hours a year, or 36 weeks of 50-minute sessions per day per subject. It is important to know that homework is not included here.

If you do use the Carnegie Unit, you can break it down further into this:

  • 1.0 Credit = 150-180 hours or an hour-long class 5x a week for 36 weeks
  • 0.5 Credit = 75-90 hours or an hour long class 5x a week for 18 weeks.

If your children are taking AP courses, then they are required to learn for a lot more than 150 hours. Regardless, AP courses will still count for 1.0 credit for each class.

How To Calculate High School Credits In Homeschooling

Dual Enrollment Or College Classes

Some homeschooled children do take college classes, and if your children do, then it is important to know how to calculate these types of classes.

In a public school setting, dual enrollment or college classes are usually between 3.0 and 5.0 college credits, but when you are a homeschooler, they are worth 1.0 high school credits.

So, broken down even further, it looks like this:

  • 3.0-5.0 college credit class = 1.0 high school credit
  • 1.0-2.0 college Credit Class = 0.5 high school credit


Lots of homeschoolers take high school level (or higher) textbooks for a core academic subject.

This is another common thing amongst homeschooled children, and if this is the case for your own kids, you don’t have to overcomplicate how credits are calculated.

All you have to do in this situation is give 1.0 credit if that text (and its assigned work) has been at least 80% completed. Do this for each subject in which you are following this format.

Online Provider Or Private Tutor

Lots of homeschooled kids take online courses or have private tutors, and when this is the case, calculating the appropriate high school credits is quite easy.

In most cases, the tutor or online provider will be able to tell you how many credits the course/class is worth, so you don’t even have to work it out.

If, for whatever reason, the tutor or online provider can’t tell you how many credits your kids will get, simply use the textbook method of calculation to work it out.


Graduation is a bit easier for homeschoolers because the parents who teach are usually in charge of the requirements needed.

Lots of parents and their kids choose to go down the mastery route- which is basically where your children study their subjects until mastery of that subject is achieved.

For homeschoolers, this is a perfectly acceptable way to do it, and if this method works for you and your kids, you should use it.

Calculating Credits For Elective Classes

Lots of homeschoolers choose to take elective classes, and these classes still need to be given credits.

They are calculated in the same way as required subjects, so you can use the same methods as mentioned above when it comes time to calculate them.

What you need to be careful of, though, is oversharing.

Colleges do not want to know about every little thing that your kids have done, just the stuff that is relevant for college and the courses they are planning on taking.

See also: Homeschooling In High School – Pros And Cons


Calculating high school credits for your homeschooled children might seem like it’s going to be really stressful at first, but as you can see, it really isn’t too complicated.

There are a few different methods you can use in order to do it, so it is important to use the ones that are best for you.

You can find extra resources online if you need some extra help, but use the guide we have provided here.

Simon Lewis

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *