Courses and Credits

If possible, before the student enters high school, start planning when and how the student will cover his high school courses. Take into consideration the student’s long range goals: college, vocational training, apprenticeship, etc. If the student is considering college, look at potential colleges early, as the college entrance requirements will probably influence your plan. Adjustments will be necessary as you go along, but it helps to start with a plan. Remember that you, as the chief administrator of your school, set the requirements for graduation.

Typical Coursework Desired by Colleges

  • Math: 3-4 credits – usually Algebra I and II and Geometry, at least. (Most colleges want a math taken in the senior year.)
  • English: 4 credits
  • History or Social Studies: 3-4 credits
  • Science: 2-4 credits (at least one or two must be a lab course)
  • Foreign Language: 2 credits of the same language. (Most colleges want a language taken in the senior year.)
  • PE: 0-2 credits
  • Fine Arts: 0-1 credit
  • Electives: such as typing, computer, home economics, and Bible.

How Credits Are Determined

In most traditional high schools one credit is earned for each year-long course (130-160 hours of classroom instruction). As homeschooling and traditional schooling are two different forms of education, homeschool work cannot always be measured in traditional ways. Each homeschool must determine what constitutes a credit in their school. One suggestion is to use a combination of hours the subject was studied and mastery of the subject. For example: If your student has mastered algebra I, he gets a credit no matter how long it took. However, with a vast subject like world history, the number of hours or a predetermined amount of material studied may be the best criterion for determining credit. Keep in mind that homeschooling is more efficient than traditional schooling. The typical number of credits that are needed for high school graduation is usually around 20-24.

Athletics: College Eligibility

If your student athlete plans to compete in a sport for a Division I or II college or university, you must begin NCAA record keeping requirements as early as you can. NCAA changed their rules for homeschool students during the spring of 2004. For complete information as to the eligibility process and rules go to the website <>. There are important guidelines you should know, including course requirements and minimum scores on achievement tests, such as SAT or ACT.

Minimum Admissions Requirements at the University of North Carolina System

*For those interested in applying to a UNC system school:

  • Six course units in language, including:
    • four in English emphasizing grammar, composition and literature, and
    • two units of a language other than English
  • Four course units in mathematics in any of the following combinations:
    • algebra I, algebra II, geometry, and one unit beyond Algebra II,
    • algebra I and II, and two units beyond Algebra II, or
    • integrated math I, II, and III, and one unit beyond integrated math III
It is recommended that prospective students take a mathematics course in the 12th grade.
  • Three course units in science including:
    • at least one unit in a life or biological science (for example, biology),
    • at least one unit in physical science (for example, physical science, chemistry, physics), and
    • at least one laboratory course
  •  Two course units in social studies including one unit in U.S. history.  An applicant who does not have the unit in U.S. history may be admitted on the condition that at least three semester hours in that subject will be passed by the end of the sophomore year.

*The information for this section was taken from The University of North Carolina System, Admission Requirements.