Homeschooling in High School: Making the Most of 9th & 10th Grade

While it’s true that many teens don’t start earning college credit until 11th or12th grade, high school starts in 9th grade! After 8th grade, when you’ve decided to move forward with homeschooling through high school, there is much to do over these 4 precious years. Whether you’re planning to bring college credit into your teen’s homeschool program or not, there are a many important new things that happen once you’re in 9th grade.

High School is Scary!

“When my oldest son started 8th grade, I began to panic. In one short year, he would start high school! Multiple friends and family members noticed this too, and many suggested that high school would be the perfect time to transition out of homeschool. Ironically, the academics were the least of my fear. Academics are what new homeschool families worry about, but by now, I knew where to find curriculum and support. Instead, I felt unequipped to be his high school guidance counselor. What about college prep? What about transcripts? I didn’t even know what a transcript was. I felt entirely out of my depth, and we were at a fork in the road.”

Jennifer Cook-DeRosa, Homeschooling for College Credit, 2018

4 Considerations for High School

New and experienced homeschool families must both revisit their state’s homeschool regulations and laws that govern high school. In some states, there are graduation requirements, so knowing those as early as possible is essential. In other states, the parent sets the graduation requirements (yeah!) so you’ll have ultimate authority over the classes and credits your teen earns. From taking attendance to administering standardized exams, knowing what you “have to do” over these 4 years is very important because you need your teen’s high school diploma to be valid. Each state has different laws and regulations. Your state may have a page dedicated to this information (website ending in .gov) but if you can’t locate the actual page outlining your state’s laws, you can visit the Home School Legal Defense Association’s website for a legal summary of each state and help finding your state’s laws.

Transcripts & Credits

9th grade begins the creation of your teen’s official academic record – the transcript! This 1-page document is the academic summary of your teen’s entire high school career. All of the subjects studied, credits earned, grade point average, and graduation verification. Many parents consider weighting the GPA to reflect college credits. We have many transcript resources here to help you with that process, especially as it applies to those of you with college credit to document alongside your teen’s high school credits. You can visit our HS4CC Transcript Resource Page for tools and templates to get you started.

Planning Process

Even the most informal homeschoolers should consider their teen’s goals and plans for after high school. There are things you can do during high school to get them ready, and frankly, there are things you don’t have to stress about (even though other people are!) No, not everyone needs a math beyond Algebra 2 (or even Algebra 2 at all). Yes, it’s ok for your teen to take double-maths all 4 years of high school! Yes, it’s ok to choose Industrial Arts instead of Literature. Assumptions about planning are almost always adaptations of what public schools require. As long as you’re complying with your state’s laws, the rest is up to you! If your teen has a goal, your best efforts can be spent helping him achieve THAT goal – not the goals used by other schools. 4-year university on campus, 2-year transfer degree, 2 year occupational degree, trade school, apprenticeship, business owner, gap year, missionary service, “check the box” degree, certificate or license, military….. the list goes on. You have every opportunity in front of you!

College Credit

At Homeschooling for College Credit, you’ll hear time and again that getting into college is easy, and that getting out is hard. We have an overarching goal of always bringing that goal post closer- whether it’s through dual enrollment programs or testing out of college classes. Teens of average ability with motivated parents can accumulate 1+ years of college credit in high school. It’s not one teen, it’s our entire community! I hope you’ll read some of the stories parents have been kind enough to send in to share. The odds are against your teen graduating from college. Only about 1/2 that begin will graduate, and that’s over a 6-year span. But you can practically guarantee graduation by integrating college credit into their homeschool program and getting them over the initial challenges of getting started with college credit. When you bringing the goal post closer, your guidance and support make all the difference!

9th & 10th Grade Planning Class

We are hosting a 2-1/2 hour 9th & 10th grade planning class this Thursday, November 11th at 5pm. The class will take place over Zoom and is taught by Jennifer Cook-DeRosa and Jenny Bergren. This intensive class will include an extensive deep-dive into planning for your own goals and give you the confidence needed to set up a successful high school plan.

If you can’t attend live, you can still register and will receive the full 2-1/2 hour recording and handout from the event. Advanced registration is required- this course can not be purchased later. 5pm EST-7:30pm EST $40 registration fee.


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit