A Typical High School Plan

Homeschool Planning

Updated Feb 2019

If you’re homeschooling a high school student for the first time, you might find it encouraging to learn you can determine your own graduation requirements. On the other hand, you might find the flexibility daunting, and wonder where to start. This was written for those in the second category.

What follows is a suggested plan for four years of high school. This is simply a jumping-off point, which can be customized at will. This plan was designed with a college-bound student in mind and consists of 23 credits (including four electives). In this plan, a credit is equal to approximately 100 hours of study.

If your student will not be attending college, his time might be better spent on courses relating to his intended trade, instead of mathematics above Algebra 1. One or two credits of science might be sufficient for this type of student. If the choice is writing or literature, always choose to hone those writing skills, because they will be of value in any chosen trade or profession.

Students should earn one credit in each of the following courses during each of these high school years:


  • General Math or Algebra 1
  • Earth Science
  • Geography
  • Writing, Advanced Grammar


  • Algebra 1 or 2
  • Biology
  • Economics, Government
  • Writing, Speech


  • Algebra 2 or Geometry
  • Chemistry
  • American History
  • Writing, American Literature


  • Geometry or higher math
  • Physics
  • World History
  • Writing, English Literature


In addition, at some point during the four high school years, a student should earn:

PE – 1 credit

Fine arts – 2 credits

Electives – 4 credits

Approximately one-half credit of health should be included as part of the science or P.E. curriculum. It is suggested that at least one elective be foreign language study for those who are college bound, and that all students are computer proficient.


Is there anything beyond the typical plan in preparing for college?

There are also other areas that can be considered by high school students in preparing for college. If a student is highly motivated they might look into AP Courses, CLEP, or dual enrollment.

AP Courses– Advanced Placement is a program by the College Board. (who makes the SAT) This program allows you to take courses at your high school (or homeschool), which can earn college credit or qualify you for more advanced classes when you start college. While still in high school you are able to try out intro-level college classes. If you pass the AP exam you will get college credit.

CLEP is College Board’s College-Level Examination Program. This challenging program enables students from a variety of ages and backgrounds the opportunity to show mastery of college level materials to earn college credit. Students can get college credit for information they already know by getting qualifying scores on any of the 30 examinations they offer. Make sure to check out the CLEP policies for the college your student may be attending as each college differs.

Dual Enrollment is also an avenue worth exploring for high school students. This is a program that allows high school students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) to enroll in college courses to earn college credits along with their high school credits before they actually graduate from high school. It is also sometimes called “early college”. Check your local community colleges to see what the admission set up is like and what type of entrance exams are required.


Kelly Stone is a homeschooling mom of six children, ages 14 through 29. The eldest three children have graduated from the family's homeschool high school. Kelly has been blessed to homeschool her youngest who has special needs. Kelly lives in Oregon, where she is a freelance writer and online marketing representative.

October 9, 2012


  1. Kelly W. says:
    Posted October 12, 2012 1:40 am

    I'm a little surprised this plan doesn't suggest any AP courses for college-bound homeschoolers. All the admission counselors I spoke with at the college fair this fall recommended that we find a way to take AP or dual-credit classes to be able to compete with the public-schooled students for admission. I did find a site that offers AP classes for homeschoolers, but we haven't signed up for any yet: http://www.aphomeschoolers.com/

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