Planning coursework for high school can be a daunting task. How do I know which courses my child needs to take? Will my child have enough credits in each subject to meet my state's graduation requirements? Will my child meet the admission requirements for his college of choice?
I had the same questions last year when my son started his freshman year of high school. I knew I needed to look at the big picture to make sure that we didn't end up behind in his coursework.
So I made up a spreadsheet to help me plan his four years of high school credits. I'm offering it to my readers as a free download for personal use, in both Open Office and Excel versions. You'll be able to download the spreadsheet planner at the end of this post.
Here's how the homeschool high school credit planner works.
1. Fill out the required high school credits sheet.
On this sheet you'll type in the subjects and all the coursework and credits you want your child to complete based on your state's graduation requirements or the admission requirements for your college of choice, whichever you prefer. The courses won't be organized by year; it's just a list of all the required course (or options for courses) in each subject.
For example, in Math you might need 4 credits and your required coursework might be as follows:
- 1st credit—Alg I
- 2nd credit—Geometry
- 3rd credit—Alg II
- 4rd credit—Choose from: precalculus, trigonometry, computer science.
This might take a bit of research on your part since all states have different graduation requirements. And of course, since this is your homeschool, you are more than welcome to exceed those graduation requirements if you choose!
In some states, like Texas, homeschoolers don't have to meet a specific set of course requirements to graduate. However, colleges do have requirements for admission, so you might want to look at some college admission requirements for homeschoolers to determine what courses will be required for your student to be admitted.
Since our family lives in Texas, I looked at our local public university's admission requirements and discovered they required homeschoolers to meet the minimum high school graduation program for the state of Texas. Then I googled "Texas high school graduation requirements" and easily found the website for the Texas Education Agency where they had a pdf of the 2011-2012 Texas state high school graduation requirements. I printed off that information and used it to fill out the spreadsheet.
2. Plan which specific courses your child will take and when he'll take then.
To plan the actual courses, you'll choose from one of the two remaining sheets in the planner. One sheet lets you plan your child's high school courses by year, and the other lets you break it down into semesters. You don't need to use both. Just choose the format you prefer to plan with.
Regardless of which format you choose to use, the information about required credits you filled out on the first sheet will be pulled automatically into these planning sheets. You'll start filling in the specific courses you want your child to take in the appropriate year or semester. As you fill in credits for these planned courses, you'll see the updated credits required on the left of the sheet. That way you'll know if you've planned enough credits for each subject.
You can also record the specific curriculum you plan to use for each course by including it after the name of the course in parentheses [for example: Biology (Apologia) or Algebra 1 (Chalk Dust)]
As your child moves through high school, you can easily adjust the planner to record actual credits earned and readjust the plan for future years. Since it's a spreadsheet, the credit totals stay updated whenever you make a change.
Download the Free Homeschool High School Credit Planner
I've created both an Open Office version and an Excel version. To download the files, click on the links below. You may need to right-click and chose "Save As".
1.1 (8/26/13) — Fixed typo to replace Sophomore with Junior on semester sheet.
By the way, if you don't have a gradebook yet, you might like my free Gradebook+ homeschool grading planner which helps you track each year's school work and print grade reports, activity lists, book list, attendance, etc.