An Authoritative Guide to Out-of-the-Box Credits for Special Needs Homeschool High Schoolers

You can do it! Here is an authoritative guide for out-of-the-box credits for special needs homeschool high schoolers.

 

An Authoritative Guide to Out-of-the-Box Credits for Special Needs Homeschool High Schoolers. There are lots of inspiring, creative ways for struggling learners to earn credits in homeschool high school.

Out-of-the-Box Credits for Special Needs Homeschool High Schoolers

Don’t feel intimidated by homeschooling high school. Sometimes parents with teens who have learning differences or other special needs feel intimidated by the though of high school: complicated textbooks, little flexibility, feeling stifled!

Don’t worry! You can create interesting, inspirational courses for your teens that meet their needs while earning credits for high school graduation!

Allow me to share some ways our local homeschool high schoolers have created out-of-the-box credits that were:

  • Meaningful to them
  • Developed their skills and interests
  • Helped them meet graduation requirements (if there are those in their location)

One thing to give yourself permission to adapt your teens’ high school experiences to their needs without feeling like anyone has been shortchanged. The lovely thing about homeschooling is that we can educate our teens in the manner that is BEST for them. After all, we know there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school!

In this post we’ll discuss:

  • A few helpful resources we have found
  • Logging Hours for Carnegie Credits
  • History Credits
  • Science Credits
  • Language Arts Credits
  • Elective Credits
  • More on Combining Credits

You can create interesting, inspirational courses for your teens that meet their needs while earning credits for high school graduation! #HomeschoolHighSchool #HomeschoolSpecialNeeds

Here are a few helpful resources we have found. What else could you add? (We are not affiliates, btw.)

Let’s take a look at several core subject and several electives and discuss ways to create transcript credits that mean something to your homeschool high schoolers.

Logging Hours for Carnegie Credits:

At high school level, and especially where there are special needs involved, you do not have to worry about exposing your teens to a *comprehensive* curriculum in any given subject. Instead, take areas of interest (or areas that you feel like are important for your teens to know about) and log hours with educational experiences that are meaningful to your teens.

What are logging hours? Keeping track of hours can help your teens earn their credits using Carnegie units. In most states, 120-180 hours of educational experiences equals an average-level credit. Here’s a post with more information on the idea of logging hours.

Homeschool High School Transcripts How to Earn Credits 7SistersHomeschool.com
Click image to read post.

For a teen that has severe struggles cut those hours to fit their needs. Many struggling learners do best with 90-135 hours. We call this a remedial credit. For more information on levels check out this post and this post.

If you are working towards 120 hours over 30 weeks for 1 subject credit, you would need about 4 hours per week of educational experiences. If you are working toward 90 hours over 30 weeks, you would need to log about 3 hours a week of educational experiences in that subject.

It is useful to make your homeschool high schoolers part of the planning process each year. This helps them feel respected and gives them buy-in.

 

History Credits:

For many teens, they will want to include these history topics in their high school experience (adapt to your teens’ needs):

  • American History
  • World History
  • History Elective (State History and/or a special interest such as World Wars, Geography, Foods Around the World)

For each of these subjects, think about the way your homeschool high schooler likes to learn:

Songs to Help Memorize American Documents by Ezra Tillman 7SistersHomeschool.com Songs help students memorize facts.
Click image to hear songs.

Here are some ideas for history credits:

If you are working towards 120 hours over 30 weeks for 1 History credit, you would need about 4 hours per week of educational experiences. Your homeschool high schoolers could:

  • Watch one movie about a historical figure (this can be historical fiction or a biographical movie). About 2 hours.
  • Watch one documentary. About 1 hour.
  • Do one hands-on project: A timeline, map work, cooking, craft, art, or music listening. About 1 hour.
  • Switch out a field trip for some or all of those hours in as many weeks as possible

If your homeschool high schoolers like to write:

Have them write one or more of these (and log those hours, switching these hours out for movies or other hours))

  • A short story about an historical event
  • A research paper about a person, event, military topic, fashion, lifestyle of a certain time period
  • An essay comparing 2 famous people, 2 types of food or other topic they find interesting

If your homeschool high schoolers like to read (or be read to, or enjoy audiobooks)

Have them read books of their choice that pertain to the history topic:

  • Biographies
  • Historical fiction
  • How-to’s about building, repairing, fashion, cooking, manners or other topics of interest to them related to that time period
  • Poetry of that time period

We have found that about 16 books will equal a credit. OR if teens like to mix and match, they could read 8 books and log 60 hours of educational experiences. OR they could read 4 books and log 90 hours of educational experiences.

NOTE: If your homeschool high schoolers are logging hours and some of those hours can also be considered as another subject, in many places you can *double log*. Those specific hours can also be included in that other subject’s logged hours. For instance:

  • If your teens are doing craft projects or art projects related to the time period they are studying, you can also log those specific hours when the craft or art project is being done under their Fine Arts credit that many teens need for their transcripts.
  • If your teens are listening to the music of that time period, you can also log those specific hours when the craft or art project is being done under their Fine Arts credit that many teens need for their transcripts.
  • If your teens are read books (or listening to books) for their history credits, they can also list those books on their book list for their required language arts credits.

Log hours with hands-on experiences to earn science credits. #HomeschoolHighSchool #HomeschoolSpecialNeeds

Science Credits:

Many teens will want to include these science topics in their high school experience (adapt to your teens’ needs):

For each of these subjects, think about the way your homeschool high schooler likes to learn:

  • Reading real books
  • Listening to read-alouds or audiobooks
  • Labs and hands-on projects, experiments, nature studies
  • Field trips
  • Videos
  • Movies
  • Adapted curriculum, Westfield Studios has some very adaptable science courses and 7Sisters Human Development is created for adaptability
Human Development from a Christian Worldview from 7 Sisters Homeschool
Click here for a full description.

At high school level, and especially where there are special needs involved, you do not have to worry about exposing your teens to a *comprehensive* science curriculum. Ask yourself and your teens what the most meaningful topics in those areas would be. Develop a list of books and/or experiences then log hours that are meaningful to your teens.

Here are some ideas for science credits:

If you are working towards 120 hours over 30 weeks for 1 science credit, you would need about 4 hours per week of educational experiences. Your homeschool high schoolers could:

  • Watch one movie about a person or event from science (this can be historical fiction or a biographical movie). About 2 hours.
  • Watch one documentary or virtual lab. About 1 hour.
  • Do one lab/hands-on project: Experiments, nature journals, gardening. About 1 hour.
  • Switch out a field trip for some or all of those hours in as many weeks as possible

If your homeschool high schoolers like to write:

Have them write one or more of these (and log those hours, switching these hours out for movies or other hours)

  • A short story about an historical science event or person
  • A research paper about a science topic of interest
  • An essay explaining the benefits of a scientific discovery they’ve heard about

If your homeschool high schoolers like to read (or be read to, or enjoy audiobooks)

Have them read books of their choice that pertain to the history topic:

  • Biographies of famous people in scientific professions
  • Historical fiction about a science event
  • How-to’s on scientific topics like: birdwatching, astronomy, understanding weather, types of rocks, etc

As stated above: about 16 books will equal a credit. OR if teens like to mix and match, they could read 8 books and log 60 hours of educational experiences. OR they could read 4 books and log 90 hours of educational experiences.

NOTE: If your homeschool high schoolers are logging hours and some of those hours can also be considered as another subject, in many places you can *double log*. Those specific hours can also be included in that other subject’s logged hours. For instance:

  • If your teens are doing art projects related to nature or other scientific subject that they are studying, you can also log those specific hours when the craft or art project is being done under their Fine Arts credit that many teens need for their transcripts.
  • If your teens are read books (or listening to books) for their science credits, they can also list those books on their book list for their required language arts credits.

Here’s an episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast about Science for Non-science Majors.

Homeschool Highschool Podcast Ep 103: Science Credits for Non-Science Majors
Click image to listen to episode.

Language Arts:

Handling language arts with special needs homeschooling high schoolers can be lots of fun!

One of the most important things to do is identify strengths and weaknesses. Clarify goals for high school reading and writing that fit your teens:

  • If your teens are career-bound, concentrate reading and writing on skills they will need. You can spend some time on literature themes and analysis but put most of the effort into career preparation: like creating an experiential resume, filling out job applications, writing cover letters, interview skills.
  • If your teens are college-bound, clarify any needs for support at school with updated testing. Then help them pinpoint areas to concentrate on building skills and compensations.

Either way, career or college-bound teens need some forms of reading and writing. Here are posts that can help you decide how many books to read (adapt list and whether they are read-alouds/audio to your teens’ needs) and how many papers to write (adapt list to your teens’ needs). You can keep the papers simple. Here’s a freebie on a very simple format for writing reports.

Research Papers for Reluctant Teens
Click image for free paper instructions. 

For career-bound teens who have limitations in reading and writing, use adaptive aids (like speech to text tools and audiobooks) on at least some of their assignments and reading materials.

Think about adapting at least one year’s language arts credit with a career exploration focus. Here’s a post to help with that.

Earn a Practical Language Arts Credit Based on Career Exploration
Click image to read post.

At least one year, think about teaching interesting literature themes with movies. The language arts credit can be earned with Cinema Studies for Literature Learning. Do the study guides together for some meaningful discussion.

Literature Analysis, Literal Thinkers and Movies
Click image for more information.

When reading books, it is totally acceptable to use a few study guides to accompany books. Don’t overdo it! Feel free to adapt the guides to your homeschool high schoolers’ needs. Discuss the guides together instead of having your teens complete them on their own. Leave out any sections that do not fit your teens’ goals or needs.

More on Combining Credits:

One of the best parts of homeschool high school is the fun of combining credits. As I mentioned above, when working on history or science projects where your teens are doing arts, crafts or music activities, you can also log those hours as fine arts. This can be a fine arts credit, or if your teens already have earned their fine arts credits; count it as an elective.

There are lots of other ways to *combine credits*, or *double log*, as we often call the process.

  • If your homeschool high schoolers are working on a history credit, any books they read or papers they write relating to that history topic can count as hours for both history and language arts. Here’s a post that gives lots of how-to’s.
High School Unit Study: Combining World History, Literature and Writing 7SistersHomeschool.com Combine credits for powerful homeschool transcripts.
Click image to read post.

Electives:

Your homeschool high schoolers can earn elective credits by logging hours in any interest area. Keep those logs! Here are some ideas for useful electives:

Career Exploration Workbook
Click image for full description

Work together through a simple career-preparation curriculum like Early Childhood Education.

Early Childhood Education- A Career Exploration Text from 7SistersHomeschool.com
Click here for a full description.

Want some encouragement? Listen to this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast with a homeschool mom who as been there and done that with her teens.

Have a wonderful time homeschooling your high schoolers!

Out-of-the-Box Credits for Special Needs Homeschool High Schoolers

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

4 Replies to “An Authoritative Guide to Out-of-the-Box Credits for Special Needs Homeschool High Schoolers”

  1. I was planning on doing the Cinema Studies course for my son next year for his freshman year. My question would be what to do with grammar and vocabulary from here on out. This is where we have daily struggles. Thanks.

    • Good question, Missy. With special needs teens, each of their needs are different so choosing vocabulary will be different. The cinematography guides do have a few vocabulary words taken from the movie. This may be enough for some teens. Others who struggle might want to continue to work on middle school level vocabulary workbooks. Let me know if you need more ideas!

  2. Hi, I have questions about double logging hours. Is this something you only do for a special needs home schooler or is this acceptable for all? For example you said, “If your teens are read books (or listening to books) for their history credits, they can also list those books on their book list for their required language arts credits.”
    Personally I think it makes sense to count towards both English and History, because they are both reading and learning history, but I want to make sure I am not cheating. Is this an accepted practice or could it be questioned by an observant college officer who notices the same book listed in two subjects on the course descriptions? Would you count the book (in addition to the History credit) only on the English book list, or would you also log the time spent reading it towards English hours? I want to make sure I am doing things correctly. Thanks!

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