Homeschooling high school can seem like a daunting task for many families, but with a little planning, you can have a very successful experience.
When planning courses for high school, choose courses that are interesting to your student and have some fun creating meaningful courses for your high schooler. High school is also a wonderful time to set up shadowing opportunities for your child and find ways they can volunteer and make a difference in their communities. I highly recommend including your student in the high school planning process.
Record keeping in high school is essential. Do not put off keeping up with your course descriptions, grades, and transcripts because you will not remember everything your student did in 9th grade when his/her senior year rolls around. Plus, you are required by law to keep records of your student’s learning.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact TSCHAA. You can do this!
What To Teach
In SC, Third-Option Homeschoolers are required to teach literature and composition, math, science, and social studies for 180 days each year. As the homeschool teacher, once your student has met the minimum requirements of the Third Option Law , you are able to graduate him/her. However, TSCHAA strongly recommends, at a minimum, following the SC diploma requirements for graduation.
It is very important to have a vision and a plan for your homeschool to ensure you are planning your courses accordingly. If your student is college bound, you need to make sure you are including the specific courses colleges require for entry. A two-year college and a 4-year college will have different course requirements.
TSCHAA offers a free high school planning sheet on the Applications/Forms page of the TSCHAA website. You can also access it here.
What Makes a Class
There are different ways you can count a high school course. Some families choose to count courses by the number of hours spent on the subject rather than the number of days. Others determine a course’s completion when the curriculum is completed. HSLDA has a helpful article about determining how to count a high school course: https://www.hslda.org/highschool/docs/EvaluatingCredits.asp
It is recommended to make a course description for each high school course. If you purchase a curriculum, you can just make a copy of the publisher’s description, syllabus, or table of contents. If you create your own course, make sure you are keeping up with an outline of topics covered and books used.
As a Third -Option homeschooler, you have been given the power to create and maintain your student’s records. This includes transcripts. However, some colleges insist that your transcript comes from your association. Always check with a college before sending in a parent-made transcript so you do not miss important deadlines.
A transcript should include numerical grades, course level (college prep, honors, dual credit, AP), credit (.5 or 1.0) and course name. You should have your student’s name, address, date of birth, and graduation date. In SC, you should calculate your student’s grade point average using the SC Uniform Grading Policy (SC UGP). (More on this below.)
You can find many transcript templates free online. Let’s Homeschool High School has many free templates available.
For members who need assistance with transcripts, TSCHAA offers a transcript service for $25. You can order one on the Application/Forms page of the website.
Students must have a graduation date on or before June 15th of the senior year to qualify for SC scholarships.
New 10 Point Scale
SC adopted a new 10 point grading scale for the 2016-2017 school year. In order to qualify for SC scholarships, you must use this scale on your transcripts. Any classes taken prior to August 2016, must still use the previous 7 point grading scale.This is a requirement set forth by the SC Department of Education.
New 10 point scale:
A=90-100 B=80-89 C=70-79 D=60-69 F=59 – below
Old Scale – use on all courses taken prior to August 2016:
A=93-100 B=85-92 C=77-84 D=70-76 F=69- below
Types of Courses (Honors, AP, Dual Credit, and College Prep)
1. College Prep courses are high school level courses that prepare students for college. Most courses in high school are considered college prep.
2. Honors classes go above and beyond a college prep class. Adding more work does not make a class honors level. The work required should be at a higher level than a college prep course. SC implemented a new guide for determining honors level. TSCHAA will no longer validate honors level courses on our transcripts. You can learn more about the honors requirements here.
3. AP courses must be approved by the college board. A homeschool educator who wants to label the course as AP must create an account with the college board and submit your course materials for approval. To get AP credit on your transcript, you must have a copy of the approval from the College Board.
Homeschoolers can take the AP test even if they have not taken an AP course. You can find more information about taking the test here: https://professionals.collegeboard.org/testing/ap/scores/prepare/homeschool
4. Dual Credit courses are taught at a college. A student takes a course at a college and the score earned in the course will also count on their high school transcript.
GPA using the SC UGP
(Please keep in mind if calculating GPA is confusing or more than you want to do, don’t worry. TSCHAA has you covered. Our transcript service takes care of all of it for you!)
When calculating your student’s GPA (Grade Point Average), you should use the SC UGP (SC Uniform Grading Policy) for scholarships and SC colleges. South Carolina has the uniform grading policy in place so that all students can be compared more accurately. Students must have a graduation date on or before June 15th of the senior year to qualify for SC scholarships.
1. To calculate the SC UGP, you will first need to classify each high school course as either college prep, honors, AP, or dual-credit. Most high school classes are considered college prep. Honors, AP, and Dual Credit courses receive more weight on the SC UGP.
2. After classifying each course, you will need to assign each numerical grade earned a quality point as determined by the SC UGP. Classes taken prior to August 2016 must use the 7 point grading scale. Classes taken after August 2016 must use the 10 point grading scale. Use the charts below to determine quality points.
3. Next, multiply each quality point by the credit value (1 for a year class and .5 for a semester class) and add them up. Take that total and divide it by the total number of courses attempted. Do not round!
Follow this step by step example of how to calculate SC UGP (see page 5):
***make sure you substitute the new conversion chart linked above for courses completed after August 2016.***
TSCHAA offers two diploma options for members. TSCHAA will create a diploma for your student as long as you have met all the requirements of a third option homeschooler.
You can order a diploma in a navy blue padded cover from Gowns4Good for $35. Gowns4Good donates dollar for dollar the amount spent on their graduation supplies to build wells in impoverished communities. TSCHAA has partnered with them for ordering our padded diploma covers.
You can also order a diploma that comes in a navy blue card stock folder for $15.
Both diplomas can have your homeschool name printed on them. Diplomas can be ordered on the Application/Forms page. As a 3rd Option homeschooler, you can also create your own diploma.
SAT and ACT
Colleges use the SAT and ACT to determine college readiness. These tests are also used as an option to qualify for SC scholarships. Visit the College Board to learn more about the SAT and ACT.org to learn more about the ACT.
You will be required to put in a school code and have proper id. For the SAT click here. For the ACT click here.
One way to earn early college credits is through CLEP testing. CLEP tests are designed by the College Board and allow a student to test out of a college level course. Your student will earn credits but not grades toward their college degree. Some colleges have a limit on the number of CLEP tests that they will allow. You can find more information on CLEP tests at the link below.
Scholarships and Ranking
South Carolina offers some amazing scholarships. In order to qualify for a SC scholarship for the following year of college, you must end your school year by June 15th. If your school year runs past June 15th, you will not be eligible for that year’s scholarships.
The most popular scholarships are the Life, Hope, and Palmetto Fellows. You can only qualify for one of them. Colleges will let you know if you qualify for the Life or Hope, and TSCHAA is responsible for applying for the Palmetto Fellows on your behalf.
Since TSCHAA leaves record keeping up to the parents, it is your responsibility to contact TSCHAA if you think your child qualifies for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship. Reminders will be sent out as deadlines approach.
So, why doesn’t TSCHAA rank? If TSCHAA ranked, every student taking high school level courses would be required to turn in grades by June 1st of each year. Each high school student would also be required to purchase the transcript service because every SC UGP has to be verified by the director. Not every family is interested in ranking, and TSCHAA wants to allow families to homeschool without adding requirements that go beyond the Third Option Law. If ranking is important to you, there are many wonderful associations that offer ranking. You can find a list with short descriptions of each association here.
Equal Access Interscholastic Activities Bill
The Equal Access Interscholastic Activities Bill allows homeschoolers to participate in extra curricular activities at their local public school. This includes athletics, music, speech, and other activities.
You must contact the school before the season begins. A homeschool student must meet the same requirements that a public school student is required to meet. Your student must have been homeschooled in the school’s district for 1 academic year to qualify. Every school handles this a little differently. They will probably want a report card (and may insist that it comes from your association) and proof homeschooling. TSCHAA offers a report cards service for $8 and a free compliance letter on the Applications/Forms page of the website.
Earning High School Credits in Middle School
Your child can begin earning high school credits in middle school for core courses. In order to earn high school credit, your middle schooler must be doing high school level work. If you put your child in public school, the school may not accept your courses as high school level. It is at the school’s discretion when determining the level of your child.
The South Carolina Homeschooling Connection
The HomeScholar – she offers a paid service, however, many of her resources are free
TSCHAA’s Pinterest Page – College Bound Board and High School Board