It is possible for students to earn high school credit prior to the 9th grade. However, certain items need to be taken into consideration.
Check your state’s legal analysis to find out if your state requires a specific number of credits be taken during the 9th – 12th grade years. A couple of states are very specific about the years during which credits must be accrued. Most states, however, do not specify when credits must be earned.
If you are a member of HSLDA, call or email your legal assistant if you have questions regarding any such requirements in your particular state relating to earning high school credit prior to 9th grade and how that impacts your high school plans.
If your teen completes a high school course prior to 9th grade, here are some suggestions:
- All course material used should be high school level or above. Many times publishers of the material indicate the grade level of the material. If you are unsure about the level of materials, you may contact the publisher of the material, search out a homeschool catalog that may provide this information, or possibly read a review by Cathy Duffy, a well-respected reviewer of curriculum.
- Keep good documentation of any high school course that you show on the transcript such as materials used, titles of books, authors, and publishers. Document all concepts covered in the course (known as the scope and sequence). If you are using a high school level textbook, simply making a copy of the table of contents will suffice. Or, you may use a description of the course material from a homeschool catalog or homeschool review. Determine a method of evaluation prior to beginning the course. In other words, how will you come up with a grade? Will you give tests or quizzes, will you assign papers and projects, or will you use some other method of evaluation? Record the percentages that each portion will contribute to the final grade (e.g. Tests 80%, Daily work 20%). Finally, I would suggest keeping a sample of the course work from the beginning, middle, and end of the year to show progress. No one may ever ask you for this information, but if they did you would have back up for all courses listed on the transcript.
Most colleges are familiar with students taking several high school courses prior to the 9th grade year such as Algebra 1. In many cases, students who are beginning to take high school courses prior to 9th grade will keep taking courses throughout the high school years at more advanced levels, so that even if a particular college does not accept credits earned prior to the 9th grade, the student will likely have more than enough credits in each subject area. You may want to check a college's website, or call an admissions officer at a particular college that your teen may interested in applying to in order to ask about a particular college's policy towards early high school credits.
Here are some other helpful links:
In my opinion, I would limit the high school credit taken prior to 9th grade and shown on a transcript to a maximum of three core academic courses. I would tend not to show electives taken prior to the 9th grade year. As a parent, you will make the final decision on courses you show on the transcript, so please see these remarks as suggestions and food for thought.
If you are a member of HSLDA and would like to chat further about your teen earning high school credit prior to 9th grade, feel free to call or email me with your questions, and I can send to you a sample of a transcript showing credits earned before the 9th grade year. I’m happy to brainstorm with you!
Enjoying the spring weather on the east coast,