Transcript Credit for Homeschoolers

By Dr. Ronald E. Johnson

Practical Life Experiences

Most states recognize and accept two or three transcript credits for practical life experiences. Home school students may earn transcript credit for real life experiences based on the Carnegie Unit formula of 45 minutes multiplied by 180 days. For example, a student who trains and rides horses may legitimately earn one half to one full transcript credit under several titles: physical education, equine studies, or animal husbandry. A student who practices and/or plays a musical instrument at church or in an instrumental quartet for 45 minutes a day for 90 days may earn one-half transcript credit for instrumental music. A student who works on a family farm or ranch may earn one half transcript credit in agriculture for every 67 hours of supervised work involving such skills as hauling hay, plowing fields, harvesting crops, wrangling cattle, shearing sheep, or raising turkeys. A student who completes an apprenticeship in an auto mechanic shop or family ranch may earn transcript credit based on the Carnegie Unit formula. The same formula is applicable for students who work or complete apprenticeships in a commercial businesses such as a flower shop, bakery, cabinet shop, or restaurant.

Earning High School Credit “Early”

Home school students do not need to wait until age 15 to start earning high school transcript credit. Students may start earning academic credit whenever they complete a high school level course. Many home school students are quite capable of understanding and completing high school level courses before attaining the normal high school age of 15 years. Such students need not wait to begin their high school studies. Parents should set up an official high school transcript whenever their child completes an academic study that is considered to be a high school level course, such as Algebra I, English Writing Skills, Physical Science, History, or Geography.

Literature Credit For Books Read At Home

Students may earn high school transcript credit in literature when parents select a variety of books to be read and summarized.  Selections should include historical non-fiction, historical fiction, novels, and biographies. Suggested titles are Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, Pilgrim’s Progress, Black Beauty, Scottish Chiefs, Little Women, Little House on The Prairie, Noble Imposter, Tale of Two Cities, The Book of Job, Animal Farm, and Chariots of Fire.  Biographies could include such persons as Florence Nightingale, George Washington, George Mueller, Abraham Lincoln, Douglas MacArthur, Gladys Aylward, Ronald Reagan, Lewis and Clark, and Clara Barton. At least a dozen books should be assigned for reading and summarizing to earn one high school transcript credit.  Parents may want to require their teenagers to view and summarize such films as One Against The Wind, Ben Hur, The Great Escape, Florence Nightingale, The Robe, and Beyond The Next Mountain.


Dr. Ronald E. Johnson is the founder/CEO of Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum (PAC). The mission of PAC is to provide an accelerated learning system and principle-based core curriculum specifically designed to address the character, academics and emotional needs of students who have been under-served or have underperformed in conventional classrooms. To that objective, PAC publishes soft-cover 8-1/2  by 11 textbooks and computer-based texts with companion student activity books for math, science, history, and English for grades seven through twelve. For more information, refer to


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