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Homeschooling Grades 9-12: What Your Child Needs to Know to Graduate

written by: Alicia • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 5/15/2014

It is important for homeschooling parents to understand the curriculum guidelines put in place for high school students. Some classes are required to be taken for four years while others are only required for three. This article will give you a breakdown year by year with possible substitutions.

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    To graduate from high school you must have the right amount of credits. This varies, as well as the courses required, by state. Most Student At Work states require around 110 credits accumulated over the four years of your high school career. I live in New Jersey so I will use their requirements as a model. Your requirements should be similar with maybe some minor changes. If you would like to know your state's specific course requirements and total credits you can click on the link in the resources section of this article. Then click on your state.

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    Grade 9

    Math: Three years of math is required at five credits per year. Many states are requiring four credits. The standard math class for grade nine is Algebra. Students may also choose from Consumer Math, Pre-Algebra, or Pre-Calculus. The other courses are considered if a child is above or below average in mathematical skills. For instance, a below average student may take pre-algebra first while an above average student moves on to pre-calculus.

    English: Four years of English is required at five credits per year. The standard English curriculum is called English I or English Grade 9. It combines grammar, writing, and literature. Many curriculums have Literature textbooks separate, but it is counted as part of the years curriculum.

    Science: Three years of Science are required at five credits per year. Ninth graders study Physical Science or Earth Science. They are the same thing, but some textbooks call them Physical Science and some call them Earth Science. There really are no substitutions for this course. The only choice you have is which company you buy a textbook from. They are a little bit different, but they all teach the same principles.

    History: Three years of History are required at five credits per year. Ninth grade History is usually called American History. In New Jersey you are required to study two years of United States History. I imagine most states have the same requirements. There are no substitutions just different companies and textbooks.

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    Grade 10

    Math: The tenth grade year students study Algebra II. Some other possibilities are Consumer Math, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, and Accounting I. These choices are open for students who are above or below average in Math.

    English: The tenth grade English curriculum is either called English II or English Grade 10. It combines grammar, writing, and literature. It is basically like English I, but more in-depth.

    Science: Tenth grade science is almost always Biology. There really aren't any substitutions for this class.

    History: Tenth grade is when students study Civics. This is to complete the two years of US History that is required. There are not any substitutes for this class.

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    Grade 11

    Math: The most commonly taken course is Geometry. Some substitutes are Consumer Math, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Accounting I, or Accounting II.

    English: English for eleventh graders is either called English III or English Grade 11. It combines grammar, writing, and literature. Again it builds on the year before. There are no substitutes.

    Science: Eleventh graders have a choice. This is their last required year. They may take science in grade eleven or wait until twelfth grade. It is recommended that they take it in eleventh grade. The choices are Physics or Chemistry. They are usually the only two choices available.

    History: Eleventh graders typically study World History and Geography. It is the only class that is offered. This is also the last year to study history.

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    Grade 12

    Math: No math is required in twelfth grade in some states; however, college-bound students elect to take one of the other math classes offered. They can take Consumer Math, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Accounting I, or Accounting II.

    English: The final English class is called English IV or English grade twelve. There are no substitutes and students can expect the course to build on the year before. They will learn grammar, writing, and literature.

    Science: If science was completed in grade eleven students do not need to take it their senior year. If they did not take science they will need to take either Physics or Chemistry to meet the requirements.

    History: No history is required for twelfth grade. You can buy twelfth grade curriculum from places like LifePac if you want to continue practicing your Geography skills.

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    Other Requirements for Graduation

    Health and Physical Education: A combined 3.75 credits per year.

    The Arts: Five credits total for the four years are required. That could be from music, art, drama, or dance.

    Other Languages: Two to five credits total for the four years are required. This could be Spanish, French, Latin, Greek, Sign Language, etc.

    Electives: Fifteen credits total are required for the four years.

    Career Education: Five credits total are required for the four years. Any class that teaches about a career of life skill is counted in this category.