Homeschool High School Graduation – The Three Year Plan

One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility you have. You can choose what you want to teach, when you want to teach it, and even how you are going to go about it! While things do get a little stricter with high school, you still have freedom and flexibility. One of the ways you can use this flexibility pertains to homeschool high school graduation. Did you know that you can graduate your homeschooler early? 

Homeschool Graduation The 3 Year Plan

High school does not have to take 4 years! Let me say that again, “High School does not have to take 4 years!

I am on the cusp of graduating homeschooler number 2 of 3 from our homeschool this coming year. (I even have one that graduated college this year!) Even in New York State, which is notorious for having strict homeschool regulations (I believe it is 1st or 2nd), you can still graduate your high schooler in 3 years instead of 4. I know because I have done it and am doing it again! Let me tell you how.

How We Came to Homeschool High School Graduation – The Three-Year Plan

When my oldest was a sophomore in high school, she asked me about what she had left to complete in order to fulfill our obligations per the NYS Homeschool Regulations. Upon looking at what she had completed (and was completing for 10th and 11th grade), we realized she would have very little left for her senior year. In fact, all she would have was 1/2 credit of English and 1 Credit of Social Studies.

It took very little to add an extra 1/2 credit of English into her 11th-grade year. For the extra social studies, I had to send an addendum to her paperwork for 10th grade to reflect the fact that while I gave her 1 credit for history, she would actually be earning 2 credits because she was doing both a complete history curriculum as well as a complete geography curriculum. And voila! She was able to graduate in 3 years instead of 4!

The Three-Year Plan Spelled Out

The NYS Homeschool Regulations have a very clear layout of what is expected during the high school years; for that reason, they make a good structure for demonstrating how you can have homeschool high school graduation happen in 3 years instead of 4.

  • 180 days
  • 990 hours per year
  • English (4 units)
  • social studies (4 units), which includes one unit of American history, 1/2 unit in participation in government, and 1/2 unit of economics
  • mathematics (2 units)
  • science (2 units)
  • art and/or music (1 unit)
  • health education (1/2 unit)
  • physical education (2 units)
  • 3 units of electives

*Please note a unit means six thousand four hundred eighty (6,480) minutes of instruction per school year and can also be called 1 credit.

Beyond the basics stated above in the NYS Homeschool Regulations, we also included at least 2 years of Foreign Language because most colleges want to see that.  Even though my children weren’t 100% set on college, I always want college to be an option for them. Learn more about college admission for homeschoolers in this 4-part series

Now I’m sure you are wondering how I managed to plan all this out and visualize spreading out the high school credits over 3 years. I created this 4-Year High School Plan Printable Spreadsheet. You can download it for FREE and either print it out blank or fill it in on the computer and then print it out.

4 Year Homeschool High School Graduation Plan Printable Spreadsheet

Fast forward to present day, and because I know what I know from doing it once, I planned ahead for child #2 and made sure we covered our English and social studies (what we call History/Geography) in 3 years right from the start. Below you can see what we covered that allowed for homeschool high school graduation to happen in 3 years instead of 4.

9th Grade

  • Math – Algebra II (we also included Algebra 1 on his transcript which was completed in 8th grade) 1 credit each
  • Science – Integrated Physics & Chemistry (you could also do just Physical Science) 1 credit
  • History/Geography – American History 1 credit & Geography 1/2 credit
  • English/Language Arts – American Literature 1 credit & and added writing course 1/2 credit
  • Music/Art – Music Appreciation 1/2 credit
  • Language – ASL I (languages can be counted as elective courses) 1 credit
  • PE/Health – Competitive Swim Team 1 credit & Health Topics 1/4 credit

10th Grade

  • Math – Geometry 1 credit
  • Science – Biology 1 credit
  • History/Geography – World History 1 credit & Geography 1/2 credit
  • English/Language Arts – World Literature 1 credit and added writing course 1/2 credit
  • Music/Art – Art Appreciation 1/2 credit
  • Language – ASL II (languages can be counted as elective courses) 1 credit
  • PE/Health – Competitive Swim Team 1 credit & Health Topics 1/4 credit

11th Grade

  • Math – College Algebra 1 credit
  • Science – Chemistry 1 credit
  • History/Geography – Participation in Government 1/2 credit and Economics 1/2 credit
  • English/Language Arts – Shakespeare 1 credit
  • PE – Competitive Swimming 1 credit
  • Elective – Psychology 1 credit
  • Elective – Driver’s Ed 1/2 credit & Auto Upkeep 1/2 credit

We included ASL, Psychology, and Driver’s Ed/Auto Upkeep as electives, but there is TONS of flexibility in what you can choose for electives! When I was planning for my oldest’s high school years I did tons of research and created list after list to help me sort and organize my thoughts. Lucky for you I consolidated and organized it into a planning packet – Plan Your High School Electives FREE Printable Pack that you can use to help you research, organize and choose high school electives!

While homeschool high school graduation a year early is not for everyone, it is easily doable both within the stricter homeschool regulations of a state like New York and as solid college prep if that is the direction your homeschooler would like to go!


About the author

Heidi's passion lies in homeschooling the high school years, sharing resources and encouragement at Starts At Eight. It is her belief that you can homeschool high school and she seeks to help people navigate these years with confidence.

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