The State of Georgia requires students to accumulate a minimum of 23 credit units in order to be awarded a high school diploma. Homeschool students are not required to comply with this requirement, and very often accumulate more than 23 credits. However, it is advisable to have your student complete at least 23 credits before awarding a diploma.

Most high school courses are considered to be one-credit courses. This makes planning relatively simple. If your student takes six one-credit courses over four years, they will graduate with twenty-four total credits. Most students have a mixture of one credit and half credit courses.

The typical course of study for high school includes four years of English, four years of mathematics and four years of science. This would total twelve credits leaving eleven credits for your student to achieve twenty three. Whatever total credits your students earns, chances are that three to four of them will be for history or social science courses such as economics or American government. Two to three credits will be for physical education or fine arts. Most colleges require or like to see two credits of a foreign language.

The remaining credits can be courses that will help your student achieve their personal goals. The goal most often sought by students is entrance to a specific college or university. Research into what a preferred college is looking for in their entering freshman will go a long way towards helping you plan your student’s high school course of study.

Below is a chart that will give you an overview to help you begin planning your student’s coursework.

Four Year High School Plan

Grade Level

8th (only list high school level courses)





Core Courses

English (4)

Math (4)

Science/labs (4)

History/Social Studies (3)

Foreign Language(2)

Elective Courses*

Physical Education(1)



*examples of elective courses include art, music, drama, health, first aid, government, civics, economics,  vocational arts, nutrition, computer skills, home economics, career development, public speaking, driver’s education . . . and many, many more! Often elective courses are one semester long and earn one half credit.

As you can see core courses will make up the bulk of your student’s coursework. Here is a sample plan to give you an idea of what a course of study might look like.

General College Prep

(Meets the minimum requirements for many colleges including schools that are part of the Georgia University System)


4 credits

possible courses include composition, literature, creative writing, speech, journalism, debate, or a simple English course which would include a class that combines composition, literature and some grammar study


4 credits

Algebra 1 and 2, geometry, precalculus/ trigonometry, statistics, calculus, etc.


4 credits

Physical science, earth science, biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, physics, etc.

Social Studies

3-4 credits

world history, American history, United States government, economics, geography, constitutional law, political science, civics, psychology, etc.

Foreign Language

2-4 credits

French, Spanish, Latin, German, Russian, Sign Language, etc. (At least two years of the same language is preferred.)

Fine Arts

1-2 credits

Art, music, drama, photography, etc.

Physical education

1-2 credit

Many options available


4, 5 or more credits

Practical arts, life skills, Bible, computer skills, technical classes, computer courses, etc.

Total credits


In regard to how credits are assigned, there are a couple of accepted methods. Typically if a student completes a textbook that is published by a reputable publisher the student can be awarded one full credit. The same applies to textbooks intended to be completed in one semester - one-half credit may be awarded. If no textbook is used (for example a student uses a unit study approach) you may log the number of hours spent doing coursework in order to give credit.

A Carnegie Unit is the most often used system of measurement and 120 hours of work equates to one credit. If your student has 180 days of school, 120 hours of work is about 3.3 hours per week, divided as you prefer. Many students will, in reality, log more than 120 hours of work per course. Therefore, the typical range would be 120-150 hours of work for one credit. Each homeschool family is free to determine what is required in order to be awarded one credit hour.

An option that is used frequently among homeschooling families is dual enrollment, which is discussed on our Dual Enrollment page.

There are many resources available to you online, at your bookstore, and through GHEA to help you understand and plan for your student’s high school course work. Many homeschooling families in Georgia and across the United States homeschool through high school. We are here to help! Contact us with specific questions and we will do our best to get you started in the right direction.