In this page:
- Did the class cover what a traditional high-school class would cover?
- Did the class cover what an entry-level college course would cover?
- What will your child take away from the class?
- What resources are used?
- What's a "Carnegie unit"?
What counts as high school–level work?
You get to choose what counts. There are several ways of thinking about it.
Did the class cover what a traditional high-school class would cover?
You can check online for course catalogs of high schools from across the country, including private schools.
Did the class cover what an entry-level college course would cover?
Check CC course catalogs or university course catalogs.
What will your child take away from the class?
Lots of us remember that class from high school we got an A in, but we now can call up virtually nothing about. What will your kid remember from their class? Will they end up with a better understanding of a subject than a traditionally schooled student will have? Will that information stick with them?
What resources are used?
Does the class use a college-level text, a textbook that typical high schools or AP classes use, adult-level reading materials, a video series of a college class, instructor-created materials, or something else entirely?
What’s a “Carnegie unit”?
Often you’ll hear people talking about using Carnegie units to decide whether a class is a full-credit, high-school class. You’ll also sometimes see Carnegie units referred to in information from colleges.
The Carnegie unit is a system that bases the awarding of academic credit on how much time students spend in direct contact with a classroom teacher. The standard Carnegie unit is defined as 120 hours of class or contact time with an instructor over the course of a year: a one-hour meeting/one hour of instruction a day, five days a week, for 24 weeks. However, since traditional classes usually meet for 50 minutes, this works out to 30 weeks per year.
In homeschooling, the Carnegie unit may be less useful, since a traditional classroom is only one environment (of many) in which our kids typically learn. However, some homeschooling families use the 120 hours as a general guideline.