Paths to a Diploma

We believe that students should not be required to fit into a one-size-fits-all system. However, most colleges and other schools require transcripts that list grades and credits in classes in specified subjects with specified unit values. Students on a college path need to map their experiences onto an earned-credit-per-course framework, with credits earned by mastering the material.

  • Students earn one-half (0.5) credit  for mastering one semester of high school level course work, or 1.0 credit for a full year (two semesters) of mastering one semester of high school level course work.
  • Students in a dual enrollment course at a community college or college earn .33 high school credits for every 1 college credit. Please have the college send final grades to the The Farm School Satellite Campuses Program Office.

Some students master a “semester’s worth of work” in less than 90 days – others may take longer than 90 days.


Traditional Approach

Traditional courses with text/lesson plans typically have ~90 units of study per semester. If you are not using a traditional approach, we recommend that you check out the state of Tennessee’s standards and objectives for high school courses – if the learner has covered and mastered the items, then you may assign a credit for that course.

Recording credits for high school students:

Please do not assign credit and/or grades for Community Service or Work Experience in the Subject area. You should document those under the Portfolio feature at Homeschool Reporting Online (HSRO). Please assign either a numeric or letter grade for high school level subjects.  For courses not listed under HSRO, please pick the closest match and note in the Course Description or Comments area what the course name should be on the transcript.

If you and your student need help finding your own path to our high school diploma you may find consulting with The Farm School staff to be helpful. Contact Peter Kindfield at the main campus regarding consulting fees and establishing meeting times. He and the staff can assist you by:

  • Coming up with agreements with you and your family about what you want to accomplish
  • Helping you create a path to accomplish your goals
  • Providing resources to help you accomplish your goals (including: classes, seminars, workshops, an internet home-base, learning coaches, project advisors, topic experts)
  • Helping you keep a portfolio that shows your progress towards your goals

Other Approaches

Real-Time Credit Accounting

Families can map experiences into courses as they occur. For example, a visit to the doctor for an annual check-up gets credited as 1-hour towards a 180-hour/1-credit biology class. Generally one credit is equal to 150/180 clock hours of study/activity in an area that would be the equivalent of a one-year course in high school. A half credit would be given for ~75 /90 hours or a semester-long high school course. The time spent in study/activity is not limited to time reading a textbook and taking exams. It can include anything the student does related to that academic subject.

Portfolio Assessment

Students document their accomplishments and create an index that maps from specific learning objectives (e.g., understands that most common American health problems result from excess not deficiencies) into their work (e.g., a project including a personal health plan).

Diploma Requests

Requests for diplomas are made using the Request Manager at Homeschool Reporting Online (HSRO). Please visit this page for details regarding submitting a request.  See

We recommend following the Tennessee public high school graduation requirements. If your student is following a traditional path for high school with plans to attend college, this information may help guide your course selections. You may use the Tennessee Public School Curriculum Standards for K-12 as a reference and guide.