Can a Middle Schooler Earn High School Credit?
The short answer is: Yes.
The longer answer is: Yes, after all, public schools routinely give middle school students high school credit, especially for classes like Algebra 1 and Spanish 1. In fact, Florida colleges--through their dual enrollment programs--often give college credit to middle school students; if students can earn college credit in middle school, they can certainly earn high school credit.
Does everyone agree? No. Just today, I saw some teachers and tutors advise parents that they can't give
high school credit for courses like Biology 1 done in middle school. Those teachers and tutors don't seem to understand that under Florida law, home education parents and private schools get to make their own decisions about curriculum and course of study--including the credit earned. We are not district programs and do not have to follow district rules; so, just because a particular school district might have rules against it (or used to--many are much more liberal in allowing high school credit now than they were a few years ago) doesn't mean a parent can't choose to when the parent is in charge of the child's home education program.
Public schools allow subjects like biology and algebra 1 done at the middle school level to count for high school, so it is entirely reasonable for homeschool parents to do the same. Many of us have done that for years. I did that for my older kids who have graduated high school as homeschool students. And colleges had no problems accepting them with biology from 8th grade on their transcripts, especially when there were then college credits earned in high school.
Any Other Considerations?
Parents should be aware that if the student quits homeschooling and transfers to a public school, public schools get to make the rules and a public high school might count the credits earned in middle school as electives when determining graduation requirements. So, if a student needs three years of high school math and took Algebra 1 and Geometry in middle school, a public school will still want the student to take 3 years of math in high school and will count the Algebra 1 and Geometry credits as electives. Some might find this a concern, but a student who is taking high school level math in middle school will likely take higher math in high school and might even earn college credit in math before graduating from high school.
Colleges might not include credits earned during middle school in their GPA calculations, but that doesn't mean that the colleges don't recognize the credits.
It can help to know that Florida's home educated students do not have to follow public school graduation requirements. Some families choose to use them. Others choose to use college or trade school entrance requirements as their child's graduation requirements. Yet other families make their own graduation requirements to fit the child's needs for life after high school graduation. Credits earned in middle school can be part of those graduation requirements if a family chooses to use them.
Cheryl Trzasko--homeschool mom and evaluator since 2003