.If you were looking for our college preparation tips, those are over HERE (a podcast for how to use unit studies with a university-bound high school student) and also HERE (a quick write up on college help) .  If you were looking for how to calculate high school credits with our units, keep reading!


You can use these units to cover all core school subjects (except math).  Alternatively, you can use the units as an extracurricular or single-topic study.  We’ll share the details of how you approach either situation below!





For those who want the simple answer:

Use ~8 units per year and list the following on your high school transcript:

  • ELA
    • 1 credit
  • Science* [fill in with physics, chemistry, or whatever is applicable based on the units completed]
    • 1 credit
  • History -or- social studies and geography**  [same note as above]
    • 1 credit
  • Elective/job shadowing
    • 1/2 credit
  • Ethics
    • 1/2 credit
  • Bible
    • 1/2 credit

*Our units cover chemistry, biology, physics, earth science, and more.  See our UNITS OVERVIEW for details.
**We intertwine such subjects for an interdisciplinary learning approach to bring connections

For those who want to understand the method behind the madness, here’s the explanation:

In public or private school, you go to school every day for ~180 days (9 months) per year.  Each class is approximately 40 – 60 minutes, so you get a little bit of “language arts,” then a little bit of “math class,” then a little bit of “history” each school day (so on and so forth).  By the end of the year, students get a credit for all school subjects as a result (as long as they don’t fail the classes, of course).  This is how it works across the board throughout America.  The same is true in homeschool–whether using unit studies, traditional textbooks, or anything else. 

You complete school for the designated amount of time each day, for the 180 days (9 months) per year, and you get a credit for each subject covered.  The end.  It’s really that simple.  It’s all about TIME SPENT in the class or on the subject.  This is called the Carnegie Unit Method, and it is the standard measurement used for credit calculations in America (and many other countries, as well).

Here’s how that looks for those using Campfire Curriculums…

You can complete ~6-10 full units per year (however many you get through in those ~180 days) and you will get a credit for each subject (except math).  This is because each regular unit covers core school subjects in every lesson.  For calculation purposes, it is therefore no different than how you add it up in public school.  By the end of the year, you earn a credit in each subject.

If you want more help with the details and record-keeping, keep reading!

Carnegie Unit method (for all Core School Subjects to be covered equally)

Regardless of which curriculum you utilize in your homeschool (or if you are public or private schooled), credits are counted by “time spent,” aka the “Carnegie Unit Method.”  This is one reason why public schools have timed classes, in case you were wondering.  The state wants to make sure you are “doing school” every day you are supposed to, for the appropriate amount of time.  Obviously, they want to avoid parents or teachers “schooling” the child for 10 minutes a day and calling it “good.”  Regardless of where or how you school (public, private, or homeschool), these are the rules for the Carnegie Unit Method:

    • A full credit can be given to a student in any school subject when the student completes ~120-150 hours of work on a given subject.
      • This varies by state; some require ~180 hours; please check your own state requirements for any specifications
      • This is why public school classes are typically 45 minutes long and ~180 days per year. 
        • (.75 hrs/day x 180 days per year = 135 hours on that particular school subject = 1 credit for that school subject.  YAY!)
    • A half credit can be given when the student completes ~60-75 hours of work on a given subject.
    • A quarter credit is with ~30+ hours.

With unit studies, different families spend a different amount of time in each unit.  Some go all out and do every single SYW page, all of the Core Connections, every single activity option that we provide, all of the research papers we direct, read some associated books or documentaries, go on field trips, etc.  As you can imagine, that’s going to take up a LOT more time than someone who skips some pages, rushes through the unit, etc. More time spent = more Carnegie Unit Hours.

We have families who take 6 weeks to complete a single unit.  We have others who do it in 3.  The good news is that you don’t have to worry about which family you are.  Whether 3 or 5 or 10 or 20 different units were used throughout the year, it doesn’t change the Carnegie Unit Method.  It’s just like in public school when teachers might say, “We’re going to skip this chapter in the textbook because I want to spend more time on the following chapter or working on our final projects.”  That’s okay!  That is their prerogative.  They are still spending the designated amount of time each day on the school subject with their students.  Likewise, all YOU need to focus on is doing your regular school day (whatever that looks like) and doing it for the designated number of days per year (per your state).  However many units you complete during that time is up to your family. 

PS: We’ve never met a parent who actually sat there and counted the time spent in each and every subject (lol).  I’m sure they’re out there, but to say that task would drive a parent insane is an understatement.  Usually, veteran homeschool parents just set a regular amount of “school time” or “level of expectation” for their family each day and stick to it overall.  They know that if there’s a little more time spent on “history” today (perhaps the child was really enthusiastic and went down a lot of rabbit trails), there will likely be more time spent on “science” tomorrow or the following week.  It’s a bit of an ebb and flow, and it all balances out.  Just stick to your routine, and you’ll be fine.  It’s not like there is someone watching over your shoulder with a stop watch. :). That is one beauty of homeschool.

**IMPORTANT: You will also note that public or private school teachers don’t invite the children into the classroom just to sit there and read the textbook the ENTIRE 45 minutes.  That’s not teaching.  Typically, there is interaction, discussion, projects, a little reading, a little writing, etc.  The same should be true in your homeschool.  Campfire Curriculums directs all of that for you throughout the lesson with intentionally-timed prompts, so you don’t even need to think about it!

How it might look in your home:

Unit A Example [Insert the name of any unit], each lesson:

  • History or Social Studies and geography: ~45 – 60 minutes/lesson
    • This much time is spent each day within the unit (if the student completes the entire lesson, including SYW pages, etc.)
  • Science Core Connections (physics/chemistry, etc.): ~45 – 60 minutes/lesson
    • Only ~15 minutes of reading, followed by our directed hands-on application, writing, experiment, etc.
  • Language Arts/English Core Connections: ~45 – 60 minutes/lesson
    • Only ~15 minutes of reading/analyzing, followed by our directed hands-on application assignments
  • Ethics (Think Tank prompts with group discussion and critical thinking): ~30 minutes
    • Only ~5 minutes of reading, which is followed by our directed discussion/debate
  • Bible: ~30 minutes
    • Only ~10 minutes of reading, which is followed by Bible reading on the topic and/or discussion
  • Math: Not included

Referencing the above, this is how a high school transcript would look for 1 unit  (9 – 10 units/year in parenthesis) if utilizing the Carnegie Unit Method:

  • HISTORY or SOCIAL STUDIES: 1/10 credit per unit (1 credit per year)
  • SCIENCE: 1/10 credit per unit (1 credit per year)
  • LANGUAGE ARTS: 1/10 credit (1 credit per year) 
  • ETHICS (ELECTIVE): 1/20 credit (1/2 credit per year)
  • BIBLE: 1/20 credit (1/2 credit per year)

If you take twice the amount of time referenced above, then you only need to do half the number of units.  If you speed through a unit like a rocket, you’ll need to do more.  Ideally, you will keep a good pace so you can learn an adequate amount of information throughout the year.  Again, most families average between 6 – 10 units per year.

Final notes: some states require that a particular course is independently covered throughout high school (IE: Foreign Language or Typing).  Make sure you follow your state rules if a specific course is listed.  If you need to cover chemistry, for example, you can do that through our units (Science Core Connections).  However, if you need to cover something different like typing or a specific course we don’t offer, you would need to add that on.

Using Campfire for only ONE school subject or an extracurricular

SIMPLE ANSWER: Each full unit = 1/4 credit toward one subject.

Let’s say you already have your other school curriculum picked for other school subjects, and you’re only wanting to use Campfire Curriculums for your health course or maybe an extracurricular.  Maybe you want to use it for only science or only [insert anything here].  How does THAT work? It’s easy!  When you complete a Campfire Curriculums unit and apply it toward one school subject only, give yourself 1/4 credit in that subject.  The end!  Join two units together if you want 1/2 credit in one particular topic.

The Method Behind The Madness

Imagine a child was job shadowing a volcanologist all day long for the entire year.  The entire year, he is learning history of cultures across the world and how volcanoes impact each and every region (including wars of times past),  He is learning earth science and geology, intermixed with chemistry (geochemistry).  He is also learning advanced math (lava flows, slope intercepts, energy transfer, statistics, etc).  He is learning how to write and submit reports to the local authorities, sharing opinions of safety for locals….. all of it!  That student has the option of counting his learning as a mixture of core school subjects (math, language arts, science, history). Alternatively, the student can group together ALL of his learning and apply it in a big lump sum as “Extracurricular – Job Shadowing/Volcanology.”  The same is true with unit studies. It all still boils down to Carnegie Unit.

  • In this instance, because 100% of time spent in the unit (approximately 30+ hours) is being applied toward a single school topic, it equals 1/4 credit.
    • We could break down the math again and show you how this works out, per the Carnegie Unit Method, but we’ll spare you.  If you are interested, the top of the page already explains it with examples and details. 🙂
  • Each unit can be adjusted from 1/4 credit to 1/2 credit if parent requires that the student spend extra time on the subject via additional research/hands-on application/read books from the optional book list, etc.




Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top