Issue 11 | June 15, 2012 | Qualifying for Self-Designed Courses

Newsletters Archive

A delightful student from Florida developed an unexpected passion in a most unusual way. The story of this youngster is below these important details about "qualifying for self-designed courses."


In order for NARHS to count self-designed courses for students younger than age 14, any one of the following conditions must exist:

    Students under age 14 who have previously earned any full and complete high school or college credit in one of the four core curriculum subjects from any other educational institution and can produce proof of that accomplishment are eligible to earn credit with self-designed courses.
    Students under age 14 earning a total of three credits from the four core subjects (English, math, science and social studies) from high school textbooks are considered to be high schoolers; therefore self-designed courses count for credit.
    If a student takes a CLEP test in any of the 4 core subject areas and passes it, that student is eligible for self-designed credits to count.

When reporting self-designed courses at the portfolio review, remember to include

  1. The course description
  2. Logged hours
  3. A grade (use a grading tool if there is no graded work)
  4. Evidence of work completed, or skills learned by the student


Jacob Williamson, a 13-year-old from Florida, has shown remarkable academic potential from early in life.  How he learned to read is still a mystery to his mom. At bedtime when he was 4, he just showed her that he could.  There is no sense in waiting around a few years to start school when the youngster is so capable.  First grade started for Jacob just a few months later using ABeka curriculum.

Now, at 13, he has just completed Algebra 2.   Through the years, his parents had noticed that he possessed a knack for spelling words.  So when the local spelling bee was held at Three Oaks Middle School in Fort Meyers, Jacob was among the fifty-one students who entered the competition.   Despite the fact that he had never gone to school, been on stage or spoken into a microphone, Jacob took the experience in stride.  By the eleventh round, two competitors were left, Jacob and the girl who eventually won and moved onto the national spelling bee in Washington D.C. (after the seventeenth round).

Even though he did not win, something about the spelling bee experience worked up a passion in Jacob.  His "success" opened up his eyes to the ability that really was inside of him and he realized that with a little more effort, he could win. The family ordered the unabridged Webster's Third New International Dictionary that contains every word ever spoken.  Evenings, he studies words and their meanings by writing them down in a spiral notebook of entries being compiled.  He attempts spelling words until they become a lasting memory.  When the next bee comes around, he'll be ready.

This week a word he learned to spell is "adenylpyrophosphatase". Give it a try!