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Homeschool Psychology



Homeschool Psychology may pose a particular problem in homeschooling because - unlike most other courses - its availability in high schools is recent and many parents who are homeschooling have never taken it themselves. This article suggests several options parents can follow in order for their child to obtain credit for Homeschool Psychology.


Teaching Homeschool Psychology Yourself

The first thing you should do is check your state’s Department of Education website - you can find it here if you don’t know its URL: nces.ed.gov Psychology is often offered as an Advanced Placement (AP) course, and if this is they way you are going to teach, you should avail yourself of the AP resources offered by the College Board collegeboard.com

You should also take a look at the National Standards for High School Psychology, which are provided by the American Psychological Association (APA) here: apa.org. In these standards you will read about the five content domains of psychology

  • methods
  • biological bases of behavior
  • development
  • cognition
  • individual and group variations

as well as content and performance standards for each.

Online Psychology

Another alternative is to have your homeschool student take AP Psychology as an online course. If you are considering this option, make sure to seek out an institution that is accredited. One program for you to consider is the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY) program. The CTY program was founded in 1979 to serve very bright students with distance learning alternatives. CTY is accredited for its programs for grades 5 - 12 by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The course itself is approved by the College Board, giving it the right to be promoted with the AP label.

The CTY AP Psychology course is taught in an intensive 12-week session and a 30-week session during the academic year. Students are required to be in grades 9 - 12, pass an eligibility test - the PSAT for Grades 9 - 12 - and have completed a high school biology course. In 2009, the tuition for AP Psychology is $1220, and there’s a $30 application fee, a $15 fee for students applying from outside the US, and a materials fee of $62.95 for an eBook used in the course, but financial aid is available. The course, itself, is composed of 25 modules, most of which match pretty closely to national standards categories.

In order to access the course, students will need a computer that meets minimum requirements (generally, one built after 2000), including being able to play Flash or QuickTime video, be equipped with an email account and an up-to-date browser, and have Internet access. Most courses work with both Windows and Mac operating systems. Depending on the course set-up, you may also need to have your browser run javascript, have popup windows enabled, and allow cookies.

If you choose to seek an alternative online course, you should nevertheless check the same categories before making your decision:

  • affiliation
  • accreditation
  • when founded and educational mission
  • College Board approval
  • course length
  • prerequisites, such as grade level, courses completed, and entrance eligibility exam
  • cost, including tuition, fees, and materials
  • financial aid
  • course content
  • computer or other equipment requirements

School Alternatives

Another way to provide an opportunity for your student to take Psychology is to make arrangements with a local school, whether a public high school or a private school. Some schools are more welcoming of homeschooled students than others, but for any subject that requires training or equipment that you don’t have, it’s an alternative worth exploring.