How Does a Homeschooler Get a Diploma?
When it comes to homeschooling, parents of high school students usually wonder how their homeschooled students will acquire a diploma. They also may wonder if a diploma is necessary so as to attend college, join the military, or get a job.
The good news is that a lot of traditionally homeschooled learners get a diploma from their parents, which is typically accepted by many universities and colleges.
Those who attend an online homeschool or take courses through correspondence school or an umbrella school normally get their diplomas from that institution. But as for receiving a diploma from the school district in which your homeschooled student resides—that hardly happens.
For example, some states have specific graduation needs, even for homeschooled learners. As soon as your student has completed the graduation requirements, they have earned their diploma in these circumstances.
If your state does not mention graduation requirements, you are perhaps free to create your own. So, your requirements should be based on your child’s future career goals, interests, and abilities.
What You Should Know
Generally, a high school diploma is an official document awarded by a school signifying that the student has successfully completed the essential requirements for graduation. Although homeschools are usually not accredited, similar to most private and public schools, this fact usually does not negatively affect a student’s college or career goals.
Actually, many homeschooled learners are admitted to universities and colleges and can even earn scholarships. But if you really want your homeschooled learner to have an accredited diploma, you could look into a distance learning program or an online school.
Bear in mind that many universities and colleges are actively looking for homeschool graduates and usually appreciate a non-traditional approach to school.
Still, make sure you are aware of the admission requirements for the universities and colleges your student is interested in. And, if the learner is interested in joining the military immediately after graduation, you may want to talk with a recruiter to find out whether your student will require a diploma from an accredited institution. In the event this is the case, you may have to consider having your student supplement their homeschool education with a few courses from a local community college.
Also, it is crucial to note that your homeschool student will not require to get a GED. When students get these tests, employers, admissions officers, and military recruiters might assume that the student dropped out of high school rather than graduating from a homeschooling program.
The Importance of a Transcript
Although parents are usually most concerned about getting a diploma, a transcript is usually much more significant compared to a diploma. This documentation shows what coursework your learner completed and what grades they received in every course.
Note that transcripts are requested by more than just colleges. Mostly, apprenticeship programs, companies, the military, trade schools, and scholarship committees also may request a copy of your learner’s transcript. Even your insurance company may want a copy of the transcript to ensure that your student is eligible for a good student discount.
You may also need to keep a separate document with course descriptions if a future company or university ever requests it. This document should contain the name of every course and the materials used to complete it as well as textbooks, lab materials, websites, online courses, hands-on experiences, and internships.
To combine your student’s transcript, you can design and print the document using a transcript service. Additionally, educational consultants assist you in putting together your student’s transcript and even checking GPA calculations. General, your kid’s transcript should include the following information:
- The name of your student, the name of your homeschool, address, and telephone number
- The list of high school courses ordered by year (grades 9-12); includes grades 7 and 8 if the student took high school level courses in those grades.
- The institution where every course was taken (i.e., online school, community college, homeschool)
- The grading scale employed in your homeschool
- The overall GPA
- Credits assigned per course.
- Expected graduation date
- Parent signature with a date
Furthermore, if your student took classes at a community college or local university, you need to make sure that you request copies of those transcripts. You can have them sent to the prospective military recruiter or employer who requested the transcripts together with your homeschool transcript.
Other Significant Considerations
Your high school graduate must understand how to fill out job and college applications regarding homeschooling.
Similarly, in case your student intends to apply to college after graduation, it is crucial that they are able to show college readiness. This can be accomplished through standardized testing like the SAT and the ACT.
It can also be demonstrated through outside experiences like entrepreneurial experiences, volunteer work, internships, etc. Remember, universities and colleges are most interested in what your student knows as well as whether or not they can handle the coursework the university offers.
Is a Homeschool Diploma the same as a High School Diploma?
A homeschool diploma is basically the same as a High School Diploma. If you are working with your child on getting their degree, then it might be helpful to see how they handle the workload and responsibility of having their own study schedule. The main difference between a homeschool high school diploma and a regular high school diploma is that home-schoolers cannot be part of an extracurricular activity. They are also not able to have grades that fall below a C average.
If your student wishes to get a regular high school diploma, they can do so by taking the GED exam. This is an exam created for students who have dropped out or did not complete traditional high school education. However, this exam can be difficult to take and it may not be a good indication of how well your homeschooler can do on the ACT or SAT test.
Throughout their high school career, students are able to take tests that will help them determine if they are ready for college. These assessments include:
The Preliminary SAT (PSAT)
The PSAT is a computerized form of the SAT, and it is generally taken by juniors in high school. The data gathered from this test will be used to determine an appropriate score for the student on the actual SAT exam. This test can help your homeschooler know what they need to do to meet their goals.
The SAT is a college admissions exam, and it measures the test-taker’s ability to read and write. Your homeschooler can start preparing for this exam in middle school. Different locations will have different testing dates available, so you should check with your homeschool coordinator or contact the local community education department. Some private schools may offer the SAT themselves.
Unique Homeschool Accreditation Options
One thing to consider when homeschooling is taking advantage of certain accreditations and certifications. The following are reputable accreditations to contact:
Tips for Homeschool Success
- Ensure your child loves to learn – the two best indicators of a successful homeschool career are student motivation and parent persistence.
- Stay organized; have lesson plans and grading systems in place before you begin teaching your children.
Homeschooling doesn’t mean you have to be disorganized. As long as there is structure and organization of lessons, you will find success without feeling the need to hover over your child.
- Make learning fun – encourage your children to complete personal projects in addition to curriculum work so they can learn about particular interests and hone their skills.
- Know the laws in your state – parents may be held accountable if they don’t follow current laws and statutes for homeschooling.
- Admissions officers will want to see that you have provided a well-rounded education, so make sure your child has had the chance to explore different areas of interest.
- You will need to be prepared for standardized tests if your child wants to attend college, so have them take practice exams during the course of their school career.
If you are making a transition from public or private schooling into homeschooling, there is one important thing you need to remember: it’s not about the school, it’s about your child. They are going to need your support throughout their homeschool career, and if you are able to learn from the experience of other homeschooling families, then you can be sure that you are making the best possible decisions for your student.
Homeschooling isn’t just a way to eliminate the school day. It is a lifestyle that requires you as the parent or guardian to take on new responsibilities.
Remember that the important thing is your child’s love of learning and their development into independent learners, happy children who are growing in skills and character traits. Homeschooling can be challenging at times but it will also bring many rewards. Enjoy them!
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