Homeschooling through high school: Do homeschool graduates need a GED?

All homeschool graduates deserve a high school diploma or certificate of completion. After all, they completed a high school program of study. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

To view a previous post on “Homeschooling Through High School,” click here. Continuing with information on the joys and tribulations of homeschooling through high school, here’s the answer to Question #2 which was posed on the first “Homeschooling through high school” blog entry.

Question #2: Will he/she have to take the GED?

The definitive answer is no. If your child finished the courses and fulfilled the criteria for homeschooling that both your state and you have mandated, there is no reason to take the GED. It is possible that some schools, employers, or other agencies may ask for something other than the diploma that was issued by you and/or your spouse for proof that your child graduated from high school. If you’ve supplied a transcript and a diploma, and it’s not accepted, your child is being discriminated against, and you should contact the Home School Legal Defense Association. Even if you’re not a member, the HSLDA will help. Contact information is here.

First, not all schools–public or private–are accredited. If you’re an independent homeschooler who is homeschooling under your state’s homeschool or private (non-public) school statute, your homeschool, and therefore, the diploma won’t be accredited. But also understand this:  Accreditation will not ensure that your child will be accepted at college, vocational school, or by an employer. What counts is knowledge and performance, and know-how is usually demonstrated to Admissions Committees by student SAT/ACT scores. Also, keep in mind that colleges rarely request a diploma but do require a transcript, which you, as the homeschooling parent, should create.

Some parents (or kids) want an “accredited” high school diploma, and two states will oblige homeschoolers. (There may be more, and if so, leave a comment and inform me.) In New Jersey, if a child was homeschooled he/she can obtain a state high school diploma by passing the GED or by completing 30 college credits at an accredited institution. Another way for New Jersey homeschooled students to obtain a state diploma is by passing the High School Proficiency Assessment (HPSA) at the proficient or advanced proficient level. North Dakota homeschooled students receive diplomas through their district, a private school, or the North Dakota Center for Distance Education.

Keep in mind that not everyone homeschools via a homeschool or private school statute. Some are enrolled in church, umbrella, or satellite schools. A fee is paid to the school, and personnel keeps a record of grades and transcripts. In many cases, the school, also, issues the diploma. Some of these schools are “accredited,” but many are not. However, they are legal (or should be) and help homeschooling families remain compliant with state laws.

You might wonder if a GED might ever be the best option for a homeschooler. Whether it’s best or not is subjective, but it is a choice. Maybe your homeschooled teen is far behind with the school work due to illness, lack of motivation, refusal to finish school work, etc. Maybe you’ve tried, but the mom-teacher collaboration wasn’t effective after your son/daughter hit puberty. It could be that you don’t want to homeschool another year due to family circumstances. If you decide a GED is best, locate the nearest GED prep class, or your teen can study for the GED on his/her own via an online program. The actual test must be taken in person at a designated location.

Now,  for those who homeschooled through high school, how do you create a beautiful symbol of a milestone accomplished? There are many free templates online, or you can purchase a fancy diploma.

Copyright June 12, 2017

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