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Graduation Photos from Allyson

Graduation Photos from Allyson
How are you going to make your child's high school graduation special? Check out these awesome photos from my Gold Care Club member, Allyson. Graduation is a special time, and you can make your homeschool graduation special too! Hi Lee, It's been a w...
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Graduation Photos from Kelly

Graduation Photos from Kelly
It's graduation season and I love seeing the unique graduation experiences of homeschoolers! This is how Kelly celebrated with her son the beekeeper! We held the ceremony during our square dance club's regular Thursday night dance. We had a huge full...
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Washington State Homeschool Graduation Requirements

Washington State Homeschool Graduation Requirements

For many homeschoolers, college follows shortly after graduation. Gaining college admission and scholarships is the concluding act of your homeschooling career. Let me show you how to do it. Click to register for my free class: College Applications Simply Explained
Homeschool law may not be the same as the law covering public or private schools. In Washington State, for example, public school is covered in one area of the law, and homeschool law is covered in an entirely different area. It can be confusing! When researching the laws in your state, make sure you are looking at the law that applies to homeschoolers. I frequently see homeschoolers trying to fit their homeschool into public school law, and it doesn't feel right. It can be like the old square peg and round hole!

Here is the key: there is a difference between public high school graduation requirements and requirements for homeschoolers. As a homeschool parent in Washington, you get to choose what your graduation requirements are. You can create your own transcript and award your own homeschool diploma, all within state law.

When you plan for college admission, you will exceed the academic requirements for graduation from public schools. College admission requires more than high school graduation. If you are following a college prep plan, then you are doing more than enough. You can read about college prep academics in this article: 9 Easy Steps: High School Graduation Checklist

Washington state law stipulates 11 required subjects to be taught in your homeschool curriculum. Moms often find it most surprising that Washington State History is not on the list, but Occupational Education is on the list. Occupational Education is an easy class to teach. Simply wait until your child gets a job, count hours on the job, and award credit based on those hours. It's the easiest class you'll ever teach.

Other Washington state homeschool requirements include:
  • qualify to homeschool (one parent has one year of college or more, has taken a short class, agrees to work with a certified teacher, or is deemed  qualified by the local school district)
  • submit a declaration of intent to homeschool
  • annual assessment (PSAT, SAT, and ACT count, or you can choose a non-test assessment by a certified teacher)
  • required to keep records, but they don't say which records to keep. You are required to keep immunization records with your homeschool records, but you aren't required to immunize your children LOL)
And finally, you don't have to turn anything into the state once you have completed the declaration of intent. After this is turned in, you are completely responsible for your child's education.

You are doing everything right, don't worry. You don't have to be a public school. You are a homeschool. Different laws cover homeschools. For more information, check the Washington Homeschool Organization website.

If you don't live in Washington, please make sure you check the law for your own state.

Please note: This post was originally published in August 2009 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.




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Can You Give a Homeschool Diploma?

Can You Give a Homeschool Diploma?

When a child graduates from your homeschool, can you give a homeschool diploma? YES! When you homeschool within your state law, you become an official homeschool. You can give your child an official homeschool diploma.

For many homeschoolers, college comes after homeschooling. Let me teach you expert strategies for choosing a college that will love your student ALMOST as much as you do. Click to download my free ebook: Find a College You Love!
When I speak to groups, I sometimes show my sons' diplomas. It's fun to show them off and you can see that my boys even graduated with honors!

When your child is grown and filling out job applications, they may be asked questions that seem difficult. "Do you have a high school diploma?" for example. Your child can answer, "yes." If you have overseen your child's education and they have graduated from your homeschool, then they can say they are a high school graduate and have a diploma.

When you are ready to purchase a diploma, I always recommend All of my friends used it for their diplomas and when I helped organize our state homeschool graduation, we used it. It is a very helpful, easy-to-navigate website that will help you decide on the right wording for the diploma.

In addition to diplomas, the site also has everything else you need for graduation, whether you are graduating with a group, or just one student at a time - the cap and gown, tassle, and invitations. I have used for years. The company is very used to the needs of homeschoolers (just look at the name!) and they are a joy to deal with.

And if you'd like more ideas for your child's graduation, check out Graduate Your Homeschooler in Style.



Please note: This post was originally published in June 2009 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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High School Centered Around Interests

High School Centered Around Interests

High School Centered Around Interests

Tricia wrote to share her graduation story. Read about her success overcoming obstacles, and creating a high school centered around the interests of her daughter. You'll be so encouraged today!


I would love to share the story of my recent graduate from Homeschool because ours is such a testimony of what God can do when we don't see how it will ever work out!

We recently graduated our second daughter from our homeschool.  We definitely benefited from your resources and easy ideas for homeschooling High School.

 You took the fear out of homeschool High School!

Our daughter was really very sick with chronic Lyme Disease since the age of 12.  Many times she was bedridden for weeks or months at a time.  This made learning hard and we had to school year round.

At first I was pretty stressed out wondering how in the world we were going to get her through High School.  Then I found you!  Because of your e-books, emails and blog I was able to create a High School career centered around her interests and be creative with how she learned each subject.  Your clear method for keeping track of course work and putting together transcripts was so easy that I was even able to help friends when they were struggling.

I couldn't have done it without you Lee! 

I feel like I know you and if I ever see you I will definitely give you a hug because you helped me to see that homeschooling High School doesn't have to be hard, overwhelming, or impossible.

I recently wrote about making it to graduation on my blog, Abounding in Hope With Lyme

~ Tricia

Check out the beautiful photos of her graduation party, too! One day YOU will have a graduation success story!

Have you thought about high school graduation yet? It's worthy of celebrating!  What kind of party do you want to have?



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Graduation Stories Needed

Graduation Stories Needed

Graduation Stories Needed

Have you been helped by my resources over the years? Do you have a high school graduate? I need your help!

I would love to be able to share your graduation story on my blog!
Graduation Photos and Stories Wanted

Homeschool moms and dads are wondering how real homeschoolers graduate their children, and would love to see pictures of what that looks like. If you have a graduation celebration, cap & gown photos, party pictures, or graduation photos that you would like to share with others, now if your chance! Please send me an email with your story and a couple of pictures that you are willing to share.

(Note: be sure the pictures are free for your use - not all professional photographers allow pictures to be shared.)

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Transcripts & Applying to College Can Be a Breeze!

Transcripts & Applying to College Can Be a Breeze!

Transcripts & Applying to College Can Be a Breeze!

It's that time of year again, when my Gold Care Club members are graduating their children. I love hearing about their successes, and I feel their uncertainty about facing the empty nest after years of homeschooling. I got this sweet note from Jennifer recently. Check it out!
With a heavy heart I am writing you an email to say goodbye.  My last home schooled child is graduating in two weeks.  I have learned so much from you and your millions of resources.  O.K., maybe not millions, but your newsletter, website, and books.  Then the added bonus of meeting you when our family had just moved to the Seattle area.   You were a lifesaver then and your advice and amazing tutelage for transcripts was far beyond any type of  thank you I could give in return.

I have and will continue to tell friends and family, who are interested in home schooling about your site. You are kind and full of grace to offer this invaluable service.  You made applying to colleges and sending transcripts a breeze.  You prepared me for what our family was in store for with college admissions from the time my son was a freshman in high school.  It was a bit tedious to write a page about each class, but boy it was worth it not to wait until the kids were seniors to tackle the transcript mess.

What a relief when the application process began.  All I had to do as a counselor was reach into the home school transcript drawer and fax the information over to the various colleges. Let me add the colleges were VERY impressed.

When someone has such a large impact on your family, you need to let them know.  I met you when were at the home school college fair.  I cannot remember the date or location. Yet you saved me from making a huge mistake and I really appreciate you redirecting my thinking. My prayers go to you and your business.  You are invaluable!

Thank you again!  Keep up the good work!
Forever in your debt,

If you are graduating a student and would like to share your successes, I'd love to share your story too!

If you are still in the thick of it, how can I help?
My millions of resources: Homeschool Freebies
My newsletter: The HomeScholar Record
My books:

If you are still early in the high school years, please take Jennifer's advice - it's worth it not to wait until your children are seniors to tackle everything. Start early, so all you have to do is reach into your homeschool drawer and send colleges the information they need.

Are you feeling confident? Or do you feel like you need some help in the coming year?

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Homeschool Graduation by Jean

Homeschool Graduation by Jean

Homeschool Graduation by Jean

What will your homeschool graduation look like?

Jean was kind enough to share her graduation day photos. There were only two graduates in this ceremony. There were a couple of others in the homeschool group that were graduating this year, but they didn't want to be recognized in a service. Each family of the two graduates invited whomever they wanted to attend the ceremony and reception. Together, the two families invited over 400 people and there were about 175 people in attendance.

Graduation can take many shapes and forms, but I encourage you to celebrate. You and your child have worked hard for this moment, so enjoy the celebration!

I urge you to present a diploma to your homeschooler. There are times they will be asked "Do you have a high school diploma?" You want them to reply "YES!" without hesitation. If you award a diploma with some pomp and circumstance, they are likely to unhesitatingly say "Yes!" without mumbling anything like "I dunno... I was homeschooled."  You can get a great-looking diploma from

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Following Advice for 3 Years = College Admission and Scholarships

Following Advice for 3 Years = College Admission and Scholarships

What is it like to homeschool? Great fun experiences and opportunities! And as the homeschool parent, you can put the academics awesomeness into your high school records. I just got a sweet letter from Kathy explaining how she used a hike up Mt. Fuji for a PE class, for example. Feel FREE to look outside the box, and do whatever works with your child to help them learn, and prepare them for college admission and scholarships!

 Read more about Kathy's experience and her story of college admission and scholarships!

Dear Lee,

It's hard to believe I have been following your advice for 3 years now! I began by purchasing Setting the Records Straight (which I recommend to all of my homeschooling friends).  Then I faithfully followed your other tips in your blog and your wonderful Coffee Break eBooks.  Last year I leaped into the Gold Care Club when you offered a wonderful year-end deal along with the purchase of the Comprehensive Record Solution.  I look forward to your posts and webinars, and I am so thankful for your willingness to mentor the homeschool community.

My family has just gone through the college application process for the first time.  Thanks to you, I felt very aware of what to expect, and confident in our coursework, preparation and transcript.  My husband stayed by my side through the hours upon hours of making everything perfect.  No matter how many times I looked over my course descriptions, there always seemed to be a typo or an inconsistency with how I laid things out!  In the end we have a beautiful package that we are very proud of.  It is wonderful to look back on the years of coursework and reflect on the variety of learning opportunities we've been able to provide for our children.  I praise God that we were able to add in "This course culminates with a hike up Japan's tallest peak, Mt. Fuji" in our "Outdoor Athletics" course description, and a WWII semester course primarily based on various WWII related field trips and books my daughter chose to read.  Thank you for giving me the peace to be creative!

This May our oldest daughter will graduate from high school.  It seems like all of the years have flown by, but the high school ones went especially fast.  We chose to send a full package, with a cover letter, school profile, table of contents, transcript and course descriptions to each college our daughter applied to, though none required anything other than the transcript. Her top three college choices have already sent acceptance letters with initial scholarship offers based on GPA and test scores, so now we are able to shift to financial aid/scholarship mode (along with finishing high school coursework).

Thank you for your time and energy!  As a homeschooling mother, teacher, tutor and guidance counselor, I truly appreciate all you do!  I do need to cancel my Gold Care Club membership for now, though I expect to begin it again in a couple of years, until my next child is closer to graduation.  Please know that I will continue to pass on your information to other homeschoolers.  Thank you again!

With joy,

Kathy in NE

Learn more about College Admission and Scholarships when you are just starting high school, and I'm sure you can have great successes too!

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College and Career Planning for Teens Who Will be Famous

College and Career Planning for Teens Who Will be Famous

College and Career Planning for Teens who will be Famous

Guiding your child with their college and career planning when sports or music is their passion can be difficult. It is also very necessary. Things change a LOT with sports-minded and musically-inclined kids over time. A simple injury can change the trajectory completely. I encourage you to guide your children as if they will go to college at age 18, applying as normal. That way, when they are 19 they can apply for college but also take a gap year for their special ability or other major events. If their plans are stalled, for whatever reason, they will be able to get a degree while they wait to return to professional careers.

What about Age of Graduation?

It's normal for public school children to graduate at age 17, 18, 19, and 20. Once they turn 21, they are no longer allowed in public schools. So graduating high school different ages is somewhat normal. Remember that you can continue to change your mind about when you will graduate your child until you declare him to be a junior for purposes of the National Merit Scholarship.  Even then you can still "graduate early" if you decide he was a junior and then change your mind and graduate him a year early.

When young adults become about 18 years old, something changes inside of them, and they want to be an independent adult. It's almost impossible to homeschool an independent adult (try it on your spouse sometime and you'll see what I mean, LOL!). So although you might want to homeschool past age 18, that may not work out. In fact, it's very possible (perhaps even likely) that the sweetest, most compliant 15 year old will turn 18 and then very sweetly, compliantly, and gently refuse to be homeschooled. It's not a sin, by the way, it's just the way God made kids - we have been raising them to become adults. It's almost impossible to imagine this situation until it happens to you, so think about this issue carefully.

 College Degrees for Athletes and Musicians

If this is the direction your child is leaning towards, it might be most helpful to suggest a business degree when looking at college and career planning. Look at it this way, if there is a likelihood they will succeed at sports, the thing they will need MOST is good business sense. They will need to earn money, raise money, manage money, market their abilities, and then keep their money.

So what I often tell moms in this position is to have a conversation like this with your child. "Sweetheart, of COURSE you are going to be famous. Because of that we need to plan ahead for your long term success. To be successful for the next 10-15 years, you are going to need a college degree in business to manage the business side of your athletic career - so you can manage your money and read a contract."

 Gap Year

You can also consider a gap year after graduation. Normally it's used for something meaningful - and these huge events with sports, music, mission work, and others could certainly qualify. Read more here:

Article: Gap Year: Time Off for Good Behavior
Coffee Break Book: Options After High School: Steps to Success for College or Career

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When Should I Graduate My Child?

When Should I Graduate My Child?

When Should I Graduate My Child?

When is it ok to graduate your homeschool high school student? Click on Lee's video, below, to find out! How did you determine when to graduate your child? Please share!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel. You will be notified when I create new videos on homeschool high school topics!

If your child is about to graduate, check out the Options After High School (Online Training) class for some guidance on what's next, just $15!
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They Grow Up and Leave Home: Sending Your Child to College

They Grow Up and Leave Home: Sending Your Child to College
Homeschoolers seem to have one thing in common - they LOVE their children. They love having children, they love being around their children, and they love having their children live at home. I'm not implying for a moment that their children are perfectly behaved, or that everything is always blissful. I've BEEN a homeschool parent, so I KNOW that isn't true! In general, you're going to be sad when it is sending your child to college time. But like baby birds that fly the nest, when it's time, it's just time.

They Grow Up and Leave Home: Sending Your Child to College

I was a little surprised by this article in the New York Times.  What an unfriendly title: Students, Welcome to College; Parents, Go Home
"As the latest wave of superinvolved parents delivers its children to college, institutions are building into the day, normally one of high emotion, activities meant to punctuate and speed the separation. It is part of an increasingly complex process, in the age of Skype and twice-daily texts home, in which colleges are urging “Velcro parents” to back off so students can develop independence."

I remember sending my children to college - both of them at once.  As a parent, saying goodbye was emotional, but mostly I just felt proud.

When my son Kevin got married, I thought I would cry a lot. I came prepared with fancy hankies and packages of Kleenex, just to be safe. But you know what? I wasn't sad! I was just HAPPY All day long, even during the ceremony. I didn't cry at all. It was interesting. My husband didn't cry either (another surprise). Our overwhelming emotion was joy. After four years of dating and four years of college, we had already said our goodbyes, moved him away from home, and had complete confidence in his choice of a spouse. All there was left was happiness.

When you are sending your child to college, it's just one step on their path to independence. Other steps follow - the first summer they live away from home. Their first post-college apartment. The first holiday away from home, or with in-laws. Saying goodbye at college is important, just as important as the other goodbyes. Each step has its own emotions, ranging from tears to relief.

I did notice one thing as I said my goodbyes to both my sons at college, I had no regrets. I knew without a doubt they were academically prepared. I knew they were prepared for any possible assault on their worldview. I knew that I had shaped and molded their character and behaviors to the best of my ability. Their lives were now up to them. As the above article implies, ALL parents have deep emotions when they are sending kids to college, not just homeschoolers. Velcro parents happen across the spectrum of educational backgrounds! Homeschooling high school can minimize your regrets, however. With the ability to shape and mold character while educating, your  children will have the best possible chance of success. Letting go can come with no regrets!

When sending your children off into the world, I have two pieces of  advice:

1. Keep your five year plan in mind. In five years, you want to have a happy, healthy, close extended family. When conflict occurs during college, keep that five year plan in mind.

2. Step in only when kids are being life-threateningly stupid. They will make poor choices, but they can learn from them just like you and I do every day. The only time you need to step in is when they are being dangerously dumb. Believe me ... it happens, not often, but it happens.

Are you sending your child to college this year? Have you already sent a child along to college? Please share!

Read what others are saying about The HomeScholar Gold Care Club!

Please note: This post was originally published in September 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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Tips for New Empty Nesters

Tips for New Empty Nesters

Tips for New Empty Nesters

I found a marvelous collection of articles for parents that are sending their children off to college and becoming empty nesters. Check these out and let me know what you think!

 Tips for First-Years

This article has some tips on how to stay in touch with your child. What I loved even more, though, was this list: 

3 Simple Steps for Academic Success

Go to class.
Do all of the homework and reading.
Get extra help if you're having trouble understanding the subject matter. Don't wait until midterms or the final exam to try to get help.

First Year in Five Stages

This describes the five stages of peaks and valleys that kids experience during their first year of college.

Stage 1: The Honeymoon
Stage 2: Culture Shock
Stage 3: Initial Adjustment
Stage 4: Homesickness or Loss of Confidence
Stage 5: Acceptance and Integration

 Sending Your Kid Away to College

 I love the part of this article, where they talk about the "stress dump." The author says children will call out of the blue to unload on their parents about college problems. "Kids will often call their parents and do what we call the ‘stress dump’ to unload their frustrations." It's uncomfortable to be dumped on, sure, but knowing it's normal and expected can help. 

If you are facing the Empty Nest - hang in there! It WILL get better!
If you are Empty Nesters already, what has it been like so far? Are you adjusting?

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How Homeschool Graduates Enlist in the Army

How Homeschool Graduates Enlist in the Army

Good news for homeschoolers who want to enlist in the army upon graduation: they can!

In the past, it may have been a detriment. Years ago homeschoolers had been put on par with high school dropouts when trying to enlist with the army, and a GED was required. Why? Because the best predictor of a student's likelihood of adapting to the military is a traditional high school diploma. Now enlistment parameters have changed.

Today homeschoolers are considered "Tier 1" recruits, on par with their public schooled peers. Many students who have had an alternative education have been found to be successful in the military.

 "I joined the Army National Guard as a junior in high school. I was seventeen. And I was, you guessed it, homeschooled! The recruiters I worked with couldn’t believe that I was self-motivated, which comes naturally after being homeschooled; I was able to fill out paperwork correctly and in a timely manner. And most of all, they couldn’t believe how easy it was for me to pass a background check. I qualified for a Top Secret security clearance (which due to medical issues, I never ended up using). I had never done marijuana, been convicted of a felony, and was able to provide every reference they asked for. Weird, right? My homeschool education ABSOLUTELY prepared me to pass the ASVAB with an extremely high score, and I was offered a job designation in the field that I wanted (intelligence). I had to laugh, though, because my scores also qualified me for a mechanic position; I am the least mechanically-minded person I know! If your child is called to serve this great country, please know that being homeschooled might just make him an excellent candidate."   - Laura

 According to the website, homeschoolers...

 Must possess a home-school diploma and submit transcripts at the time of enlistment. The course work must involve parental supervision, the transcript must reflect the normal credit hours per subject used in a traditional high school and the diploma must be issued in compliance with applicable state laws.

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Super-Senior or Delayed Graduation: The 5 Year Plan

Super-Senior or Delayed Graduation: The 5 Year Plan


Are you struggling with how to choose a graduation date?

Weigh the desires and maturity of your student against their age and abilities.

It's normal for a child to graduate high school between the ages of 17 and 20. For many parents, that means that you can provide a 5th year of high school and still graduate your child on time.

Although graduating at the "right age" compared to her peers might be confusing if your child has close friends who think it's strange to have two senior years. But it's important to provide your child time to mature before going to college.

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