How do homeschooler's graduate? At home! There are a few things you need to know, to make sure your student is officially a high school graduate with a meaningful diploma. Read on and find out what those things are!
In order to graduate, homeschoolers are not required to follow the public school laws, neither are private schools. Look carefully for the homeschool law. They are very likely different than what public schools have to go by. You might be surprised at how different they are. You can find your state and local laws in this article: Homeschool Laws by State
Homeschooling is legal in every state, but you may be asked to provide specific paperwork, or meet requirements for attendance, or provide specified courses. If you feel confused about the difference between homeschooling and public school laws, this book explains the difference: How to Homeschool Independently: Do-it-Yourself Secrets to Rekindle the Love of Learning
While homeschoolers do not need to follow public school laws in order to graduate, we do need to provide an education that our students need to be successful after high school. There are core classes that every high school student needs in order to produce a well-educated and functioning adult. This recommended resource book is what I recommend to parents wading through homeschool vs public school laws & class planning: Planning High School Courses: Charting the Course Toward High School Graduation
While core classes are important, life after high school requires more than math or science. To help your student to be prepared for college or career or adulthood, you want to be sure to capture delight directed learning. Many homeschool families don't know what delight directed learning is. It is the source of electives that can help determine a career path, lead to scholarships, and provide a more fulfilling homeschool experience. It's all of those things that might annoy you because your child is always doing it! Maybe it's playing the piano or constantly drawing something. Maybe you can't keep your child in the house because they are always out riding their horse. It's all of the things that pull your child away from regular academic learning and cause you to say, "Please come back and do your work." or "You can't go do X until you've finished your school work for today." You can find out more in this recommended resource book: Essential Electives for Homeschooling High School: How to Craft Courses That Exceed College Expectations
Teenagers constantly change their mind about everything, have you noticed? That's why you need to have a plan for after high school that's flexible. Preparing your child for college or career at the same time, can give you the flexibility you need, whether your child ends up at a university or not. My recommended resource book for having a plan is: Options After High School: Steps to Success for College or Career
During senior year, students apply for either college or jobs, depending on their current interests. College applications are completed a full year before you intend to enroll, which can seem surprisingly early. For that reason, I usually recommend that students apply to college in the fall of senior year, and review the scholarship offers they are given (usually a couple to a few months later - see my blog post, 3 Waves of Scholarships). That will give them experience with filling out applications and interviewing. That experience will make applying for a job (in the spring of senior year if they aren't going to college) even more successful. This resource book might be helpful for your teenager: Teen Tips for College and Career Success: Why 10 C's are Better Than All A's or APs
Graduation from high school is worthy of a true celebration! You can have a party at home, with family and friends, or with a group of homeschoolers. In my family, we had a large outdoor gathering, played "Pomp and Circumstance" with my students wearing a cap and gown. We formally presented a diploma (with honors!) and gave speeches. Homeschoolers get to choose how they want to celebrate their achievement. Get some fun ideas in this book: Graduate Your Homeschooler in Style: Make Your Homeschool Graduation Memorable
Graduation is not an end, though, it's the beginning. A homeschool graduate must be ready to meet the world with the paperwork demonstrating they have actually graduated. Give your student a diploma, so they will always know they have one, and can answer, "Yes!" when they are asked if they have one. Finalize their transcript before their graduation party. Even if the transcript isn't required THIS year for college, it may be required in the years to come for a job interview. You don't want a lack of a high school transcript to be an impediment to their future dreams and plans. My book goes into all the details on creating transcripts and course descriptions: Setting the Records Straight: How to Craft Homeschool Transcripts and Course Descriptions for College Admission and Scholarships.
If you're a bit confused about making a transcript or haven't started because you're not quite sure what all it entails, I have a free online class (image above) that you might find helpful. "A Homeschool Parent's Guide to Grades, Credits and Transcripts" is a free hour-long class that will completely explain homeschool transcripts. It will give you the information and confidence you need to succeed in creating AMAZING homeschool transcripts colleges and employers will LOVE!
If you had the question, "How do homeschoolers graduate?" then I hope you found this post encouraging and helpful! You can do it and they will have a diploma and a transcript, just like their public school friends.
Let me know below if you have any questions!
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