If you’re in the middle of or just beginning high school in your homeschool, you’ve probably asked yourself, “How will my child receive a high school diploma?” Or maybe, “Will my high schooler even be able to get one?” Perhaps you’ve wondered, “How do I know if my child qualifies for a high school diploma?” Contrary to what you might think, it’s not that difficult to obtain a high school diploma. When students finish the required work to graduate high school, they receive a diploma from the institution where they received their education. Simply put, a diploma is a certificate that says your child has rightfully earned a high school degree. But homeschool families aren’t typically members of educational institutions, so is there anything that you, the parent, need to do to grant your child a diploma? In this article, you will find all the information you need about getting a homeschool diploma for your graduating student and a template to create one.
Do homeschoolers get a diploma?
Homeschool students have the same right as public or private school students to receive a diploma if they complete the requirements to graduate high school. For college-bound students, it’s important to understand what those requirements are so you can be confident that you are doing everything you must to prepare your student for college.
Does your high schooler need to have a diploma? Not necessarily. In most states and circumstances, a high school diploma is not usually required as verification to apply for college or for a job. A diploma is tangible, visual proof that reflects the hard work and time students have invested in their education. It is something your child can always keep as a reminder of accomplishments. It can also encourage your child in pursuing a higher education or a career. Graduating high school is a big deal, and a diploma is just one of many special ways to commemorate this milestone in your child’s life.
3 Ways to Get a Homeschool Diploma
Homeschool students who are part of an umbrella school or correspondence program will usually receive a diploma from that school. Likewise, homeschoolers who are enrolled in an online public school or virtual charter school will also receive a diploma through these institutions. Technically, these students are considered public or charter school students even though they are educated at home.
Public schools rarely issue high school diplomas to homeschoolers, but this can vary according to state and school districts. In some states, parents must use a diploma developed by the Department of Education or from a homeschool association. In other states, homeschool students are allowed to receive a diploma from their local high school. Check your state’s educational requirements to see if your student qualifies for a diploma from your local high school.
From Their Parents
This may surprise you, but most commonly parents award their high school graduates a diploma they create themselves, often with a template they can download online. Most states recognize individual homeschools as independent educational institutions.
A Homeschool Diploma Vs. a Homeschool Transcript
It’s important not to get a homeschool diploma and a homeschool transcript confused. Both are important documents that show the evidence of your child’s education. The main difference between these two documents is straightforward: One is required for college admission and the other isn’t. In fact, most colleges and universities won’t ask to see a copy of your student’s diploma. What they are most interested in is a transcript.
So what exactly is a transcript? It is a document that details the coursework your high schooler has completed and what grades he or she earned. Here are some general guidelines of what to include in your child’s transcript:
- The name of your student and homeschool, your address, and your telephone number
- The grading scale used in your homeschool
- Your student’s overall GPA
- The institution where your student completed each course (i.e., online school, homeschool, community college)
- Projected graduation date (if not yet graduated)
- A record of high school courses, listed by year (grades 9–12)
- Credits earned in each course or subject, listed by semester and year
- Parent’s signature and date
If your high schooler completed classes at a local university or community college, you’ll need to request copies of those transcripts to include with your own. It’s best to start your student’s transcript at the beginning of grade 9 so you can keep up with all courses and electives. You can find a more detailed explanation and a free template for building your own transcript in “How to Create a Homeschool Transcript with a Free Template.”
Another important aspect to consider is that other organizations—such as trade schools, employers, the military, scholarship committees, and apprenticeship programs—often request high school transcripts. The more detailed your high schooler’s transcript, the more helpful it will be when considering college and career options.
Homeschool Diploma Requirements
There are two main requirements to obtain a high school diploma.
Completion of Graduation Requirements
Be familiar with your state’s graduation requirements so you know which courses your child must take to graduate. Some states have very few homeschool graduation requirements. However, other states have specific conditions homeschoolers must meet to graduate high school, so make sure you know what your state expects. If there aren’t many specific qualifications, you have flexibility to make your own. These should be based on your high schooler’s accomplishments, abilities, future career goals, and abilities.
High School Transcript
Above a diploma, this is the real proof of what your child has accomplished in high school. If you’re issuing your own diploma, you won’t need a transcript to get a diploma. But if you’re a member of an umbrella school or a public charter school, the school administration will base their decision to issue your child a diploma on the high school transcript built over four years. This is why it’s so important to accurately record all your student’s course work and grades during all four years of high school.
Do colleges accept homeschool diplomas?
Most universities and colleges will accept homeschool diplomas as proof of high school graduation. However, some institutions may require you to provide proof of the validity of your student’s diploma. Keep a copy of your child’s transcript and your state’s homeschooling laws or graduation requirements. Depending on the state, you may also need a signed letter from your local superintendent. This letter should specify that your homeschool adhered to the educational laws of your state.
Are homeschool diplomas accredited?
Independent homeschools are not accredited. In order to receive an accredited homeschool diploma, you must be a member of an accredited homeschool program. However, you don’t usually need accreditation no matter what your child’s college or career plans are. If you do believe it’s important for your child to have an accredited diploma, there are ways of obtaining one. An accredited online school or online learning program may be a viable option for your high schooler to earn an accredited diploma.
Free Homeschool Diploma Template
BJU Press has designed a free template you can download to create your own homeschool diploma. Once you have downloaded the file, all you need to do is fill in your child’s information and print it.
• • • • •Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves homeschooling them. During her own twelve years of being homeschooled, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.