Hello, everyone! Tia from “Where Homeschooling Meets Reality” here! I recently received a question about the homeschool graduation process, and I have to say, I’m very excited to answer this! Homeschool graduation happens to be one of my favorite topics – maybe because I graduated this year?
Without further ado, here is Carol’s question:
“I Have A Daughter Thats A Senior This Year & Would Like To Be Homeschooled. I Wanted To Know How Is The Graduating Process?”
Well, Carol, first I just want to say that I think it’s awesome your daughter is considering homeschool. I was homeschooled for nine years, and loved every moment of it! Now, as I mentioned earlier, I graduated this year and I just want to put this out there – it is not near as “scary” or “awkward” for homeschoolers to go through than anyone else. Many people think students can’t graduate if they’re homeschooled, because they won’t receive a diploma from a “real” school. That line of thinking is a bit jumbled.
Basically, all you need to do for graduation is to make sure you are following your state’s laws for graduation. I should also mention that not too many states even HAVE laws about homeschoolers and graduation. But LHSHS has a list of state laws that apply to high school homeschoolers and you can find out what your state requires. The truth is that once a student officially becomes a homeschooler, graduation requirements are totally up to the parents. Parents decide what courses, how many credits, and the grades required for graduation. BUT, it’s also important – – especially if your student has plans to attend college – – to look ahead to the credit requirements of potential colleges and align your homeschool requirements as closely to those as possible.
Once you know how many credits she still needs to graduate, it should be easier for choosing what curriculum to use. There are some popular programs like Abeka Academy, which will award a diploma at the end of a student’s senior year if they use the accredited program, rather than just Independent Study. If the student hasn’t fulfilled Abeka’s graduation requirements, they won’t award a diploma, but you can still use their curriculum for her twelfth year.
Even if the program you use doesn’t award a diploma, you can always print one yourself. The internet abounds with templates for diplomas that you can easily customize, including the templates here at LetsHsHs.com. My parents ordered mine from here, which also comes with a nice case.
Whatever program you chose, and whether they send a diploma or you print one, you’ll want to make sure it says “High School Diploma” across the top. A lot of people are skeptical of homeschool diplomas, and there isn’t any reason for it – as long as you have complied with your state laws, your homemade diploma is just as binding as one printed by the school district.
Now, if you have “Homeschool Diploma” instead of “High School,” it might cause them to take a double-take. There’s nothing wrong with it, but to prevent questioning, you might as well just make sure it says “High School.” After all, you daughter is graduating from high school, with possibly only one year of homeschool.
Also, you should make sure the diploma shows your daughter’s full name, graduation date, school name (you can make something up for homeschool if you want – my school name was “Rising Christian School”), and both parents names/signatures. As long as all that is on the diploma, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Now, if you’re concerned about graduation ceremonies…don’t be. Technically, a ceremony isn’t necessary for graduation (really, all that’s needed is the diploma), but several students (myself included) likes the finality of a ceremony. There are several different ways you can do this:
***You can join a local homeschool group and collaborate with the other moms of graduating seniors on organizing a ceremony. Usually, this consists of a slideshow of each graduate’s life, a speech from the parents, presentation of the diploma, and occasionally a speech from the graduate. Afterwards, there’s usually lemonade, cake, cookies, and laughter. You can check out this article to read about my graduation ceremony experience.
***You can throw your daughter a party. Graduates usually have parties anyway, so why not roll it all into one? Invite all her friends, decorate the room, have cake, punch, and games. At some point in there, slot some time for a speech from one of the parents, and presentation of the diploma. This is a very personal and fun way to commemorate a graduation! Check out other creative ideas for commemorating high school graduation here.
***Check to see if there is a statewide homeschool group offering a graduation ceremony for all the homeschoolers in your state. Mine does, which is why I participated in two ceremonies. This allowed for me to have a personal ceremony, and the cap-and-gown ceremony, which was fabulous! I would suggest using search terms like “homeschool group in [your state].”
Whatever way you decide to do it, I’m sure it will be a very memorable experience for your daughter.
One last thought: If you haven’t already done this, I suggest finding out why your daughter wants to be homeschooled. Despite the stereotype, homeschool does involve hard work. Not only that, but make sure you are ready for this experience. Parents need to be committed in order for homeschool to give their children a good education – if the parents are not committed to homeschool, I believe a public school education would be more beneficial for the student. Of course, if you’ve gone so far as to think about how homeschool would impact your daughter in her senior year (with graduation) I’m sure you have already thought about the work it would require of you.
Just as a help, if you are rather busy, there are many programs that offer teachers who grade all of the student’s work. The LetsHomeschoolHighschool.com Curriculum Directory lets you search for curriculum by type, accreditation, diploma option, and more! Also, many public schools offer an online version of their education for free. This is not “homeschool,” rather it’s “public schooling at home,” and they choose the curriculum, but it may be something you’d like to consider. Here is a list of the free virtual high school options for every state.
For more information on homeschoolers and graduating, I recommend reading this other Ask A Homeschooler article, this article featuring frequently asked graduation questions, and this downloadable graduation planner for homeschool moms.
I hope this helps, Carol, and I wish you all the best!
Once again, this is Tia Rising from “Where Homeschooling Meets Reality.” If anyone else has a question, please don’t hesitate to Ask A Homeschooler! You can contact us via this website, Google Plus Community, and email directly ([email protected]).