Homeschooling is growing in popularity in the United States. An estimated 1.5 million students were homeschooled in 2007, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. Homeschooled high school students were about 2.8 percent of the U.S. high school population in 2007.
As these students enter their high school years, parents must learn how to document and validate their child's schoolwork to qualify for high school or college credit.
Determine why your child needs his high school credits documented. This helps you to narrow the process and choose the best options. Most homeschooling families seek validation for high school courses to meet the entrance requirements for a public high school, military service or a college or university.
Consider enrolling in an accredited program for distance or online learning during high school. Doing so provides official transcripts from a school accredited by a nationally recognized accreditation agency. This is especially important if you plan to enroll your child in a public high school later in her school career. Public schools often reject home school credits at the high school level, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association.
Keep detailed records of coursework, textbooks used and books read during the high school years. Include the name of the course and a brief description of its scope and sequence, subjects covered and information on the instructor. Record attendance, test scores and grades for all classes.
Visit the Home School Legal Defense Association website (see Resources) for extensive information on college admissions, prep materials and lists of homeschool-friendly colleges and universities. Most colleges and universities accept homeschool high school credits awarded by a parent. Some even have admissions officers dedicated to reviewing applications from homeschooled students, according to the HSLDA.
- Start investigating options early if your feel your child needs an accredited high school transcript or diploma. Many schools require that students complete a minimum number of courses through the school before issuing a diploma, regardless of a child's age or grade level upon entrance.
- Understand that the military historically has accepted high school transcripts and diplomas provided by homeschooled children.
- Neither the state education agency nor the local public school district validates high school credits earned by homeschooling children.
- Avoid having your child take the GED examination in place of receiving a high school diploma. Many colleges, universities and potential employers prefer a diploma to a GED, according to the HSLDA.
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