Homeschooling and Diplomas
Parents choose homeschooling for a number of reasons. Some families travel and relocate frequently, while others live in remote areas that make school attendance difficult. Some parents choose to homeschool because they feel public schools fail to provide quality education, while other parents are committed to giving their children a customized education that allows them to concentrate on individual interests and strengths.
Despite the support for homeschooling, the lack of a diploma has been a concern. In the past, homeschooled teens often took the GED high school equivalency exam simply to have a recognized high school credential. But today, in addition to a small number of accredited home school diploma programs, homeschoolers can enroll in an accredited online high school and earn a diploma without disrupting their own home-based study.
Online Accredited High Schools and Homeschooling
Online high schools have long provided support to homeschoolers, offering them advanced courses that might be difficult for parents to provide. Several private and public accredited online high schools are now offering homeschoolers a path to a diploma that recognizes and credits their homeschool work. The following accredited online high schools are some of the more well-known and well-established programs that offer a diploma option to homeschoolers:
The University of Nebraska Online High School
The University of Nebraska Online High School offers both a college prep and a general studies diploma program that homeschoolers from all over the world are welcome in. Students are required to complete 25 credit hours for a UNHS diploma and homeschool students can transfer up to 50 credit hours for each year of high school. Homeschoolers must provide transcripts that include their completed courses, grades, course length, and books used for each course. Homeschoolers are also required to take the California Achievement Test in order for UNHS to validate their credits.
The University of Texas at Austin Online High School
Homeschoolers can enroll in the University of Texas Online High School and receive a diploma after earning 26 credits. Although UTHS does not accept transfer credits for homeschool coursework, administrators will review homeschool transcripts and generally allow students to take Credit by Exam tests to earn credits for completed work. Students must score 70% on the CBE to receive credit for homeschool courses.
The University of Missouri Online High School
The University of Missouri Online High School offers a standard diploma program that requires 24 credits and a college prep diploma that requires 25 credits. Students can submit detailed homeschool transcripts that will be reviewed to determine how many credits can be transferred. UMHS does require all diploma candidates to complete final year credits through their program.
Accredited Online Homeschool Programs
Several online homeschool programs also offer accredited programs and diplomas created specifically for homeschool students. The following programs are among the most well-known programs:
Griggs International Academy
Griggs International Academy is headquartered in Berrien Springs, Michigan and offers homeschool programs from preschool to grade 12. Griggs is a Christian school and portions of its curriculum are religion-oriented. Griggs International Academy's kindergarten through grade eight classwork is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
Griggs offers a variety of programs that include, along with its accredited kindergarten program, an unaccredited program that gives parents an unlimited choice in curriculum. The school awards a high school diploma for successful completion of its high school program. Standard diplomas require completion of 21 units and College Preparatory diplomas require 25 units. Not all of these units have to be completed at Griggs as credits from the previous high school can be transferred.
Internet Home School
The Internet Home School is an accredited online home school that offers general education for kindergarten through grade 12. This online school is nationally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. As an accredited online home school, the Internet Home School provides classes in English, mathematics, science, social sciences, health, foreign languages, and computer science. Classes are taught via the Internet, through textbooks, and with online student-instructor interaction.
Benefits of Getting a High School Diploma
There are a number of benefits associated with having a high school diploma. Much of what is learnt through subjects taught in high school can be applied to real-life situations and opens many opportunities, such as access to higher education and better-paying jobs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, high school graduates earn an average of around $10,000 more in a year than those who have not completed high school.