There comes a time when most homeschool parents will wonder whether their child needs to receive an accredited diploma. Some believe that this will help their homeschooler with college and job applications. However, before you enter into this debate you need to know what “accredited” actually means.
There are free accredited home school programs, Christian accredited homeschool programs, accredited homeschool curriculum, accredited catholic homeschool programs and curriculum, and accredited homeschool programs from institutions you can teach your child.
The Difference Between An Accredited And Non-Accredited Diploma
Homeschoolers have a lot of options today. They are by no means required to enroll in an accredited high school program, regardless of what state they live in. Instead, they can legally create their own diploma and transcripts. However, some homeschoolers find that pursuing an accredited diploma offers convenience, peace of mind and a sense of confidence.
This is because an accredited school meets standards that are established by an outside agency in regards to its academic offerings, student success rates, levels of organizational support and teacher training. Many homeschoolers find that this lends to the legitimacy of their homeschool credentials.
Finding An Accredited School
It is important to learn whether or not a program is accredited and by whom. You will find that most programs are accredited through one of six regional agencies that handle both colleges and high schools. These include:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Checking Credentials For Accredited Homeschool Programs
Before you enroll in an accredited diploma program you need to look at the school’s website to see what accrediting organization they use. Once you garner this information, visit their website to read their quality standards.
This will help you determine your confidence level whenever it comes to the diploma that is offered. You should include your teen in this research because this program will cost you both time and money. Therefore, you will want to discuss what you both want to get out of the accredited diploma and do some comparison “shopping” to find the one that is of the best quality.
If you find that you have concerns about a potential program, then trust yourself and move on. You should also take a look at what your child wants to do in the future (i.e. college, military, career) and what each requires. This will offer even more help whenever it comes to choosing the best program for your child.
Deciding If An Accredited Home School Program Is Right For Your Family
Today’s job market is very competitive. Imagine the difference between presenting a potential employer with a homeschool diploma and an accredited one.
Regardless of your choice, you need to feel confident. If you are an eclectic learner or unschooler you should bear in mind that you can still get a job, join the military or enter into college without an accredited diploma. They have been doing so for many years now. So, an accredited diploma is not always necessary for a student’s future.
Students who choose dual enrollment programs in community colleges during their high school years can also bypass the diploma but you will need to keep detailed records of the work they do. On the other hand, if you are divorced or have skeptical family members, then an accredited diploma is oftentimes the best solution. Regardless of what you choose to do, it will take some time to decide whether an accredited diploma is a good fit for your family.
Three Specific Schools For Homeschooled Students
There are a lot of accredited diploma programs available for homeschoolers today. Some well-established programs that have multiple accreditations are as follows. Remember that each of these programs is considered to be a private school for homeschoolers and thus your child is no longer a homeschooled student under the law. With this in mind, here are 3 schools you may wish to take a look at:
- The Penn Foster Career School offers an accredited high school diploma. This is a program that you will want to start at the beginning of your child’s freshman year. It will cost around $1,500 per year but includes books, toll-free support, access to career planning and areas of concentration (i.e. college prep, healthcare). There are financing arrangements available.
- Laurel Springs School has been a popular choice for many years now. It offers full-year packages that can be customized with options for regular and advanced placement tracks. The cost of this program varies depending upon the courses that are chosen but will usually cost between $5,850 and $7,400 for freshmen, between $5,700 and $6,750 for sophomores, between $6,150 and $7,200 for juniors and between $6,350 and $6,900 for seniors. This cost includes books, materials, transcripts, learning styles profile and assessments, testing and record-keeping. There is also a multiple-child discount of 10%.
- Bob Jones University’s Bridgeway Academy offers four accredited high school diploma tracks, all of which utilize a Christian focus. These include Traditional, Online, Bridgeway Choice (allows for dual enrollment so that students can get college credit while working on receiving their diploma) and Higher Education. Each track is different in the way that textbooks and online classes are utilized, as well as how difficult it is. The cost ranges from $2,000 to about $4,000 per year. This rigorous program also offers customization, transcripts, assessments, and testing.