Let me first say that you are responsible for your child’s education. You need to make sure you are following your state’s laws concerning graduating high school. You need to seek out the expectations of any college your child might attend for what they will accept on a transcript and if they require a state-issued diploma or other credential. You can use this program and get a state diploma, my daughter did, but you have to learn how to do that in your state. I will give general guidelines, but every state, school district, and college is different.
Note: Most states do NOT have laws concerning graduating homeschool students from high school. There are a couple states that allow you to pursue a track that results in a state-issued diploma but most states do not issue diplomas for homeschool graduates. In most states, the homeschool parent issues the diploma when their child meets the requirements that the parent has decided on. Accountability groups (umbrella schools, cover schools) often provide diploma, transcript, and graduation services, but that also is unique to states that allow for that kind of third-party regulation of homechoolers.
Below you can find a blank transcript that I made to use with my own children. There are also links below about CLEP tests which will give you college credits that some schools will accept. I put a link to the related CLEP test on the individual courses. I DO NOT teach to the test. Students will still need to get test prep materials and study, but the courses will give them a good foundation. Not every college will accept these tests for credit, but at the very least they give weight to your child’s grades.
When planning out your high school, you need to learn your state’s requirements for high school. They might differ from what’s required for lower grades.
You also need to decide your goals. One thought is to aim high. Aim for college. Aim for a full course load. Your children may change their minds about what they want to do. You want them to be prepared for anything. Plus, if they have no further education, you likely want them to have learned as much as possible. That said, there is a lot of room for taking different paths in high school.
Your child may want to cook and sew for a home economics credit. Your child may be able to find someone to work alongside of in the community as an intern or apprentice and earn credit that way. Your child could take dual enrollment courses at your local community college. There are a lot of possibilities. My daughter didn’t need to take the SATs for her college. For math she was years behind, but we decided it was more important for her to understand than to just move forward while totally not getting it. For science we allowed her to do subjects that supported her art. She did anatomy and spent the year drawing bones and muscles and labeling them. She did light one year for science which was an emphasis she had in her art that year. She read about light and looked at light and wrote a research paper. She will be getting her BFA at PAFA on a full scholarship. (She used only EP for English and history, as well as some other extras.)
You should also look into the admissions requirements for any college you are interested in. They are all different. They are also different as to what they accept in terms of CLEP test, AP, etc. If you have no idea what school or schools you are aiming for, plan to make sure your child receives a state-recognized diploma (different from state-issued). Probably most schools want something official to prove your child has graduated high school. Not all require that though, so if you know what you’re aiming for, start asking questions.
A special note on the NCAA: They don’t pre-approve curriculum, so I can’t say that your EP courses will definitely be accepted. I have talked with them and written them, so they should have on file that we are a curriculum. Someone had run into trouble before because they labeled us a virtual program. They do have a hard time understanding what this is. You are in charge of grading your child’s EP courses. The online graded quizzes are really like an answer key in the back of the book. You are the one writing the grade down and giving your child each grade. It’s important that you describe your use of EP as if it were similar to a textbook. There’s something to read and questions to answer and answers provided, but you are the teacher (even if your child works independently) and you are in charge of grading and transcripts, etc. If you say you aren’t the teacher, you can’t get the credit awarded. You are the teacher. There is no other teacher interacting with your child. They will ask for books used. You can list the site. Don’t list something like Georgia Virtual. That will just confuse them. I would say something like more than 350 links were used, than trying to list anything specific.
How Does My Child Get a Diploma? While you can just issue your own diploma, in some states you can get a state-issued diploma if your child meets their graduation requirements. You need to know if that exists in your state and what the requirements are. Some colleges and employers accept a “homemade” homeschool high school diploma but many do not and ask you to provide a verified transcript/diploma or take the GED to prove you’ve earned the equivalency. The HSLDA has helped some homeschoolers get past such an unfair requirement. There are also homeschool associations that can issue official diplomas if your state doesn’t issue diplomas to homeschoolers. Those would be unique to each state though, so I can’t give you information on those. You will have to meet their standards for what’s needed.
The hardest place to get your credits accepted is your local high school. Don’t consider homeschooling high school three years and then going to high school the senior year to get a diploma. That is not a good idea. They don’t have to accept your homeschool credits. Look into accredited homeschool programs in your state that issue diplomas if that’s your biggest concern. They will likely already be familiar with EP. We’ve had kids even take finals (and pass with flying colors) to prove they had learned the course material and get their EP homeschool credits accepted at their local high school, but it’s not an easy route. Don’t choose it on purpose!
A lot of my high school information comes from The Home Scholar. This links to a list of articles by her. Use the freebies tab to find more. Two of those freebies are directly below.
Webinar on Transcripts (warning the last half of this is an advertisement-stop the video)
Webinar on Records (warning the last half of this is an advertisement-stop the video)
Blank Transcript (Word document) Work on filling in your transcript every year in high school. Don’t wait until they are juniors or seniors. Every year write in their courses and grades.
Sample Transcript (alternative) Course Record Sample (samples from Lee Binz, thehomescholar.com) You should also have your course records done every year. Don’t wait! Hopefully we can pool together and make records for all of the courses on this site.
CLEP/DSST study links, practice tests
CLEP study plan
One of the main online colleges where you can get your degree from home using CLEP testing is Thomas Edison State College. I think things are moving more and more in that direction though, so maybe more colleges will be offering those types of choices.
Andrea Shapland wrote me with this walk through of how to go about PSAT, SAT, ACT testing and the college application process.
“It may be a good idea to make contact with the local high school where you want to take your PSAT in the Spring *BEFORE* you want to take it. This could save time/headache/heartache in the fall. Some high schools are more open to allowing homeschoolers in than others. At the very latest, you should get in touch with them in the first couple weeks of school starting. You may have to pay an admin fee in addition to the basic test fee. This is the link to search for schools offering the next available test in your area. https://psatordering.collegeboard.org/pno/public/search.do They have to order materials, so the earlier you register with them, the more likely you are going to be able to take the test there.
For typical four-year high school students, the PSAT is taken junior year, in the fall, possibly always in October?…. http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/reg.html. (For less-than-four-year students, reference the schedule here When to take the PSAT/NMSQT ) It is highly recommended students take the PSAT as a practice in Sophomore year, because they only get one opportunity to get into the National Merit Scholarship program, and that opportunity is when they take the test in their second-to-last (usually Junior) year (if they take it in their final (Senior) year, they are not eligible for National Merit scholarships until the year AFTER they start college). Their PSAT score should be an indicator of the score they’ll likely achieve on their SAT in their Senior Year. It is quite common for PSAT scores to increase the second time, so if they can take that practice test in their sophomore year, it really can make a huge difference!