Do I need to sign my high schooler up for some type of accredited high school, whether online or through a local umbrella school? In a phrase, that depends. For most homeschoolers, the answer is: you can do this if you wish to do so and have the money in your budget, but it is not required. There are accredited options available for homeschoolers, but with very few exceptions they do not make any difference to your child’s college or job prospects, so they are not necessary or even helpful. However, it up to you to make this choice after researching the options based upon what your child wishes to do post-graduation and your own confidence and comfort level with homeschooling independently. Just as with graduating from a public or private school, there is no need to get a GED when graduating from a homeschool.
The State of Delaware does not issue or validate any non-public school diplomas (that includes expensive private schools, by the way). You, the parent, can issue your child a perfectly valid homeschool diploma once he or she has met your graduation requirements. It is important, particularly for college applicants, to keep a detailed transcript of all courses taken. Some colleges will request an annotated transcript that includes method of grading, a list of all books read or materials used with ISBN numbers, a course description for each course, time spent on each course, and a writing sample, lab notebook page, and a graded paper or two. In addition, many homeschooled applicants are asked (regardless of the school’s overall testing policy) to take the SAT or ACT and 2 subject tests. This documentation will serve adequately as proof of graduation, and Delaware homeschoolers have been gaining entry to highly competitive universities with academic merit and athletic scholarships for many years now, both nationally and within Delaware. Delaware homeschoolers have recently attended or been accepted to: The University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Del Tech, Wilmington University, Gettysburg, The Ohio State University, Widener, Franciscan University, SUNY, University of Lynchburg, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Shippensburg, Penn State, James Madison, Messiah, and Bryn Mawr, just to name a few. (Hey, Delaware homeschoolers, if you want your scholar’s university added to this list, just email us at the Contact Us link above!)
Some homeschoolers find the idea of maintaining their own records rather daunting, and the possibility of a future employer or college questioning the credential worrisome. In this case it is reasonable to seek out an online or local umbrella that has been accredited by a regional accrediting body that will validate your homeschooling efforts and issue the diploma. This will usually come at a price– the service will cost additional money, and there may be specific restrictions on the materials you may use, or your school calendar structure, or you might have difficulty finding a place that matches your homeschool goals and philosophy. If the budget is not a problem and you find a good match for your scheduling and educational materials needs, there is one final matter. It is entirely up to you to verify the authenticity of the accrediting body and the status of the organization’s status in it. Some well-known homeschool accrediting bodies are little more than a computer in some guy’s basement in the midwest. Before investing, make sure that whatever school or employer you are aiming for will actually recognize this accrediting body as legitimate, or your money and loss of flexibility will be wasted. If you find a good fit, and the accreditation is robust, you are all set.
You will sometimes encounter a college or employer who requests or tries to require a GED of your homeschool graduate. These are generally entities who need to be educated on Delaware homeschool law. A GED is a wonderful opportunity for moving forward for people who for any reason were unable to complete their high school education and failed to graduate. As a legally registered Delaware homeschooler, if your student meets all of your graduation requirements, then your student will be a high school graduate, and therefore the GED will be not only inappropriate, but with many colleges and employers, will have a lower status than a high school diploma. It also harms your fellow homeschoolers, because it signals to that employer or school that you agree that a homeschool diploma is not a valid credential. In many cases, a communication that you your student was homeschooled in school # <insert your registration with the Delaware DOE> registered with the Delaware Department of Education under Title 14 Statute 2703A will clarify the matter. As noted in the above paragraph, a transcript should be available, and you should keep excellent records throughout your high school years, regardless of your homeschooling style.