If you haven’t read Part 1, you can do so by clicking here to read the previous 3 myths.
Part 2 of 2
“Independently homeschooled students don’t have official transcripts.”
Do you know the difference between an official transcript and an unofficial transcript? A notary. That’s it. Notarized transcripts are official. The absence of the notary makes the transcript unofficial.
All that a transcript is is an official high school academic record. It’s official because you created it. It’s a legal document. It is on this legal document that you track and record those graduation requirements from Myth #3. There are several different styles of transcripts, including narrative transcripts. Depending upon your goals and your child’s goals, you may utilize more than one of those styles at different points throughout your child’s home school high school career. The internet is full of information about and samples of home school transcripts. Lee Binz (author of Delight Directed Learning) has lots of information about homeschooling high school and transcripts on her website The Home Scholar (http://www.thehomescholar.com/). Mrs. Binz independently homeschooled her children in the lower 48 and her transcripts were highly praised by each college her children applied to. NSIH has a few members available that are willing to help other independently homeschooling parents put together an official academic record. This task is often touted as one of the most difficult, but the truth is that it is rather easy – it just takes a little time and energy. Your transcript backs up your diploma: YOU are YOUR OWN school.
“Independent home schools are not accredited so no one will accept their diplomas and transcripts.”
Did you know that many public and private schools across the nation are not accredited? If being accredited is such a big deal, why aren’t ALL high schools accredited? Accreditation is one of those establishments that the bulk of our society places on a pedestal. This pedestal is optional. This pedestal holds no genuine value. Schools pay through the nose to get a fancy stamp of approval from an accrediting agency. All it really means is that someone at the agency looked over a school’s operations, buildings, budgets, and student assessments to determine if the school meets the agency’s standards.
Independently homeschooling families that are concerned about accrediting for high school do have some options. They can use an accredited program (such as Laurel Springs or A Beka Academy) but beware – these programs are costly and if your child is a budding athlete looking for NCAA Division I or II eligibility, the NCAA views these programs as non-traditional, not home school. Laurel Springs is currently the only accredited program with NCAA Division I & II approval. If sports are not your child’s forte, there are many other programs available.
Another option is to submit your courses and coursework (or your transcript) to an agency for accreditation. Again, this is costly. Once more, we see Lee Binz approaching the subject of accreditation on her website The Home Scholar. Click here (http://www.thehomescholar.com/recent-articles/accreditation.php) to read her article and take note of the first comment at the end: it is from an independently homeschooling mom right here in our great state of Alaska!
The truth of the matter is that accrediting is all hype and it is not what it is made out to be. Remember, not all schools are accredited. Just because one school in a district IS accredited does NOT mean that every school in that district is. Accreditation is optional.
In regards to non-acceptance if your school isn’t accredited – that’s really up to the institution your child is seeking acceptance to. Again, not all schools are accredited and at times concessions are made for graduates coming from unaccredited schools. Furthermore, scores on SATs and entrance exams hold far more power than accredited transcripts. NCAA eligibility for home school students does not rely upon accreditation. Military academies – West Point and Air Force Academy for example – admissions processes are the same for homeschooled graduates as they are for public or private school graduates. Because class rank is not possible in a home school setting, admissions liaisons will rely heavily on academic records (detailed transcripts), appointments, nominations, and SAT/ACT scores. None of the military academies require accredited diplomas or transcripts.
Accreditation doesn’t seem to carry much weight for high school students. So what’s the deal? When does accrediting matter? POST-secondary educational institutions is where and when it matters! Students transferring between colleges and universities need to be aware of whether or not their old school and new school are accredited. An accredited college has the authority to refuse unaccredited transcripts/diplomas/degrees from another, unaccredited university. Certain fields of study and their respective universities that provide graduate and undergraduate programs are even more finicky. Medical schools in California, for example, have a list of colleges that they are not to accept degrees or diplomas. It seems that only in the post-secondary realm does accreditation actually matter; not in the high school-TO-post secondary education realm.
This is something that the independent home school high school student should be aware of if he or she is planning to take some college courses to fulfill his or her home school graduation requirements (known as dual enrollment). If the college is not accredited, an accredited university will refuse to accept the credits. A student would then be required to retake that course through the accredited university to receive the credit. THIS is when accreditation matters. Not so much for a high school transcript.
“Independently homeschooling parents must be smarter than their home school high school student and have a genuine interest in higher level classes, like Physics or Calculus, to be able to teach through graduation.”
No. This “myth” stems from parents’ insecurities about high school and beyond. There are so many course options available to home school high school students that genuine parental interest in a subject is unnecessary. You were able to teach your child how to walk and talk without a physical therapist or speech therapist, right? You can also provide your home school high school student with a superb, high quality education without certified teachers and math or science professionals.
Independent home school high school students have many options available for classes that their parents aren’t strong in. They have the option of enrolling in various college courses if parents feel the need for a teacher or professor to oversee and/or help. These courses can be used to fulfill home school graduation requirements (dual enrollment). If a student utilizes these courses, it is very possible to have a student’s first year of college completed before he or she ever graduates your high school! Another upside of taking college courses in high school is easier admissions after high school, especially if your graduate is attending the same university that the dual enrollment courses were taken through. This alone makes any issues regarding accrediting non-existent.
If college courses for dual enrollment are not what you’re looking for, there is a plethora of subject specific boxed curriculum and online courses available. There are also many online high school programs that you can enroll in. These whole programs often have their own graduation requirements because they offer an entire 4-year high school curriculum.
For an insecure or doubting parent, there are many options available to guarantee your child’s success and that he or she receives the best high school education possible. NSIH has a lending library available for members to peruse different curricula. The greatest asset available through NSIH is the network of other independently homeschooling parents and their expertise in various areas. These parents come from all walks of life but what they all have in common is their desire to remain independent and free while taking the responsibility to educate their children at home: much like how our founding fathers were educated. These parents are willing to help other independently homeschooling parents: whether it is for moral support, educational questions or planning, family-friendly activities, or putting together a transcript! This network of parents is indispensable to independently homeschooling success!