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Four Ways to Graduate: Graduation Options for Homeschoolers

Maybe you’ve been feeling called to homeschool through high school and are wondering about graduation options for homeschoolers. Maybe you are worried about the effect it will have on your child’s future. Will he get into college? Will she be able to get a good job?

Homeschooling high school can indeed be a daunting task. But knowing how to graduate your child may not be as difficult as your fears have led you to believe.

Homeschool High School: Graduation Options for Homeschoolers | Hip Homeschool Momss

Graduation Options for Homeschoolers

Since I have already ventured into the land of homeschooling high school I’ll share with you what I have learned. Graduation paths may look different from one homeschooler to another. Who’s to say which is best? Every situation is unique. For simplicity’s sake, I want to focus on four graduation options for homeschoolers:

  1. Parent Transcript/Diploma with ACT/ SAT
  2. Accredited Diploma
  3. Direct Entry Community College or Technical Skill- COMPASS Test
  4. GED

Parent Diploma and Transcript (ACT/SAT)

I believe this route to be the most optimal. The reason I say this is because with this route all options remain open for your child. It also gives you the control to reflect all that you and your homeschooler have covered and accomplished in the high school years. This is the option I recommend for those children that plan to attend a four-year university and who plan to go directly from high school to a four-year college.

The Transcript

For this route you will need a transcript. Refer to HSLDA for the basics on transcripts and several free examples. They also offer transcript services should you need them. It is important that your transcript accurately reflects all that you have accomplished and the level thereof, so you may also want to generate a course description supplement to the transcript which describes the course and texts/books you used.

AP on Transcripts?

Taking AP tests is also a great idea if your child is doing advanced courses. The transcript should reflect that. But in order to include it in the transcript as an AP course, the course itself must be approved by CollegeBoard . Otherwise, you can only list it on the transcript as Such and Such with AP exam  (for example Calculus with AP BC exam.) If your child takes an AP course through a school, support group, or online school which has gotten approval from CollegeBoard you should include that extra information on the transcript with reference to whom (what school) the course was taken through.  If you are interested in this you can seek out places which may offer AP courses to homeschoolers in your area. A good place to start may be your local homeschool support group.


If your child scores well on the SAT or ACT she will be pursued by many colleges. Investigate schools your child might be interested in attending to determine if she needs to plan on taking the SAT or the ACT as well as any subject tests – it depends on the school. She can also find out what score she needs for acceptance. It’s very easy to schedule your child to take these tests; all you need to do is register for the test at the school of your choice. If you plan to take this route then your child should take the SAT or ACT in the spring of her junior year and probably again the fall of her senior year.

Accredited Diploma

There are many home study or correspondence schools that are accredited and will issue diplomas. You must be willing to fulfill their requirements.  They range from very structured  to very flexible. A plus for this route is accountability that your homeschooler has teachers other than yourself-{sometimes it’s helpful}. A down side would be less flexibility and more correspondence and documentation. Here are three such schools:

  • *Seton Home Study School– I can’t say enough good things about them. Well ordered and dependable. Less work for the parent. Very structured with some flexibility. Classical approach. Strong Catholic perspective. It has been excellent for my daughter as we needed accountability.
  • *Clonlara Home Based Education-This school was also good and had much more flexibility. Great if you want more control over the courses of study. Keeps a transcript based on your records and offers limited guidance from your assigned teacher. It’s a good fit if you want to be in control. My son used this school. It was the best option for us because it provided the basic structure while giving us the freedom needed to meet his ADHD special needs. Read our ADHD Homeschool Success Story.
  • *A Beka Academy: Accredited Program- I haven’t used this one but I know about it and have heard positive things.

Community College or Technical Skill

Most community colleges, and I say most because every state’s requirements are different, will allow attendance at age 16 with parent permission. If your teen is mature enough, this is a good option for fulfilling high school requirements in areas you feel you can’t teach or don’t want to teach while establishing college credit. Both my children earned dual credit (credit for both high school and college in one course) in their Junior and Senior years. This is also a good way to establish that your child is at college level ability. Entry for Community Colleges and Technical Training schools often only require taking the COMPASS Test or some other placement test for entry. Occasionally, depending on the school, they may require the GED.

And don’t forget about technical colleges. Many professions are well paid and don’t require 4-year degrees. Certifications are the key. Maybe getting a skill is the best route for YOUR child? For example, being an RN is a two-year degree which can be attained at many community colleges, and they are very well paid.


Sometimes the GED is a viable option. There can be many reasons this may end up being a necessary step in the college entry process. Sometimes schools are just not “set up” to accommodate homeschoolers. It’s probably not going to affect your child’s job options if good college experience and GPA can be added to a resume.  However, I list a GED as a last resort.  Homeschoolers should opt for a parent- issued diploma versus the GED in most cases. However, there may be some situations where it’s a necessary step along the way. For example, the Air Force requires a high school diploma or a GED with at least 15 college credits.

Therefore, the route that you and your homeschooler take to graduation will largely depend on his immediate plans after graduation. Don’t stress, Mom! You know your child best and can get the answers you need to help him get where he wants to go!

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  1. Hi there! Great options. I also wonder why you didn’t add CLEP/DSST test to your ACT and SAT test option? They all are great ways to round out high school. I’m hoping to use the SAT and CLEP for my youngest daughter. My older daughter who did the ‘Dual’ credit option where she took Community College courses will also be taking 2 CLEP test to speed up finishing her AA degree so she can transfer to her the 4 yr University of choice in the fall without having to take summer courses. The easiest for us was the Community College dual option before we found out about the CLEP/DSST test options.

    1. Thank you for bringing that up. I don’t have much experience with CLEP but it is a wonderful option, especially for students who are great testers and accelerated. Thank you!

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