Short Answer: in order to graduate, homeschoolers need to take the required high school courses for their state, and meet the state’s homeschool high school requirements, if the state has them.
Then the parents, as the educational institute, can print a homeschool diploma for the student.
If someone doesn’t have a high school diploma, this can have rather negative connotations. When they come to apply for a job, the employer may get the wrong idea, and assume the worst…
Rightly or wrongly, a lack of a high school diploma would ring alarm bells for the employer.
They may assume that the candidate does not have the ability to graduate high from high school, and may infer from this that they don’t have the ability to carry out the role they are applying for.
So it’s always in the homeschooler’s best interest to meet their state’s requirements for the student to be able to graduate, and receive a genuine homeschool diploma that will be officially recognized in their state.
In this article, we will signpost you to some great resources for anyone who is considering homeschooling their child or children, before discussing just how much some of the US states can vary in terms of their laws and regulations surrounding homeschooling requirements.
And without further ado, let’s get straight to it.
Learning About Homeschooling Requirements In Different States
One of the most convenient ways to find out the homeschooling requirements in various states is through HSLDA…
The HSLDA is basically a non-profit advocacy organization that helps make homeschooling possible.
The founders of the organization were two attorneys and homeschooling dads, and now they have over 100,000 member families.
HSLDA provides both legal guidance regarding homeschooling and practical advice and guidance on matters such as drafting curriculum.
They will even go to court on your behalf if your right to homeschool your child is challenged.
They have lots of handy and relevant articles and resources available for you to access and take advantage of in your pursuit of homeschooling your child or children.
A Brief Overview Of The Homeschooling Requirements In Various US States
This article won’t go into the homeschooling graduation requirements of every single state, but we will touch on a few of them to give you a “flavor” for how varied the circumstances can be in different states.
For large regions of the country, there is relatively low regulation surrounding the state homeschooling requirements. But for 10 states, these regulations are very low, and some even require no notice of homeschooling.
On the flip side, however, there are 11 states that face moderate homeschooling regulation, and there are 4 states that insist on high regulation.
We will walk you through some examples, so as to demonstrate the contrast between different homeschooling laws in different states, with an emphasis on graduation requirements.
Homeschooling Requirements In Alaska
Normally in Alaska, school is compulsory between the ages of 7 and 16.
However, in Alaska, you can legally homeschool under the homeschool statute, with a private tutor, with school board approval, or as a religious private school.
What the curriculum and graduation requirements are for homeschoolers in Alaska depends on which of these homeschooling options they sign up to.
Technically speaking, under the homeschool student in Alaska, parents and legal guardians can homeschool their children with no requirement to notify the state, file forms, be formally qualified teachers (or even seek approval), or to test the children.
That said, however, homeschooling as a religious private school has lots of requirements, such as attendance records, permanent records, a discipline policy, and standardized testing for the 4th, 6th, and 8th grades.
Although there are no formal graduation requirements for homeschoolers in Alaska, tutors may be interested to know that public school students in Alaska need to get to 22.5 credits in order to graduate.
Homeschooling Requirements In Minnesota
Minnesota has moderate regulations surrounding homeschooling:
- You have to notify the state of the homeschooling
- The tutors must be qualified teachers
- There are 13 mandatory subjects to cover
- There must be evidence that tutorship has taken place,
- You are required to test your child annually using a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement test
Since Minnesota homeschoolers aren’t necessarily formally tested for graduation, if they want to apply to college, they will need to provide an official transcript that shows the courses you have taken, the grades earned, and a cumulative grade point average (GPA). This does not count as a diploma.
Homeschooling Requirements In New York
There are high homeschooling regulations in the state of New York:
- You must submit a notice of intent
- You must submit an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP)
- You must comply with day, hour, and subject requirements
- You must file quarterly reports
- The child has to be assessed annually
In order for a homeschooler to graduate in New York, you must request a Letter of Substantial Equivalency from the local district superintendent, which states that the homeschooler has received the substantial equivalent of a high school education.
On acceptance, the homeschooler can then be presented with a high school equivalency diploma, referred to as the “TASC”.
In order for the homeschooler to achieve the TASC, they must attend at least 180 days of homeschooling every year, and complete 900 hours of school per year in grades 1–6, and 990 hours of school per year in grades 7–12.
So, to summarize once more, how homeschoolers graduate depends very much on what state they reside in.
Typically, they will need to learn at least some specific subjects, and they may also be required to carry out one or more assessments.
Then the parent/s, if they are legally defined as the child’s educational institute, can issue a homeschool diploma for them.
Due to the variation of legalities concerning education across different states, it is imperative that you look into the specifics of these laws in the state where you reside, and take any action required.
It pays to go in with your eyes open, and determine what your child’s prospects would be if they go down the homeschooling route.