Homeschool Graduation Requirements: What Do You Need to Graduate?

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Deciding to homeschool through high school is a great choice. However, it can be confusing thinking about high school homeschool graduation requirements. What do you need to graduate? How do you graduate if you’re homeschooled? Do homeschoolers get a diploma?

Keep in mind that each state has its own specific graduation requirements, but there is also general knowledge helpful for homeschool parents and potential graduates. 

As you navigate homeschool graduation diploma requirements for your child, you may begin wondering if you have enough information. Whether you are homeschooling high school for the first time or you have a middle schooler quickly approaching high school, today we will look at some of the most important considerations regarding homeschool graduation requirements.

Homeschool Graduation Requirements: What Do You Need to Graduate?

How Do You Graduate High School If You're Homeschooled?

Knowing your state's homeschool laws is extremely important. Just as each state has its own homeschool laws, each state also has its own set of requirements. HSLDA is an excellent resource for discovering what your state’s homeschool laws are. Armed with those details, you can make a 4-year plan of study that makes the most sense for your high schooler. 

The HSLDA website’s color-coded map indicates how strict that state’s homeschooling requirements are. For example, in one of the more strict states, Pennsylvania, the requirements are as follows:

  • Option 1: Homeschooling under the homeschool statute.
  • Option 2: Homeschooling with a private tutor.
  • Option 3: Enrolling your child in a satellite of a religious day school.
  • Option 4: Enrolling your child in a satellite of an accredited day or boarding school.

In one of the less strict states, Nevada, their requirements are as follows:

  • English (including reading, composition, and writing), 
  • Math, 
  • Science, and 
  • Social Studies (including history, geography, economics, and government).

Homeschool high school graduation requirements do vary a lot by state, so make this your starting point for any decisions you make about working towards homeschool graduation. 

What Tests Do Homeschoolers Take To Graduate?

How do you get your high school diploma if you’re homeschooled? There is no nationwide test that’s required to earn a high school diploma or homeschool graduation certificate, although some states may require standardized testing during the high school years. A homeschool student can simply follow the high school requirements by state in order to graduate. 

Grade point average (GPA) is a common way to grade in high school that combines grades from all classes into a single score. Do homeschoolers have a GPA? There are many different ways to grade your student’s work, and they are all acceptable. For more in-depth help on the various methods for giving grades read A Homeschooler's Guide to Giving Grades.

Homeschool Graduation Requirements: Guidance By State

If you’re wondering who makes the graduation requirements, it’s the state. Since university admissions can be one of the hardest parts of the high school experience, it can be helpful to follow the public school's suggested course for graduation. Below you will find an overview by state of high school graduation requirements.

Homeschool Graduation Requirements: What Do You Need to Graduate?

Does Harvard Accept Homeschoolers?

While many homeschoolers dream of attending an Ivy League college, keep in mind that this is a very competitive aspiration. Homeschoolers are held to the same standards as other applicants. Harvard’s admission website outlines the requirements as such:

“There is no formula for gaining admission to Harvard. Academic accomplishment in high school is important, but the Admissions Committee also considers many other criteria, such as community involvement, leadership and distinction in extracurricular activities, and personal qualities and character. We rely on teachers, counselors, and alumni to share information with us about an applicant's strength of character, his or her ability to overcome adversity, and other personal qualities.”

So based on this explanation, it seems that yes, Harvard does accept homeschoolers.

Do Colleges Accept Homeschoolers? 

Everyone’s homeschool journey is going to be different, but homeschooling does not need to be an obstacle to college! Yes, colleges accept homeschoolers. In fact, most colleges love homeschoolers! There are many more viable college choices beyond Harvard or other Ivy League schools.

While it is up to each state to help to determine high school graduation requirements, most colleges also have their own criteria. Some colleges also require placement testing, to test academic skills for each child. 

In your exploration of the college admissions process, spend time highlighting the pros and cons of popular universities. Once your child has clarity surrounding their post-education goals, you will need to check the minimum requirements for high school graduates entering a particular school. Many homeschoolers find community colleges, technical schools, trade schools, or vocational schools to be wonderful considerations. They, too, are often excited to accept homeschoolers.

How Do Homeschoolers Get High School Credits?

There are several ways homeschool students can earn high school credits, including elective credits.

Create Your Own Homeschool High School Transcript

A homeschooler doesn’t need to go to a public high school or a private school to get a high school transcript. You, the homeschool parent, create the transcript for your senior. On it, you make a year-by-year listing of subjects covered during those high school years and the credit assigned for each course. 

For instance, here are just a few you could list as high school courses:

When you look up the state's requirements, you can come up with a 4-year plan based on those requirements. Then, you can start the process of assigning credits for each course. Courses generally earn credit based on course content, minutes of instruction time, and the amount of coursework your student completed.

What should be included in the transcript? 

  • Student and school information
  • Courses taken, credits earned, and grades received
  • Total credits and GPA
  • The graduation date
  • A grading scale
  • A signature and date

Request your free copy of Sonlight’s Homeschool High School Transcripts ebook for a step-by-step tutorial on creating a transcript for your homeschooler. 

What’s Another Way To Calculate Credit For Homeschooled High School Students?

A basic 150 hours of school a year. This also translates into 36 weeks of a 50 minute a day class. 

What Percentage Of Homeschoolers Go On To College?

As a homeschooling family, you know homeschooling through high school offers many benefits.

But what benefits does homeschool offer for those headed to college? The percentage of homeschoolers who continue on to college is one. Because of the homeschool graduation requirements, the number does depend on which state your child is in. 

But according to the study by Dr. Brian Ray, “74% of homeschool graduates aged 18 to 24 had taken at least some college classes while only 46% of the general population in that same age bracket had done the same.”  

What about graduating early? Can you graduate faster in homeschool? The answer is yes! It does depend on the child and your homeschool structure, but it is possible. You can save a lot of time and energy by taking advantage of the flexibility that homeschooling offers.

How High School Graduation Requirements Have Changed

High school graduation requirements for homeschoolers have changed a lot in the last ten years. Ten years ago, if you did not meet the high school graduation requirements, you had to take the General Education Test (GED), a group of four tests that is essentially the equivalent of a high school diploma. Now there are other options according to the state in which you live.

It seems the previously rigid requirements surrounding high school graduation for homeschoolers have passed. Generally speaking, the requirements now reflect the desires of schools, teachers, and society to allow students to succeed while exploring their interests. 

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Meet Your High School Homeschool Graduation Requirements By Using Sonlight

At Sonlight, we are committed to providing high school students with a one-of-a-kind, robust personal learning experience all the way to high school graduation. We understand your needs regarding your child's high school education and have the most comprehensive, advanced high school curriculum that will meet your teen’s needs.

Sonlight also offers college prep courses that let upper-level students think critically and perform well on college entrance exams. In the process, they discover their interests, follow their dreams, and make a difference in their world. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are a great way to bridge the transition between homeschooling high school and college. We want every student to be fully prepared for college, the workplace, or any other profession or place God has called them to.

Let Sonlight guide you through these final years before your child becomes a homeschool high school graduate.

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