Monday, December 24, 2012

What About A Diploma And College?

If you work through private or public school independent study or correspondence programs, they will keep records and issue diplomas for you.

If you go it alone, you can do both yourself.

First of all, you can have a formal diploma printed at any printers, buy one from one of the homeschool supply businesses (Homeschool Legal Defense has a very nice one for sale.) Or if you have a computer, buy some fancy paper and do it yourself.

Does it carry as much weight as a “real” one?

Most employers don’t ever check your references. If you say you have a high school diploma, that is good enough for them. (My husband, a manager, says he can tell from how an application was filled out what level of education the person had. He doesn’t even need to read that part of the application, though he does just to see if the person lied. The work of a homeschooled child that has completed a high school level should appear at least as good in quality as the work of a public school student with the same level education).

Homeschooling is becoming ever more common. More and more people believe a homeschooling diploma issued by parents is at least as much of a guarantee for the quality of the employees’ education as a public school diploma.

You can “back it up” by having your child take the SAT and ACT tests. Good scores on these tests show they really do know what you say they know.

Some parents make it a requirement of their “school” to pass the GED before they will issue their diploma. Did you know that an estimated one third of public school GRADUATES can not pass this test? If your child can pass these tests with reasonable scores, then your diploma is obviously very valid.

And there is always the option of taking CLEP (College Level Examination Program) tests. These are tests written by the College Board, and accepted for class credit by most colleges. If your child can pass these tests, they are given class credit for college courses and are assumed to be able to handle college work. It is possible to “test out” of the first two years of most degrees with these tests. And if your child can pass them he obviously has the equivalent of a high school education or more.

There are several good books on the market that can help you keep transcripts that any college would be familiar with and accept (Check your search engine or library for “homeschool high school” or any of the eclectic catalogues such as Rainbow Resource). Transcripts basically boil down to keeping track of everything your child does and assigning it a subject title, then assigning the accumulation of subjects credit values. Find out how many credits in each subject your particular college wants and aim towards fulfilling that. Pretty simple, really.

I do know, though, that some homeschoolers have gotten into the colleges they want without even keeping transcripts. Their level of knowledge is such that the colleges believe them to be qualified. However, since you can’t depend on your collegiate choice having an admissions officer that has the time to really check you out, it is probably a good idea to keep the best records you can.

What do colleges think about homeschoolers? 

A Harvard admissions officer said most of their home-educated students “have done very well. They usually are very motivated in what they do.”

“Results of the SAT and SAT II, an essay, and interview, and a letter of recommendation are the main requirements for home-educated applicants. {transcripts are} irrelevant because a transcript is basically a comparison to other students in the school.” Jon Reider, Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Stanford told the Wall Street Journal: “Homeschoolers bring certain skills; motivation, curiosity, the capacity to be responsible for their education-that high schools don’t induce very well.”

Dean Joyce Reed states “Homeschoolers are the epitome of Brown (University) students. They are self-directed, they take risks, and they don’t back off.” (Homeschool Legal Defense Court Report Nov/Dec 2003, Side box “The Big Picture.”)

The next thing to consider is that your child may not want to go to college. 

40% of the general population goes to college while 60% of homeschoolers do. Obviously, homeschool parents, on the whole, are doing a fine job preparing their children for advanced education.

However, this still leaves 40% of our homeschooled children that will take a different route (Update: Three of mine are graduated and so far none have any interest in college). Not everyone wants to spend that much time in school.

Not all of us need a degree to do what we are called to do. In fact, I kind of think most of us wouldn’t if it wasn’t for government regulations, (Did you know you have to have a college certificate to be a hair stylist or florist? Honey, if it takes you two years of college to know how to put flowers in a vase, you need to pick a different career.) We must be prepared to prepare these children for their courses in life also.

Some parents require their children to begin and run a business (lawn mowing, housecleaning, selling organic herbs, etc.) as part of their high school curriculum. Some of these children simply continue to expand their businesses until they become full time jobs capable of supporting themselves.

Some children, as part of their studies, spend a couple of weeks each with various friends and relatives at their jobs. This can lead to formal or informal apprenticeships as well as giving the child a good idea if they really want to pursue a career in that area.

Some children get part time jobs early. They have a much more flexible schedule, and so have a wider range of part time jobs to choose from. For instance, they could sweep the warehouse for a construction contractor during the day time (doing their school work at night), leading to a full time job much sooner then a child in a traditional school would be able to accommodate one.

The military, in 1997, began accepting homeschooled children as “Tier1” recruits as an experiment. This is the same level as public or private school graduates, (Tier 2 recruits are dropouts and GED recipients.) This was only a trial to see how homeschoolers preformed in the military. Since the trial ended, recruitment technically returned to Tier 2 status, however the “powers that be” have declared they will not give homeschoolers any tier name, just put them into the highest job they want. It seems the homeschoolers that signed up under the trial made such an impression that the military wants as many of them as they can get and are willing to suspend rules to get them.

And of course, there is always Tech schools and apprenticeships.

I do think we should not “burn bridges” though. It is only wise to keep track of what our children are doing, especially in their high school years, and teach the academics to a college level. We probably won’t know for sure until our children are eighteen or so where their next step will be.

No comments:

Post a Comment