Lots of homesteaders also homeschool their kids. We actually started homeschooling long before we ever moved to the farm. Personally, I just prefer having my kids at home, in an environment free of bad behavior from teens that adults have come to see as normal, unruly or violent kids who think it’s “cool” to be in a gang, and similar experiences. I just don’t see where that’s a beneficial environment for a child to learn.
In any regard, for those of you who also homeschool, I’ve posted a reprint of an article I wrote earlier this year regarding graduation requirements for homeschoolers. For those who need the info, it’s not always easy to find. I don’t have every state listed, but there are several, as well as links to resources to learn more about other states. If you have something to add, by all means leave a comment below & help other homeschoolers find the information they need to get their kids ready for college admissions.
Legally, homeschooling graduation requirements vary by state. According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, only three states, North Dakota, New York, and Pennsylvania, have specific high school course requirements for homeschoolers. Other states simply outline how long parents must continue to educate their children and general achievement criteria. Most state requirements fall between the ages of 16 and 17, while others cover children up to 18. The following are just a few examples of state regulations regarding homeschooling high school students.
Colorado has no specific homeschool graduation requirements. However, students must maintain achievement test scores above the thirteenth percentile in order to continue exemption from compulsory public school attendance. Attendance requirements apply to children between the ages of 6 and 17.
The only regulations or homeschooling graduation requirements in the state of Georgia cover compulsory attendance. Homeschool students must attend instruction for a minimum of 4.5 hours per day, 180 days per year, until age 16.
North Dakota requires homeschool students to complete four credits each in English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Social Studies must encompass one credit each of North Dakota studies, world history and US history. Additionally, students are required to complete .5 credits of health education, two PE credits (.5 credits per year,) as well as one music credit, one fine art credit, two credits of a single foreign language, and two credits relative to technical or career education.
New York also requires specific credits for a homeschool student to graduate high school. These include four English and Social Studies credits, two Math, PE, and Science credits, as well as 1 fine arts credit, .5 credits in health, and three credits of electives chosen by the homeschool.
Pennsylvania has homeschool graduation requirements as they relate to specific courses completed. However, these are not as extensive as North Dakota or New York. Students must simply complete four English credits, three Math, Science, and Social Studies credits, and two arts and humanities credits.
Virginia has no specific graduation requirements for students enrolled in home education programs. However, state statutes stipulate all children who have reached their 5th birthday by September 30th and have not yet reached the age of 18 are covered under the state’s compulsory attendance laws. There are no course requirements, although students must achieve scores above the 23rd percentile on standardized tests to continue in a home education program.
There is no doubt that some colleges are friendlier toward homeschooled students than other colleges. Few colleges have specific homeschooling graduation requirements, per se. They do, however, expect upcoming freshman to have completed certain college preparatory courses. These courses would be listed in the student’s homeschool transcripts. Some colleges will also require additional SAT testing or other documentation of a student’s ability to work at collegiate academic levels.
CollegeBoard and other college prep sources recommend homeschool students ensure their portfolios include the following, with Advanced Placement Program courses taking preference over standard course programs:
- Four years of English, including literature and creative writing
- Three years (minimum) of advanced Math, including Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus
- Three years (minimum) of Science, preferably advanced courses in Chemistry, Physics, Biology or Earth/Space science
- Four years of Social Studies, including US History, US Government, World History, and Geography
- Arts, Humanities, and Foreign Languages, including at least two years of a single foreign language and two years of arts or humanities such as art, music, theater, psychology, or sociology
Home School Legal Defense Association, Laws by State: http://www.hslda.org/laws/Summary_of_Laws.pdf
CollegeBoard, Home-schooled Students and College Admissions: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/apply/the-application/56.html