I'm here today to tell you that your homeschool education doesn't have to tick the boxes that a public school does. You don't need four years of English, four years of math, two years of social studies, three years of science, five electives, and so on in order to convey a diploma on your student. Your head is now exploding, I'm sure. Let me back up for just a moment.
You may have been told at some point when you decided to homeschool that your child will "never get in to college" or that they will need an "accredited transcript/diploma." I may not have an independent fact checker here, but let me just tell you loudly now, this is FALSE!
What is accreditation? Accreditation is when an outside agency comes in and evaluates how the high school operates. They look at what they are using for curriculum, how they grade, and so on. All of this costs money. Let me take it one step further. There are high schools in the state of Maine (and I'm sure elsewhere) that are not accredited. Again, this costs money that many districts just do not have. However, because they are public schools, they will be treated as if they are accredited.
So, what does that mean for a homeschooling family? Stop putting pressure on yourself to ensure what you are doing at home is "accredited." It just simply does not matter in this day and age. It can cost upward of $1000 per year to have your transcript accredited by an outside agency. The money is better used paying for college than for a piece of paper to get into a college.
I often also get asked, "What does my child need to graduate? What kind and how many classes/credits do they need so the state will give them a diploma?"
I answer: "As of this writing, there are no state standards (in Maine) a child must meet in order to receive a diploma. The state does not issue diplomas. Every school district decides. You, as the homeschooling parent will give your child their diploma so you, as the homeschooling parent, decides what they need to do in order to earn it."
Now, that's the simply answer. Let's dig in to some details.
I'm sure you have realized at this point that every child is different. I have three sons. My two oldest have graduated my high school and are now in college. My oldest will finish college in a few short months. My youngest is still at home finishing high school. What worked for son one did not work for son two. What worked for sons one and two is not working for son three. Every single one of my boys is different and vastly so.
My oldest son did two years at a local community college before transferring to a local state university. My middle son went straight to a four year local university. My youngest will most likely only attend a tech college. This means that the way I did their high school education was a reflection of what there plans were for after high school.
Look at what your child does like to do and build from there. For example, you may have a child who loves to work on cars. Every spare moment has them tinkering on some engine. Use that as a course. Buy a project car and have them fix it up to sell. Have them work on neighbor cars for reduced rates. Use this time to build their knowledge. Look at doing dual enrollment at a local tech school program in an automotive program. Find a local mechanic who will let them work part-time and teach them along the way (apprenticeship/internship). This idea can be used for anything they may have interest in.
Maybe they have plans to start their own business one day. Have them write up a business plan (that's English). Learn about accounting (that's math). Learn about the history of their chosen field.
The BEST benefit of homeschooling is you can make it look like anything you want. You can take what they are interested in and use it to get them started on their life goals early.
When it comes to their education, think outside the box. Way outside the box if you need to. It doesn't need to come from a textbook in order to count as education. Creating hands on courses that work for your child are highly encouraged. Find a way that your child learns and use it!
In the end, we all want our child to become a successful adult. Give them the tools they need to do this and it's a win for everyone.