One thing Chuck and I knew for certain when we started out homeschooling fifteen or so years ago, was we wanted our children to have high school diplomas. Real diplomas, not something I printed out myself and put in a scrapbook. As our oldest turned ten, then eleven, then twelve, this was something I worried about quite a bit. How would I go about getting a high school diploma for my homeschooled child? A diploma that would be recognized where ever she went? I talked to homeschooling moms with kids older than mine. There were ways to track classes, take tests, join organizations… It was daunting and overwhelming.
Earning a Diploma Through Running Start: Duel Enrollment
Then along came Running Start.
Running Start is a program in our state that allows high school juniors and seniors to attend college classes and earn college credit at our local community college. Homeschool students who do this are also able to earn a high school diploma at the same time. It almost seemed too good to be true. But it wasn’t.
Adalia did this first. She started at age 16 and took extra classes so she could graduate a quarter early. She turned 18 in February and graduated with both a high school diploma and Associate of Arts degree the next month.
Judah attended Running Start for two years and graduated at 17 with a high school diploma and transfer degree. He was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and graduated with honors. He has just finished his first year at a Central Washington University, but his third year of college. He will graduate next year (at the age of 19) with a Bachelor’s degree.
Taking two years of college in high school saved us thousands of dollars!
Tilly just graduated from Running Start this last week. At age 17 she has earned both her high school diploma and her Associate of Arts degree. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and graduated with honors. She will not be heading to university in the fall but has a few plans up her sleeve which I will share later…
So there you have it. My homeschooled high schoolers were all able to earn high school diplomas and college degrees at the same time. Some will go on to university, others straight to work. Or maybe take a gap year…or maybe get married and run off to New Zealand.
Homeschooling High School: What about transcripts?
I was able to create a transcript for my kids. I included the classes they homeschooled as well as ones they took at community college. By the end of high school my kids have all had more than enough credits to graduate. In the end, their high school diplomas came from the community college. We used these transcripts for Judah’s university applications.
What about going on to a four-year university?
Judah was accepted to Central Washington University and earned several scholarships based on his academic achievement, volunteer work and involvement in the community college. Not only that, he was accepted into Central’s Douglas Honors College which gives him partial tuition waivers and special housing.
Updated 6/25/16: I just found this great article: 5 Surprising Ways Homeschooling Prepared Me For College.
Do you have any questions about homeschooling high school? I’d be happy to answer in the comments.