If you are a homeschooler, things have changed significantly for the better in the last couple of decades, but there’s still work to do for parents’ and students’ rights. One of the unsolved problems in homeschool is how high school and homeschool diplomas are verified. Since parents have the right to homeschool, you might assume that all diplomas are treated equally. They are, in many places. Regrettably, there’s no uniform process or laws relating to accepting a homeschool diploma. However, some companies still use a traditional verification service that only searches for accredited institution diplomas to vet employees. Resultantly, formerly homeschooled students need another way to show proof that their diploma is valid, and there are a few ways to address the issue. I’ll walk you through the options so your homeschooler can get their dream career with as little hassle as possible and explain how companies should (and many do) go about vetting a homeschool diploma.
How to verify a homeschool diploma? Verify a homeschool diploma by offering or requesting records that corroborate the work. There are several different ways to approach verification, including certified transcripts and checking the contact information and transcripts. Not all schools are accredited, and among these are homeschools. However, accreditation is not an indication of whether a student has done the work to graduate.
How To Verify A Homeschool Diploma
There are numerous ways to verify that a student has completed their high school education. While some employers use a service to check that the diploma was issued by a valid institution, these companies are flawed. Since they do not check to see if a student was homeschooled, and homeschooled students are legally allowed to graduate from homeschool, some businesses miss out on exceptional employees because they lack the forethought to ask for homeschool verification.
For employers, missing out on an opportunity to hire a superb employee is folly. Meanwhile, homeschoolers may find themselves at a slight disadvantage when applying for one of the remaining companies with rigorous and unyielding standards for vetting diplomas only from accredited institutes. Below is a list of eight ways to check whether a diploma is valid.
- Background Check- Hire an outside firm to check accreditation. This method will exclude homeschool students and is severely limited. While it may weed out one or two false diplomas among thousands of applicants, it will also reject educated and capable individuals who didn’t attend accredited institutes. Since accreditation is voluntary and not available to homeschools, this is a good way to determine if more information is needed. Still, it should not be used as the end-all-be-all process for seeking to validate diplomas.
- Certified Copies- Much like a background check, getting a certified copy of a diploma is a flawed system. Not only can undereducated individuals fake the appearance of a certified copy, but a certified copy isn’t the best way to check qualifications.
- Contact the School- Any employee wishing to obtain work should be able and willing to provide contact information for their school. Whether this school was at home, online, correspondence, or a traditional public or private institute, there will typically be a way to contact the diploma issuer. In rare cases, some older students may have homeschool diplomas issues by a now-deceased parent. However, verifying other records and checking the obituary or death certificate will show the truth easily.
- Academic Transcripts- Homeschool parents know they need to keep appropriate records of their student’s progress. While these vary from one area to the next, asking for proof of education is sensible and should be expected. Whether this consists of annual test scores or a detailed transcript of every activity and class will depend on where and how the homeschool was conducted.
- Request Proof of Compliance- Most US states require homeschool parents to file an intent to homeschool or similar paperwork. Employers can request proof of compliance with local laws on homeschooling. However, in areas where compliance laws don’t require paperwork, a homeschooler may bring in a copy of the relevant laws instead.
- Look at the SAT/ACT Score- Although the ‘Mommy Bias” is a myth, employers who are seeking proof that a student, and not a parent or other helper, did the work, looking at a standardized test score taken in a controlled environment is a superb way to be certain the homeschooler knows what they’re doing.
- Speak to the Lawyer- Some homeschoolers, especially those who are members of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, may have a legal representative available to explain the process for home education and assist employers in verifying the validity of homeschool diplomas.
- Issue a Standard Competence Test– This is the best and least used method for verifying competence at a high school or greater level. Employers should issue a test to check for the relevant skills and knowledge because it will help obtain the best-qualified individuals. However, I strongly recommend giving all applicants the same test since the child who graduated bottom of the class with pass-fail grades issued out of teacher kindness or frustration may have an accredited diploma while an early graduated, highly advanced homeschooler may not. Determining qualification should be an equitable and sensible process.
A simple piece of paper doesn’t give anyone a true picture of who they are dealing with. Over the last few decades, homeschoolers, largely thanks to the HSLDA, have become more mainstream and accepted. If the US armed forces and Ivy league schools accept a homeschool diploma, every US employer should too. It is only persistent rumors based on misinformation and rude assumptions that lead people to believe that home education is less valid.
Homeschoolers score higher on tests. Moreover, they seek and obtain more degrees per capita, and tend to be socially dynamic, successful individuals who care deeply for their community and make loyal employees. If anything, a custom-tailored home education leaves homeschoolers better educated than average. Sadly the laws have been slow to catch on to this even if studies have proved it many times.
Companies May Refute A Homeschool Diploma
Technically a company can refute a homeschool diploma. Many areas do not yet possess protective laws for homeschool graduates. Fortunately, this is changing rapidly. Every time a homeschooler is denied and brings it up publicly or hires a lawyer to assist, it is a step toward making reasonable changes that will prevent this strange discrimination.
While the methods for verifying homeschool diplomas and the laws lag behind the reality of this high-quality and incredibly effective education system, there will always be some baseless resistance. Laws protect a parent’s right to home educate, and they offer some protected groups who cannot be discriminated against, but homeschoolers aren’t (yet) included.
The bizarre midway acceptance is sad, but it is a reality. A company can refuse to accept a homeschool diploma in many places. Most well-respected employers and schools have no issue with taking homeschoolers, but as recently as 2016, the HSLDA was fighting to get students into trade schools. Similarly, some law enforcement jobs have long been denied to homeschool graduates. This makes no sense given that homeschoolers can join the military, but it can happen.
Resolving the Dispute
When verifying a homeschool diploma comes up, it is essential to remain polite and professional. Graduates should show confidence and offer relevant information to verify their education without hesitation. Meanwhile, companies should make every effort to know what to ask for and check the information properly. A nervous homeschooler may seem questionable. A resistant employer can find themselves in the news or the crosshairs of a lawyer who is working to change the outdated policies and laws surrounding homeschool.
For homeschoolers, there are two paths to arguing a disputed diploma. First, upgrade your expectations. Homeschool graduates are highly desirable employees, and a company that is too backward to see this probably won’t treat you well anyhow. Instead of considering this a loss, seek similar jobs from companies who care more about having qualified employees than so-called qualifying paperwork.
Remember that employees are a valuable resource. As a person, you deserve better, and as a homeschool graduate, your chances of success are much higher. Rather than letting one bad company rain on your parade, choose a better company.
For businesses, it is alright to challenge a person’s qualifications for a job. However, refusing to accept some of the most outstanding employees because your own vetting system is outdated or not up to the job is unreasonable. If you have never met or worked with a homeschooler before, take this as an opportunity to include new procedures that will ultimately benefit your company. Homeschoolers are excellent problem solvers and tend to be intelligent, self-driven employees who care about their work.
Homeschoolers face a lot of bias, and questions about verifying a diploma can arise. If you have trouble, feel free to bookmark this article and refer to it for help. Alternately, you can contact a lawyer or the HSLDA about the issue.
Parents have the right to home educate. Likewise, as educators, parents have the right to issue a diploma for students who complete high school work. Refusing to accept a diploma issued in compliance with the law is ridiculous and backward at best.
Hopefully, the laws will change to represent reality better soon. While a global pandemic is awful, it has helped to showcase some of the shortcomings in legislating homeschool rights as more students stay home than ever before in history.