Diplomas and Graduation

All 50 sates currently provide parents the opportunity to print their own High School diplomas for their graduating children. Many templates and services are available via the internet to assist in the creation of the diploma itself.

For answers to a multitude of common questions about homeschool diplomas, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has the answers which can be found by clicking on the following two links to articles on their website.

Look first at "High School Diploma" at
http://www.hslda.org/highschool/diploma.asp

Then look at "Recognizing Home School Diplomas for College Admittance and Financial Aid" at
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000001/00000147.asp

Many parents and institutions of higher learning tend to get fixated on the idea of having an "accredited" diploma. But, as the HSLDA says in their article,

"Public high schools are not necessarily accredited. Therefore, the diplomas they issue would not be accredited either. However, colleges and universities generally recognize these public high school diplomas as if they were issued by accredited organizations."

Based on this it is clear that colleges and universities have the ability to either waive the requirement for an "accreditied" diploma or to interpret something as "accredited" whether it is or not.

The actual definition of "accredited" is " to give official authorization to or approval of" and the examples that the dictionary uses are "The association only accredits programs that meet its high standards." and "The program was accredited by the American Dental Association." It is therefore apparent that the intent of the word is to have an Association make a determination as to what should or should not be accredited (i.e. authorized or approved) in their field of interest. So called accrediting bureaucracies have arbitrarily taken it upon themselves to determine what is "acceptable" or not. Technically only those accrediting bodies that are recognized by the Department of Education have any authority to cause a diploma to be accredited but one must wonder what the value of such accreditation is if every year there are students that receive diplomas from accredited high schools that can even read or write.

In fact, educational bureaucracies routinely establish a set of arbitrary standards and guidelines for what their "experts" have determined are needed to qualify for anything and everything relating to education. Clearly the whole system, of colleges accepting diplomas from public high schools as accredited when they are not and having arbitrary accrediting entities deciding for themselves what is or is not acceptable, is so unjust that it is unfixable and should be scrapped entirely.

Fortunately there are a great many colleges that now regard a homeschool diploma as highly as diplomas from high schools and they look at other aspects of a students record when considering admission rather than the "accreditation" or lack thereof of a students diploma.

You may find it interesting to note that the Department of Education itself confirms that 19% of high school "graduates" in the United States cannot read well enough to read their own diploma. Consequently the National Home School Association is not seeking accreditation. Consequently it is not authorized to "accredit" any students diploma.

However, the NHSA has developed its own list of requirements that Terra Scholars must meet in order to get their diplomas "endorsed" by the NHSA. Ironically the NHSA requirements, which don't mandate a certain number of courses, or credits, or hours of study, or specific scores on tests, will likely result in a far more deserving group of students receiving "endorsement" than will ever be possible under the "accreditation" system. Our goal is to eventually have the NHSA "endorsed" diploma be routinely recognized as being far more meaningful than any "accredited" diploma from a traditional high school that is actually accredited or from any other such accredited institution

Those families who are interested in obtaining a "seal" for their child's diploma, indicating that it has been endorsed by the National Home School Association, or an endorsed diploma directly from the NHSA, should contact the NHSA at least six months in advance of graduation so that they will have ample time to pull together all of the necessary items to fulfill the NHSA endorsement "requirements". Those interested can Contact Us and indicate that they would like to have a copy of the endorsement requirements emailed to them. There is a $150 charge for NHSA members to have their child go through the endorsement process and receive a "seal" for their own diplomas or to receive an actual endorsed diploma from the NHSA. Leather holders or frames would need to be obtained separately if those are desired.

On another note, through the NHSA affiliate company "American Commencements", homeschooled students will, by May of 2017, be able to obtain many of the traditional graduation memorabilia and props such as caps and gowns, class rings, etc.. Those interested should, at that time, check out the section of the Home Learning Store dedicated to the products from American Commencements.

American Commencements will also be sponsoring a graduation ceremony for NHSA Terra Scholars at the annual virtual NHSA Expo in May of each year.

A presentation by a guest celebrity speaker will start off the Graduation Ceremony on the 1st day of the Expo. This will be followed by special recognition of up tp 500 graduating Terra Scholars, who stand out in one way or another, that will be given the opportunity to give (valedictorian style) speeches.

American Commencements and the NHSA both believe that, for the most part, every graduating Terra Scholar will be the valedictorian of their class and therefore should have the opportunity to give a speech at their graduation.

Unfortunately with an estimated 150,000 or more yearly homeschool graduates it would be impossible to offer them all the opportunity to address the NHSA members. However, over the 7- days of the Expo, there will be time for 500 graduates to each provide a 10 minute presentation (running from 9am to 9pm daily).

Each presentation will include a slide show of the graduates accomplishments and / or an optional speech by the graduate. Each Graduate will be allotted 10 minutes which can be broken up in any way desired.

Starting in 2018, graduates wanting to be considered for inclusion in the Graduation proceedings must prepare and submit their 10 minute videos to the NHSA by April 15th for consideration. Those selected will be notified by May 5th and will be informed as to the exact time and date that their presentation will be aired at the Expo.

It is expected that younger students and parents may find inspiration from graduates with similar interests or aspirations. So attendees will be able to search for graduate presentations by the topic of their speech, interests that motivated them and future aspirations.