Actually, schools are accredited–not curricula. To be accredited, a school must meet certain standards, such as holding classes the same number of days and hours as required of public schools, employing certified teachers, etc. These rules do not apply to homeschools. So, no, you do not need a certain type of “accredited” curricula. But many parents still choose an accredited high school program for their student. There are several reasons parents decide to go this route. While some of these reasons may be valid under certain circumstances, in most cases accreditation is not necessary.
→ Reason – The parent is insecure about teaching the higher subjects, such as sciences and math. The parent feels more secure because an instructor is monitoring, grading, and teaching these subjects and, therefore, little involvement is required from the parent.
Answer – While it is true that an accredited program may help the parent with those higher level subjects, it is a very expensive option. The cost can be in the thousands, which is prohibitive for many families. Homeschooling your high schooler can be rewarding and not as difficult as parents believe. See our other post in this section entitled, “Isn’t it More Difficult?”
→Reason – An outside source keeps the records and gives the diploma. Since the transcript, diploma, and other records carry a professional looking seal from an accredited school, the parent believes they better confirm the student’s high school accomplishment.
Answer – Many parents believe that those official accredited records will assure that if the student should return to public school, the student will be enrolled there at the same grade level. However, WV public schools do not recognize a difference between an accredited or non-accredited homeschool program. The state views them as the same and usually will not recognize any credits gained outside the public school or a state recognized private school. For example, credits earned through 10th grade at home, whether or not they are through an accredited program, are not likely to be counted. The student would be registered as a 9th grader if put in public school, with zero credits earned. It is worth noting that public high schools are not necessarily accredited. Therefore, the diplomas they issue would not be accredited either. This may be something to explore in your area.
→Reason – The parent believes enrollment in an accredited school will assure that the student’s diploma is accepted on equal terms as a public school diploma.
Answer – Thanks to the WV law, a parent-issued homeschool diploma cannot be discriminated against for college entrance or job consideration in our state. This means that the public, accredited, or homeschool diploma carries the same weight.
→Reason – The parent believes that WV public schools will accept credits from an accredited school, if for some reason the high school student would return to the public school system.
Answer – WV public schools retain the right to accept or reject any transfer credit. This varies from county to county; however, most counties will not accept any credits gained outside the public school system. This would mean the student would be placed in freshman status upon reentering a public high school no matter what the grade level in a homeschool setting.
There are accredited correspondence schools in which home school students can enroll. In these cases, teachers from the schools make the assignments and grade the work. These programs tend to be more expensive because the school is doing more of the work. Examples of such schools would be Alpha Omega Academy and Christian Liberty Academy.
Homeschooling is becoming more widely accepted as a valid and successful way of providing an education. With the statistics about homeschooled graduates across the country, the evidence clearly shows that quality need not be sacrificed with home education. Home education can be a superior choice!