Are you searching for information for homeschooling high school and whatever lies beyond? Here are helpful resources to start you on your way!

Read ahead:

Homeschooling Through High School

Sample Homeschool High School Course Plan

While homeschoolers in Texas are not required to complete any specified course plan other than a bona fide visual study of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and good citizenship, the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) recommended high school program may give you a starting point.

The TEA recommended high school program consists of 26 credits. The core recommended course sample is:

  • 4 credits of English/Language Arts
  • 4 credits of Mathematics, including Algebra I, II and Geometry
  • 4 credits of Science, including Biology, Chemistry and Physics
  • 4 credits of Social Studies, including World History, World Geography, U.S. History, ½ credit Government ½ credit Economics
  • 1 credit of Physical Education
  • ½ credit of Speech
  • 1 credit of Fine Arts
  • 5 ½ credits of Electives
  • 2 credits of Foreign Language Studies

Homeschooling Special Needs Students in High School

Homeschooling often provides advantages to those with learning differences that other options of education cannot. Here are insights for homeschooling your special needs student through high school (and the post-graduation options too)!

Homeschool High School Transcripts

Types of information to retain can include:

  • Grades
  • Curriculum used
  • Subjects mastered
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Volunteer work
  • Standardized testing scores
  • Work samples
  • A reading list

THSC Member Benefit: High School Transcript

transcript

Members of THSC can download a free high school transcript offered in two formats. If you are experienced at Microsoft Excel, then you will love the spreadsheet version that calculates the student’s GPA for you. If you are not familiar with spreadsheets, then the fill-in PDF version is perfect for you.

More THSC Membership Benefits

How to Graduate Your Homeschool Student

Graduation

“How does my child get a diploma?” is a question new homeschool parents often ask. The simple answer is: “You give them one.” But for the longer, more detailed answer…

Personal Graduation

As a parent, you can graduate homeschool students. Because homeschooling is considered a private school in Texas, the administrators of a homeschool (the parents) have the ability to determine requirements for graduation, just like private schools.

When your child has completed what you determine to be your school’s requirements for graduation, you may graduate them and award a diploma. THSC members have access to a free high school diploma template.

Umbrella School Diploma

If your child is enrolled in an umbrella school, he or she will likely receive a diploma from the school when the requirements are met. You should determine whether the umbrella school requires a student to be enrolled for the entire four years of high school in order to receive a diploma—or see if the school allows other options.

GED

Students may take a General Educational Development (GED) test to obtain a certificate of high school equivalency. If you are uncomfortable taking full responsibility for awarding a diploma, your student can receive a GED certificate after proving competency.

This is not a requirement or even a recommendation, but it is an option that some parents choose. Students can take the GED exam through their local school district, community college, adult education center or university.

Call the toll-free GED hotline at 800-626-9433 (800-62-MYGED) for the location of a test site in your area. Also, visit the GED testing website for more information at GED.com.

A Warning About Diploma Mills

Homeschool parents should be aware of “diploma mills” that award diplomas without proper assessment of a student’s credentials. These entities offer a degree, diploma, certificate or other official document for a fee. However, the diplomas are not legitimate.

Please know that entities who provide these diplomas are harmful and are being pursued in court. One indicator that an entity might be a diploma mill is a claim that you can obtain a diploma after a basic test with little or no coursework.

Please refer to the THSC definition of a homeschooled student and remember that homeschooling is legal in the state of Texas. You do not need to obtain a diploma from one of these organizations to validate your child’s coursework.

Graduation Ceremonies

A graduation ceremony is the fun part of students completing the homeschool journey! It is often viewed as a rite of passage into the adult world to continue education or find another pursuit.

Many local and regional support groups sponsor commencement ceremonies for parents and students. These ceremonies are similar to a traditional school’s graduation. But, there is an exciting difference—parents participate with their students. This experience has created special memories for many families across Texas.

The support group will typically have a coordinator who obtains the cap and gown, pictures and invitations, plus sets the time and location. Sometimes a group of parents does this together.

The coordinator or parents also set the program for the graduation ceremony. These ceremonies are usually intimate with 20 or fewer graduates.

After the ceremony, the reception is a special time to create priceless memories. Each graduate has a table decorated to his or her taste reflecting their journey, accomplishments and future plans.

As for the party afterward, read Celebrating the End of an Era: 21 Ideas for Homeschool Graduations.

Beyond Graduation

Another frequently asked question from new home educators is: “What happens after homeschooling?”

The options for homeschool graduates are no different than for other high school graduates. They include apprenticeship, college, employment, marriage and family, the military and trade schools.

Students should feel confident about their homeschool education because graduates have proven to be excellent higher education students, conscientious employees and successful members of the armed forces.

Apprenticeship

The Case for Homeschool Vocational Training

By Katie Roehrich

You’ve heard of STEM, which takes traditional topics like math and science and weaves them into an interdisciplinary approach to learning; but what do you know about CTE and how it relates to homeschool vocational training?

Vocational tech or career and technical education (CTE) offers contextualized learning for students—ways for them to master technical and academic content by applying it to a specific industry or career path. CTE offers students hands-on learning that focuses on solving a problem or undertaking a project that is reflective of an authentic, real-world challenge.

Vocational Training for Homeschoolers

Ever wondered about the relationship between homeschool and trade school? CTE prepares students to be career-ready by teaching abstract academic skills in combination with technical, job-specific skills. CTE includes, but is not limited to:

  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Transportation
  • Logistics
  • Automotive maintenance
  • Hospitality
  • Tourism
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Natural resources
  • The arts.

CTE addresses the skills gap by training students to enter high-growth industries with tangible and transferable credentials. Skilled trades are the hardest jobs to fill in the United States.

Students have become highly educated, but many lack the skills needed for building infrastructure or for joining a growing healthcare industry.

For the last few decades, societal opinion in the U.S., including that of parents, has emphasized the importance of a four-year degree. While there are many jobs that benefit from a bachelor’s or master’s degree, many important and necessary careers require a skill set that can be learned in less than two years and mastered through an apprenticeship and on-the-job training.

Although clearly not every student is destined or suited to attend a four-year university, our society tends to hold this as the ideal. A mindset shift may be required here.

Apprenticeships in the UK are much more widely available. Take a tip from some experienced apprenticeship coaches on interviewing skills that apply equally as well to any job interview.

CTE and Homeschool Vocational Curriculum

Homeschooled children spend approximately three hours per day studying to keep themselves on grade level with their public schooled peers. That’s three times less than average-schooled children. This also means that homeschooled children spend less time studying what doesn’t interest them, so there are more hours in the day to study and learn what does.

So how can those extra hours be used to benefit your homeschooled student, as well as your family as a whole by engaging them in activities that lead to job skills? Simple. Chores!

Even something as seemingly simple as learning how to keep house can lead a child toward their interests and potential career paths. Doing laundry becomes part of an elective lesson in fabrics, color palettes, mending and potentially an interest in fashion, tailoring or costume design.

You don’t have to be highly skilled in any of the vocational training career options in order to instill curiosity and learning opportunities in your student’s school day. In fact, it’s a great way to expand your own interests and skill set!

Many car and bicycle maintenance tasks are relatively simple and require only a few tools or materials. Teach your students to change the oil in the family car, how to change a car or bicycle tire and the process for cleaning and lubing a bike chain—and these tasks become a gateway for a career in automotive maintenance or as a bicycle mechanic.

Master a free accounting software such as FreshBooks and teach your budding accountant or entrepreneur about billing, accounts receivable and how to set a business up for filing quarterly taxes.

A Change in Apprenticeship Laws and Regulations

The shortages of specifically-trained workers has cut across multiple job sectors, from construction trades to agriculture, manufacturing, information technology and healthcare.

In recent years, apprenticeships have been few and far between. Of the 146 million jobs in the United States, about 0.35 percent, or slightly more than a half-million, were filled by active apprentices in 2016.

In June 2017, President Trump signed an executive order to roughly double the taxpayer money spent on learn-to-earn programs from $100 million to $200 million. The money would be diverted from existing job training programs. Industries are given the freedom and flexibility to design apprenticeships that suit the rapidly-changing technologies used.

The U.S. Department of Labor sets standards, and organizations like the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) connect community colleges with industries seeking highly-skilled recent graduates.

Fortunately, apprenticeships in Texas may be eligible for Pell Grants and early eligible applicants are likely to receive financial aid. Have you considered investigating homeschool apprenticeship programs?

CTE in Texas

In 1999, the Texas Administrative Code that directs the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and admission into proprietary schools {Section 807.2(37)} was modified to include homeschool students. The code now defines secondary education as “successful completion of public, private or homeschooling at the high school level or obtainment of a recognized high school equivalency credential.” So no vocational tech or career and technical education should be denied to homeschoolers. THSC successfully advocates on behalf of member families facing discrimination to admission to such programs. Join today for this benefit and many others.

Texas has now launched 60x30TX, a strategic plan in higher education aiming to position the workforce in Texas among the highest achieving states in the country and in the global marketplace. 60x30TX is entirely student-centered and its aims include:

  • 60 percent of young adults (25-34) will hold a postsecondary credential by 2030
  • All graduates will have marketable skills regardless of major
  • No student will graduate with debt exceeding 60 percent of their first-year wages.

In Texas, 77 percent of all high school students take at least one CTE course, and one in four students takes three or more courses in a single program area.

To help you tailor homeschooling curriculum for your CTE-bound student, use the lists of required courses that many colleges provide on their website (you can get a general feel for the expectations of a vocational training program just by reviewing course requirements). You can then investigate appropriate vocational courses for homeschoolers. Use this as a guideline to discuss career goals with your students and to lead them toward their personal interests.

CTE May Not Be the Final Answer

While some countries (particularly in Europe) stress vocational education that develops specific job-related skills, others like the U.S. emphasize general education that provides students with broad knowledge and basic skills.

But now, critics are suggesting that if people acquire skills that are finely tuned to current employment opportunities, they might not be particularly prepared to adjust to new technologies. For example, as businesses grow larger, technology improves and worker needs transform; people with vocational training may be more likely to be out of the labor market later in their lives.

However, the benefit of a well-rounded technical education is the emphasis on transferable skills. Vocational training is not only the hands-on, obvious skills of building, fixing or creating.

No, perhaps even more important are the intangible skills acquired through CTE-focused learning: confidence, creativity, good communication, adaptability and curiosity.

As technology advances, manufacturing plants close, how we use natural resources continues to change, industries become obsolete, and the workforce ages, homeschool teachers can prepare their students for a dynamic career and the confidence to grow and change as our society’s needs do.

7 Resources for Homeschool Vocational Training

Woodworking

  1. Woodshop for kids
  2. Auto Maintenance Curriculum
  3. Cosmetology Curriculum
  4. Agriculture Curriculum
  5. Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (an internship program for college and technical students with medical, engineering or environmental health backgrounds).
  6. The Texas Workforce Commission list of certified Texas vocational and career training providers
  7. National Coalition of Certification Centers: Find where to get certified for careers in aviation, construction, horticulture, energy, transportation and more!

College Admission for Homeschooled Students


Everything a Homeschooler Needs to Know about College Entrance Exams (PSAT, ACT, SAT, CLT)

Homeschoolers are academically prepared to attend college after graduation. But, there are other challenges in a new environment. The specifics may vary based on the needs and goals of the student.

College preparation starts in high school! Here are 30 signs on the path to college for homeschool students.

Under Section 51.9241 (2) of the Texas Education Code (TEC), homeschool graduates are to be treated by colleges in the same manner and placed under the same criteria as public school graduates. Learn how THSC resolves problems for homeschool graduates.

Careful documentation of academic experience, community involvement, leadership opportunities and extracurricular activities can help your homeschool student in the college admissions process.

Commonly Used Admissions Requirements

  • Completed College Application
  • Application Fees
  • High School Transcript
  • SAT/ACT Scores
  • If applying at a community college, scores from placement exams such as Compass, THEA and ACCUPLACER.

Notarizing Transcripts of Homeschool Students

Prospective students are typically required to submit an original copy of their high school transcript when applying for admission to a higher level education institution. Occasionally, upon enrolling in classes at a university, community college or trade school, a homeschool graduate will be asked to provide a notarized, original transcript.

In order to attain this, it requires the parent(s) to sign the transcript in the presence of the notary who will then notarize the document. Below is what two Texas government agencies have to say about notarizing transcripts.

The TEA says: “The TEA does not regulate, index, monitor, approve, register, or accredit the programs available to parents who choose to homeschool.

The TEA has verified by phone that they do not regulate or monitor the diplomas from Texas homeschools or any other non-accredited private schools. Most original diplomas are now transferred electronically or directly from high schools to colleges or companies, and students are not supposed to handle official diplomas. The TEA does not require public school students to get their transcripts notarized, and homeschool students are no exception.

According to the Texas Secretary of State, “The secretary of state commissions notaries public and has the authority to discipline notaries, including suspension or revocation of commission, for good cause.”

The public notary at the Texas Secretary of State verified by phone that the only way for a notary to notarize the original copy of the transcript is for that person to be present at the school when the school administrator or principal signs that transcript. Once the notary witnesses that signature, only then is she allowed to notarize that transcript.

For copies of the original transcript, there must be a note on the copy somewhere saying that it is an exact copy of the original, and the notary must be present to witness that exact copy being signed in order for her to notarize it. The public notary stated that all of this only happens if the receiving school does not accept digital copies of transcripts.

Most of the schools that do not accept the digital copies are located overseas, and you must also verify with them that they will accept exact copies of the original transcripts, as some will not accept copies.

Dual Credit Methods

Dual credit is when a student earns high school and college credit for the same course.

Your student can earn dual credit by one of the following three methods, or a combination of all them:

Learn more with this 16-page FAQ about Texas dual credit. (This resource is not directed to homeschoolers, but is otherwise comprehensive.)

Paying for College

2019 THSC Scholarship for Patrick Henry College

Patrick Henry College Scholarship

Rules and Application

In keeping with its mission to serve the homeschoolers of Texas, Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) has established a scholarship fund for Texas homeschool graduates who attend Patrick Henry College (PHC).

The following information must be completed in order to be considered for scholarship money from this fund. The deadline for submission of an application is March 31, 2020.

At this time, the following scholarships are available annually:

  • 1st Place: $3,000
  • 2nd Place: $2,000
  • 3rd Place: $1,000

The requirements for participation in this application process are as follows:

  1. The scholarship applicant must have applied for admission to PHC, and PHC must affirm receipt of application.
  2. The scholarship applicant must have been homeschooled the last two (2) years, and parent(s) must have taught at least 51 percent of classes.
  3. The scholarship applicant must be entering college as a freshman.

Applicants will be notified by April 30, 2020, as to whether they have been awarded a scholarship and the amount.

Please understand that this is only an application process and that applicants are not guaranteed any scholarship money by merely completing the application. In considering each application, THSC’s policy is to not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origins, sex, age or disability. However, THSC will maintain its constitutional and statutory right to discriminate on the basis of religion in order to help PHC accomplish the religious mission of the college.

The scholarship will be for one year, and the money will be forwarded directly to PHC to be credited to recipient’s tuition account for that year only. If chosen recipient does not register that year, the money will be returned to THSC to be re-deposited into the scholarship fund, and the student must re-apply to be considered for future years.

The award will be in the form of a scholarship tuition credit to PHC on the recipient’s behalf, and under no circumstances will the money ever be considered to have been awarded directly to the recipient. The recipient must actually attend PHC for one year to receive the full credit and take advantage of the scholarship money.

The Board of Directors is proud of each applicant for the decision he or she has made to become a part of PHC with the vision it will further in America. The college was named for a man who loved liberty, who loved his country, who loved his fellow countryman and, most importantly, loved God. May each applicant embrace with the same passion this same commitment as did the great patriot, Patrick Henry.

Submit an application for the Patrick Henry College Scholarship

Homeschool Military Enlistment

THSC has always cared about homeschoolers deeply, even beyond graduation from high school. In addition to homeschooled college applicants, THSC also assists homeschool graduates who go directly into the workforce or enlist in the U.S. Military.

When enlisting in the military, homeschool graduates are currently held to the same standards as public school students. Homeschool students were previously required to achieve higher scores on certain portions of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) exam. However, that policy is no longer used.

Please note that, according to U.S. Military policy, homeschoolers are required to have been homeschooled for at least nine consecutive months prior to graduating as a homeschool student. This policy is in place to ensure that fraudulent diplomas from diploma mills are not accepted by the U.S. Military during the enlistment process.

According to a 2014 memorandum from the Department of Defense, section 573 of the 2014 Fiscal Year National Defense Authorization Act was updated for homeschool graduates. The memo informs branches of the military that homeschool graduates must be treated no differently from any other graduate.
Read the Full Memo

Homeschool graduates planning to enlist in any branch of the U.S. Military must be prepared to present a valid homeschool transcript and diploma to the recruiter. Both documents need to list the parent(s) as the administrator(s) and instructor(s) of the graduate’s homeschool education and must be signed by the administrator(s).

The U.S. Military will accept both co-op and online courses as part of the homeschool curriculum presented in the transcript. However, it must be made abundantly clear that the parent(s) administered the graduate’s education.

If applicable, be sure to have the letter of intent to homeschool that you sent the public school district when disenrolling your son or daughter. The recruiter will probably not ask for it, but they could. Note that you will not need this letter if you never withdrew your son or daughter from a public school.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certification

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, homeschool graduates are subject to the same requirements as public school graduates when applying for an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification. They are not held to any additional standards.

Per the current requirements for an EMT certification in Texas, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Have a high school diploma or GED certificate;
  • Successfully complete a training course approved by Department of State Health Services;
  • Submit a completed EMS Personnel Certification application and fee;
  • Pass the National Registry exam;
  • Submit fingerprints for Texas/FBI criminal background check.

Click here to view EMT certification requirements on the official state website.

Additionally, Title 25 of the Texas Administrative Code §157.33(a)(2)(A) states that a homeschool diploma is acceptable proof of graduation from a homeschool:

(a) Certification requirements. A candidate for emergency medical services (EMS) certification shall:
(1) be at least 18 years of age;
(2) have a high school diploma or GED certificate:
(A) the high school diploma must be from a school accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) or a corresponding agency from another state. Candidates who received a high school education in another country must have their transcript evaluated by a foreign credentials evaluation service that attests to its equivalency. A home school diploma is acceptable.

Click here to review this entire section of the Texas Administrative Code.

5 Career Self Assessment Resources


What kind of a job would be best for your homeschool graduate? A job that’s more structured or spontaneous? A position of command or one of service? Here are four free career self assessment tools (and one non-freebie) on the internet to help your student discover ideas for a career that brings true joy as others are served:

  1. Myers-Briggs
    • One of the most well-known assessments, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator results in a four-letter “type”—INFP or ESFJ, for example. The test is meant to identify basic preferences for each of four dichotomies (such as introvert and extrovert) and describes 16 distinctive personality traits.
    • You’ll have to pay $50 to take the real test, but there are plenty of imitators on the Internet.
  2. MyPlan.com
    • This assessment can help you identify your motivations and what’s really important to you in your career. By ranking different aspects of work, the results can encourage you to look at jobs or industries you may not have considered before.
    • You’ll walk away from this test with a list of 739 jobs rank-ordered based on how well they suit your style. Not bad, huh?
  3. iSeek “Clusters”
    • This survey lets you rate activities you enjoy, your personal qualities and school subjects you like. Then you can see which career clusters are a match for your interests. And this is another quick one, clocking in at 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. MyNextMove
    • This tool uses information from O*Net information, , which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, to help determine your interests as they relate to work. Unlike the other tests, this one asks you how to rate how much you’d enjoy performing very specific work tasks like “building kitchen cabinets,” “laying brick” and “buying and selling stocks and bonds.” It’s really nicely color-coded as well. Hang in there, this one is 60 questions.
  5. MAPP Test
    • More than 8 million people around the world have taken this assessment at Assessment.com. “The reason people take the MAPP is to find their way in life,” he says. It tells you what you love to do and what you don’t love to do. It also uses the O*Net job list to identify which jobs might be good fits.
    • You’ll have to fork over $90 for their “starter package,” in which you’ll see your top 20 general career matches. Their “executive package” costs $149.95 where you’ll get a 30-page assessment and ranked matching to 900 careers. But if you just want to try it for free, you’ll be matched with five potential careers.

(From Monster.com)

Job Search: Parlaying Your Homeschooling Experiences into 5 Marketable Skills

Improving Your Resume
You’ve completed your courses and polished your résumé, but how do you build marketable job skills and leverage your credentials to score a great job? Here are five tips to help you stand out as an exceptional job candidate and build your professional expertise:

  1. Build Experiences by Accepting Small Opportunities Along the Way
    • You may have a dream job in mind, but don’t automatically turn things down just because they’re not exactly what you’re looking for. Pick up a variety of experiences and responsibilities as a young adult, and those will help you make connections, develop your professional skills, and inch closer to that ideal job you’re aiming for.
  2. Prepare to Discuss Points on Your Résumé
    • In interviews, you will almost certainly be asked about your school experience, previous jobs you’ve had, and other things you mention in your application. So before any interviews, look over your résumé and think about what you might say if someone asked you about different points.
  3. Develop Your Personal Communication Skills
    • Both in interviews and the workplace, effective communication is crucial. During most interviews, your résumé will be a good conversation piece, but the focus will mostly be on you personally. So if you are able to show diplomatic communication, personal tact and overall likability, people will notice. Those same communication skills will help you succeed and perform well in the workplace, too.
  4. Recognize the Positive Character Traits That Homeschooling Taught You
    • Don’t treat homeschooling as a liability. Don’t say things like, “Well, I was actually homeschooled,” or “I didn’t attend a normal school.” Instead, think about the interview-worthy character traits that homeschooling has given you—things like independence, creativity, self-motivation, problem-solving, etc..
  5. Focus on Non-Academic Accomplishments
    • You might be proud of your pre-calculus grade or your cumulative high school GPA, but so are thousands of other job candidates. Emphasize both in your résumé and your interviews what non-academic experiences homeschooling allowed you to do. What learning experiences, leadership roles, or involvement in non-profit organizations have you picked up through the years? Describe how those experiences positively shaped you as a young adult.

We believe that families have the God-given right to raise their children and that homeschooling is the best education model. To those of you who are a few years off from graduation or just starting out, this is the time to join THSC to take full advantage of our money-saving member benefits and homeschool support. We want to encourage you in your journey!