July 20, 2020 – Homeschooling Accreditation

Let’s talk about that big scary word “accreditation”. What does it mean? Do I need to enroll my student in an accredited program? Why does that cost so much more?

First of all, accreditation of brick and mortar schools are important for a few reasons.

The accreditation process is a thorough review of all the things that will matter to parents.

Parents need to know that the academics are sound and that the school is being managed well, paying their teachers, ad hiring well-trained individuals.

Dissection lab using stillborn piglets from my farm.

Accreditation implies that all the t’s are crossed and all of the i’s are dotted. It’s how we judge a program that we are not in charge of.

As a homeschooling parent, you are directly in charge of the curriculum you are using. You know what your student is learning. You know the content, the difficulty level, and if it is living up to your expectations. You don’t need someone to come in and determine that for you.

Do you need an accredited program so that your child can enter an accredited school and have their credits accepted? Usually not. In the state of Louisiana, the schools can decide whether or not they want to accept credits from anywhere besides other public schools. They can choose to not accept credits from an accredited distance learning program. I’ve spoken with parents whose children were enrolled in gifted programs from other high schools and our local public school refused to recognize the credits earned.

So what do you do? I don’t worry with it. Here are our rules from the LouisianaBelieves website:

“Louisiana Families may choose to independently provide an excellent education to their children from their home.  Louisiana families typically provide this independent education through a Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved home study program or a nonpublic school (not seeking state approval).

To comply with state attendance laws, parents who want to educate their children in a home study program must apply and be approved annually by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. A child enrolled in an approved home study program is considered in attendance at school.

Parents who enroll their child in a home study program are solely responsible for deciding the curriculum and providing instruction. Louisiana does not provide funding or resources for home study programs.

Students in a home study program are not required to take state assessments. Students in a home study program may participate in interscholastic athletic activities.

Diplomas awarded through an approved home study program are recognized by all post-secondary educational institutions.”

Our diploma is recognized by all post-secondary educational institutions. My eldest son was in 8th grade and scored a 23 on his ACT. Our local public school would not recognize any of his high school credits as a home study student, even though he already had an ACT score that would allow him to attend LSU. It’s really mind-blowing.

Newborn calf gets a blankie

I do know parents whose children have successfully transferred into our local public school system after taking a subject matter test over the coursework. It took a good bit of arguing, but eventually most of the credits were accepted and the students were put into proper grade level work and graduated on time.

To recap – You need to check your state rules on issuing a high school diploma. In Louisiana, a home study diploma is the same as any public or private school issued diploma. Our colleges have accepted our homeschool transcripts and an ACT score without hesitation.

Paying extra money for accreditation may be useless. In Louisiana, where they don’t recognize any accreditation outside of their own jurisdiction, you may be paying extra for no benefit to your student. The best way to “prove” the rigor of your curriculum is a high ACT score and/or college dual enrollment classes. Colleges don’t question those things.

If you have any students below high school level, then accreditation truly means nothing. The school will give your student an individual placement exam and put them in the correct grade level. Even if they do poorly on the standardized exam, you can still have your student put into the proper grade level.

Please know that your student does not NEED to be in any accredited program.

Don’t get guilted into paying extra for someone else to oversee your program.

Some states have an oversight program which will approve your child’s curriculum, and that is all you will need. Check your state laws, then go enjoy learning beside your children!

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