In Indiana, homeschools are considered non-accredited, nonpublic schools.
By taking responsibility for your child’s education, you are also taking responsibility for maintaining education records, establishing graduation requirements, and issuing a diploma.
Maintain Education Records
Other than a requirement to keep attendance records, Indiana law does not dictate HOW homeschool families should keep records. This freedom allows families to be flexible and not be burdened by cumbersome regulations.
No one has a more vested interest in the success of your child’s education than you as the parent. Keeping excellent records is in the best interest of your child, but HOW you do it is left up to you.
Things to consider:
- Keep samples of your child’s work. There is no need to keep ALL of your student’s work, but having a sampling of tests or assignments that show their progress and achievement is easy to do.
- Keep multiple copies of important paperwork. Things happen and paperwork can get lost. Make an effort to routinely scan important records. Be sure to save copies of these files on your hard drive and online somewhere as well.
- Report cards are NOT required. For anyone coming out of public or private schooling, report cards are a traditional part of education. But, when the parent takes on the role of the educator as well, a report card becomes irrelevant. Would you or your student LIKE to have a report card? Go for it.
- Create transcripts for your high school students. Record-keeping with older students is more important than with any other age group. Transcripts can be created in multiple ways, from using a simple word processing program to online transcript creators.
Establish Graduation Requirements
Homeschools in Indiana are free to set their own graduation requirements. Parents are able to decide what subjects and credits their child must complete in order to graduate.
How do you decide?
- Use Indiana’s public school diploma guidelines as a template. Homeschool families are NOT required to follow Indiana guidelines, and most homeschool families far exceed Indiana standards. But using Indiana diploma guidelines is one way to create a blueprint for getting started with the high school years. Did you know that Indiana uniquely counts a year’s worth of work as 2 credits? Being aware of our state’s standards will help parents craft a transcript that aligns with others.
- Use college admission standards as the goal. Does your student have a college in mind for their future academic career? Use the college’s standards as a roadmap for making sure that you are able to cover the material needed.
- Above all else, create criteria that benefit your student. Do you have a special needs student? Decide what accommodations should be made to provide a high school education that is best for your student. Do you have a student striving for an Ivy League education? Create standards that will challenge them and provide for a top-notch education.
Issue A Diploma
The end of high school is traditionally marked with a graduation ceremony with the presentation of a diploma. A diploma is simply a certificate of completion presented to the student for their records. Many homeschool families decide to forego a traditional graduation ceremony for a family celebration. Some local groups and co-ops host a larger ceremony. If your student participates in a graduation hosted by another organization, the parent is still responsible for issuing the diploma.
A diploma can be created from scratch or can be ordered online. While a diploma is a valid record of the completion of your student’s high school years, it is only one piece of paper. Students are more likely to be asked for copies of their high school transcripts by potential employers or in their post-secondary education.
What about the GED?
The GED (or HSE in Indiana) was designed for, intended for, and recorded as “non-completors”. People who take the GED are recorded in state data as those who did not complete high school (dropped out) and wanted to gain their diploma through this alternate means. Your homeschooled child who satisfies your custom-designed program for them is *not* a drop-out and deserves a legal diploma showing that they did complete. Your parent-signed Indiana homeschool diploma is LEGAL and equally valid in all states as any public high school diploma and even when filing FAFSA for college financial aid.
What about testing?
Indiana does NOT require any testing for homeschooled students. Students headed to college should consider what college prep tests are appropriate for them. Many students take the PSAT, SAT or ACT at their local high school. Alternative tests are also available.
Be a wise steward.
It is important to have a long term plan for storing records. Create digital copies of your student’s diploma and transcripts and store them in multiple places that you share with your child. Many homeschool alumni find that need copies of their records ten to fifteen years after graduation.
Use free online cloud services that you are likely to continue using for years to come:
- Google Drive
- Amazon Drive