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November / December 2005

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Will my child's credits transfer?

A question we frequently hear from Californians is, "What credit will my child get for his homeschool courses if he returns to public high school?" The answer is, the public high school is not mandated by law to give any credit for any high school courses taken privately, whether at home or at a brick-and-mortar private school. (Remember, those that homeschool in California generally do so pursuant to the state's private school statute, as this state's law has no specific "homeschool" provision.)

While public school officials cannot arbitrarily reject the work done by a homeschool student simply because he is a homeschooler, the courts give broad discretion to the public schools in deciding whether to accept homeschool credits.

At Home School Legal Defense Association, there are two situations in which we see the most students drop out of homeschooling. One occurs in the first year of homeschooling, when some families who didn't realize what they were getting into discover that they do not have the commitment to finish.

However, more disappointing are those situations where a family was already homeschooling—perhaps from the time the child became school age—but when the child reaches 9th or 10th grade, he returns to public school. There are several reasons why parents give up at this point, including pressure from the teenager who thinks the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, a desire to see the child get an "accredited" diploma, and feelings of inadequacy because of the increased complexity of the high school curriculum.

In addition to having no guarantee that the public school will give credit for your child's homeschool high school work, there are other considerations parents should seriously think through as they weigh the decision of whether or not to homeschool through high school. We encourage you to read "Ten Reasons Why You Should Homeschool through High School" by Elizabeth Smith. A helpful California-based resource for homeschooling through high school is The High School Handbook by Mary Schofield, who is a board member of the Christian Home Educators Association of California.

Also, check out HSLDA's new program, Homeschooling Thru High School, designed to help families successfully complete their homeschool journey. Visit for links to resources that will help your family navigate the high school years (such as online courses, co-ops, and user-friendly high school curricula) and that will help your student prepare for life after high school, whether college or employment. Our two high school coordinators, Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer, are moms who graduated their own high schoolers and are drawing on that experience to gather resources for the website and to provide advice for our members. You can contact Becky and Diane

through the website above or by calling HSLDA at 540-338-5600. (See also the September/October 2005 Court Report cover story, "Making the journey: You can homeschool through high school.")

For many young people, the high school years are the most critical time to be taught at home. We have heard story after heartbreaking story from parents who deeply regret what happened after they enrolled their children in public high school. Through our Homeschooling Thru High School program, we'd like to help you write a different story for your child.

— by J. Michael Smith