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Veritas Scholars Academy | 4 Minutes

Is My Student Considered a "homeschooler" when in the Diploma Program?

Marlin Detweiler Written by Marlin Detweiler
Is My Student Considered a "homeschooler" when in the Diploma Program?

Here’s a simple question. Do you homeschool? Well, at least it seems like a simple question, but it really isn’t.

This Facebook post was from a Veritas Press Scholars Academy student taking online classes. It illustrates some confusion around the interesting phenomenon regarding the status of students being educated at home.

Here’s what was said:

I was going to register for the SAT, [...] my mom can't get it into her head that I don't test as a Louisiana Homeschool student and that all the colleges who have received my ACT scores and are sending us stuff view me as a homeschool student now. Why is this all so complicated?

For many years, the distinction between being a school student and being homeschooled has been blurring. In fact, those who homeschool completely without the help of any outside instruction are rare. Most families get help from a tutor, co-op, online classes, extra-curriculars, etc. And most children in a school are assisted by parents with their lessons and learning in some significant way.

It seems accurate to think that families find themselves someplace along a continuum, with one end being the “pure homeschooler” and the other “pure schooler.” Most of us find that we are somewhere in between.

Some parents will object on the simple basis of their strong belief in one approach as being what they are committed to. The purpose here is not to pick a fight on that matter. What does matter is this: how your children are regarded—being in school or being homeschooled can make a world of difference to the person or organization you’re communicating with.

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (and many other states), homeschooling families must register with the state or an agency like the local school district. Frequently, they must turn in plans and representative work. It can be daunting.

It can make even more of a difference when applying to colleges. The admissions departments are well-equipped to address a student regardless of whether he is in a school or is homeschooled. What they are not equipped to handle is a confused status. In the Facebook post noted above, the student’s status was one thing when completing the application and tests of the college boards and another when applying to colleges. This can make for a world of extra work, not to mention much confusion. And, in a competitive world like college entrance, one simple obstacle can be the difference between acceptance and not making it past the initial weeding out.

Additionally, there are scholarships that are available to children in schools but not available to those who are homeschooled. I expect there are other lurking complications, too.

Of course, there is the matter of how your individual state regards you. In Pennsylvania, school students—even those in an online school—don’t have to register as a homeschooler. Consequently, they don’t have to have an annual evaluation and turn in representative work. Yet, homeschoolers in Pennsylvania are, by law, permitted to participate in all sports and extra-curriculars offered by the school district in which they live. My youngest son was an avid and talented basketball player and he wanted to play on a competitive team in a competitive league. He needed to be regarded as a homeschooler.

All of this to say, there are times when we may want our students to be regarded as homeschoolers and times they are better regarded as being in a school.

The beauty of our diploma program at VSA is that you can have it both ways. Your child can be in our diploma program and thus get a diploma from an accredited school, but you can still file with your state as a homeschooler (or communicate with others that he is homeschooled) so long as you do what the state requires, too.

Be encouraged to use this flexibility to your advantage. Just be careful not to confuse the folks you have to deal with.

Education is changing rapidly. Even children in government schools are taking some or all of their classes online from home. Every situation can be different. It can be very confusing. We understand. Here’s how we can help:

These are exciting times. Make the most of them—especially for the next generation.