How to get my High School Diploma -- lots of questions

Discussion in 'High School Education via Distance Learning' started by mr.kate90, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. mr.kate90

    mr.kate90 New Member

    Hello everyone. My name's Kate and I'm turning 16 at the end of the month. I've been home-schooling since 3rd grade and I'm not currently enrolled in any school. I also currently reside in Indiana, in case that is of any importance.

    I've been weighing out my options, trying to find the quickest and easiest way to graduate with a general education. I have a few options that I've looked into, and I want to make sure I got my facts straight. Also, any suggestions for options I haven't considered are welcome.

    1: I could enroll in an online high school. In particular I've been looking into The American School. I read I could take tests that could establish up to 8 credits? Even so, how long would it take to aquire the other 8, if we assume that I don't need to sleep and studied all day? I'd love it if someone who attended that school could describe their experience there -- how long it took them to graduate, how challenging the courses were, etc. Information on online high schools in general is very welcome.

    2: I could enroll in the local high school. I thought I might be able to test in at 12th grade level, and continue from there. Now, I'm not basing this idea on too many facts, because there really isn't a whole lot I could find, so hopefully someone could help me out there, too. I consistently test with college-level English, though I'm a little behind with my math, (though this local high school I'm considering is reputed as having a less-than-challenging math course.)

    3: I could take a GED. Again, I don't know a whole lot about this option. I heard that you can't even take it unless you're 18 or older.

    Like I said before, I'm trying to find the quickest and easiest option available to me. Any help is greatly appreciated. If there's anything I said that didn't make sense in this post, I'll be happy to clarify.

    Thanks in advance,
    - Kate
  2. Naomi

    Naomi New Member

    Hi Kate~

    Good questions. Have you looked at Indiana University's School of Continuing Studies? They offer a bunch of online or coorespondence highschool classes and a diploma upon completion. I don't know how fast it would be, but you could read up on it at the website.

    Secondly, it's possible that you can go straight to your local community college, get your A.A., and then nobody cares if you have a high school diploma or not. In Washington, a homeschooler (or public school highschooler) can go for free as long as they haven't yet graduated from high school. So several homeschoolers there go that route and skip the accredited high school diploma entirely. Again, I don't know about Indiana's community colleges or if that would be an option for you. As far as I know most community colleges in this country let anyone attend, no matter the high school graduation status. If you wish to transfer after that to a university, they will look at your A.A. as a transfer student and not your high school records. Again, it's possible I'm wrong for some universitys and therefore you should check with a couple of U's that you're interested in to see what their policy is for transfer students. :)

    I was also homeschooled, from K-12 (minus two years in the middle at a local elementary 'cause my mom was afraid she was doing a poor job homeschooling...). I received a diploma from my parents, but they didn't feel it was necessary to keep the records necessary to be able to get an accredited diploma. So far (I'm 27) this has not been a hinderance to me, except if I had wanted to go straight to a university (I didn't). And like I said, if I had wanted to do that and still not worry about how to get an accredited high school diploma, I could have gone to the community college at age 16, and graduated with an A.A. by 18 and still been way ahead of my peers. As it was for me, I graduated non-accredited a year early and then traveled around the world for a year before beginning my next adventures. :)

    I don't know what the policy is at Thomas Edison, Excelsior, or Charter Oaks, but I'm guessing that at least at one of those schools you could begin working on your Bachelor's degree right now from home if that suits you. Most college General Ed requirements (whether for your A.A. or your Bachelor's) are very similar or even the same as high school classes, so you wouldn't be skipping anything. As far as the math goes, I only completed math through junior high level (I know...long story) and still found myself at the same level as many of my peers at the community college. I began with a beginning algebra course and covered the same material I would have in a first year high school class.

    My husband was also homeschooled all the way through school, but his family kept better records than mine did. They found a local homeschool group that had organized as a school of sorts, with a name and a principal, but the kids still did traditional homeschooling with their parents. The school kept records for the families for a fee, and that way they were able to give an accredited diploma. There's a bit more to it than that, but you might look around and see if there's anything like that around you. Then all you have to do is have your parents map out the classes you've already taken and give you grades. :D If you need more info. on how to find something like that, let me know and I'll ask my husband more about it.

    As far as your GED question goes, I found this link ( that states,
    "Who can take the GED tests?...
    * Adults, 18 years of age or older
    * GED candidates 16 or 17 years of age who have been granted an age waiver from their local educational agency
    * Individuals not enrolled in an accredited high school
    * Individuals who have not graduated from an accredited high school or have not already received a high school equivalency diploma
    Applicants should check local requirements. GED age waiver requirements vary by location. Contact the local GED Chief Examiner to find out about age waiver requirements in your area."

    By the way, even though I didn't wind up needing it, I wish that I had been given an accredited diploma or had pursued a GED simply because I think it would have helped me to feel like I was up to par with my high school work. Sometimes as a homeschooler it's easy to feel like you're not keeping up with your public/private school friends or to feel inferior. (Perhaps because so many people are unfamiliar with homeschooling and ask dumb questions all through your school years like, "Can you add??") Even if the question of whether you measure up to your friends is completely unfounded, it might help you feel better if you prove it to yourself.

    So there's my input, for what it's worth. :) Happy searching, and keep us posted on what you find out. Feel free to email or PM me if I can help you somehow.

    God bless, Naomi
  3. pugbelly

    pugbelly New Member

    Hi Kate. My personal opinions...

    1) If possible, enroll at your local highschool. I believe at the age of 16 you would benefit greatly, if not from the classroom instruction, certainly from the social aspect of a large group atmosphere.

    2) I would rule out the GED. There are still quite a few people out there that do NOT view the GED as being equivalent to a diploma. For example, I believe the U.S. Marine Corps does not accept GED applicants. I know for a fact they didn't used to anyway...I was once considering a GED prior to enlisting in the USMC and was flatly told to look elsewhere in less I had a diploma. They directed me to a few correspondence schools to choose from.

    3) American School. I have fisrt hand experience with this school because my son, 17, is currently completing his diploma with them. He did his freshman and sophmore years in a classroom. American has 2 programs...General Ed and College Prep. My son is in the College Prep program which includes a few extra things, including Literature classes as opposed to basic English Comp. The material is absolutely equivalent to what you would find in a traditional school. The speed at which you move through the courses depends entirely on you, your work habits, and how many hours a day you devote to the work. My son works on his studies for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. Some courses he completed in a week to two weeks each (Choosing Your Career, Psychology). Other courses have taken 5 to six weeks each (American Literature, English Literature). Most tests are multiple choice or true/false, but the literature courses require a lot of reading and the tests themselves are essay-style questions. The tests are open book, unproctored. That said, we did not allow him to view the tests prior to test day, though they are there if you would like to do so. The grading scale is tough, 94+ is an A, below a 75 is a D, 65-is failing. The instructors respond to your tests in writing, with helpful feedback and comments. The only negative is that they are VERY SLOW to grade and return exams, particularly the essay style exams. You don't have to wait on them before going to the next exam, but if you like instant gratification and instant feedback you will be a little frustrated. Overall I am happy with the program.

    If American recognizes your sophmore and freshman education you will likely only have to take 6 or 8 classes to complete the junior and senior years with them. TJ, my son, needed only 4 but I had him take 8 because I wanted him to take some additional classes in writing, spelling, art, and physics...all not required by the school but I felt he needed the review prior to his college enrollment.

    American School is regionally accredited so you'd have no worries there.

    Good luck!

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2006
  4. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member


    My two oldest children are enrolling at the North Atlantic Regional High School in Maine:

    We like the idea of designing our our classes and then submitting the portfolio evaluation for credit at an accredited high school so our children could earn a diploma. (We are a homeschooling family)

    Best of luck!
  5. RobbCD

    RobbCD New Member

    The DETC accredits a number of high school programs that can be found here:

    Bear in mind that a four year univeristy may not accept a DETC HS diploma as meeting their entrance requirements, so you may want to call ahead and find out first.

    Good luck.
  6. PMBrooks

    PMBrooks New Member

    I was homeschooled for high school. I did use the American school courses for about 2 years, then I went ahead and got a GED just to finish earlier (I think I was 17).

    I found the American School course of study very challenging. I was able to pass the GED with no problems at all, and was even offered a few scholarships.

    I then went on and had no problem getting into an RA university (Auburn) and am almost finished completing my doctorate in theology (from an RA and ATS accredited seminary).

    Being homeschooled, going to the American School, and having a GED has not be a hindrance at all for me.

    Best of luck and work hard!
  7. pugbelly

    pugbelly New Member

    Wow! Very impressive...thanks for sharing.

  8. pugbelly

    pugbelly New Member

    Correct...some 4 year universities may not accept a DETC diploma. That is one of the biggest reasons we selected American School. It's regionally accredited.

  9. mbaonline

    mbaonline New Member

    Hi Kate

    I am curious as to what you want to do next, after the HS diploma, as that will (or should) influence what you do for HS comptetion. Whatever you do should not limit your options unduely.

    Other posters have good ideas. If you are going to skip the degree, community college is a good route. I have had several HS students in my Econ class at the local communty college. And a lot of these classes are online.

    Here's another option.
    (Oh, rats, I just saw that it is for Washington residents only...but you might find a similar program elsewhere.)

    Good luck!
  10. mr.kate90

    mr.kate90 New Member

    Re: Hi Kate

    Thank you all for the quick and very helpful responses. It's so much easier doing research in such a friendly environment. :)

    Mostly I want to get my general ed, as I know it will greatly add to my options job-wise. So my motives for earning a diploma are pretty general -- I'm not so much concerned with college prep, and right now I don't have any plans for attending a university. (Not that I'm lazy, I just don't have a career picked out that really requires a degree.)

    Thanks again for all the advice. Please keep it coming! :D
  11. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    You need a copy of Tom Nixon's _Bears' Guidce to Earning High School Diplomas Non-Traditionally_. see here:
  12. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    I have inserted the correct web address.
  13. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

  14. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    This is a great resource. My wife and I used this when researching HS options for our children.

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