I have been asked whether or not homeschool has to be “accredited”. You hear that term in relation to school, and usually you hear it when a school loses its accreditation (yes, that can happen!)
WHAT IS ACCREDITATION?
It means that certain levels of quality are met. There are standards that are met and approved regularly. Schools need to adhere to certain requirements in order to be, and stay, accredited.
DO YOU NEED TO BE ACCREDITED TO HOMESCHOOL YOUR CHILDREN?
Actually, you can’t personally be accredited. You could use a homeschool program that is accredited (but they are few) and you need to make sure they are accredited by a legitimate agency.
I know that families can worry that their children might not get into college if they are not attending an accredited school. You need not worry. Many colleges like to accept homeschoolers. And, of course, here in the US there are the SAT and ACTs you need to take. Your child may have to take some extra tests.
No state requires that a homeschool program, curriculum, or diploma be accredited. That should take some worry off your shoulders.
MIGHT YOU WANT AN ACCREDITED PROGRAM?
For some families they feel more comfortable with an accredited program. This is what you are used to in public schools. That is understandable. If you are planning to put your child back into school in the near future, this can help with the transition. For some students who are pursuing sports in college, having an accredited program can help as well. But again, it is not necessary. And if you are looking for accredited programs then you will need to do research as it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best quality (many non-accredited programs are outstanding) but it does have oversight and standards.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND AN ACCREDITED PROGRAM?
One place to search for programs is https://www.deac.org/ (Distance Education Accrediting Commission). This is probably the best site to start.
WHAT ABOUT REPORT CARDS AND TRANSCRIPTS?
Some States allow you to produce your own report card when homeschooling, others ask for an assessment by an outside entity. If you are not sure, check out https://hslda.org/
But they are easy to put together and help you with keeping records. If you are concerned about calculating GPAs then you can use someone who puts together transcripts for homeschoolers, but it is not necessary.
So, to wrap up and answer in short – do you need to be accredited? No. And that is good news.