Overview: Getting a homeschool high school diploma is a simple process that anyone can accomplish easily. Find out exactly what a diploma is and how (and where!) to get yours. Note: this post was sponsored by HomeschoolDiploma.com, but all opinions are my own.
There are memes going around lately that say things like “How old were you when you realized you could hang your bread on the front of the grocery cart?” “How old were when you learned you could store staples in the bottom of the stapler?” And my personal favorite, “How old were you when you found out the hole in the Chick-Fil-A box is for a straw, so you can use your cup as a table?” That one is a drive-thru life changer, y’all.
Even though you’d never known these things until you saw the meme, you were doing a facepalm when you saw how simple they were. “I was today old! How cool is that? Why didn’t I realize this sooner?”
I think you’ll feel the same way when you find out how to get a diploma for your homeschool graduate. It’s actually not a big deal at all, and you’ll be greatly relieved to find out just how simple and easy it is!
Getting a homeschool high school diploma is not magic
When we moms graduated high school, lo those many years ago, we were handed our diploma as we walked across the stage. Or, if your school was like mine, you were given an empty folder, and you got your diploma only after you returned your cap and gown, lol. But we did not know where those diplomas came from originally, only that they magically appeared upon graduation.
Well, I don’t know the exact gory details of how my public high school obtained all those diplomas, but the general idea is this: they had them printed somewhere. In the bygone days there was no internet, so they probably had to find a local print shop and custom order each and every one of them. What a headache for the school secretary, is all I can say. Making sure each name out of hundreds was spelled correctly and that all the honors were likewise engraved on the appropriate students’ certificates must have been a big
Thankfully, for us now in the 21st century it’s a lot more simple. The internet is a thing, and we homeschoolers are generally only graduating one student at a time. But the main process is still the same: to get a diploma for your graduate, all you have to do is order one.
“Wait, what?” you say. “I thought a diploma was a special document that could only be given by an established authority. Don’t we need to earn it from an accredited organization? You mean I can just get one myself and give it to my kid?”
No you don’t; and yes, you can! (Keep reading to see who “issues” a diploma — you may be surprised!)
Practically speaking, a diploma is merely a certificate. It certifies that your kid did everything he needed to do to graduate. That’s all!
Emotionally speaking, however, a diploma can represent the years of effort and time and sacrifice — by both the student AND the parents — required to pass the milestone of high school graduation. The “mere” certificate becomes more important than just a piece of paper, when you look at it this way. But more on that later. :-)
Diploma vs. Transcript
Many people get the diploma confused with the transcript. These are two different documents, with two different purposes. Let me define each of them for clarity:
Diploma — a certificate awarded by an educational establishment (which could be your homeschool) to show that someone has successfully completed a course of study.
Transcript — an official record of a student’s work, showing courses taken and grades achieved.
So the diploma is the final reward, the seal of approval, on the work that is detailed on the transcript. The transcript is the list of courses and grades in black and white on ordinary paper; the diploma is the ornamental affirmation of that transcript, written in beautiful script on fancy paper, that can be framed and put on the wall.
The transcript is what colleges want you to submit when your kid applies for admission. It details the student’s GPA and number of credits, and colleges want to know that stuff. For more info about exactly how to make a transcript (yes, you can make one yourself), see How to make an Impressive Homeschool Transcript — everything you need to know.
The diploma, however, isn’t generally copied and sent to various places. The diploma is a one-of-a-kind document. It is not as detailed as the transcript, although it can show various achievements that the student may have garnered, such as the National Junior Honor Society or Summa Cum Laude. It mainly states that the student has completed the requirements of their program — the requirements that are spelled out individually on the transcript. Do you see the difference?
Here’s a true confession: my third child never actually received a diploma. Yes, she graduated our homeschool high school — but no, she has no homeschool high school diploma, simply because I never ordered one for her, LOL. It hasn’t slowed her down a bit; she still got into college, obtained two internships and studied abroad while she was there, and was hired as a CPA after she obtained her degree.
No one ever asked to see her diploma, y’all — not through any negligence on their part, but because the diploma is generally not used for any type of validation for future endeavors. That’s what the transcript is for.
So if you can’t get one or don’t want to, don’t worry that your kid will miss out on anything. If you want your child to have one, great; but if you never get around to it, that’s totally ok, too.
But if you want the diploma to be special, to be a reflection of pride for the accomplishment of graduating high school, to be something your child can keep and cherish through adulthood, then keep reading!
My recommendation for where to purchase your homeschool high school diploma
Lately I’ve heard great things about an online option which I am super excited about: HomeschoolDiploma.com. This is a family-owned internet store specifically for us homeschoolers — and they have way more custom options than HSLDA. They even offer hand calligraphy! Talk about a way to crank up the sentimental value! They also sell caps & gowns, tassels, invitations — the works! — for individuals or groups.
I received a sampling of products from HomeschoolDiploma.com, and I am REALLY impressed. Their quality level is outstanding, and you can choose from so many different colors, you can add your school logo (even to the outside of the cover!), you can go for the aforementioned hand calligraphy option and/or choose from several engraved seals, etc. etc. etc. You even get to decide what kind of PAPER you want!
Basically, you can turn a simple certificate into a work of art that your graduate will treasure for the rest of their life. It will truly represent the hard work you both put in (both academic and emotional — because we all know teens, don’t we? lol) to get the whole way through homeschooling high school.
I also like the idea of supporting a homeschool family business. HomeschoolDiploma.com was started at the kitchen table of Joan and Jim Thompson. Joan homeschooled both of her children and LOVED calligraphy!
In the beginning, she provided hand calligraphy on all the diplomas. So many homeschoolers found her and wanted her to provide their graduates with diplomas that she had to move the business to a small office building in a little Wisconsin town, where they are still located today.
Lotsa personal requests over the years resulted in creating more and more custom products, until now there are over 7.74 TRILLION possible combinations when you multiply out all the individual choices and options that customers have to choose from — including over 9000 possible diploma templates, y’all. Gotta love that! (The pic below shows their work — isn’t it beautiful?)
And I LOVE their philosophy of elevating the celebration of the graduate. They believe this will in turn elevate the family and the community.
That’s the difference – the generic celebration focuses on tradition for tradition’s sake, but the meaningful celebration highlights the unique value and worth of people. The traditions serve a higher purpose – they draw attention to the value, dignity, and intrinsic worth of the individuals and communities involved. –Karl Thompson, Operations Manager at HomeschoolDiploma.com, from his blog post What Makes a Homeschool Graduation Truly Meaningful.
I plan on ordering from HomeschoolDiploma.com when our next kid graduates! If you get there first, tell them Annie sent you! :-)
BTW, who “issues” the homeschool high school diploma?
One more thing to clear up, in case you’re still wondering about this: YOU, homeschool mom, can decide if your teen has indeed completed the required courses to graduate your high school. You don’t need anyone else to tell you that your kid deserves a homeschool high school diploma. As long as you have followed your state’s homeschool law in regards to which courses must be taken to graduate — and in most states, there are NO requirements — then you can confidently issue a diploma (aka buy one, lol) for your kid.
For more information about this, read Homeschool Graduation Requirements: What You Need to Know. It will relieve your worries!
So don’t be confused again about how to get a homeschool high school diploma for your child. All you need to do is order it!
Get yours from HomeschoolDiploma.com for what I think is the best way to provide a tangible sense of closure to the high school years and is fully representative of the value of the accomplishment. (P.S. You can also find HomeschoolDiploma.com on Facebook.)
Remember, often it is the TRANSCRIPT that many people are thinking about when they use the word “diploma.” From now on, you won’t be one of them!
And don’t forget that BOTH of these documents can be provided by an ordinary homeschool mom, without approval from anyone.
And you can say you were “today old” when you found that out! :-)
Curing the fear — one misconception at a time,