“Am I required to do homeschool testing?” is a common question asked by parents who are about to start homeschooling. Though there are many differences between traditional and homeschool education plans, one area where they intersect is with testing. While testing helps dictate things like class placement in traditional school environments, some other factors must also be considered in testing your homeschooled child.
First and foremost, each state has regulations regarding testing for homeschoolers. These regulations are designed to ensure all homeschooled children are on par with their peers, and progressing properly through the homeschool curriculum. Regulations vary from state to state, but often require end-of-year testing be completed before children can advance to the next grade level. Detailed information about the homeschool testing regulations for your state are generally listed on the website for your local homeschool group or organization. Homeschool support groups and other homeschool resources can also help you find and understand the regulations for your area.
Testing is also required to compile your child's homeschool transcript. Transcripts are necessary for school re-enrollment, as they ensure your child is placed in the right grade. Without your homeschool transcript, your child may be held back a year or placed in remedial classes due to their “unproven” educational status. Homeschool transcripts are also required for college preparation, as colleges require documentation and transcripts before accepting new students. Even if traditional schools and higher learning aren't in your current academic plans for your children, keeping detailed homeschool transcripts will ensure your options stay open.
Homeschool testing and transcripts are also necessary for homeschool graduation approval. Just like end-of-year and other testing dictates whether a child can advance to the next grade level, pre-graduation testing confirms that graduating children have earned their high school diploma or GED. Receiving a high school diploma or equivalency certificate will not only make your child eligible to apply for higher learning institutions, but can also affect his or her ability to find employment – so it's very important not to ignore homeschool graduation protocols to make sure your child receives their high school diploma at home.
In addition to the testing regulations in your local area, don't forget about all the external testing required to give your children an educational edge. This includes SAT or ACT college preparatory testing, as well as competitive testing at lower grade levels. National exams exist for foreign languages and other specialized subjects, and scoring well on these tests will improve your child's homeschool transcript.