Transcripts and Diplomas

We’ve talked about gaps in your kid’s educations.  They’re going to have them.  It’s unavoidable.  Even if you send them to school.  But I have a particular one that I’d like you to avoid with your highschoolers.

Please know, in advance, that I do not mean to talk down to you.

A good chunk of you will say, “Well, duh, Jen,” — and you’re quite right.

And another chunk of you will say, “That’s so patently obvious that of course we didn’t cover it,” — and you’ll be right, too.

(What terrible thing is Jen about to say?  Why won’t she just get on with it?  Why does she feel the need to couch this with so many qualifiers?  Alright then — here it is:

According to my inbox here at WHO, we need to tell our graduating seniors where their diplomas came from.  I can’t tell you how many of your adult children are telling their prospective employers, universities, and other interest parties that they graduated “from WHO” — but it’s too many.

For some, this is because they walked in the WHO Graduation ceremony, and we provided the printing services for the diploma they received.   But read that again:  WHO provided the printing services.  That diploma is still from you.

When you homeschool in WA, you’re responsible to create transcripts and diplomas for your homeschool graduate.  The law doesn’t specify that you must, but if you chose this path for your children, I think you’re delinquent if you don’t.   I can’t tell you how many 30 and 40 somethings I talk to whose parents are deceased or estranged, who are trying to get a job or go back to school, and whose lives are being waylaid for want of this documentation.  You owe your kids a minimum of a transcript and a diploma.  And you should let them know that state law provides that it came from you (regardless of who (or if WHO — ha!  pun intended!) did the printing).

Under Washington State law, the requirement for compulsory attendance is satisfied in one of three ways: attendance in a public school, private school, or home-based instruction [the legal name for homeschooling in our state] (RCW 28A.200.010).  The state makes no distinction in the “legitimacy” of these forms of education, but rather holds them as equally valid ways in which to fulfill the compulsory attendance requirement.

The state specifically places the requirement for creating student records for home-based instruction on the parents (RCW 28A.200.020) further specifies that the “state hereby recognizes that parents who are causing their children to receive homes-based instruction under RCW 28A.225.010(4) shall be subject only to those minimum state laws and regulations which are necessary to insure that a sufficient basic educational opportunity is provided to the children receiving such instruction.   Therefore, all decisions relating to the philosophy or doctrine, selection of books, teaching materials and curriculum, and methods, timing, and place in the provision or evaluation of home-based instruction shall be the responsibility of the parent except for maters specifically referred to in this chapter” and (RCW 28A225.010(5)) that the “legislature recognizes that home-based instruction is less structured and more experiential than the instruction normally provided in a classroom setting.  Therefore, the provisions of subsection (4) of  this section relating to the nature and quantity of instructional and related educational activities shall be liberally construed.”

Our law sets parent-created records, transcripts, and diplomas as the standard for home-based instruction students.  Thusly, they should be accepted in the same manner as the transcripts and diplomas of their public and private school counterparts.

And let your highschool aged kidlets know that.  (And go back and tell your young adults, if you didn’t mention it to them when they were in highschool).

One gap down, 700 to go!

~Jen GS