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What Happens When My Child Graduates, Doesn’t Have a Diploma & Wants to Get a Job?

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What Happens When My Child

Graduates, Doesn’t Have a Diploma

and Wants to Get a Job?

Guest post by Jean Reed

diplomaA diploma from a high school or college is just a piece of paper. Colleges and employers all know that having that “paper” doesn’t necessarily mean the owner knows anything. That’s why we keep reading about how the educational system is failing. More than ever before, it’s how skilled you are and how you present yourself that counts.

All four of our children are grown and have been independent for a number of years. I’ve asked them all if they ever had trouble getting into college or getting a job because they were homeschooled. I got back a unanimous “no.” Three out of four of them have attended college for a while. They had no admissions problems. One did have to take admissions testing, but scored well enough so they didn’t ask any questions about Brook Farm School. She now teaches software design at one of Boston’s top colleges.

Getting a Job Without a Diploma

When filling out job applications that asked specifically where they went to high school, they wrote in the name of our school. No one has ever questioned this enough to contact us. During interviews, the children have found their homeschooling advantageous. Not that many people entering the job market are homeschooled, and there is a lot of curiosity. Cathy says it’s an advantage because you definitely stand out from the crowd. She says sometimes the interview has turned out to be more about homeschooling than her skills and she has had to work to keep the interviewer on track.

If You’d Like a Diploma, Make One!

Why shouldn’t your child have a diploma when he graduates from your school? You’ve done all the work of being a “school,” educating your child. Why not make your own diploma? We did. You can buy them from most office supply stores. Can’t find one? I can make one for you.

We created our own graduation ceremony, used the community hall, and invited neighbors and friends. We had music, speeches from our other children, a baccalaureate address by the minister, and Donn created a class history, class prophecy, and yearbook. Cathy wrote and read her Last Will and Testament. We presented awards to our other children and gave the graduate a diploma. The local newspaper came and took pictures and wrote a very nice article.

I’ve watched our children move around the country and work at different jobs. None of them has had a problem because she or he lacked a public school diploma. Sometimes they didn’t get the job they wanted because there were others more qualified. Sometimes they wanted the job so badly, and had so much confidence in themselves, that they bluffed their way into the job and just learned what was needed before anyone found out. Homeschooling has been to their advantage in many ways. They have a great deal of confidence in themselves. When they have wanted to change the direction of their lives they know where to look for new information and learn what they need to know; sometimes by returning to formal education and sometimes learning on their own.

Diplomas are pretty pieces of paper, and occasionally useful. P. J. O’Rourke says, “Politicians are interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.”

diplomaSee more from Jean Reed, co-author of The Home School Source Book, and dozens of other homeschooling veterans in The Homeschooling Book of Answers: The 101 Most Important Questions Answered by Homeschooling’s Most Respected Voices by Linda Dobson. “Of the many books on home education that have come across my desk, this is the most usable for the beginning homeschooler.” Jerry Mintz, Director, Alternative Education Resource Organization
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