We recommend an accredited homeschool program!
An accredited homeschool program has several benefits. The first benefit is so you know the school or homeschool program has been thoroughly audited to surpass minimum requirements as a school or program. Accreditation requires a curriculum audit to check for educational standards, plus how the curriculum reviews past concepts and prepares for future concepts. Many parents do not have the time to check for these hidden curriculum essentials year after year. Accredited schools or programs must submit any changes to the accrediting organization for evaluation before implementation.
Homeschool programs with more than one accreditation have an added value. Some homeschooling options have an accreditation from an organization recognized by a state’s Dept. of Education, plus an additional accreditation that may also evaluate a particular emphasis such as Christian education. One accreditation may be similar to what public schools use. A second accreditation may evaluate additional Christian or private school values the first accrediting organization does not evaluate. See Accredited Christian Schools for more information about specific accreditations.
Accreditation is technically not required for K-12 by the Federal Dept. of Education, but can be very beneficial in many locations. In some regions or districts, high school credit may not be transferred to public schools unless the credit was earned under a state or district recognized accreditation. It is our opinion that credit under an accredited school will raise less red flags in annual registration in tougher districts, counties, or states. Even if transferring to a different school or relocating your family is not planned, an accredited homeschool program may give some added flexibility.
Generally, accredited homeschool programs have a school number used for college entrance, military, or FAFSA (financial aid). This can save a homeschool parent or student considerable time.
Accredited homeschool programs, especially ones with multiple accreditations, have some additional expenses to acquire and maintain accreditation. We believe it is worth the additional tuition cost for a well accredited program. Some regionally accredited homeschool programs may only be accredited for some grade levels, but allude to being accredited for all grade levels. Keep these things in mind when deciding between accredited homeschool program options!
We recommend that parents should review “Ten points to review before choosing a homeschool program”. When deciding on an accredited homeschool program, remember that lower tuition does not equate to the best value and formula for success! Always compare benefits and features to tuition cost. For example, two dollars per day difference could mean a couple hours extra work for the parent. Sometimes a little extra cost is the most efficient for the family. See Practical Homeschooling. Also look for a structure that prevents tempting the student with short cuts! You don’t want your hard work and finance to go to waste if the procedures allow learning to be bypassed.
Overall, look for an accredited homeschool program that has been in existence for at least 13 years, so it is not still an experiment. Decide if you want the curriculum to include a Christian worldview for building character and traditional values. Look for a choice that has curriculum format and support options for 3rd-8th grades. Some students need paper-based curriculum longer than others. Some families need more teacher support than others. Some students might do better transitioning to the benefits of online by using a combination of paper-based and online for a year or two. Look for a choice that offers in-home annual achievement testing, so you can monitor academic growth and meet requirements in some states. In-home testing can take the anxiety out of testing compared to an unfamiliar testing environment. Most importantly, look for an individualized curriculum structure that is mastery-based. See Individualized Curriculum.
Other helpful pages:
Something to consider about free or low-cost homeschool options. Freehomeschooling.net
How can I afford homeschooling costs? I’ve heard it is expensive.
Why homeschooling makes sense. Homeschool Efficiency
How and why to homeschool. How to Homeschool