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November 20, 2007

Employer Questions Homeschool Diploma

Jacob Harden was thrilled to get the job at Iowa Telecom, but he became somewhat concerned when someone from human resources asked him to verify the authenticity of the high school diploma his parents gave him. He was told they routinely do background checks on all employees to verify their education, and they had some questions about his diploma. His parents offered an explanation, but it did not resolve the issue.

Courtesy of the Harden Family
HSLDA helped Jacob Harden show his employers that his homeschooling diploma was perfectly credible.

It sounded like Jacob’s job might be on the line, so his parents asked Home School Legal Defense Association for help.

HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff quickly sent a letter to the human resources department. He identified the parents as members in good standing of HSLDA. He explained that Iowa parents—and those in all states—have legal authority to issue high school diplomas when their students complete their program of secondary education. He explained that no “accreditation” or state “approval” was required. Since typically only parents truly know if a homeschool student has completed his program, only parents can legitimately issue a diploma.

When you boil it down, a diploma is simply a written document, signed by someone in a position to know, certifying that a person has completed a given program. Woodruff suggested that the parents would be happy to supply a transcript to substantiate the diploma, if necessary.

After receiving the letter, the human resources department spoke to Jacob and told him it took care of everything. They would need nothing else.

It’s no wonder Iowa Telecom wanted Jacob. He had nearly straight A’s in his home school program, served as a page for the Iowa House of Representatives, and had a 3.7 GPA after two semesters at his local community college.

The most common employment-related scenario that our members encounter, when there is any issue at all, is an employer who really wants to hire a homeschool grad but is not sure how to approach the diploma issue. When an employer really wants the employee, however, it’s not difficult to convince them there is no legal impediment. And it’s the performance of homeschool grads already in the workforce that makes employers want more.

Congratulations to the homeschool grads (and their parents, of course!) already in the working world whose excellent record of diligence, honesty and reliability has paved the way for the coming grads.