Homeschooling through Graduation: What You Need to Know About Transcripts and Diplomas

by Michelle Jibben, AFHE Director of Government Affairs

Have you decided to homeschool through graduation? In Arizona, the parents of a homeschooled child set the graduation requirements, issue grades and credits, create and maintain their child’s transcript, and issue the diploma. Providing your graduate with a transcript and diploma will best equip your young adult for the future.
► A transcript provides details regarding the courses your student has taken, credits assigned to each course, and the grades they have earned. It is evidence of what they have accomplished in high school. In addition, it will provide a final cumulative GPA (including the grading scale you used), the total number of credits earned, and the graduation date.  

► A diploma is a certificate issued to a student verifying that the requirements for high school graduation have been successfully met. It provides proof of high school graduation. Thorough documentation of a student’s academic record on a transcript supports the diploma that you issue.
High school graduation is an accomplishment! It is an important milestone for your student, and it is a milestone for you as a parent educator as well. While the transcript and diploma serve as reminders of academic accomplishments and achievements, they also represent experiences that were gained and shared over the high school years. A transcript and diploma serve as a way of celebrating the years spent together.  

While Arizona's homeschool law does not require parents to provide these documents, the authority to provide them resides with the parent. No matter where your child’s next steps take him or her, having a transcript and diploma will be important. For some, the need is immediate. Those choosing post-secondary education will usually be required to provide a transcript. Graduates heading into the workforce are regularly required to provide a copy of their diploma. For others, the need for a diploma and transcript comes years later. Deciding to attend college later in life or taking a new job that requires proof of high school education are situations that can prove challenging for homeschool graduates if these documents were never issued or are not accessible as part of their permanent educational records.

AFHE encourages graduates and parents to retain the transcript and diploma and carefully store them with other important documents. Sometimes decades pass, and these are required for a new opportunity. Parents and graduates are the only ones that can provide such documentation, and unfortunate situations can arise when the documents either do not exist or are lost.

Is AFHE able to verify a student’s graduation or provide a duplicate diploma for potential employers or background-check agencies?

AFHE fields this question regularly from employers, parents, and graduates. The answer is no, AFHE cannot verify that your student graduated from your homeschool. The homeschooling parent accepts responsibility for issuing a diploma and certifying the student’s status as a graduate. If a potential employer needs to validate a high school diploma, this can only be done through the parents who issued the diploma. In Arizona, only parents have the authority to certify their student’s status as a homeschool graduate.

Is a homeschool diploma accepted as valid?

You might be concerned that the homeschool diploma you issue will be seen as subpar, or that you need to go through the process of giving your student an “accredited” homeschool diploma. This is simply not true. There is no need to seek accreditation to validate what the law sees as equal. Homeschool students have proven themselves in the academic world, the military, and the workforce for decades. They are often sought-after as students and employees. Homeschooling is a legal educational option in Arizona. A homeschool diploma, issued after the completion of the high school requirements you have set, is as valid as any other diploma.

In 2017, the bipartisan-supported HB 2389 was signed into law, ensuring that all diplomas and transcripts issued in Arizona associated with legal school options are to be treated equally by government entities. In response to regular questions about the validity of homeschool diplomas, AFHE has written a letter explaining the law and its implications. We recommend that you download a copy of the letter and keep it with your student’s diploma should future questions arise for your graduate. It can be found at under Diploma Equivalency.

Another way to commemorate the achievement of students and parents is by participating in the annual statewide AFHE Senior High Graduate Recognition Ceremony, a formal cap and gown ceremony with thousands in attendance. This is an experience that your family will remember for years to come. Graduates who participate in AFHE’s annual high school graduation ceremony receive a diploma that is signed and authorized by parents.
Be encouraged! Homeschooling through graduation can provide your students with a tailor-made education and experiences that are designed to propel them confidently into their best future. A parent-issued transcript and diploma provide academic details and proof of graduation. These valuable documents will serve your student well into the future and are a testament to a life accomplishment for both your student and you.