When we decided to home school, we believed we were able to do a good job of educating our children. We believed that we would do better than the government sponsored schools, and better than private schools. (If you do not believe this, you have no business home schooling!) Why would we not believe, then, that our home school diploma is better than a government diploma?

So, where do you get this piece of paper? You print it yourself, or order it from a printer. There, that was simple! Actually, there are organizations that sell diplomas especially for home school use (including HSLDA), that you can personalize yourself for the graduate. Some of these come with very nice covers as well.

Prepare a final transcript
When it is time for graduation, you should finalize your transcript by checking that it is complete, then writing or stamping the word "final" on it. You may even want to use an embossing seal with your family name or the name of your home school (if you have one) to signify the official transcript. (Embossing seals, such as those used by notaries, are available from several mail order stationary companies. They can be personalized any way you like.) You should file at least two official copies, one in your files, and one in the student's personal files. When an employer or college admissions office asks for a copy, simply make another official copy and send it. (Or save yourself some steps and make several copies in the first place, especially if the student hasn't applied to colleges yet.)

Preparing your own final evaluation and recommendations
We also recommend that you write out a final high school evaluation of the student and your parental recommendation letter. Though potential colleges and employers will likely want recommendations from sources outside the family, you should compose one as well. After all, you were the faculty, advisor, and administrator for your children's education; no one knows their strengths and weaknesses better than you.

This evaluation should be a typed and signed paragraph (or two) summarizing the student's high school experience, their strengths, and weaknesses. You will find this a handy piece of paper to have in the file. It is very likely that sooner or later you will be asked for such a document. It will be much more accurate if you record the information while it is fresh in your mind.

Portfolios
Another valuable method of showing the accomplishments of the new graduate is to provide a portfolio that contains representative work of the student. These may be the best work of the student in all areas, which will give the potential college or employer an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your young person. Portfolios are commonly used by artists, architects, and writers to show what they can do as well as their style. The high school portfolio should do the same.

Commencement service options
Finally, we hope that you will finish this part of the home school experience as it started--as a family endeavor. You will certainly want to have a family celebration of the accomplishments of the graduate. That does not mean that you won't want to take part in statewide, local, or church events as well. The completion of high school studies is certainly a worthy accomplishment. Many state home school organizations now provide graduation ceremonies as part of their annual conventions. Certainly as the home school movement gains strength, more options for such services will be available.