Accreditation is a voluntary process, done by various private organizations. Most people are unaware that there is neither a single, “official” authority, nor a single, agreed-upon standard that determines whether or not a school is granted accreditation! Neither is there a legal standard that designates one accrediting agency as superior to another, nor agreement amongst accrediting agencies as to what standards a school must meet to be granted accreditation.
Failing inner-city schools are accredited, but the majority of their students fail to meet standards for college admission. In contrast, non-accredited homeschool students have a high rate of college admission, often on scholarship, for colleges look far less at accreditation than they do at SAT and ACT scores and prior evidence of student performance. [Accreditation of colleges is another subject entirely; colleges set standards as to which courses they will accept for credit from another college.]
Thus, 'accreditation' of a K-12 program reveals little about the school/provider, either to a prospective student or to a prospective college; it is essentially meaningless as a measurement of academic excellence.
Is CHC accredited?
We are occasionally asked if we are an accredited school. Catholic Heritage Curricula is not a school; therefore, we cannot be accredited. Rather, CHC operates under the philosophy that your home is your school; as Catholic parents, you should have complete control over what is taught in your home. CHC facilitates your vision for your own Catholic homeschool, based on the needs of your family. Our modern, Catholic materials are based on accepted sequences used commonly in public and private schools across the nation prior to the ‘dumbing down’ of texts. CHC facilitates your homeschooling by providing online support and Catholic materials based on sound academics, by which your children may learn without burnout.
Are homeschoolers accepted to college without an accredited diploma?
Catholic homeschoolers for years have been accepted without accredited diplomas, not only at noted institutions like Franciscan University of Steubenville, the University of Dallas, and Thomas Aquinas College, but in secular colleges across the United States and Canada. In place of a diploma, institutions measure ability by PSAT, SAT, and ACT scores, and gather information on student coursework, transcripts, accomplishment, and community volunteer activity documented in portfolios provided by the family. While admission requirements differ among colleges, both Canadian and U.S. homeschooled students are routinely accepted into college based on these test scores and family-provided proof of education.
U.S. and Canadian universities also accept students who, instead of presenting a high school diploma, demonstrate their ability to compete at college level by successfully completing a few classes at a local community college before transitioning to university.
In addition, not all students are college-bound; some are gifted in carpentry or construction, and would thrive in an apprenticeship that transitions to a desired profession. Catholic homeschoolers are transitioning into the workforce through both formal and informal apprenticeships. Thus, a student who demonstrates interest and skill in auto mechanics might apprentice himself, gain credit hours toward graduation with hands-on training, and finish high school with a trade.
An 'activity and project' portfolio is an effective means of documenting accomplishment not only to a potential employer, but also for high school graduation and community college admissions, coupled with SAT/ACT scores. [Colleges often view an impressive history of volunteer service in the community and other significant experiential education, coupled with average SAT/ACT scores, as favorably as high SAT/ACT scores coupled with little or no community service or activity.]
Another alternative for transitioning from high school used by Catholic homeschoolers, is the GED. Graduates have used the GED, in conjunction with SAT/ACT scores and without, as a springboard into the armed forces, vocational schools, community colleges, and university.
Thus, Catholic homeschooling students have numerous, routinely used options for demonstrating completion of high school requirements and readiness for college or career, including testing [SAT, ACT, GED], community college classwork, and apprenticeships. Remember that an accredited diploma alone is no guarantee that a student will be accepted by a college; conversely, the student with solid SAT scores and a portfolio brimming with evidence of a motivated young adult will likely be welcomed at university, diploma or not.
Some responses from our recent homeschooling high school survey:
(We had) no accredited diploma, but experienced no difficulty in gaining college admission. —C.M.
(We have three homeschool graduates) …one is graduating with a PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) in May. The second is a working Emergency Department RN, pursuing her Master's Degree in Nursing. The third is a university sophomore studying biology and playing baseball. —Susan
—Of those with students who had graduated homeschool, 73% chose not to use a program with 'accredited' diploma, yet these students had no difficulty gaining admission to college. That is, these 'non-diploma' students were accepted at essentially the same rate at the 27% minority who had graduated with a diploma.
These figures reflect that fact that 'non-accredited' students are routinely accepted by colleges, who pay far more attention to prior student performance and SAT and ACT scores than they do to diplomas.
—80% of these graduates received scholarships
—nearly half of the graduates received grants
—16% graduated college with honors (a far greater rate than public schooled students!)
The greatest blessings we've received from homeschooling is the fact that our adult children are devout Catholics (who) WANT and DESIRE God's Holy Will. We are so blessed because they desire and happily ask our opinions and input in important decisions in their lives. In addition to Our Lord, Our Lady and our Faith, we are so blessed with our children. —T.L.