It's natural, because it's a cultural habit, to think that kids who are high school age will study algebra, English, history, science, foreign language, art, music, and other subjects, and to expect that these studies will lead to a high school diploma and the next step in life. It's natural to think this way, but it isn't necessary. There is a lot of evidence that young people who have experiences during their teenage years that are different - sometimes radically different - from those in traditional high school take very successful next steps in their lives, and these steps include being admitted to good colleges and universities. Many kids who have skipped a big chunk or all of high school succeed wonderfully in all kinds of endeavors, including academic work at the highest level. There are no apparent gaps in what they know or can do.
A substantial part of our knowledge doesn't come from formal school lessons. Kids don't absorb calculus out of the air, but when they follow their interests and learn about the world under their own steam, they do make gains in reading, writing and math, and they do acquire general knowledge of science and history and other subjects, sometimes very esoteric subjects.
A traditional curriculum can be useful and fulfilling, but it isn't essential. Teenagers can devote their time to anything from working through a traditional curriculum to setting up and immersing themselves in completely individualized and idiosyncratic endeavors without closing off any future life path.
There are a variety of existing programs that may provide what you want. If a local program isn't available, you may find what you want offered through the U.S. mail, over the Internet, and/or by phone by a school at some distance from you. A wide variety of homeschooling and independent study programs are offered by the public schools; these schools may be the same ones that offer very traditional programs, or separate alternative programs within a school district, or in charter schools. Such programs are also offered by some private schools.
Programs vary in these ways:
the amount of supervision and the number of contact hours offered and required.
the number and type of structured classes and activities offered.
the flexibility and imagination used in interpreting and implementing state requirements in curriculum and assessment (private schools are not bound by most such requirements).
the extent to which classes at other institutions - correspondence schools, schools offering coursework online, community colleges, etc. - are included in the program.
the extent to which students and their parents can plan their own studies.
the resources, including funds, offered to families.
at the high school level, the degree to which the academic work offered meets standard college admission requirements.
If you prefer to be on your own or cannot find a suitable program, you can start your own school. You can easily file a private school affidavit with the California Department of Education and take charge of your kids' education (see "Establishing A Private School"). This does not necessarily mean that you have to do everything. You can utilize any resources you want, including mentors, tutors, anyone else willing to offer something of value to your kids, and structured classes offered by a variety of institutions and community organizations. Some parents do essentially everything, some take on certain responsibilities and delegate others, and some contract almost everything out.
The line between high school and college need not be a sharp one. It is possible for teenagers to enroll in classes at community colleges and at four-year colleges and universities. The process at community colleges is called concurrent enrollment, dual enrollment, special enrollment, or something similar. I'll call it concurrent enrollment. The procedures vary from college to college. Typically a form is provided for applying for concurrent enrollment. This form will require the signatures of several people, including the student, a parent, one or two high school officials, and one or more college officials. You are an official if you have an R-4 school, and you can, if necessary, take on two (or more) roles, such as principal and counselor. Some colleges have balked at accepting a signature from a parent with an R-4 school. There may be a legal remedy for this problem; contact the HSC Legal Team.
Colleges often place restrictions on concurrent enrollment, such as a limit on the number of classes to be taken; a prohibition against taking certain classes, often the most elementary classes in math and English; allowing registration only during certain times (usually later than "regular" students); and so on. Sometimes only some of the rules are published, and careful questioning will reveal additional possibilities. For example, one college has published a rule that says a concurrently enrolled student may take no more than 6 units, yet another unpublished rule allows for enrollment in more units with an additional signature from a college official.
Find out exactly how the college awards credit for classes taken by concurrently enrolled students to make sure the credit earned is what's desired. In some instances colleges waive the per-unit enrollment fee (sometimes called tuition) for concurrently enrolled students.
At four-year schools there is often a process for enrolling students who have not been formally admitted. At UC Santa Cruz this happens through concurrent enrollment with University Extension, at San Jose State through Open University. Other state campuses will have similar procedures, and private colleges and universities may also provide such enrollment opportunities. Contact admissions offices for specific information.
College students are independent adults pursuing studies more rigorous than high school coursework; college work is at a faster pace and a higher level and requires independent thought and action. Some kids at 14 or 15 or 16, occasionally even earlier, thrive in this environment, while many others are not ready for it. Possibly the best indicator of readiness for college is a kid's own personal desire and informed choice to study at this level.
Rarely, a very young and academically gifted young person may need special guidance in taking college courses. In these instances, it is a good idea to contact potential instructors and make sure they are willing to include young kids in their classes.
There are five ways to homeschool legally in California and how a homeschooler is graduated depends on which homeschooling legal option they are using.
Private School in Your Own Home
If you establish your own private school, then you are responsible for determining your school’s graduation requirements. You can graduate your child on any basis you choose, at any age, considering your own child’s interests and needs. You issue the diploma and create transcripts. Your 16-18 year old child may leave school early with your permission. Students under 16 must continue to be enrolled even though they have graduated.
Public School and Charter School Independent Study Programs
Public high school graduation requirements apply to homeschooling students enrolled in independent study programs (ISP). Districts can determine their own graduation requirements as long as they include a minimum set of required courses set by the state. The program will give you a list of the required courses and how many credits are required. They make the decision about when a student has met all requirements. They may or may not give credit for work done prior to enrollment in that school so it is important to clarify this with the program upon enrollment if a student is entering during their high school years.
The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE - don’t confuse this with a different test referred to as the CHSPE) has been suspended as a graduation requirement for the 2015/16, 2016/17, and 2017/18 school years. The state government will decide if a revised version of the CAHSEE or another test will be required for graduation after that.
Transcripts and a diploma will be provided by the school.
Note: If your child goes to a public school or charter program and does not meet their requirements for graduation, it is possible for you to remove him or her from the public school and establish your own private school in order to graduate him or her.
Private School Satellite Programs
There are no state requirements for graduation from private schools and each private school determines their own specific requirements. If your child is enrolled in a private school satellite program (PSP), that program will give you the information about graduation requirements and will explain to you how to provide required documentation. You should discuss this with the school and be very clear from the beginning about exactly what they expect from you and what you can expect from them. It is important to have this information in writing. There are no state-required testing or reporting requirements.
The school should provide you with transcripts and a diploma.
California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE)
The CHSPE is an exam that covers English and math and is available to students who are 16 years old or older, or have completed 10th grade, or will complete 10th grade during the semester the exam is given. It covers English language arts and math. Students who have passed the CHSPE may leave school if they are 16, 17, or 18 with permission of their parents. The CHSPE is, by state law, the equivalent of a high school diploma and is accepted by anyone subject to California law which includes the community colleges and state college and university systems. It is also accepted by the federal government for civilian employment and by the federal student aid office. For other purposes, you should check to make sure it will be accepted. For complete information about the CHSPE, visit their website:
In California, students who are 18 (and some 17-year olds that meet specific criteria) may take the GED test. The GED test covers reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. See the CDE GED website for more information about this test.
Requirements for graduation from public high schools (but not private ones and possibly not some charter school programs) are specified by the California Education Code in terms of yearlong or semester-long courses; individual school districts may add to these requirements. The state requirements are English (3—meaning three year-long courses); mathematics (2); science (2—including both biological and physical science); social studies (3—including U.S. history and geography; world history, culture, and geography); one semester in American government and civics; and one semester in economics; visual or performing arts or foreign language (1); and physical education (2).
A four-year program at a traditional public high school typically adds up to 220 credits and includes several elective courses. Public high schools keep "score" by awarding 5 credits per semester for each subject, and in a traditional school this means about 90 hours of class time. The material covered in each of these courses can be seen in Tables of Contents of textbooks and in state guidelines available at high schools, county offices of education, and at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/index.asp. Sometimes the subject matter of a course is divided into units of study, so that, in life science, for example, one of several units in a course might be "The Animal Kingdom," and might be worth one credit of the 5 for a semester course or of the 10 for a year-long course. Ways to meet these requirements vary widely among different programs. In one, a set of traditional textbooks is issued, and a series of assignments centered on the books is specified. Completion of a series of assignments can lead to a full 5 credits for a semester of, say, U.S. History, or there may be several shorter series of assignments comprising units that each lead to earning a smaller number of credits. Another program may allow for flexible and individualized ways to meet requirements. For example, a family trip to historic sites on the East Coast, along with a narrated videotape, can be credited as work in U.S. History; additional work completed in different ways leads to a full 10 credits.
Children under 18 who have not graduated from high school or passed the CHSPE must, under most circumstances, have a work permit in order to hold a job.
If a child is enrolled in a public or charter school independent study program (ISP) or a private school satellite program (PSP) then the school or program is responsible for issuing the permit. Contact your school or program administrator for more information.
If you have established your own private school, then your school can issue work permits if it follows certain procedures. The following information will help you understand and comply with the legal requirements:
Homeschooler Participation in High School Sportsby Linda J. Conrad Jansen, Esq.
Participation in high school sports was the least of my concerns when I started homeschooling ten years ago. Some form of physical activity for my children was an important part of their curriculum and they started swim team, tennis lessons, soccer, softball and baseball. All of these sports were available through the community and the availability of school sports was irrelevant. However, when Kristina reached high school age she was interested in the high school tennis team experience and we explored her alternatives. The Redding school district required enrollment in the school or the district independent study program, which was set up for high school dropouts and mandated several hours of busy-work weekly. So we were faced with choices: The prison of school vs. ISP busy work vs. freedom. Kristina really wanted to play high school tennis and was willing to make the sacrifice. Even as the school added more and more onerous enrollment requirements she was willing to comply. She changed her mind when the high school tennis coach stated she could no longer train with her private coach in Sacramento during the season. The reality of the inflexibility of the program and the hostility to homeschoolers finally sunk in, and she decided that the negligible benefits of school sports were outweighed by the infringement on her freedoms.
Two years later, after we moved to Davis, Kristina reached the opposite conclusion. After encouragement from a local tennis coach and other homeschoolers who had participated in high school sports, we contacted the high school tennis coach and school counselor, Paul Oaks. He was very supportive of Kristina's choice to homeschool and her desire to play high school sports, and put her in touch with the Davis School for Independent Study (DSIS). She submitted a homeschool high school transcript to DSIS, explained her reasons for joining the program, and Kristina's high school tennis team experience began. DSIS understood homeschooling and unschooling, gave Kristina the flexibility to follow her own educational course within minimal guidelines, allowed her to continue to be in control of her education by taking DSIS, homeschool and community college courses, introduced her to a wonderful mentor, gave her the social experience of a team, and gave her the opportunity to play her last two years before college on a top-level high school tennis team. She ultimately graduated from our home-based private school and now attends the University of California, San Diego, where she plays college tennis. Derek is in his third year of swimming and Monika started her first year of water polo and swimming for Davis High School while attending DSIS during the sports season. They both take the minimum courses required, continue with their homeschool and community college classes, and will graduate from our home-based private school.
California Interscholastic Federation
Although we got radically different treatment from the Redding and Davis school districts, they were following the same rules. In order to compete in high school sports at a public or private high school, the student must fit into the eligibility requirements of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). High school sports programs are governed by CIF, a private nonprofit, voluntary association of public and private high schools organized under the direction of local school boards of education with the sanction of the California Education Code. Although each public school district governing board has general control over interscholastic athletic programs, California Education Code section 35179 provides that the governing boards may "enter into a voluntary association with other schools for the purpose of enacting and enforcing rules relating to eligibility for, and participation in, interscholastic athletic programs among and between schools." This provision gives schools the authority to join CIF, and conversely, gives CIF the authority over interscholastic athletic programs. California Education Code section 33353 describes the CIF as "a voluntary organization consisting of school and school related personnel with responsibility for administering interscholastic athletic activities in secondary schools." The CIF Bylaws, which are the rules that the schools must follow to remain eligible to compete in high school sports, specifically state: "Only students regularly enrolled in public and private CIF member schools, grades 9-12, shall be permitted to participate in the California Interscholastic Federation..." Since 1,265 California High Schools are members of CIF, the result is that homeschoolers must follow those rules in order to compete at the high school level.
CIF rules, called bylaws, can be found online at www.cifstate.org. These rules include several pages of eligibility requirements ranging from when boys can compete on girl's teams and vice-versa, to competing under an assumed name, to academic requirements, to discipline, to independent study, home study and home schooling. Section 227, which was added in February, 2000, states that: "Students who are not enrolled in programs under the jurisdiction of a member school's governing body are not eligible to participate in CIF competition. Such programs would include, but not be limited to, home schooling or home study wherein parents, or other persons, are responsible for instruction and evaluation. Home study, home schooling students may become eligible to participate in CIF competition provided they meet all requirements of bylaw 226." This section also applies to homeschool students using the private school option and private school programs that do not have CIF athletic programs. Bylaw 226 provides that an independent study student can be eligible for sports teams as long as: "A. The student's registration is accepted by the local school board AND; B. The courses taken by the student meet the standards adopted by the local school board and Education Code Sections 51745, et. Seq. AND; C. The administrative responsibility for the student involved in athletics shall rest with the principal of the school for which the student is competing, AND; D. The student meets all other eligibility requirements of the CIF and its member sections."
Therefore under CIF rules homeschoolers participating in interscholastic sports must enroll in a public or private high school, independent study program, or charter school. Not only are California homeschoolers required to follow these provisions, but also homeschooling is now defined in a quasi-legislative forum: "home schooling or home study wherein parents, or other persons, are responsible for instruction and evaluation." This requirement raises three significant questions: 1) Do our children have the fundamental constitutional right to participate in high school sports? 2) Can these bylaws/rules be challenged? 3) What is the legal significance of the definition of homeschooling found in the CIF bylaws?
Is Participation in High School Interscholastic Athletics a Fundamental Constitutional Right?
Apparently not, according to a 1986 appellate court decision. In Steffes v. California Interscholastic Federation, the court addressed the issue of "whether, under the California Constitution, the right to participate in interscholastic athletics is a 'fundamental right'." (Steffes v. California Interscholastic Federation (1986) 176 Cal.App.3d 739.) For a comprehensive discussion of the significance of "fundamental rights" see Stephen Greenberg's essay: The Legality of Private-School Homeschooling in California. Basically, when examining the constitutionality of a law infringing on a fundamental constitutional right, the higher standard of "strict scrutiny" is used. If the right infringed upon is not fundamental, the court uses the "rational basis" test to evaluate its constitutionality. In Steffes, a Los Angeles area student, Kent Steffes, appealed CIF Rule 214 that made him ineligible to participate in varsity high school sports because he transferred from a CIF member private school to a CIF member public school.
Kent Steffes' contention that participation in high school athletics is a fundamental right is relevant to homeschoolers interested in challenging Rule 227. He argued that the fundamental right to a public school education included the right to participate in interscholastic athletics and the imposition of Rule 214 deprived him of his fundamental right to participate in extracurricular activities offered by a public school. He further contended that this deprivation of a fundamental right required the court to apply a "strict scrutiny" test, rather than a "rational basis" test in considering the constitutionality of Rule 214. The Second District Court of Appeals did not agree with this argument.
The court noted that, "inasmuch as CIF is an organization with responsibility for administering interscholastic athletics in all California secondary schools (see Ed. Code, section 33353), the enforcement of its rules constitutes 'state action' for purposes of constitutional analysis." (Id. at 746. See also Jones v. California Interscholastic Federation (1980) 197 Cal.App.3d 751, 757.) Although acknowledging that under the California Constitution, public education is a fundamental right (Hartzell v. Connell (1984) 35 Cal.3d 899; Serrano v. Priest (1971) 5 Cal.3d 584) and that the Supreme Court in Serrano stated that extracurricular activities are a fundamental part of public education, the Steffes court refused to extend that same fundamental right status to the right to participate in interscholastic athletics. They pointed out that since Serrano had not specifically stated that interscholastic athletics were a fundamental right, they were not compelled to make such a finding. "[T]he fact that public education is a fundamental right under the California Constitution does not compel a finding that in California the right to participate in interscholastic athletics is also a fundamental right entitled to the highest degree of constitutional protection. Therefore, we hold that an equal protection challenge involving that right is properly tested by the rational basis standard, rather than by the strict scrutiny standard of judicial review." (Steffes, supra, at748.) Thus, the court based its decision that interscholastic athletics is not a fundamental right on the thin grounds that the Supreme Court in Serrano did not take the next step and specifically state that extracurricular activities are fundamental rights subject to constitutional protection.
The court applied the "rational bases" test to determine if the rule was constitutional, and determined that Rule 214 is rationally related to the State's "valid and legitimate interest in eliminating or minimizing athletic recruitment problems in secondary schools." (Id.) This finding is significant to a homeschooler challenging Rules 227 because the school only needs to show that the rules are rationally related to some perceived legitimate interest, such as overseeing the student's education or prevention of recruitment. The Steffes court stated (quoting In re U.S. ex rel. Missouri State High Sch. Etc. 8th Cir. 1982) 682 R.2d 147): "If the classification has some 'reasonable' basis, it does not offend the Constitution simply because the classification 'is not made with mathematical nicety or because in practice it results in some inequality. Once a rational relationship exists, and it exists here, judicial scrutiny must cease. Whether the rule is wise or creates undue individual hardship are policy decisions better left to legislative and administrative bodies. Schools themselves are by far the better agencies to devise rules and restrictions governing extracurricular activities. Judicial intervention in school policy should always be reduced to a minimum." (Steffes, supra, at 749.) In Jones the same appellate court applied the same principles and upheld the school's interpretation of another eligibility rule, which denied a fifth year high school student the right to play varsity football. It reiterated the Steffes findings, and added that: "Education Code section 35179 authorizes voluntary associations such as the CIF to enact and enforce rules relating to eligibility for, and participation in, interscholastic athletics." The court noted: "The rationale behind the CIF's interpretation is the rule's promotion of a high school education over high school athletics."
Challenging the CIF Bylaws/Rules
Kent Steffes also argued that Rule 214 violates state law because the making and enforcing of rules governing interscholastic athletics is limited to the Department of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.. Again, the Steffes court disagreed and held that "although Education Code section 33352 gives the Department of Education 'general supervision over the courses of physical education,' sections 35179 and 33353 give voluntary associations, such as CIF, authority to enact and enforce rules relating to eligibility for, and participation in, interscholastic athletics." This decision means that any court following the Steffes decision will enforce the CIF bylaws against students wishing to participate in interscholastic athletics.
As an appellate court decision, Steffes does not carry the same weight as a California Supreme Court decision, although courts not following it can be expected to discuss and distinguish it from their facts. Trial court judges in the same district are likely to follow the decision because they realize that a contrary decision will be appealed to the same court that made the decision. Even though it will be given serious consideration by any trial court judge or appellate judges in other districts, they are not compelled to follow it if they disagree with the basis of the decision. The California Supreme Court, given the right facts, might overrule Steffes. However, the expense, time constraints and burdens of litigation would have to be balanced against the likelihood of success and the risk of setting a bad precedent.
The biggest risk is what happens if a student obtains a court order compelling the school to allow him or her to compete, and then loses the underlying lawsuit. According to CIF rule 228, CIF or one of its sections can, among other things, require that individual and team records be stricken, require that individual and team awards be returned, require that team victories be forfeited, make the team ineligible for future championships or invitationals, and require the school return its share of net receipts from any competition. Because of the length of time for a lawsuit to get heard, a student challenging CIF rules needs to obtain a restraining order requiring the school to allow sports participation while the lawsuit is pending. However, the punishment is so onerous against the school if the student loses, the attitudes of the school, coach and teammates are likely to be less than cordial.
Thus, homeschoolers wishing to participate in high school athletics without enrolling in the school or an acceptable independent study program will not be able to do so. They will need to decide if giving up their homeschooling freedom is outweighed by the benefits of high school sports.
How Significant is the Definition of Homeschool Found in the CIF Bylaws?
The Steffes and Jones decisions elevated the CIF bylaws to legislative status for evaluation purposes. The recognition of homeschooling is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it acknowledges the existence of independent homeschooling. On the other hand, it denies eligibility to independent homeschoolers and is possibly the first step towards a definition of homeschooling in California. The next step could be homeschooling regulations.
Participation in College Sports
Homeschoolers are participating in and getting scholarships for college sports. Kristina is playing tennis at the University of California, San Diego, a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II school. As a homeschooler, she did not go through the NCAA Clearinghouse, as is required of public and private school students, until after she was accepted at UCSD and on the team. However, the rules regarding homeschoolers changed recently, and homeschool athletes planning to participate in college sports need to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse to get an initial eligibility report. They are required to meet certain academic requirements, as are all team members. For further information, go to the NCAA websiteand review the requirements for homeschoolers.
Weighing the Alternatives
Participation in high school and college sports programs can be a rewarding for homeschool athletes. However, homeschoolers need to carefully consider the alternatives. Sometimes the high school athletic opportunities do not override the joy of homeschooling independently, following your own schedule, and planning your own course in life. One of many reasons for homeschooling through high school is to promote education over the distractions offered in public and private high schools. Often, athletic opportunities available in our communities, particularly in individual sports such as swimming, tennis and gymnastics, are superior to the high school programs. Some sports may only be available through high school programs, such as football and basketball, and high school participation may be required in order to qualify for college team positions and scholarships. Each homeschooler will need to make an informed decision based on his or her particular situation and goals, and the available options.
When you feel a kid is beyond high school, you can, if you've set up a school, give him a diploma on any basis you choose. When a person who is younger than 18 has a high school diploma, his legal status changes in three ways: he gains freedom from the compulsory education law, he gets out from under the laws that restrict his work hours and require him to get a work permit, and he gains independent access to community colleges. (Eighteen-year-olds gain these advantages simply because of their age.)
Strictly speaking, a person under 16 with a diploma is not exempt from the compulsory education codes. It's likely that this teen can act as if he's exempt, and there will not be a problem. You may comply with the code by choosing to keep the teen with a diploma enrolled until age 16, or you may simply re-enroll him should a problem arise. In either case, he will still have access to community colleges and be free from work restrictions.
Keep in mind that many people live productive and fulfilling lives without formal college education. Job experience, internships, apprenticeships, travel, and independent learning of all kinds can lead to satisfying situations.
If your kid does want to go to college, she can go as far as she wants, regardless of what she has done as a teenager. With any kind of diploma or high school equivalency certificate (see section on Testing - CHSPE and GED), or without any document at all if they're 18 or older, people can enter a community college and prepare to enter a four-year college or university. Admission at the University of California (UC) or the California State University (CSU) can be based entirely on a community college record. Other colleges and universities will pay minimal attention, if any, to an applicant's high school record if a solid community college record is submitted. Any level of higher education can be reached this way; people with no high school experience at all have earned PhD's.
If a young person wants to enter a four-year school without first attending a community college, the college's freshman entrance requirements must be met (transfer admission requirements are different); sometimes admission on a special basis without having met all the regular requirements is possible. Regular requirements will most likely include specific coursework and test scores (see section below on tests). If a student has been part of a public school program, the coursework is documented there. It's essential that the work be considered college preparatory. In the case of UC, the school or program must have filed a list of UC-approved courses with the UC system-wide office; some public school programs have not done this.
Documentation is essential for independent homeschoolers. Increasingly, four-year colleges and universities are accepting non-traditional documentation of accomplishments outside of traditional schools for admission consideration. However, with some colleges, and with UC in particular, admission directly from an independent homeschooling situation is not easy (transfer admission is very straightforward - see above). It is possible to enter UC on the basis of testing alone; also, UC subject requirements can be met through SAT II testing. In every case, check carefully with admissions counselors at schools of interest.
Tests provide a limited means of measuring test-taking ability and maybe other things. Don't let them be any kind of measure of who your kids are. They can, however, serve important practical purposes such as high school completion or college admissions and credit.
There are two tests by means of which to earn a high-school-diploma-equivalent certificate: the California High School Proficiency Examination(CHSPE) and the General Educational Development (GED). The CHSPE has a narrower focus and tests skills and knowledge in reading, math, writing, and language. The GED includes these areas and also tests in science and social studies. Opinions vary about which test is more difficult, and different perceptions probably arise from kids with different strengths. The GED is more widely known and may be more readily accepted, although it is a myth that the CHSPE Certificate is unacceptable outside California.
In California (different states have different rules), anyone 18 or older can take the GED, and there are exceptions for somewhat younger people under some circumstances. It is administered by adult education schools in public school districts and is offered frequently. Contact your local adult school for information on the GED or call the GED Office at the California Department of Education at (800) 331-6316.
The CHSPE may be taken by anyone who, on the day of the exam, is 16 or older, or has finished the tenth grade, or is enrolled in the second semester of the tenth grade. This exam is offered two or three times a year at test sites throughout the state. CHSPE information bulletins can be found at high schools and libraries or at http://www.chspe.net/. For questions not answered in the bulletin, call (866) 342-4773. There is a great deal of misinformation about the CHSPE floating around, especially within the public schools. Check the official bulletin to confirm anything you hear. A student who passes the CHSPE still has the right to attend public high school if desired.
If a CHSPE or GED certificate is to be used for admission to college, entering the military, specific job requirements, etc., be sure to check at the source (the colleges, the military, the employer, etc.) regarding their policies.
Preparation books for these exams can be found in bookstores and libraries.
The PSAT, a shortened version of SAT I, is usually taken by high school juniors. If a student is in high school at the time he takes this test, he is automatically entered into the National Merit Scholarship competition. The PSAT is administered by high schools on their campuses; non-enrolled students may be allowed to take the test. Contact local high schools.
SAT I (possibly along with SAT II) may be required for admission to four-year colleges and universities. There are two parts to SAT I: verbal - analogies, sentence completions, and critical reading questions - and math at the high school college preparatory level. The SAT's (I & II) are given at test sites throughout the state; sites are listed in the application booklet (see below).
SAT II is a set of separate tests on high school subjects - world history, chemistry, French, etc.
Advanced Placement: Colleges often grant credit for sufficiently high scores on AP exams. These exams are final exams in college-level classes taught in high school and are given at high schools at the end of the courses; students who have not taken the courses may be allowed to take the exams.
Colleges also grant credit for good scores on CLEP exams. These exams are generally easier than AP exams, are given at test centers throughout the state, and cover the content of more than thirty college-level courses.
ACT (formerly American College Testing) offers the ACT, a somewhat broader college admission test that colleges may use instead of or in addition to the SAT. The ACT consists of four sections: English, math, reading, and science.
Even when SAT/ACT scores aren't required, they provide one way (there are others) to demonstrate academic ability and acquired knowledge in the absence of a traditional transcript. It may be possible to gain admission to the schools your kids choose through testing alone, and impressive test scores always add strength to a college application. Just as in the case with the SAT/ACT, good scores on AP and/or CLEP exams can support a college application. Check carefully with colleges of interest for their policies regarding credit. Classes that prepare students for these tests may be offered by high schools, adult schools, community colleges, and private companies.
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Applying to a community college that uses the CCCApply form? If you are a "PSA homeschooler" (you homeschooled using the private school in your own home option), then you should check "Attended High School" and not "Homeschooled" on the form. When you check "Attended High School, you will be able to write in your own school name.
As your child approaches the magical age of being able to drive, we know you will both be wondering how best to get a driver's license.
While it may be technically possible under the Education Code for homeschoolers who operate private schools to teach their children themselves, we know that the DMV is not supportive of this. We strongly recommend that you use one of the commercial options that the DMV recognizes. For instance, there are a number of commercial driving schools certified by the DMV that provide both the textbook and "behind-the-wheel" portions of the instruction required. You can also see if classes are offered through a local community college, public or private high school, or use a distance learning driver's education class. Please refer to the DMV websitefor more information or look in your local yellow pages.
A wave of homeschoolers has reached the Farm--students with unconventional training and few formal credentials. What have they got that Stanford wants? And how do admission officers spot it? This article appeared in Stanford University's alumni magazine.