In Pennsylvania parents are now able to issue their own diploma and transcript (signed by their senior year evaluator). Is there still a reason to pursue getting a diploma through an agency like PHAA, Mason-Dixon, or Susquehanna? I personally will recommend that homeschoolers consider using a diploma program rather than issue their own for several reasons:

  1. The programs have established good reputations with colleges and military
  2. The programs raise the bar from the minimums. Teens will tend to push to get by with the lowest expectations possible. Having an external authority “encouraging excellence” can be a huge help in motivating teens. Honestly, the requirements of the homeschool law are very minimal — significantly less than any conventional school requires for graduation.
  3. We all need accountability and motivation to do our best. Knowing our evaluator is looking for certain criteria in our program is motivating to keep pushing.
  4. We really want our teens to get the best education possible, right? And be prepared for college and life, right? Why not select a diploma program that encourages that!
  5. There are different diploma programs with different criteria – something to meet the needs of each teen or family. A couple of the programs offer “distinctions” or specialized diplomas to honor extra work in a given area.
  6. Many teens WANT a nicely printed Diploma Certificate in a padded cover, which is standard fare with a diploma program. Home issued will be printed off the old Ink-Jet and signed by Mom (not as impressive).
  7. Many teens WANT to participate in a graduation program, have their tassel flipped, get their senior picture in cap and gown. Most of the diploma programs can meet that desire. It may be less impressive to do that at home with only family.
  8. The cost to join the various diploma programs is honestly very minimal and fair.
  9. If your teen decides to join the military, the federal government is NOT obligated to recognize a parent-issued diploma, which limits your options or creates a huge red-tape problem.
  10. When your teen takes a job or finally goes to college a few years after leaving high school, are you really going to know where that parent-issued diploma and transcript signed by his senior year evaluator are? Or would the peace of mind that you can have your Diploma Agency reissue that paperwork be worth the few bucks?

I will stop with ten reasons, but I think you can see why I will continue as an evaluator to encourage parents to consider a diploma program – even if the law “allows” them do issue their own!