High School and Teens


How do Wisconsin homeschoolers receive a diploma?

In Wisconsin, homeschools are private schools and therefore can award diplomas the same way other private schools do. There are no state mandated graduation requirements for private schools. Private schools have their own written set of graduation requirements.  Each private school creates its own set of requirements.

As the administrator of your homeschool it is your responsibility to decide what requirements must be met for graduation. You can then award a diploma to the child that has met those requirements.

A young person with a homeschool diploma can check “Yes” on an employment application that asks, “Do you have a high school diploma?”

Additional Information:

Print and save a copy of your PI-1206 form each year. This is proof that you have been legally homeschooling. Copies of forms filed online during previous school years can be downloaded and printed from the DPI website. The Department of Public Instruction only keeps records for 7 years. Make sure you have a copy of your form for each year that you filed.

High school diplomas issued by the administrator of a Wisconsin homeschool (i.e. the student’s parent/guardian) are recognized and accepted by colleges and universities throughout the US, including all University of Wisconsin campuses, federal financial aid programs including Pell grants, student loans etc., employers, and the US military.


How does a homeschooler get a driver’s license?

Homeschoolers get driver’s licenses just like everyone else. Before age 18 Wisconsin residents must take a classroom or online driver’s education course followed by behind-the-wheel instruction.

Courses may be offered through your local school district or by private driving schools in your area.

Driving education is overseen by the Department of Motor Vehicles, not the Department of Public Instruction.  It is not possible for a homeschooling administrator (parent/guardian) to provide the classroom portion of driver’s education that is recognized for licensing purposes.

If you choose to use an online instruction course, make sure to confirm with the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles that it is an accredited course and that the online service is authorized to issue form MV-3001 at the conclusion of the course. If students are under 18 the MV-3001 must be signed by an accredited driver’s education instructor. There are online “driver training” courses that do NOT result in having the correct credentials to take the permit test.


How does a Wisconsin homeschooler get into college?

Many Wisconsin homeschoolers have gone to colleges and universities all over the world. Homeschoolers get into college the same way conventionally-schooled people get into college. Admittedly there may be a few more hoops to jump through since college admissions offices are used to seeing the same type of student and application over and over again. Letters of recommendation, personal interviews and portfolios of work and accomplishments can augment whatever mandatory application materials are requested by colleges. Applying to college as a homeschooler may take some additional advocacy on your part. Sell yourself and your experiences as a homeschooler. Your unique educational path and experiences can be a real asset to a college campus filled with students who have pretty much all done the same things to get there.

A transcript is meant to be a summary of subjects studied, grades received, and credits earned. The purpose of a transcript is to demonstrate what a student has done as a homeschooler. Developing a transcript can be challenging. Ways of homeschooling are wide-ranging and varied, making it tricky to summarize the homeschooling experience with a quick grid or checklist.

Keep in mind, a transcript is really just a quick way to assure an employer, college admissions officer, or some other person that a student has worked on a number of general subjects. There are many ways to supplement a transcript such as a personal interview, resume, portfolio of work, etc.

A transcript can be developed in a variety of ways. It can be written based on the number of hours spent studying a subject, or what has been learned. Some homeschoolers use state guidelines to inform how they write their transcript. Many conventional schools award one semester credit for 90 hours of classwork plus homework. A transcript using this method might have 8 semesters of English, 8 semesters of science, 2 semesters of a foreign language etc.

There are many examples of transcripts online. Remember, tailor the transcript to the goal. Homeschoolers should be prepared to advocate for themselves and be ready to explain just how much work it is to be responsible for creating a personalized educational plan.

If plans include college, entry or re-entry to public school, look at the requirements or record keeping methods of the institution under consideration.  Making the transcript look similar will make it easier for institutions to translate the homeschooler’s experiences into their expectations.

Testing is not required by Wisconsin law. If  standardized tests are taken (PSAT, ACT, SAT, CLEP, SAT – subject tests, etc.), those scores can be listed on the transcript. Test scores do not have to be reported to the state or school district. Some colleges or universities may require standardized testing in lieu of a conventional transcript from an accredited institution.


What about work permits/employment rules?

A work permit is required before anyone under the age of 18 is allowed to work in any job with the exception of agriculture or domestic service work.

Employers must have a work permit on file for the minor being employed before they may allow the minor to begin work.

Details on how and where to obtain a work permit are here.

State child labor laws prohibit work during times that minors are required to be in school, except for students participating in work experience and career exploration programs operated by the school.

Homeschoolers can work during public school hours since the hours that homeschoolers are “required to be in school” are not necessarily the hours that public school students are required to be in school.  Homeschools set their own hours of instruction.


What course work is required for high school?

As the administrator of your homeschool you are responsible for creating the high school experience for your child. The homeschooling law states that you must provide a minimum of 875 hours of a sequentially progressive curriculum in in the subjects of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and health. Please see information in Getting Started if you are new to homeschooling in the high school years.

If you have specific goals for the period of time after the traditional high school years (i.e. college, military, travel, entrepreneurial endeavors, a job) you can tailor your educational program to fit the next stage in life.

Homeschooling can allow teens to pursue interests and passions in greater depth than conventional schools allow. Apprenticeships, internships, and steady employment can all be a part of homeschooling in the teen years.

Some families use CLEP, AP, or SAT-subject tests to direct or structure part of their curriculum.

There are no state graduation requirements for private schools in Wisconsin.  Each private school is required to have a written list of its graduation requirements.  WPA recommends that homeschools do the same.  Homeschools are a type of private school in Wisconsin.


Transcripts

A transcript is meant to be a summary of subjects studied, grades received, and credits earned. The purpose of a transcript is to demonstrate what a student has done as a homeschooler. Developing a transcript can be challenging. Ways of homeschooling are wide-ranging and varied, making it tricky to summarize the homeschooling experience with a quick grid or checklist.

Keep in mind, a transcript is really just a quick way to assure an employer, college admissions officer, or some other person that a student has worked on a number of general subjects. There are many ways to supplement a transcript such as a personal interview, resume, portfolio of work, etc.

A transcript can be developed in a variety of ways. It can be written based on the number of hours spent studying a subject, or what has been learned. Some homeschoolers use state guidelines to inform how they write their transcript. Many conventional schools award one semester credit for 90 hours of classwork plus homework. A transcript using this method might have 8 semesters of English, 8 semesters of science, 2 semesters of a foreign language etc.

There are many examples of transcripts online. Remember, tailor the transcript to the goal. Homeschoolers should be prepared to advocate for themselves and be ready to explain just how much work it is to be responsible for creating a personalized educational plan.

If plans include college, entry or re-entry to public school, look at the requirements or record keeping methods of the institution under consideration.  Making the transcript look similar will make it easier for institutions to translate the homeschooler’s experiences into their expectations.

Testing is not required by Wisconsin law. If  standardized tests are taken (PSAT, ACT, SAT, CLEP, SAT – subject tests, etc.), those scores can be listed on the transcript. Test scores do not have to be reported to the state or school district. Some colleges or universities may require standardized testing in lieu of a conventional transcript from an accredited institution.


Returning to school after homeschooling

If a homeschooler wishes to enter or re-enter a conventional high school, the school may or may not accept previous homeschool work as equivalent to credits offered by the high school. If a student wants to homeschool for part of high school and then get a public high school diploma, discuss this with your local high school in advance.

Each school or district will have its own policy regarding the acceptance of credits from non-public schools.


How to connect with other teens?

  • Look for local homeschooling groups.
  • Get a job.
  • Volunteer.
  • Ask a teen librarian.
  • Take a class somewhere.
  • Teach a class somewhere.
  • Join a club.
  • Join a recreational sports team.
  • Look for meet-up groups in your area based on shared interests.
  • Participate in an activity you enjoy.


Homeschoolers in the military

Following is a list of criteria for homeschoolers wishing to join the U.S. Army.  Other branches of the armed forces have similar requirements.

Home-school graduates seeking to enlist in the U.S. Army need to meet the following criteria:

  • Must possess a home-school diploma and submit transcripts at the time of enlistment. The course work must involve parental supervision, the transcript must reflect the normal credit hours per subject used in a traditional high school and the diploma must be issued in compliance with applicable state laws.
  • Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test. The Armed Forces Qualification Test score from the ASVAB will determine enlistment eligibility.
  • Must take the Assessment of Individual Motivation test, which is 20-minute pencil and paper test. The AIM test score is used to obtain data and does not affect qualification for enlistment.
  • At a minimum, the last academic year (9 months) must be completed in a home-school environment.


Do I have to continue filing the PI-1206 once my child turns 18?

While the laws requiring compulsory attendance only apply until your child finishes the last term after turning 18, in order to be legally homeschooling in Wisconsin, you must file a PI-1206.

If your child turns 18 prior to his/her last year of homeschooling you must file the PI-1206 to be legally homeschooling.

This is particularly important if your child wishes to go on to higher education, apprenticeship programs, or jobs requiring a high school diploma.

Having four years of completed PI-1206 forms, one for each year of high school, shows that you have complied with the state homeschooling laws of Wisconsin.

Note: If a homeschooler has not received a diploma and you haven’t filed a PI-1206 the year they are homeschooling and 18 (or older), they could be considered a drop out under Wisconsin Statute sec. 118.153(1)(b)


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