Graduation: Creating a Diploma

March 9, 2018
Written by:
Tasha Swearingen

Is it already time to start thinking about graduation? If your homeschooled child is a senior this year, you’re probably starting to see graduation party favors everywhere and loads of commercials advertising appropriate “graduation gifts” (i.e. many car commercials). While a new car may not be in your plans for your graduate, there’s no doubt about it: one thing your graduate cannot do without is that well-earned high school diploma.

Why is a High School Diploma Valuable?

There was a point in time when a GED was “just as good” as a high school diploma. Although the pendulum seems to swing in both directions depending on the decade, in 2018, a high school diploma is regarded as superior to a GED. A GED seems to indicate that a person gave up too soon or didn’t have what it takes to last 13 years (including Kindergarten) in school. While these ideas may just be a matter of opinion, there’s no doubt that a proper high school diploma will pretty much always outweigh the GED.

That said, there’s been an assumption in the past that homeschooled students could only get a GED. This just isn’t true! A parent-issued diploma represents 13 years of hard work in just the same way a school-issued diploma does.

Is a Parent-Issued Diploma Good Enough?

In short, absolutely! While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, most homeschool programs are not “accredited” in the same way a school is. Nonetheless, parent education programs have equal standing as public and private school programs of education. A diploma simply indicates that a person has completed a program of study and has met all requirements for that program of study. As homeschooling families, we obviously set the “standards” in most cases. Because of this, a parent-issued high school diploma is a perfectly acceptable way to graduate your child. Not only are they acceptable, but they’re also legally binding. This is wonderful news for homeschoolers because it means that a parent-issued diploma is enough to qualify a student to apply for federal financial aid.

What Should We Include on a Homeschool Diploma?

In the majority of cases, the “administrator” of the home education program will be the parent(s). Therefore, parents need to be the ones signing the official diploma. But what should go on that diploma?

  • Your homeschool name (this would be the “institution” issuing the diploma)
  • Your student’s name
  • The city and state in which the student graduated
  • The date the diploma was issued
  • Some type of language that indicates that the student has been issued a high school diploma
  • At least one signature from an “administrator” (parent)

How to Create a Homeschool High School Diploma

When you’re ready to create the actual diploma, there are plenty of diploma websites online that offer the ability to use a template you can fill in with your personal information. has created four different professional high school diploma templates for you to print and use. You will probably want to print it out on specialty paper and mount it in a diploma holder or frame. 

Overall, your student’s diploma will signify the completion of your home education program as prescribed by you. It is critical that you include the fact that it’s a high school diploma (as opposed to a “certificate” or random other types of diploma) for the times your student will need to show a copy of the diploma. Frankly, your student can create his or her own diploma. However, that’s probably something best left to the parents to do – after all, it’s nice to present your student with his or her diploma in a ceremonious way!

For more homeschool high school downloads and high school transcript templates visit our How to Homeschool High School section.


Tasha Swearingen

Tasha is a homeschooling mom to 5 and has been homeschooling for 14 years. Currently, her children's ages span from toddler to young adult. Tasha has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Social Sciences from Florida State University and is working on her MBA through SNHU/Berklee School of Music.