To GED or not to GED?

That is the question—at least, in several of the high school homeschool communities that I frequent.      This is an exciting time of year for those that are in the throes of college applications, acceptances, and (financial aid) agreements.    This latter portion—put quite simply,  getting someone else to pay for your child’s education—always leads to discussion about having to meet someone else’s requirements to receive funding.     The discussion about having to meet other’s requirements leads to a number of questions, including:

 

1)      Should we take the SAT and/or the ACT?

2)       Should we plan on taking SAT II’s, and if so, how many and in what subjects?

3)      How do we prepare for the interview/college trip?

4)      From whom do we seek letters of recommendation?

and one that we’ve toyed with for a bit, should we take the GED (general equivalency diploma)?

 

The superhero and I have discussed this and other college entrances hoops an awful lot.   In fact, Barb’s confession of her middle-of-the-night fears (see herewere hauntingly real for me, though I’ll admit that I’ve not had many awake nights of this sort.   Then again, the oldest is only a freshman (smile).   I’ve heard of all sorts of articles from HSLDA and other places about the pros and cons of having a homeschooled student take a GED.   The biggest advantage, from my perspective, is that there are a number of schools who require such a validation, both for entry and/or financial aid.    If that school is your child’s heart’s desire, then you must act as the Romans when in Rome.   GEDs, and SATs and ACTs, for that matter, are considered objective, independent measures of knowledge; for a homeschooler, these assessments help get us out of the realm of what one homeschool loop calls “mommy grades.”   Though I have my doubts about the SAT given all the data about cultural biases, I accept that these are the standards for how colleges try to compare one child’s abilities to another’s.

 

There are also a myriad of reasons not to take a GED.    With all due respect to those who’ve chosen to take it, the prevailing thought is that there is a stigma attached to this particular test.   By design, its primary audience is high school dropouts who need something to say that they have accumulated the equivalent of a high school diploma.   Is a homeschooled student who has worked hard for four years and graduated in the same category?    If you ask the military, the answer is yes.   If you ask certain schools, particularly those in homeschool-unfriendly states, the answer is yes.   If you ask most homeschooling parents, the answer is an adamant NO, with the appropriate amount of blood, sweat, and tears dripping from furrowed brows.     

 

As for us, if the Lord continues to say the same, we will not go the GED route.    Homeschooling is far more common of a practice than it was, say, even 20 years ago, and I like to think the days are gone when the term ‘homeschooling’ makes people look at you as if you have something hanging from your nose.    There are simply too many colleges out there that actively seek out homeschooled kids to deal with jumping with extra hoops.   And admittedly, I’m one of those parents with a furrowed brow who feels as if I’ve worked too hard to lump my kid in with another who chose to quit early.     But there are also other, more paramount reasons that we will seek a college that does not require a homeschooler to complete a GED.   When we began homeschooling, we (my husband and I) started this journey believing that we could do something better than the traditional school system.   We bought into the fact that homeschooling was a viable alternative to what we were being offered.   We still believe that, and we’ll stand proudly with the transcript that we’ve compiled over four tough years.    This has been no cake walk; there have been no free rides, and shame on those who think anything different might be the case.    I’m finding that some outside validation is a plus, so we’ll get it.   The oldest has taken at least one course outside of us to date, and she’ll probably enroll in the local community college to complete dual degree courses.    She will take the standard college prep/ entrance exams.   But as for the GED, we say no, thank you, and we will stay firmly on the path that we believe God paved for us, and we’ll walk in it to whatever doors He chooses to open.    

 

 

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding;

Acknowledge Him in all thy ways, and He shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

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6 comments on “To GED or not to GED?

  1. diamondsintherough says:

    Interesting you should post this about now. My oldest has two years to go. Her goal is to be a wife and mom, with some interests on the side. Not a career. She REALLY wants to take the GED so she can be done with high school and "get on with her life". I am not keen on the GED part of this plan, because I see the GED as THE absolute minimal requirement for graduation, and she is capable of so much more.

    However, we are not meeting the state graduation requirements in our homeschool, choosing rather to spend our time on things that are more relevant and important to our family. So any transcript that I write up for her isn't going to get her into school, anyway, should she change her mind and choose to go. Right now she is not interested. But later she might be. In that case, she will probably be required to take the GED anyway.

    Back to "getting on with her life", she wants to learn how to manage a home — cook, sew, etc. And she wants to learn stuff she is INTERESTED in. (That would not include biology, lol.) I said, "Okay then, what <i>are</i> you interested in? Just about anything you want to learn can be included in 'school'." That is the way I have always wanted it to be, but we aren't there yet, and she is getting closer to graduating… For now I have her writing down everything she does that is "educational", similar to what Lee Binz does. http://www.thehomescholar.com/sample-comprehensive-record.php I have much fretfulness over this topic!

    I went and read harmonyartmom's post. I think I was the one she was conversing with in the night. I just haven't figured out which of us was ME and which was me. lol. Been there!

    (Sorry about all the wind!)Edited by diamondsintherough on Dec. 29, 2009 at 11:49 PM

  2. Anonymous says:

    "I’m one of those parents with a furrowed brow who feels as if I’ve worked too hard to lump my kid in with another who chose to quit early…" sounds prideful to me, maybe rightly so…but yeah, my kid did quit early, like in kindergarten (smile). We plan to get the GED as soon as possible and have his AA or AS from the local community college be his "highschool" diploma…4 years is too long for highschool anyway, from what i have read…

  3. SandBetweenMyToes says:

    Thankfully, here in TN, we are registered through "umbrella schools" (and still retain our freedom), who issue high school diplomas, so we did not have to make that decision. I feel sure, though, that we, too, would have said "no" to the GED. Both of my girls took the ACT, since that is required for most schools. Once your daughter has taken courses at the community college, I believe from all I have heard, that that alone will make transfering to a higher level college much easier.
    Thanks for stopping in to check on me. I think you must inspire me, because every time you stop and leave a comment, I get my act together and blog that day! LOL! Thanks for not forgetting me!!
    I pray God blesses your family abundantly in 2010!
    Letitia

  4. ThreeLittleLadies says:

    I am enjoying still not having to think of my dd's end of the road preparation. It is good to read your thoughts on it and to make me start thinking…

    God bless you as you continue your holiday season.
    Carol

  5. SongOfTheSagebrush says:

    Good things to think about…I haven't decided one way or another how we'll approach the various validations…I suspect it will vary from child to child, based upon their individual dreams and goals. Eldest is a junior this year, but has no sure direction as to the next step…but those considerations are surely close at hand!

    On another note, wanted to wish you a blessed new year!

  6. jenn4him says:

    This is a great post. I need to start getting ready for the high school years. Happy 2010!
    Jenn

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