Before you can start homeschooling, there are lots of options to sift through. The decision of whether to take the route of Accredited or Independent Study is one of many that every homeschool parent has to make. There are benefits to both programs. Let’s break it down.
What’s the difference?
Homeschool accreditation is a way to ensure your child’s education and schoolwork is being evaluated against a set of established standards. Abeka’s Accredited Program is only offered for Abeka Academy students. It helps parents keep track of their child’s progress by reviewing and grading their work and providing official documents such as report cards, transcripts, and a diploma upon graduation. In some situations, choosing accredited will help you meet state or college-entry requirements more easily.
Your second option is Abeka’s Independent Study program. Homeschool families who choose Independent Study through Abeka will still receive all the materials and videos needed to homeschool, but they will have more flexibility over schedules, reports, and deadlines associated with their child’s education.
How the Accredited option works
If you decide to use Abeka’s Accredited program, you will have to make sure your child watches all video lessons and stays on a predetermined schedule. For some subjects and grades, your child will be required to call into Abeka for an evaluation. You’ll also be required to send tests and quizzes periodically for evaluation and return required course work within 6–12 months of your start date. Keeping up with all of this might sound overwhelming, but don’t worry—Abeka provides all the necessary materials to submit everything successfully, including an easy-to-use, online dashboard with important due dates, test dates, and quiz dates.
How Independent Study Works
You have a lot of options if you choose Independent Study. You’re not required to submit anything to Abeka and you have the freedom to create a schedule that works best for your family; however, you will be responsible for keeping track of your child’s studies, grades, and other necessary documents, and you will still need to finish within 12 months of enrollment. An Independent Study enrollment is a flexible option that’s ideal for a family who prefers less structure and more autonomy. Parents who have children with learning differences may choose Abeka’s Independent Study Program so they can add extra time for their child to learn specific concepts. Some families prefer to homeschool year-round and take breaks to travel throughout, so having flexibility is critical. We highly recommend researching your state’s regulations to be sure you’re following the rules and guidelines for homeschooling your children, no matter which option you choose.
How do I choose?
The beauty of homeschool is that you can do what is best for your family. What works for one family isn’t necessarily going to work best for you, so try not to compare your situation to others. Think about your lifestyle and your child’s needs. Does structure work well for your family? Or do you thrive in a more flexible environment? Consider whether certain subjects pose a challenge or may take extra time. Pray about it, and if you still have questions, call or email us. We will do our best to help.
What’s the price difference?
There isn’t one! With Accredited and Independent Study, you get the same textbooks and the same lessons for the same price.
Does this just apply for Abeka Academy? What if I’m doing Parent-Led?
You can only do the Accredited Program for full-grade, full-year Abeka Academy (online streaming or DVD video lessons), for one semester enrollments or for individual courses in grades 9-12.
Can you switch between Accredited and Independent Study at any time?
This is a decision you’ll have to make at the time of initial enrollment. You can switch for free within the first 30 days. After that, you’ll have to contact customer service for details on switching fees. However, you’ll have the option to switch when you enroll for the next school year.
What about college?
In some situations, the Accredited Program makes it easier to meet college requirements. However, there are colleges who will recognize Independent Study—just be sure to keep records of projects/tests showing progress, courses taken, days spent schooling, extracurricular activities, and grades. We recommend that you have your child take the ACT or SAT since it’s required by most colleges.
Does where I live have anything to do with it?
Different states have different rules and regulations when it comes to homeschooling. We recommend researching ahead of time and make sure you’re complying with the education laws where you live. HSLDA is an excellent resource when it comes to state homeschool regulations. No matter the laws for your state, it’s extremely important to keep records of your child’s schooling.
If you have any questions regarding our Accredited and Independent Study Program, feel free to contact us.