During enrollment season, we get calls and messages from parents asking about homeschool accreditation. The answer is very simple–NO–for two very simple reasons:
- First, there is no accreditation agency that measures the standards of a classical Catholic study program. (If there was, it would be us.)
- Second (and more importantly), homeschool parents have no need of accreditation.
What is Accreditation?
“Accreditation” is something modern schools use to persuade parents that their program is trustworthy when there’s nothing better for them to trust in. Modern Catholic homeschool programs, for example, can’t appeal to Catholic history because they’re not teaching what the saints studied. They have to offer parents the same thing the local public school has to offer: secular accreditation.
Accreditation is not something parents must seek to teach their own children. Doing so makes no sense at all. As a parent directly managing your children’s education, you need no accreditation from anyone: you’re the one who decides what’s best for your children. You decide what subjects your children study, how your children study them, etc.. That’s a fundamental right of parents, which our country protects. You don’t need “accreditation” from anyone.
Do we need Homeschool accreditation?
First, public education is big business, with billions of dollars of government funding at stake. For schools, to be eligible for government funding, they must obtain accreditation from some outside organization that assures the government that they are managing funds responsibly. This has nothing to do with homeschooling.
Second, because so many children live in unstable families that move around, change schools, and so on, it’s necessary that public schools be “accredited” to be sure that they all maintain the same grade-level standards that allows kids to move in and out of schools all over the place. This has nothing to do with homeschooling.
Third, because modern private schools have no actual curriculum or quality of instruction beyond that which is available at the local public school for free, they sell the same accreditation with fewer bad students to parents for private school tuition. This has nothing to do with homeschooling.
Academically, “accreditation” means absolutely nothing, as you can see by looking through the standards the accreditation agencies measure. It’s not what parents think it is–and schools know that. “Homeschool accreditation” is an oxymoron.
Who Requires Accreditation?
I know that modern homeschool programs will do all they can to convince parents that they need homeschool accreditation, but we can prove that this is absolutely false. I reached out to the admissions offices of the most selective universities to prove this for you.
First, I asked at the Catholic University of America (CUA), the oldest Catholic college in America:
We do not require our homeschooled applicants to be part of an accredited program to attend Catholic U.
Catholic University of America
Next, I asked at Princeton University, an Ivy League school, one of the top universities in the world:
Dear Mr. Michael,
Home school programs do not need to be accredited for us to review an application. Some families will go through a formal accrediting process with their home state but since there are so many ways to pursue home schooling, we do not require the program be accredited.
Office of Admission
Next, I asked at Duke University, one of the most selective private universities in the southeast.
Duke welcomes applications from students who are educated in alternative ways such as homeschooling and online-schooling. Applicants are not required to present proof of accreditation.
Finally, I asked Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT)–because surely a high-tech modern engineering school would require accreditation, right? Wrong. Actually, I asked them, explicitly, “Is it necessary for homeschool students to study in an accredited homeschool program to be eligible for admission to MIT?” Their answer was:
We do not have separate requirements for homeschooled applicants. Homeschooled applicants, like all of our applicants, are considered within their context, which includes schooling choice, family situation, geographic location, resources, opportunities, and challenges. However, we do have some qualities we look for in for homeschooled students, based on successful applicants we have admitted in the past.
We hope this information helps!
So, contrary to what homeschool publishers are trying to sell you, your family does not need any secular “accreditation”.
If the most selective universities in the country tell us that accreditation is NOT necessary for admission why are Catholic homeschool programs making a big deal about accreditation?
The answer is that accreditation is all they have to recommend them–just like any public school.
- They are not teaching the subjects studied throughout Catholic history.
- There is no support for their program foundi n the writings of the saints or doctors of the Church.
- They are not providing anything better than what’s already available in modern schools.
So, they try to sell their program to Catholic parents they know will fall for false warnings about “accreditation”.
You cannot claim to be ignorant any longer: Accreditation is NOT necessary for homeschool students.
Now that I have proven that accreditation should not be something you are concerned about, I recommend you read the article Thinking Rightly about College Admission to learn what colleges actually are looking for, and how you can give your children what they actually need.
William C. Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy
Mr. William C. Michael is the founding headmaster of the Classical Liberal Arts Academy. He graduated from Rutgers University with an honors degree in Classics & Ancient History and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Mr. Michael has worked in private education as a Classics teacher and administrator for over 20 years. He is a Roman Catholic, married to his highschool sweetheart, a homeschooling father of ten children, and keeper of a quiet family farm in North Carolina. Mr. Michael enjoys studying ancient natural philosophy, gardening and running.