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Mom Has No Diploma -- Can She Homeschool Me?

Homeschooling Expert Advice from Isabel Shaw

Q: I'm 16 years old, in tenth grade, and am badly harassed in school. My mom and I have talked about homeschooling, but she doesn't have a diploma, because she got pregnant and had to drop out. Do you need a diploma to homeschool your own child?

A: Many teens in your position have left school and successfully completed their education. You must read a book that has changed the lives of many teens in your shoes: The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn. Her second book is even more powerful: Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School. I think these books will help you sort things out.

Your mom does not need a degree. Did you know that in nationwide tests, homeschoolers consistently scored well above their schooled peers? The test scores revealed that the level of a parent's formal education had nothing to do with a child's test results. The scores were consistently high — whether the parent had never finished high school or had attained an advanced college degree!

First, you must check the homeschooling laws in your state. I would also find a support group (other homeschooling families) to help you get started.

Support Groups and homeschooling laws for every state

Cafi Cohen is a woman who has successfully homeschooled her teenage children. She has lots of info for you and your mom to share about homeschooling during the teen years:

Here are some sites by other teenagers that might also help you:

Good luck!

More on: Expert Advice

Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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