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Homeschooler: They Say a GED Prevents Success...

In my youth excellence class (TeamEagleRevolution.com) one of the students asked a question during our discussion over chapter 7 of the 48 Days workbook. Since we were talking about resumes, this homeschooling student shared her concern over the fact that she would graduate high school with "only a GED." She asked if it was true, because others had told her, that she would not be let into beauty schools or allowed to get a high paying job because the companies would see her GED as a lack of education.

I told her that she they were absolutely right! If a person "only gets a GED" and thinks that it will prevent them from the job of their dreams, then they will never get that job. 

But then I asked her what would matter to her if she was hiring? To see an applicant who dropped off a resume referencing an education from the esteemed public school system, or to see someone apply for a job, who had gotten her GED at age 17, and was performing a creative job search.

To tell the truth, I got angry at the idea that people advised her to think she couldn't succeed. I look forward to telling her something I just remembered today: Dan Miller's family practiced homeschooling, and I don't see failure there.

What would you tell this girl who has big dreams, but has this bad input in her life? Would you not hire someone with a GED at age 17 and a great attitude? I'll pass on your advice and thoughts to her.


Bryan Hart

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There is a negative stigma attached to the GED.  You may not feel that way, and I may not either, but I've seen it and some simple searches online will reveal the way that many people see it.  They don't see a person with a GED as a person that was home-schooled and successful, they see a person that dropped out of high school (often that is because of behavioral issues, family problems, poor performance, etc.) and that barely scraped by.  Are the high schools always teeming with students that achieve success?  Not necessarily.  But that is the perceived "norm", and when you deviate from that, especially in a direction perceived in a negative light by many, it "could" be a problem.  That doesn't mean that it will, and if a prospective employer meets this person and they knock their socks off with a great presentation, they can certainly overcome it.  However, I would think that it would be naive to think that there isn't a negative stigma attached.  

I'm glad that Dan's kids were home-schooled (if that is the case) and successful in life.  That's a beautiful thing, and I know that there are others out there.  However, I grew up around a number of home-schooled kids, and most were far behind academically.  Some got their GED, some didn't even do that.  My mom home-schooled one of my brothers, and is now doing the same with my sister.  My wife was home-schooled, as well as some of her sisters.  Suffice it to say that none of them took education seriously in that environment, and I had to push my wife to at least go get her GED, and tutor her through that process at the time.  

I'll personally believe that home-schooling can be advantageous if the person doing the schooling can teach effectively.  However, just as we can't just walk in off the street and teach in a traditional school because we aren't "qualified", many that try to teach at home aren't either.  Kids often struggle to develop relational intelligence too, because some are quite sheltered from their peers in the process.

Anyway, sorry to go astray, but there is a definite stigma to overcome with the GED, but that doesn't mean that your student can't.  It just may take a little extra something to overcome it, potentially.

You are right, that a GED can be seen negatively.

However, if she sees it as a roadblock that cannot be overcome, she is sunk before she leaves port. This is my main concern.

She, like all of us, can allow circumstances that can be seen as negative to box us in, or we can use these roadblocks as advantages. We don't need a naive, "Who cares!" attitude; we need one of determination towards a worthwhile goal.

Thanks for the feedback!

Either the homeschool diploma or the GED can be positioned negatively...or positively.

A troubled youth can be taken down the path of either as an alternative to dropping out.

An extremely intelligent, creative, and enlightened youth can be led down either path also.

You have to do more than flash a piece of paper to gain attention in today's job market.

That said, there are alternatives to the GED route for homeschoolers in many states.

HSLDA is a possible resource for her.

I'd tell her to make sure her resume says "Homeschool GED" and highlights all her great attributes. Then I'd probably mention that colleges actively recruit homeschoolers. With anyone with half a brain, the GED stigma disappears with the homeschool moniker attached. If a recruiter looks at a homeschooler's resume and just sees 'GED' and rejects it, you're better off not wasting your time with them.


I teach in a public school I don't see a difference in a GED and a 'traditional' high school diploma.  Chris is spot on when he says in job applications and the like you just write 'high school diploma' and '4 years' for however long you took to get it.  The only downside I see with homeschoolers who come into high school is that some of them aren't as socially adjusted as their peers, but that doesn't sound like your girl their has that problem.

I had a chat with my juniors the other day and I told them to major in whatever made them happy.  If they wanted to study underwater basketweaving because they enjoyed it than they should just GO FOR IT.  I majored in French and even got a master's in it.  Is it marketable?  Not really.  Did I love every second of studying it?  Yes.  I don't see any reason this bright young lady should let homeschooling or a GED be a roadblock in a promising future!


This isn't intended to be confrontational.  A serious question.  Could it be that some of the "not socially adjusted" stigma has to do with these home school kids being tossed into a the current culture.  A bit like taking a kid off the farm and tossing them into Southern California?

I do realize that some home school kids are sheltered but I wonder if it isn't just as much culture shock.

Your thoughts?


I know you weren't asking me, but I hope you don't mind my adding my two cents here. I always crack up at the 'unsocialized' label applied to homeschoolers. In my experience doing college ministry at a large state university with primarily students that were products of public schools, many of them were confused about morality and had very little idea of a purpose or vision for their lives and seemed to struggle maintaining eye contact when conversing with an adult. Most of the homeschoolers I know are the opposite of what I just described in high school or even junior high. I suggest that we, as a society, reconsider our idea of "socialization". If it's what the public school system has to offer, I say thank God for the unsocialized.

I have been teaching public school for 6 years now.  Every single student I taught with homeschooling background had problems adjusting.  The OP solicited feedback and I gave it based off my experiences.

No problem, Annie. I'm just offering my perspective. I come off a little over-zealous sometimes. I feel like homeschoolers still get a bum rap from most of our culture. I hope I didn't offend too much. I've seen some homeschoolers jump into public or private school and have trouble adjusting to that system of education, but from my perspective, that's not really a bad thing. 

Understood. I wasn't denying they have an adjustment issue,  I was just trying to get your opinion on the cause.  I've known some HS's that were quite successful.  My good friends Homeschooled son started out doing oil changes and within a few years was managing the whole muliti-million dollar business.

I was postulation that it could be that these kids have culture shock being fully exposed to what passes for modern societal culture.

Many can have culture shock. It is up to parents to prepare their HS kids to know what to expect. However, I don't believe homeschoolers have to experience peer drug use, sexual harassment, heavy forms of bullying, etc. for themselves in order to expect these sorts of things in their lives after highschool.

On that issue, I wonder what the primary reasons a student goes from homeschooling to public primary/highschooling. 

Overall, there are negatives on both sides. But as long as homeschool parents are proactive in helping create positive social experiences and opportunities to work with plenty of good adults as mentors, then I believe that difficulty is taken care of (excellent use of a preposition at the end of a sentence by the way...). My social experience in school was not positive though, that is why we have chosen to homeschool. 

It is a tough cultural decision, and anyone who chooses needs to do a good amount of study on both sides of the issue.


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