October 27, 2009

How to Prepare a High School Transcript for Homeschoolers

Here is an excellent resource that will answer most of your questions. In my boiled down style, here you go:

1. Assume your child will go to college.

2. Find out what high school courses colleges in your state require for admission. Just do an internet search for a nearby college and check their admissions pages.

3. On a practice transcript copy, write out those courses over the four years. If a college says they want four years of English, call your high school courses English I, English II, English III and English IV.

4. Every year, make sure your student is doing things and reading material that correspond to those required courses. Keep notes and a file folder full of proof.

5. Your child will be doing much more than the required courses, and those will be "electives" or extra courses that every high school offers. To get ideas for what to call those courses, check out public high school websites. They often have a course catalog online.  Giving public school names to your homeschooling classes can make things easier on your admissions officer.

6. Give normal A, B, C grades. See the resource I linked to at the beginning for a very helpful explanation of grading and assigning credit.

7. Keep each semester to six or seven classes. That's the normal load. Our local public school has seven class periods, and a student can take study hall, so that's really six classes.

8. Any learning or time spent on useful things that go beyond the six or seven transcript-able classes should be listed as extra curricular activities. It's amazing how long this can be. Think through any volunteer work, pay jobs, music classes, sports, clubs, obsessions...

9. And don't forget to take the ACT and/or the SAT. You can take them as many times as you want, beginning at any age. Every SAT score will be sent to colleges, but you get to pick which ACT score to send, so keep that in mind. Also, some schools will limit how long a score is valid. In other words, they probably won't accept a score your child got five years ago. Here's the ACT site, and here's the SAT site. You can pick your testing location, sign up, and pay online.

That's all I can think of right now! Homeschooling high school can be a lot of fun, giving your child a chance to explore and mature without all the high school drama. :)

My transcript blank is here.


Lori said...

This is so very helpful! Thank you!! My daughter is starting ninth grade, and, although I have always kept fairly good records, I had wondering about how important her high school records would be. This gives me some useful info, and it comes just as I am getting her curriculum and standards set for the year.

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Carol Hepburn. Ph.D. said...

I stressed over preparing a transcript, and then finally decided to create a very generic one (even though we used non-standard curriculum). My son was accepted into our community college on his placement tests scores alone. He received a scholarship for scoring so high, and is able to go for two years for free (with a 3.2 GPA or better). He has yet to take the ACT, but will do so this April. He plans to transfer to a four-year school once he decides on a major. Your advice is right on the money, generic and standard is what colleges want to see. I put all those extras we did as part of our home school program under extra-curricular. It worked and gave my son the "look" of an outstanding student (which IMHO he already was! LOL!) Good luck!

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