One of the biggest points of concern for homeschoolers who continue to home school through the high school years is how to write a transcript. The first step in writing a home school transcript comes in planning the courses which will be recorded on that transcript. Once you know what is needed to make a transcript that will cause colleges to take notice, it is mostly a matter of keeping good records.
Start planning early. [Free High School Planning Sheet] I know I heard this advice, but didn't really pay it much attention. Then my son was suddenly in high school and I realized I should have taken a closer look at this transcript thing before I planned his first year of classes. As I was planning out his final year, I realized why it is useful to plan all four years from the beginning. After three very heavy years, there wasn't much left to study. (An easy senior year is a big transcript "no-no", but my son has opted to go directly into the workforce so I get a free pass this time.)
Find out what your state requires. [VA High School Planning Sheet] (Do a search for your state's department of education website.) Our state has a religious exemption which allows parents to home school using their own choice of curriculum and to set their own requirements for graduation. However, knowing that colleges are more than likely going to compare my children's transcripts to those of other children from our state, I have used our state's graduation requirements as an outline for our high school program. (Homeschoolers who live in states with stricter laws will also need to research what their legal requirements are for graduation.) But keep in mind that, though you want your child's transcript to be noticed by colleges, your most important role is to equip your son or daughter for life. Make sure you are giving them the education that is right for them, not just one that looks good on paper.
Remember to write everything down. Don't assume that you will remember everything you have studied when the time finally comes to fill out the transcript. Also keep track of the extra activities and learning your children do outside of the "classroom." Check out the course descriptions of classes being offered at local high schools. This will give you an idea of things your children may already be doing which could be used for credit as electives. I don't believe in making up classes just to fill a transcript. However, I do think it is proper to give my students the credits they have earned.
Here are a few links to get you started writing your child's home school transcript:
- Homeschool Transcripts by Cindy Downes
- Homeschool Highschool Transcript Template and Tips
- PEAH's Free Homeschool Transcript Template
- Homeschool High School Transcript Template