Homeschool Transcripts and Diplomas may seem like a fearful thing to you. And you are not alone. These types of documents can seem so official to be beyond us home schooling moms. But they are not! At first I was a bit fearful of creating the almighty transcript. I found out it is not as difficult as it may seem.
Transcripts are a one or two page document that has basic information on your student, the subjects he has studied during high school, the activities he participated in and testing that he has taken.
There is not a one size fits all transcript form. If you look at several samples they will all have slightly different formatting but will include the same basic information. I'd recommend using a template and adapting it to your needs. Why reinvent the wheel? Keep it simple, short, neat and official.
Here are two blank homeschool transcripts that you are welcome to use or adapt.
Your homeschool transcripts should state the obvious... that it is an "official high school transcript". Use the word official. Silly I know... but I've read that for whatever reason if you CALL it official... it makes it more official.
Include basic information on your student and school. Students full name, date of birth, address, school name. I've also read that you should include the students Social Security Number... I rebelled and did not include it. Later if someone requests it, I can provide it. I just had a wild hair and did not want to include it. So I didn't. You can choose to include it or not.
On my oldest sons homeschool transcript I did not include a start date for each class. I only included a completion date. He chose to enter the military after high school. This was the only change request the army had for our transcript. That it have both start and end dates on each class. Otherwise his records were accepted with no problems. You may consider including that information from the beginning.
The main body of your homeschool transcripts will have the academic records. This is the class information. You may format your class information one of two ways. By year... ie, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and the classes and credits completed for each of those years.
By topic or subject. Have sections for all English credits and another for all Math, another for all Science... etc. This format is fantastic if your sons classes don't always coincide with school years. We run a rather non traditional and more relaxed homeschool. Most of our classes end up either beginning or ending in the middle of school years or some even stretch out over several years.
Organizing according to subject keeps things orderly without being dependant on dates.
Along with each class include the grade achieved, credits awarded and a GPA. (ahg GPA... more on that later, note I did not do a GPA for my homeschool graduate) You should also include a completed date.
I should note here that I've seen two recommendations regarding naming your classes.
My personal opinion on this is that the title should be descriptive enough to give an idea of what the class was about but keep it to a few words. English 1 2 and 3 says nothing about what your student studied.
If your student was ultra focused on a specific type of literature, include that in the title in some way. I read of a student that had English classes in Appalachian literature. That would be enlightening of her interests and much more informative than English II.
One of my current highschool sons enjoys the author GA Henty. I may give him some essay assignments regarding these books and then pull all those studies into a single Historical Literature course for his homeschool transcripts. Delight directed studies are the BEST! I love em.
Your homeschool transcripts should also include a short description of how credits and grades are earned.
For our homeschool a credit is awarded in 2 ways. First, if a traditional graded highschool level text book is completed and passed, the credit is earned. It does not matter how long it takes to complete. Half a year to complete the book.. one credit, two years to complete the book... one credit.
Secondly, if 120 hours of interest led study in a topic are completed, a credit is earned.
Our grading system is a traditional percentage system. And I don't accept anything less than a B grade for our at home classes. Most important to note... not everything was graded. Some of our classes are simply pass or fail courses.
Pass / Fail Courses
I also chose to include a course source section on our home school transcripts. These are numerical codes for those credits that were achieved through outside sources.
For example tutoring or co-op classes. I'd simply add a number next to the class name in the academic record portion and then explain the source at the bottom of the page. For example my son took a co-op class for composition one year. I'd put a small 1 next to the class name and then mark down that this class was a co-op class and the teachers name. If there was a tutor involved I'd include the name of the tutor.
We have a second page for extra curricular activities and work experiences. I include this on the backside of page one in order to keep it to one sheet.
Each activity is recorded according to dates and includes a very brief description.
The final section is a place to record test scores. Include here any state testing, ACT scores or SAT scores.
Finally the signatures. If you are awarding this transcript, YOU get to sign it. I figure Parent Educator sounds more official than mom and dad. :0) Add a line about the transcript being official with the signatures and....
This transcript is official!
Just starting out home schooling high school? Try this, print up blank homeschool transcripts when your student is in 8th grade. Why 8th grade? Many homeschooling 8th graders are completing some coursework that can be counted towards high school.
Keep this unofficial transcript handy. Each year as your child completes a credit, write all the information into the transcript. Each time he takes part in extra curricular activities add it to your transcript. You will be able to see your transcript being filled in as you go. This can be very motivating to both to you and your student.
I'd suggest using a transcript organized to subject and not grade levels. This can always be changed later if you prefer, but for this unofficial purpose it is more flexible.
There are many resources that can help you through this process. If your child is intending on applying to a specific college and you are uneasy about your abilities to do this. I'd recommend investing in some of these resources. It really can be done by yourself... but your peace of mind is worth spending a bit of money.
Check out the Home Scholar. Lee Bintz gives personal consultations as well as many resources for homeschooling high school. I have not used her services or read her books but I have read her blog and articles and she offers much information for preparing for college. Even if you only read her blog you will gain lots of insight! And Peace... we all love peace!
For a relaxed delight directed homeschool, I can't say enough about Senior High a Home-Designed Form+U+la, by Barb Shelton. Barb has a very chatty style1 of writing that is easy to read. It is FULL of information, forms and encouragement on how to translate your relaxed high school activities into classes. You can't miss here.
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