DO NOT FEAR the high school transcript.

Are you thinking about homeschooling through high school? One reason people stop homeschooling at this point is fear of the transcript. I am about to erase all those fears. YOU can create a great transcript with or for your student.

Parents sometimes forget, or never really realize, that they are the ones in charge of their child’s education when homeschooling. This means that you (or your child) decide what they will study and what the graduation requirements are for them. I know one family whose student had to build a tiny home to graduate from their homeschool. Unless your student has an after-graduation plan with specific entrance requirements, you are in charge of setting this standard.

Now that we have cleared this up, it is helpful to note that colleges, scholarships, and employers are accustomed to the idea and format of a transcript. Aside from sharing this with others, it is also a wonderful record for your student to remember what they studied in their high school years. I am going to share my easy-peasy steps to create a great high school transcript for your students. (Don’t worry, we even have a convenient cheat sheet to remind you of the steps.)

the easy-peasy steps to creating high school transcripts

  1. Start a file folder and label it, “Johnny’s Transcript Info.”
  2. Every time your child does anything you think might be high school-level work, write a brief description of this class, project, course, field trip, etc. on a sticky note and put it in the file folder. Pro tip: If you can add an estimate of the number of hours spent on this item it will help you later. NOTE: You may include things no matter your child’s age. If they are 10 and doing a high school level project it goes into the transcript.
  3. At some point, start a spreadsheet or document to track and calculate this information. Lee Binz of The Home Scholar offers an inexpensive class and transcript template that will save you the trouble of starting from scratch. Another source if you’d like a little bit of assistance is Homeschool Legal Defense Association HSLDA.

4. Here are the items you will want to include on the transcript:

  • State that it is a “High School Transcript”
  • School section:
    • Name of your homeschool
    • Name of parent(s)
    • Address of parents
    • Phone number
    • Email address
  • Student section:
    • Student’s name
    • Student address
    • Date of graduation
    • GPA
  • Courses section:
    • A list in chronological order of all courses including grade and number of credits (We will talk about this in a moment.)
    • Some transcripts list the year a course is completed. Some simply designate 9th grade, 10th grade, etc.
  • Summary section:
    • Cumulative credits and GPA.
    • Signature of School Official (parent)
    • Date transcript issued

5. Optional items to include if you have room:

  • Table of your grading scale
  • A brief list of awards and activities
  • A section to note anything pertinent about your student ie. Type of curriculum or schooling or focus.

6. Optional addendum:

  • We chose to add a course description sheet due to the interesting nature of some of the classes my students chose to pursue.
  • This sheet started with an explanation of our homeschool graduation requirements to give the person reviewing the transcript a better idea of the unique nature of the student’s education and how they clearly met the expectations. (Graduation Goals for Your Homeschool Students)

putting the homeschool high school transcript all together

Whether you wait until your student is nearly done with high school and applying to colleges, or you enter every course as they finish it, this step involves simply filling in the transcript. List the courses in chronological order by name then show the grade and how many credits the course was worth.

Traditionally 120 hours worth of work constitutes 1 high school credit. Again, as the administrator of your homeschool, it is up to you to determine what is one hour’s worth of work. Every student is different and some students can complete an hour’s worth of work in 10 minutes consistently, others may take 2 hours. You know your student, make your best estimate.

The next thing to determine is the amount of effort your student put forth or in transcript language, what grade you will assign for each course. With the credits and a grade for each course for an academic year, you are ready to calculate the GPA.

calculating your student’s GPA

First, decide on your grade points. Most schools use the following scale: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0. Next, determine the number of credits for a class and multiply this by the numerical grade equivalent. For example: If my student took History for 2 credits and got a B the total for that class would be 6 points.

After you have completed this step for each class, add these numbers together for the academic year for the current year’s GPA or for the entire high school career for a cumulative GPA.

The final step is to divide this total number by the total number or credits. Here is an example to hopefully make this easy:

The total number of credits required for graduation differs from state to state. Again, you are in charge of your high school requirements. I chose to note in the optional section of my kids transcripts that they were required to have 24 credits to graduate. Due to diverse interests and their love for learning all of my students so far have exceeded my minimum credit requirement.

The biggest message I want you to walk away from this article with is this: You are in charge of your student’s education and you can create a great transcript for them. You’ve gotten them this far, help them finish well!

PS: You are the person who writes and signs their high school diploma too!

NOTE: Some families choose to use a service for both the transcript and the diploma or to utilize a public or private school or organization to provide credibility to their child’s education. There is nothing wrong with this, however, it is unnecessary. Many colleges and employers actively seek homeschooled students and your documentation is exactly what they want to learn about your unique child.

Download the Homeschool High School Transcript Cheat Sheet.

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