There are two tasks that strike terror in the hearts of many homeschool parents:
1) Planning High School
2) Preparing the High School Transcript
Never fear! I've got a (nearly) magic method for accomplishing both tasks - at ONCE!!
Start at what you think of as "the end." Find and download a free, blank high school homeschool transcript template. They can be found all over the internet, especially searching with Pinterest. There are LOTS of free ones. You do NOT need to pay someone to make a transcript for you. As the kids like to say nowadays, "You've got this!!" This is my personal favorite.
Keep in mind, a transcript is like a resume, it should have a ONE PAGE overview of your student's high school learning, that can be appreciated at a glance.
Found one you like? Good. Open it on your desktop.
I made a rough draft of a template to use for this post, just for illustrative purposes. So, you now you have your open your blank document like this:
|Start with a basic, blank transcript that you can find online free
Do a little research. Find out the "big picture" of what needs to be on the transcript at the end of high school. To do this, follow these steps:
Check your state law, and see if there are specific requirements for homeschool high school graduation. (I have heard that NO states have such a requirement for homeschoolers, but I do not know if this is accurate. Check the laws in your own state to be sure.)
Check your state department of education, and see what the requirements are for public high school graduation.
Double check with your state about their laws (usually on your state's Department of Education website), but here are a couple of handy at-a-glance guides to give you a basic idea:
Check College admission requirements. There are two ways to do this
a) check the requirements of your child's "dream school," usually under the Admissions tab:
For instance, if your child's dream school is Liberty University, you can find this on their website:
Suggested Course Completion
Although we do not require specific high school courses for admission, we recommend completing the following courses to prepare for college success:
- At least 4 years of English
- 2 years of college preparatory mathematics
- 2 years of laboratory science
- 2 years of social science
- 2 years of foreign language
- At least 4 units of elective credits in subjects such as art, music, or drama
and b) check the requirements of the most likely schools in your area - like University of [YourState].
Ohio University strongly recommends that all applicants complete the following college-preparatory high school coursework:
- 4 units of English
- 4 units of mathematics (including Algebra II or above)
- 3 units of science
- 3 units of social studies
- 2 units of foreign language
- 1 unit of visual or performing arts
- 4 additional elective units
Look at all the lists you consulted, and plan to have your student complete requirements to meet them all. So, if your state requires 3 years of Math, but a desired university requires 4, plan for 4. If your child has a gift or a goal in a particular field, be sure to include a full four years of that subject, even if no one asks for it.
If you are a Christian, you'll want to put in credit of Religion each year, for sure.
Then fill in your transcript with a basic projection of how many years you'll do for each subject. This will be in the broadest possible terms, with no specifics. You'll also fill in the column for how many credits each course will award. Then add those numbers up, to make sure you meet or exceed your state & hoped for universities' list of required totals. If your number isn't high enough, write "elective" in more blanks until you reach the required number. Now your document should look like this:
|Fill in broad projections of your total credit goals in each subject
Specific lists vary, but they all follow the above pattern. Usually a "credit" is one year of a high school subject (though I understand that in Idaho, a credit is 1/2 a year, but I digress).
***Different people define 1 credit/1 year differently. It can be done by hours completed - most people estimate 150 to 180 hours as "1 year." Or, it can be done by completing a textbook, a course, or mastering the material of a subject. I prefer the completion/mastery model to the hours model. After all "work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion." I prefer efficiency to dragging work out to fill hours.
Look more closely at the requirements from each source, and see if they say things like, "Math, 4 credits with at least one year of Algebra or Science, 3 credits, with at least one lab science.
If you find these sorts of requirements, go make those alterations to your transcript. Don't worry too much what year you put them in, they can always be moved later.
Now, your transcript should look like this:
As each year comes, decide which versions of the required material you will teach, and what materials, texts, or curriculum you will use, then alter the lines in the transcript with the updated plans. For instance, as you approach the Sophomore year, English 2 might become "One Year Adventure Novel." Math 2 might become "Geometry," Science 2 might become "Biology" etc.
In the middle of 10th grade, the transcript might look like this:
As each term or year finishes, fill in your child's grade for that class.
At the end of four years, average all the grades, and fill in the remaining blanks (like your signature and date) and your transcript is DONE! : )
To average grades:
Assign each A the number 4, each B the number 3, each C the number 2, and each D the number one. If it's a 1/2 credit course, cut that number in half - so an A in a half credit of Health here, would be a 2.
Add up all the numbers.
Divide by your total number of credits.
That's your GPA.
Enjoy your completed Transcript!
So - there you have it! An almost-magic way to prepare your student's transcript at the same time as you plan your student's high school.
(Some colleges and universities require official transcripts to be notarized. if that is the case with your target school, take the document to a notary public, and sign it in front of them, and have them notarize it before sending it in with your application. Many banks and law offices have notaries, and the fee is usually reasonable.)