High School Transcript for the Homeschooler

Telling a parent of a homeschooled teen that they need to prepare a high school transcript can be equivalent to yelling ‘fire!’ in a movie theater – panic ensues. While a high school transcript may be a necessity, it is not impossible, and can be quite easy if you keep good records as your child progresses. The goal of a high school transcript is to communicate what your homeschool student has learned and achieved that prepares them for college and life.

Who decides when your child graduates high school?

It is the responsibility of the educational entity (the home-schooling parent) to certify the student’s status as a graduate. If you have used a correspondence program, that institution is responsible for grades and will issue transcripts and diplomas, but otherwise, you are pretty much on your own.

Why bother with a high school transcript?

Most colleges now require a high school transcript from homeschool students. Even if your student is not college-bound, creating a complete high school transcript is important for employer screening, joining the military, good driver insurance discounts, and eliminating the need for a GED to prove high school education.

When and how do you prepare a high school transcript?

Keeping track of information needed for a complete transcript can be a challenge, especially if you wait until your student’s senior year and try to wing it. Starting in 9th grade, begin preparing a transcript as your student progresses, keeping accurate records of books read and curriculum used in each course along with a brief description of each course and your student’s grades. The courses your homeschooler completes should be aptly named like courses offered in accredited public and private schools in order to standardize the learning requirement: Biology, Algebra, English 1...

Do non college prep courses count?

Some courses that can count for high school credit may fall under the category of life skills: woodworking or shop, gardening, nutrition, cooking or culinary, computer, and auto mechanics. Anyone looking at the transcript should be able to easily recognize the course as a legitimate high school level course and have some idea of what was taught; hence a short course description is necessary. Check online with public and private accredited high schools and curriculum for sale online to see what is taught in accepted standardized courses such as home economics or child development. Then, see what skills your student has learned that would qualify for legitimate high school courses. If you did not use a curriculum, select a few books that apply, have your student read them, and then list these on the transcript in your brief course description.

Colleges require certain college prep courses. The rest are considered electives. Contact colleges to see what they require. The earlier you contact them, the better. Many colleges and universities have different requirements for homeschooled students.

Your transcript should include:

  • Identification info: Student’s name, address, school name (if applicable), phone number, gender, birth date, person to contact and phone number (usually Mom or Dad’s info).
  • List of courses, by year, and the corresponding grade (either by semester or by year). Include a short course description when the course is not a required course such as Biology.
  • Credit awarded for each high school level course completed: You should award either 1 or ½ credit for each course; give 1 credit for a 1 year course and give ½ (.5) of a credit for a 1 semester course.
  • GPA (see how to calculate GPA)
  • PSAT/SAT scores and/or ACT score and any other state proficiency exams
  • Graduation date
  • Parent’s signature and date
  • Optional: Include extracurricular activities, scholastic clubs, and awards.

If you need an example, there are many samples on formatting a high school transcript across the web. The important thing is to list courses clearly and concisely and make it easy to understand your child’s high school learning without further explanation required.

Keep records beyond the high school transcript.

Keep records of anything that may benefit an “audit” of your child’s high school career. This information comes in handy for college entrance and for possible scholarships.

  • Work samples, test results (evaluations or report cards?)
  • Resources: curriculum and other books used
  • Any kind of sports and other activities
  • Jobs held consistently for pay (show responsibility and maturity): babysitting, pet sitting, grocery store, yard work…
  • Recommendations from club directors or employers
  • Community involvement, even church involvement, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts
  • Leadership roles or offices they had such as being a club secretary or president
  • Awards or special recognition received

Find more information about homeschool high school transcripts: http://www.hslda.org/docs/hshb/59/hshbwk3.asp

Hopefully, the panic has left and you are feeling a little more comfortable in creating a professional transcript for your homeschooled teen – one you can happily provide anyone who may ask because it competently and accurately reflects your teen’s high school academics.

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