How to Create a Homeschool Transcript

Preparing the Program and Reporting the Necessary Information

homeschool transcript
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As homeschool programs continue to grow in popularity, more and more questions arise about how to ensure that the educational experience of the child is valid respected by future educational institutions, such as colleges or secondary schools. This often means that the validity of the homeschool transcript, in particular, can come into question, and parents who are creating the programs need to make sure that their transcripts contain the necessary information to accurately reflect their child’s mastery of the material.

While homeschool transcripts are, according to state law, considered to be equal to transcripts from public and private institutions, that doesn’t mean that any old transcript will do. Homeschool programs also need to properly address the state requirements for education. If you’re not completing the appropriate course of study, then your transcript isn’t going to help you. It’s important to be able to accurately reflect the course of study taken by your student, as well as how the student performed in her studies.

While this all may seem confusing, it doesn’t have to be. Check out these helpful tips for creating a solid course of study and how to create a formal homeschool transcript.

LEARN ABOUT THE STATE REQUIREMENTS FOR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION

Whether you are considering a traditional classroom experience for middle school, high school, or college, it’s important that you know what your state’s requirements are for graduation.

Your program of study should work towards meeting those goals, and may even provide the opportunity for a student to progress within their studies more quickly than a traditional classroom. The transcript is how you will document the fulfillment of these requirements.

Start by making a list of the courses your child needs to take, and create a plan for when and how these courses will be taught.

This list can be used to start building your transcript. By addressing these core courses early, you have more flexibility when it comes to designing your program. If your child is excelling in math, for example, this could be an opportunity to provide high school level math courses earlier on, starting in middle school. This can be very helpful if you’re looking to transfer into a public or private high school in the future, or even just in preparation for college.

It’s important to regularly check your state’s requirements, as there can be changes year to year, and you don’t want any surprises. If you move, you may find that your new home state doesn't have the same requirements as your previous one. Things you need to determine include:

  1. Years of English (typically 4)

  2. Years of math (typically 3-4)

  3. Years of science (typically 2-3)

  4. Years of history/social studies (typically 3-4)

  5. Years of a second language (typically 3-4)

  6. Years of art (varies)

  7. Years of physical education and/or health (varies)

You also need to determine if there are core courses that your child is expected take, such as U.S. History, World History, Algebra, and Geometry. Literature and composition courses are often required as well.

DETERMINING GRADES WITH ASSESSMENTS

Your transcript needs to include grades, and how you determine those grades is important. As you teach, the program must address the core course requirements, and you should keep accurate records of student performance. By regularly giving quizzes, tests, and graded assignments, you have a way to assess your child’s performance quantitatively, and use those scores to create an average grade that will be used on your transcript. This helps you ensure that you’re adequately assessing skills and mastery, and gives you a way to benchmark progress against performance on standardized tests. If your child takes the SSAT or ISEE or the PSAT, you can compare her grades to the scores. If your student is achieving only average scores on the standardized test but is receiving all A's, educational institutions might see this as a discrepancy or a red flag.

 

MIDDLE SCHOOL VS. HIGH SCHOOL TRANSCRIPTS

When creating a middle school transcript for the purpose of applying to a traditional secondary school, you likely have a little more flexibility than you might with a high school transcript. In some instances, comments can be used, and can even replace having the standard grades, though some schools may be resistant to comment-only transcripts. For private schools, a comment transcript without grades may be accepted, provided that the student excels on the standardized tests for admission, such as the SSAT or ISEE. Showing grades and/or comments for the past 2-3 years may be appropriate, but check with the secondary or middle school you’re applying to, just to be sure, as some may require more than four years of results.

But, when it comes to high school, your format needs to be a bit more official. Be sure to include all the courses the student has taken, credits earned from each and the grades received. Stick to the high school studies; many parents believe that adding in high-achieving results from all courses taken in middle school can be a bonus, but the truth is, colleges only want to see high school level courses. If there are high school level courses taken in the middle school years, you should include them to show that the course was fulfilled appropriately, but only include high school level courses.

INCLUDE THE RELEVANT FACTS

In general, your transcript should include the following information:

  1. Student’s name

  2. Date of birth

  3. Home address

  4. Phone number

  5. Date of graduation

  6. The name of your homeschool

  7. Courses taken and credits earned for each along with the grades received

  8. Total credits and GPA

  9. A grading scale

  10. A place for you to sign and date the transcript

It’s important to note that you should not use the transcript as a place to add details or explanations about grade changes or to explain difficulties in a former school. There is often a place within the school’s application for the parent and/or the student to reflect on past challenges, obstacles they have overcome, and why there may be significant jumps in performance within the transcript.

As for your transcript, try to focus on data. 

Creating an official transcript can be a lot of work, but if you are organized when it comes to your program offerings and diligently track and record your student's progress year to year, creating an effective transcript for your child is easy.