Last week in Planning the High School Years Part 1, we talked about how important it is to plan out the courses your child wishes to take over the 4 high school years. Today, we are going to delve into the world of high school transcripts and record keeping. I think this may be the part that scares a lot of homeschooling parents; the thought of having to keep records that will have such an influence on their child’s educational future is intimidating. However, taking it step by step will make it easier.
Many of you may already have to keep detailed homeschooling records; many states require them. If you fall into that category, the record keeping portion of homeschooling high school should be a breeze for you. As a Texas resident, I don’t keep any records at all, and this area has given me a little bit of anxiety! But, like I said, we’re doing this together.
So what do we need to keep records of? First of all, you need to track the classes your child takes each year, as well as how many credits they are. Remember, a credit generally is 120 hours of instruction time, which equals out to 40 minutes each day for 180 days. So a full year course would be one credit, while a 1/2 year course would be 1/2 a credit. You can get some help with your transcripts too.
It’s also a good idea to keep a journal of sorts, tracking the activities and time for each class. Why? For several reasons. First of all, it can serve as a reminder as to what you’ve already covered in that class. Secondly, it can give you an idea of your child’s strengths and weaknesses. It can also clue you in on some great things to include in their portfolio! And of course, since we are homeschooling, it’s possible that a 1 credit class can be finished in less than 180 days; perhaps there are days where your student will work for 1-1/2 hours on one subject. Keeping track of their time will let you keep a more accurate count of their credits.
Keeping track of activities that your child does outside of school is just as important as the classes themselves. Things like scouts, sports, church mission trips, and volunteering should all be included in college transcripts. If your child received any awards, special honors or recognition for any activities, those will look great on a college transcript, so be sure to keep a record of these as well.
Planning Your Transcript
Now you have a plan for day to day record keeping, and you know that you should be keeping track of any activities outside of school, as well as any recognitions your child earns. That sounds like a lot of work! What exactly needs to be in the transcript itself??
At the very least, a transcript should include the following:
- Student name;
- The courses taken each year;
- Credits per course & total;
- college prep test scores (PSAT’s, SAT’s, etc);
- graduation date;
- your (the parent’s) signature.
If your child did any dual credit courses at a local university, include those on there as well. Remember that the transcript is one of the biggest “selling points” to recommend your child to the colleges. You can also include your child’s extracurricular activities, honors and awards, and descriptions of the courses taken. Donna Young has a few great sample high school transcript files for you to try out.
I really like the high school transcript template offered by Pros & Cons of Homeschooling. I like it because it’s simple, and looks professional. Let’s Homeschool High School also offers a great professional transcript template.
Next time we’re going to cover the high school portfolio, so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and blog so you don’t miss a post!
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