by Colene Lewis
Producing a homeschool high school transcript is more important than ever. Not only is it an encouraging synopsis of your student’s high school years, and not only is it necessary to apply for college, but now it is extremely helpful for applying to work for all state governmental agencies. Because of the AFHE bill passed in 2017, Arizona HB 2389, all state governmental agencies will be accepting homeschool transcripts without needing an accompanying GED. Arizona really is one of the very best states in which to homeschool, thanks in great part to the work Arizona Families for Home Education has done since 1983.
It is imperative that we provide honest, comprehensive, and clear transcripts. While being scrupulously honest, you want to highlight your student in the best light possible. This article is to help you develop just such a transcript.
If you are starting or in the midst of high school, you will want to think through what you think are the minimum requirements for you to award your student a diploma. This is the traditional standard for a high school diploma.
|4 years of English||2 years of foreign language|
|2-3 years of social studies|
4 is better
|1 year of fine arts|
2 is better
|3 years of lab sciences||About 8 electives (PE, etc.)|
|3 years of mathematics|
If your child is not college bound, you might not need the foreign language, and the math can include consumer math or business math. If the students are college bound, they need to look at the requirements for the specific colleges they are considering.
It is imperative that your transcript is an honest evaluation. If you lack any of these suggested classes, you may still be able to get into a college, but might have a “deficiency” that might require either a certain SAT/ACT/CLEP score or a class at the community college. Of note: I encourage all homeschoolers to prepare your student for college, even if they think they do not want to attend. A good high school education is never a waste, and your student might change their mind when they are older.
Carnegie credits measure the work accomplished
One Carnegie Unit typically indicates 150 hours of classroom work plus additional time in homework. This classroom work averages to 50 minutes for five days for 36 weeks. One half Carnegie Unit (or 0.5) indicates 75 hours of classroom work which can be in one semester, or averaged out over the year. Students should only have about six Carnegie units per year. If you add more than that you are saying your child did more than six hours of school per day, with additional time in homework. Tutoring (rather than classroom lecture) and student reading/studying typically takes less time, and so the homeschool student may be able to accomplish more learning than you will be able to indicate on your transcript. We need to be honest with the transcripts as well as communicate the student’s accomplishments in a way that others will understand.
Most schools and employers would like a one page transcript.
It is important to be consistent and honest with your grading. Traditional teachers do give partial credit. For instance, if the student knew how to do a problem, and made a simple calculation error at the end, he might be awarded half or even ¾ credit for the answer. Some teachers throw out the low exam (if there are multiple tests), and many homeschool teachers and “mastery” teachers will reteach the chapter and provide a new test to the student. This is one of the reasons homeschoolers tend to have higher GPAs. They have the flexibility to slow down if the student does not understand.
Assign a system
|For instance, for English or history:|
|90% – 100%||80% – 89%||70% – 79%||60% – 69%||below 60%|
Computing your GPA (Grade Point Average)
Each grade has an assigned value: A=4, B=3, C=2, etc. To compute your GPA, multiply each course grade times the unit credit (which is either 1 or 0.5). This is the credit grade for that specific class. Add up the credit grades and the unit credit total. Then divide the credit grades by the unit credit total including two or three decimal places to find your Grade Point Average. If your student got mostly As and Bs the GPA should be between 3 and 4.
Including classes that someone else teaches
Your transcript should include classes taught by private tutors, private or public schools, and /or community college. You should indicate that these are taught by someone else as shown in the Long Transcript.
Long Transcript (four pages) with course descriptions
Some colleges and work situations will want to see more information on the course work. Providing the title of the text, a short description, and teacher (if the course teacher is not the primary teacher who signs the transcript) is helpful. If using a traditional text, you can simply list the chapters of the book.
While not required by HB 2389, if you are considering college you need supporting documents for your transcript. These can include community college transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, and essays or a cover letter. Hopefully these documents will coincide to present a unified picture of the student. If the homeschool grades are significantly higher than the SAT/ACT scores or the community college grades, you might need to explain the discrepancy in a cover letter.
Producing an honest transcript that highlights the student’s accomplishments can be a fitting and encouraging encapsulation of these years.
COLENE LEWIS homeschooled her daughters through high school in a home where learning was a joy and a way of life. Earning scholarships, each girl excelled at college in biology, engineering, English, and law. More importantly, all three women are walking with the Lord and now raising their own families. Alongside her husband, Tom, Colene served on the board of AFHE for over 13 years. She has been a sought-after speaker across the country. Colene is currently developing with her daughter, Heather Haupt, an easy-to-implement geography curriculum based on living books, hand-on activities, and cross-cultural exploration geared for 5-7 year olds. cultivatedlearning.org