Friday, February 17, 2012

Planning for High School Part 5: Records and Transcripts

The thought of keeping high school records is slightly terrifying.  Really...not only does it need to be done, but some one's going to look at that transcript and critique it.  And, oh the horror, what if its done wrong and we mess up our children's chances for a higher education?!

This is one issue that goes through my mind when I venture to think about homeschooling the high school years.  Its intimidating. Its intimidating for enough people, in fact, that many, with their knees wobbling like jell-o, search out online, distance, or umbrella schools who will award a diploma and transcript to their child for them.  Or, they'll hire someone to look at their records and make a transcript for them.  Or, some will just give up homeschooling altogether because who wants to deal with that stress? 

Have faith.  Creating a diploma and transcript for a high school student can, and has, been done.  All you need is a little knowledge under your belt.  Here are some places to find it:

The Home Scholar - I really like this site.  Lee Binz is a homeschool consultant who works with families to help them get through the home school years.  One of her main areas of assistance comes in the form of record keeping and transcripts.  On her website she has a list of a few free resources which are very much of interest to look through.  I watched the free transcripts webinar "Grades and Credits and Transcripts, Oh my!"  Its about an hour long and is filled with some great information.  (Don't be scared away by having to sign up to watch the webinar - your information isn't shared.  Its a method websites will use to be sure there's a real person requesting information.)

In the webinar I liked how Lee explained that transcripts are the love language of colleges.  We need to learn this language and speak to the institutions in a way that they understand.  In the hour long video she also talks about how to figure out credits and grades.  I appreciated her advice to begin record keeping in the 7th or 8th grade and making up a transcript each year as opposed to trying to pull it all together at the last minute.  As a complete novice, I found the information in her webinar very informative.  She also offers a few different services (with a few different prices) to help you with homeschooling high school.  Her website is well worth checking out. (I'll be going back to see the free webinar Homeschool Records that Open Doors!)

Lee Binz also has a Squidoo lens : Homeschool Recordkeeping in High School

This Homeschool life link has some information to look at.  Scroll down to see the article entitled "College Prep:  Tips on Creating a Homeschool Transcript".  It has a few pointers that I didn't know about before.  One of which was this article through HSLDA that says that homeschool students may self-certify their transcripts.  Meaning, the parent-prepared transcript for a homeschool student is just as valid as one prepared by a professional.

Another thing I've learned when researching homeschool transcripts is that there's no reason to worry that your child's transcript isn't "accredited" or from an accredited institution.  I've heard this concern before.  But, as I recently learned, there are lots, LOTS of public schools that aren't accredited and colleges and universities will accept students from those schools.  In fact, with the thousands of students that some institutions accept each year, many times they don't know who is from an "accredited" high school and who is not.

This article from HSLDA: Homeschooling Thru High School has some great information including how to find help and support, curriculum choices, record keeping and diplomas, and much more.  Really, a terrific resource.

Here are a few other resources:
Transcripts Made Easy - an e-book or paper book. - online transcript building tool.
Debra Bell's book The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling High School has a chapter on record keeping including credits and transcripts.
Oklahoma Homeschool - lots of useful information including a sample transcript to look at, how to calculate credits, and figuring GPA.
PEAH's free homeschool transcript template
Homeschool Tracker - computer based homeschool record keeping.  The Basic Edition is free.  The Plus Version is affordable and includes the ability to make a transcript.

I hope you found this helpful,

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