Why do you homeschool? Because you appreciate the freedom to choose your own curriculum. Because you value time spent with family as educator and mentor. And because with your guidance, the classroom becomes a safe, healthy and productive place for learning. College readiness is effortless.
You didn't choose to homeschool because you love the challenge of maintaining calendars, grade books and portfolios. And when your homeschoolers become college bound seniors, even more emphasis is placed on keeping records — specifically, the high school transcript.
A+ for Accurate High School Transcripts
Keeping records means little unless they're accurate. The details you need in the records depends on the state in which you live. Some states, such as Michigan, require minimal detail. Other states, like Texas, have more stringent requirements for homeschooling families.
A local homeschool co-op can help you determine what credits your state requires high school students to have before graduation. While you don't need to perfectly replicate a public high school transcript, it's a good place to start. Colleges are familiar with this format; so use it, and make yours easier to navigate. Follow their formula for grades, points, credits and totals to be sure you convey the most accurate results. When in doubt, less is not more.
Unclutter Your High School Transcripts
If you feel like you're getting an F in organization, start by evaluating your personal style. Do you maintain a color coded file cabinet, or do your files live in the cloud? How do your students turn in their work: labeled bins or Google Drive? Do you thrive in organized chaos, or do you run a tight ship? Identifying your preferences is the first step toward an organized classroom, and ultimately, organized record-keeping. Get to know your style: take the quiz.
If you prefer paper records, try a three-ring binder (one per student) organized first by academic year then by subject. If you prefer the safety net of both paper and digital, transfer your records to a cloud-based (and free) platform like Google Drive at the end of each semester or year. If you run a paperless classroom, Homeschool Tracker offers a flexible, online tool for record keeping and reporting, including three formats for creating a high school transcript. The important thing here is you find what works best for you and your homeschooling style.
How to (Easily) Create the Transcript
Don't underestimate the importance of the high school transcript. Not only is it necessary to include with a college application, but future employers, volunteer organizations and military recruiters may request to see it during screening and hiring processes. However, don't underestimate your ability to create it. Organize the information into these sections for clarity and easy formatting.
- Name of student
- Address of student
- Student email
- Social Security Number
- Date of birth
- The name, address, phone number and email address of the homeschool
Academic Record of Courses
Break down the transcript by high school year or grade level, and for each, include the following college requirements for course information and academic record.
- Course name or extracurricular activity
- Letter grade per course
- Grade point per course
- Credits per course
Summarize each year by providing a snapshot of overall academic performance. If you prefer to omit attendance, replace with community service or extracurricular hours.
- Cumulative GPA
- Total credits earned
- Days attended
- Days absent
Certification and Signature
- Certification statement including student's name
- Signature of administrator with date
GPACalculator.net makes creating transcripts even easier with fields for course name, grade, number of credits and type to determine the true GPA. Don't forget to include an average for each course in addition to the overall grade. Including a grading scale ensures the college and university admissions officers read the document as intended.
It is highly encouraged to share the transcript with friends, family and other homeschooling parents for proofreading, and pay attention to college application deadlines. For more advice on transcript preparation tips watch this short video by Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) consultant Diane Kummer.