Some parents are intimidated by the idea of homeschooling through high school, but it really isn’t that much different from the younger grades.Â I have graduated two children from 12th grade so far, and they have had no trouble getting into and succeeding in college. From my point of view the one big difference between high school and younger grades is that in high school you have to keep good records of schoolwork.
High School record keeping for homeschoolers is important, because as a homeschooling parent you are also serving as an administrator and guidance counselor. At the end of high school will need to produce information for transcripts and college applications, and good high school record keeping will make that whole process much easier.
Records for Transcripts
To make a high school transcript you need to know what classes were covered. So a list of what classes were taken each year is essential. In my state I have to send this to my local school district anyway, so there is no extra work involved in this for me.
For each class I also make up a course description, which explains exactly what we covered and what books we used. For some classes I do this before the school year starts, like math. Geometry is pretty self explanatory, and all I need to do for that is take a course description from the web for a standard geometry class and say what textbook we used.
But for some subjects, like history, I let my child’s interests guide our studies, even at the high school level. So last year I called my son’s 9th grade class History I, and as the year went on it turned out that my son studied World War II Naval History and Medieval History. So at the end of the year I updated my very vague history class course description to reflect what he actually did.
For a high school transcript all you really need is the list of classes taken, but occasionally colleges will ask for course descriptions and textbooks from homeschoolers. I know there is no way I will remember all the details of 9th grade three years from now, so I prefer to write these as I go along, just in case.
Many homeschoolers outsource high school classes, either at co-ops, colleges or online. Colleges like to see this, because it helps verify the grades that you give at home. For these classes I always keep a class syllabus, especially for a dual enrollment college class. If you are trying to transfer college credit for the class it is quite possible that the college will ask to see a syllabus to see how the class compare with their course offerings.
I don’t keep a lot of actual school work, because I think it is mostly clutter. But the one exception would be science lab work. My children have been asked about how they completed lab work as homeschoolers, so I do have them keep lab notebooks and write ups, both from outside classes and home, just in case, although neither of my older two kids have been asked to produce it.
This is an area people often overlook, but it is a good idea to keep a record of extra curricular and volunteer activities. My son’s Scout troop holds elections twice a year, so trying to go back and figure out what leadership position he held when would be confusing! I didn’t do this with my oldest, and we were frustrated trying to go back and figure out how many volunteer hours she had as a freshman, and I know we overlooked some things. A little bit of record keeping will save time and frustration!
Making a Transcript
If you have these kinds of records making a transcript for your child will not be time consuming! There are many free forms available online, and websites that will help you format the information. Free downloadable templates for transcripts are available at Donna Young’s website, and at Let’s Homeschool High School. If you prefer an interactive transcript generators you can find free ones at My Homeschool Transcripts and How to Homeschool Today.