How to Create a High School Transcript for a Homeschooler

Creating a Home school Transcript for a high school student can be accomplished in several different ways.  The easiest is to find an online or distance high school who will generate the transcript.  If having an affiliated high school is not desired, then parents need to consult the state by state laws regarding homeschooling to learn of any particular requirements in that state, and consult the curriculum guidelines of a state to decide what type and what classes are needed to “graduate” high school. 

Next parents should document time spent and subjects on a daily or weekly basis.  These documents can be used to generate a class concept, and coupled with challenging projects that demonstrate competency, can create a paper record to back up the transcript subjects.  Its smart to start this planning project when students are just starting high school level classes, and to update them each year. 

Online schools.

Many private schools offer minor oversight or online courses for high school students in a home school environment.  They can be found listed under the charter school programs for states.  One located in Michigan is Clonlara.  These schools will provide the tools and guidance to parents to set up high school level courses, but usually require some structure or communication with a school “teacher” who overseas homeschooling families.  There is usually a yearly charge for this service, varying from a few dollars to several thousand. 

Finding out what is needed.

Otherwise, begin by consulting the state guidelines for home schoolers.  Information can be found on each states department of education site, or by consulting the compiled standards of the Home School Legal Defense Association.  This site will tell the minimum required hours that a home schooler must sit for each year, or any other requirements by state.  The states individual education site should be used to decide what the curriculum for high school should cover.  Many require a basic number of classes in each subject area; math, history, english, health, government, language, physical education and science.  These requirements change from state to state, and for different sorts of diplomas. 

There are two types of diplomas offered by many states.  One is the college prep. diploma the other is a regular diploma.  Requirements for getting the college prep. diploma tend to be slightly more rigorous.  The class levels may be harder, or the number of classes might be larger.  For example most college prep diplomas require two years of a foreign language, a requirement that many states do not hold regular diploma recipients to.  If a student wants to go on to college immediately after high school, the college prep requirements for the state should be met. 

Generating a class schedule.

After the requirements are filtered out, a class schedule should be created for each semester or trimester.  Classes should be illustrated in half hour segments for a week, and the family tracks time actually spent.  If the transcript is being created to illustrate past high school rather than at the beginning of the journey, the family records memories rather than actuality.  The goal is to fill in the state required time at least.

Sometimes a void is found, or states change requirements mid high school.  This can be rectified by added double hour classes, or doing intensive classes in an area. When states change requirements, parents simply add those courses in in place of electives.

Actually creating the transcript.

Once the classes are completed, the background paperwork is ready.  Each class on the schedule should have a number between 100 and 500, a grade for the class and a name for the class and a “credit hours” based on the number of hours devoted.  Names can be taken from the material covered.  If that years science focused on living things, it might be biology.  If it focused on the human body, it could be anatomy.  Classes should be denoted by 100 for introductory level courses, up to 400 for senior level classes.  Science classes are traditionally give intro or earth science a 100 level, biology at 200, chemistry at 300 and physics at 400 or 500.

Grades require a bit more work.  Because homeschooling relies upon student effort, a traditional class grade feels a bit like a fabrication.  Rest assured, grades are just that, subjective judgements.  While all subjects shouldn’t have an A or 4.0 for the grade, reward hard workers for their actual efforts.  If a student accomplishes the basics of the curriculum guidelines for the state, and has a few errors, a C or 2.0 would be appropriate.  If the student goes above this, or accomplishes all the basics with no errors, a B or 3.0 would be appropriate.  If the student exceeds the curriculum requirements in that subject area, not just accomplishes them, some grade between a 3.0 and a 4.0 would be appropriate.

The credit hours is based on the formula of total hours per week spent on a subject over the life of a trimester or semester.  If a student takes a full year of geometry (typically a 200 level high school course).  they would spend 4-5 hours a week in the class room over two semesters, or 5-6 hours a week in the class room over two tri-mesters.  these classes would both be worth 4 credit hours per semester. 2 semesters*4 hrs minimum=8 credit hours, divided by 2 semesters=4 credits per semester.  2 trimesters *6hrs=12hrs divided by 3 trimesters= 4credit hours per trimester.  Class loads in semesters should be 5-7 with electives taking more time, but granting only 1/2 the credit hours that regular classes should.  Class loads in trimesters should be lighter (4-5) with fewer electives.  Each of these should give a student 12-18 credit hours of classes each semester to appear normalized. 

Once each of these is put together, a GPA or grade point average can be calculated by semester, and then cumulative.  This end result will look close to a regular high school transcript.  On the top of each page include the name of the family name address, telephone and e-mail address.  The parents should note that classes conformed to state curriculum guides at the top of the transcript.

Putting it all together.

The end result for a high school transcript done in semesters will look something like this each year. 

#    Title                                    Credits                      Grade         GPA points.

101 Intro to High school English.     3                              3.5             10.5

105 Beginning Spanish.                    3                               4.0              12

125  Pre-Algebra                                  4                              3.0              12

235  Human Anatomy                         3                               4.0              12

167  Introduction to art                        2                               4.0                8

131  Health                                           3                               3.5              10.5

181  American History I                      4                               4.0               16

Fall freshman semester totals         22                             3.67              81      cumulative GPA  3.67

The cumulative GPA will change each semester, totaling all GPA points divided by all credits to find the total GPA of the student.  While this is a heavy course load for a student to take (22 hours in the class room each week at least plus homework or outside assignments)  it is not an impossible load.    

Conclusion

A successful high school transcript shows a basic outline of the material, time and effort covered in each hour of a students high school career.  it should indicate the intensity of a level with a number, between 100 and 500.  it should indicate the time spent with a credit hours label, the grade earned with a letter or 4.0 variety grade, and it should indicate a tracked score of the students total effort each semester and cumulatively over the course of the transcript.  Parents should indicate contact information where they can be reached, and the curriculum guidelines on which the class material was based or the students success was rated.

While it can be done backwards for families whose students have already finished high school learning, but need the paperwork, it is best laid out before the student starts their high school level studies.  Many organizations can help parents understand the legal requirements, including the state education departments web pages and the home school legal defense association. 

If parents find problems with institutions discriminating against home schoolers, they would be well put to contact the HSLDA, but with effort and good records, they should be able to make successful transcripts without any help at all.