Last Updated on June 15, 2023 by Sarah McCubbin
When parents talk about needing to write a homeschool transcript, they are often panicking a bit. Writing a transcript is easy. As their parent, you know them better than anyone else…so you are more than qualified to write all of that down. In 7 easy steps you can write up a great transcript for your student.
I’ve written a few transcripts for my kids to go to three colleges and for my son to go to a private high school…and believe it or not they were all slightly different. No worries…it isn’t hard and you can do this too.
If your homeschooled teen is going to enroll in public or private school, use this article instead!
Table of Contents
What Is The Purpose of a Homeschool Transcript
Part of the stress from this process comes from a disconnect in understanding the purpose of a transcript. It is simply an official record from one institution (your homeschool) to another. You are documenting in a one-page document your child’s accomplishments for high school. In one page, you want a university, trade school, or other education of higher learning to understand what foundation your child already has so they can help them be the most successful possible.
This means you are translating your child’s education into a form that others will recognize. And while you may want to word yours in the most unique way possible, it is often better to reduce confusion and use familiar terms on your transcript. It is a communication tool.
What Are the Steps to Write a Homeschool Transcript
1. First, Make a List of Courses Your Child has Taken.
When you begin to write a homeschool transcript, it helps to think about education very broadly. It may also help to use sticky notes. On each sticky note, write down activities, textbooks, or courses your child has taken. This can be very broad. Maybe they volunteer a lot at the local animal shelter. That is an activity. Maybe they take dance or horseback riding lessons. Or maybe they play soccer year-round. All of those things and more count. Here are common learning experiences that homeschoolers turn into courses on their transcripts.
- Field Trips
- Coop Classes
- College Classes
- Career Center Classes
- Work Experience
- Drivers Ed
- Volunteer Work
- Religious Instruction & Activities
- You may include classes from 7th and 8th grade on your child’s high school transcript if they were taught at a high school level. I have children who are homeschooled…and others in a private school and the private school allows some classes from 7th & 8th to count for high school. So definitely look at this.
2. Second, Check Your State’s Graduation Requirements
Requirements to graduate vary in every state. So you will want to check your State’s Board of Education website to determine what their requirements are for graduation.
3. Third, Name Your Courses and Assign Credit
After looking at your state’s requirements, now it’s time to name your courses. You can be simple or descriptive and either is fine. You may choose to say English I or America Lit & Composition. You may choose to say Science 1…or Physical Science. You get the idea, your transcript can say what you want.
- If your child is using the transcript for college, it can be helpful to look at the college entrance requirements and name the classes something that will look familiar to a registrar’s office.
- If your child is using the homeschool transcript to go to a private or public school, it is helpful to look at the courses they require for their students (and what they name them) and name your classes accordingly.
- You can base your grades on whatever you want. Some parents keep detailed homework and testing records. Others use “mommy grades” and give grades based on a gut knowledge of how well their child has performed. Either is acceptable.
- Schools (either colleges or public/private schools) will look at other factors to determine if your student is ready for their coursework. They will often look at test results from some kind of entrance exam or standardized test to see if the grading matches up in some way with the testing.
4. Fourth, Enter the Courses, Grades, and Personal Information into a Transcript Template
Use a transcript template to help you gather all the important info. Here is my Sample Transcript Template HERE. A transcript is a one-page document PACKED with information. When you write a homeschool transcript, you will fill in a lot of personal information, course names, grades, and GPA…as well as record which classes are completed and which may be in progress.
- Many private schools want to see grades written as Semester 1, Semester 2 and Final Grade. When my son went to a private school, I had to redo his transcript (which had been used for him to go to college in 10th grade) and include both Semester 1 and Semester 2 grades. Now I recommend that you save yourself the trouble and just set up your transcript this way from the beginning!
5. Fifth, Calculate Your Child’s GPA
When I had to do this, I think this was the hardest part of the whole transcript. I’m not a super mathy person. You will need to set your grading scale. The simplest one is A=4.0, B=3.0, C=2.0, D=1.0….however, you can modify that any way you like. In many schools, they will weigh the grades if it’s Honors…or College Credit. So you can be as simple or complicated as you want with this.
According to Berkley.edu, “To calculate GPA, you divide the total number of grade points earned by the total number of letter-graded units undertaken.”
If that was clear as much, take a look at their Free GPA Calculator below!
Keep in mind, that as you fill out the transcript, you record both completed classes and ones that are in progress. If you submit a transcript to a university as part of your child’s college application, they will request a final transcript after they graduate.
6. Sixth, You Will Need a Guidance Counselor Signature
When you write a homeschool transcript, the last detail your transcript will need is a guidance counselor’s signature. As a parent, you are the guidance counselor and can sign here.
- Occasionally a student who has graduated as a homeschooler may have a parent who refuses to create a transcript. The homeschoolers may make their own at this point. But they should NOT sign as the guidance counselor. Simply remove that field from the form.
7. Seventh, Create Course Descriptions for Your Homeschool Transcript Classes
Often, institutions of higher learning will request course descriptions for each of the courses on your child’s transcript. This can be a sentence or short paragraph describing curriculum, classes they took, or activities and projects they did as part of the class. A Course Description Template is included with the Transcript Template.
- If you are submitting your child’s transcript to a school (either university or public/private school), you should ask them about course requirements before submitting your descriptions.
- Ask them which kinds of outside instruction are acceptable. For example, my son’s private school accepted credits from our homeschool, co-op classes, and early college. But they would not accept other classes unless they were taught by a licensed teacher. I had no idea this would be a problem so a few of his homeschool classes did not transfer to the private school.
- Look carefully at the course requirements if your homeschool child is transferring to a public or private school. Often homeschoolers do not call classes HONORS…but an Honors version of a class might be required for your child to take accelerated classes in a new school. Also, the school may reward them with a higher GPA for Honors classes. So look at the courses carefully before submitting a transcript or Course descriptions.
Should I Write a Transcript If My Child Is Not Going to College?
Yes, when your child is finishing high school is the right time to create a transcript. Even if your child is not going to college right now, they may change their mind in the future. At that time, they will NEED a transcript. It is much easier to create it now while the information is fresh than to create one later than years later.
Sometimes people ask this question because homeschooling high school has not gone well. They are frustrated with their teen and they just want to be done. Even so, I encourage you to take the time to write out their transcript. They will not always be this frustrating teen and a transcript will be a gift to them in the future when they will appreciate it.
What If I Don’t Have a High School Transcript?
I was recently talking to a friend who is in his forties. He does not have a high school transcript because he attended a tiny school that has since closed. He has never been able to go to college. I contacted a local university on his behalf and explained his situation. They indicated that his only option would be to get a GED. That can seem daunting when you graduated 25 years ago!
If you want to go into the military, you may find yourself with a similar problem. Some employers also want to see a transcript.
Planning for High School Can Be Easy
When you make a plan to homeschool for high school, taking time to write a homeschool transcript is essential. When you write a high school transcript, it does not need to be overwhelming. And when you spread the process out over their high school career, it really only takes a few minutes every school year to capture the most important information.
Even better, if you have more than one child, you will be copying and pasting a lot of transcript and course description information for future children, so the process gets even easier.