Homeschool Transcripts – More Important Than Ever By Colene Lewis

Producing a homeschool high school transcript is more important than ever. Not only is it an encouraging synopsis of your student’s high school years, and not only is it necessary to apply for college, but now it is extremely helpful for applying to work for all state governmental agencies. Because of the AFHE bill, Arizona HB 2389, all state governmental agencies now must accept homeschool transcripts without needing an accompanying GED (see ARS §1-701). Arizona is really the best state to homeschool, thanks in great part to Arizona Families for Home Education.

It is imperative that we provide honest, comprehensive, and clear transcripts. While being scrupulously honest, you want to highlight your student in the best light possible. This article is to help you develop just such a transcript.

If you are starting or in the midst of high school, you will want to think through what you think are the minimum requirements for you to award your student a diploma. This is the traditional standard for a high school diploma.

            •           4 years of English
            •           3 years of mathematics
            •           3 years of lab sciences
            •           2-3 years of social studies (4 is better)
            •           2 years of foreign language
            •           1 year of fine arts (2 is better)
            •           About 8 electives (PE, etc.)

If your child is not college bound, you might not need the foreign language, and the math can include consumer math or business math.  If the students are college bound, they need to look at the requirements for the specific colleges they are considering.

It is imperative that your transcript is an honest evaluation. If you lack any of these suggested classes, you may still be able to get into a college, but might have a “deficiency” that might require either a certain SAT/ACT/CLEP score or a class at the community college.  Of note: I encourage all homeschoolers to prepare your student for college, even if they think they do not want to attend. A good high school education is never a waste, and your student might change their mind when they are older.

Carnegie Units (or credits) measure the work accomplished. One Carnegie Unit typically indicates 150 hours of classroom work plus additional time in homework. This classroom work averages to 50 minutes for five days for 36 weeks.  One half Carnegie Unit (or 0.5) indicates 75 hours of classroom work which can be in one semester, or averaged out over the year. Students should only have about six Carnegie Units per year. If you add more than that you are saying your child did more than six hours of school per day, with additional time in homework. Tutoring (rather than classroom lecture) and student reading/studying is typically takes less time, and so the homeschool student may be able to accomplish more learning than you will be able to indicate on your transcript. We need to be honest with the transcripts as well as  communicate the student’s accomplishments in a way that others will understand.
Most schools and employers would like a one page transcript.

Sample Homeschool Transcript

Record of     Evelyn B. Homeschool           1010 W. Home Ct.   Gilbert, AZ  85233  (480) 123-4567
Course                                     Descriptive Title                                        Year’s Average          Unit Credits
Ninth Grade
English                                   English I                                                                B                             1            
Mathematics                        Algebra I                                                               A                             1
Science                                  Earth Science (with Lab)                                    B                             1
History                                   US History                                                            A                             1
Elective                                  Home Economics                                                A                            0.5
Elective                                  Bible                                                                       A                            0.5
Elective                                  Typing                                                                    A                            0.5
Phys. Ed.                               Physical Education                                              A                            0.5
Tenth Grade
English                                   English II                                                                A                             1            
Mathematics                        Algebra II                                                               B                             1
Science                                  Biology (with Lab)                                                A                             1
History                                   World History I                                                     A                             1
Elective                                  Music                                                                      A                             1
Elective                                  Art                                                                           A                             0.5
Phys. Ed.                               Physical Education                                               B                             0.5
Eleventh Grade 
English                                   English III                                                               B                             1
Mathematics                        Geometry/Trigonometry                                   B                             1            
Science                                  Chemistry (with Lab)                                           A                             1
History                                   World History II                                                    A                             1
Elective                                  Music                                                                      A                             1
Elective                                  Driver’s Education                                               A                             0.5
Elective                                  Government                                                         A                             0.5
Phys. Ed                                 Physical Education                                              A                             0.5
Twelfth Grade
English                                   English IV                                                               A                             1
Science                                  Nutrition                                                                A                             0.5
Elective                                  First Aid/CPR                                                         A                             0.5
Humanities                           20th Century Thought                                        A                             1
Foreign Language               Spanish 101/102                                                  A                             1
Elective                                  Music                                                                      A                             1
Elective                                  Computer Programming                                   A                             0.5
Phys. Ed                                 Physical Education                                              A                             0.5
                                                                                                                                                (24.5 total credits)
                                                                                                                                          G.P.A. 3.78 (4.0 scale)

Evelyn B. Homeschool graduated with honors May 9, 2017
_________________________________ (Principal. Mr. Thomas Homeschool)
_________________________________ (Primary Teacher, Mrs. Colene Homeschool)

Assigning Grades

It is important to be consistent and honest with your grading. Traditional teachers do give partial credit. For instance, if the student knew how to do a problem, and made a simple calculation error at the end, he might be awarded half or even ¾ credit for the answer. Some teachers throw out the low exam (if there are multiple tests), and many homeschool teachers and “mastery” teachers will reteach the chapter and provide a new test to the student. This is one of the reasons homeschoolers tend to have higher GPAs. They have the flexibility to slow down if the student does not understand.

Assign a system. For instance,
for English or history:
            •           Papers (3, for 20 pts each)             60 pts.
            •           Complete reading                            10 pts.
            •           Journal                                                10 pts.
            •           Discussion                                         10 pts.
         Total                                                                 100 pts

for math:
            •           Tests                                         70 %
            •           Complete homework            30 %
         Total                                                       100 %

90% - 100%                      A
80% - 89%                        B
70% - 79%                        C
60% - 69%                        D
below 60%                       F

Computing your Grade Point Average (GPA)

Each grade has an assigned value: A=4, B=3, C=2, etc. To compute your GPA, multiply each course grade times the unit credit (which is either 1 or 0.5). This is the credit grade for that specific class.  Add up the credit grades and the unit credit total. Then divide the credit grades by the unit credit total including two or three decimal places to find your Grade Point Average. If your student got mostly A’s and B’s the GPA should be between 3 and 4.

Including classes that someone else teaches

Your transcript should include classes taught by private tutors, private or public schools, and /or community college. You should indicate that these are taught by someone else as shown in the Long Transcript.

Long Transcript (four pages) with course descriptions

Some colleges and work situations will want to see more information on the course work. Providing the title of the text, a short description, and teacher (if the course teacher is not the primary teacher who signs the transcript) is helpful. If using a traditional text, you can simply list the chapters of the book. Here is one page of a sample Long Transcript.

Sample Homeschool Transcript

Record of     Evelyn B. Homeschool           1010 W. Home Ct.   Gilbert, AZ  85233  (480) 123-4567
Teacher: Carol Homeschool, unless noted differently
Course                               Descriptive Title                      Year's Average          Unit Credits        
Tenth Grade  
English                                   English II                                            A                                1
Mathematics                         Algebra II                                          A                                1
Science                                   Biology                                              A                                1
History                                   World History I                                 A                                1
Elective                                   Music                                                 A                                1
Elective                                  Art                                                       B                                0.5
Elective                                  Physical Education                          B                                0.5
                                                                                                                                     GPA: 3.83  (4.0 scale)

Course Descriptions

English I -   Ancient literature including the Epic of Gilgamesh, ancient mythology, all of the Bible’s Old Testament as well as modern literature such as Ozymandias by Shelley, Shadow Hawk by Andre Norton, Recessional by Rudyard Kipling, Destruction of Sennacherib by Lord Byron, Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle are included.  Composition includes research skills, comparison/contrast paper, an abstract, a descriptive paragraph, a persuasive essay, a biographical sketch, a psalm using allegory or metaphor, a puppet play, and an editorial.

Algebra I - Algebra 1 is a one year course using the text by John Saxon.  The program includes daily lessons and weekly tests which chart the student’s progress.
Biology - Biology uses the text from ABeka Publishers which covers botany, zoology, human anatomy & physiology, cellular and molecular biology.

Biology Lab - taught by Mary Lawrence RN.  Lab includes extensive use of microscope and dissection of flower, bulb, frog, perch, grasshopper, crayfish, earthworm, fetal pig, muscle, sheep’s brain and sheep’s heart.                                                                                        

World History I - Ancient history and geography of the Fertile Crescent area, the Sumerians, the Egyptians, the Harrappan, the Hebrews, the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians and the Persians is covered.  Methods of archaeology, famous archaeologists, and evaluation of religious practices and political situations in comparison to the twentieth century are included.
Music - taught by Steven Bartune, BM, MM.  Class covers theory, appreciation, history and performance.                                                                                                          

Art - Identifying works of art and architecture from the cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and the Hebrews is covered.  Both three-dimensional and two-dimensional art works are made by the student.

Physical Education – Participated and lettered on the Dobson High School Golf Team. This included daily practices, competitive matches, and additional private coaching throughout the year.

While not required by ARS §1-701, if you are considering college you need supporting documents for your transcript. These can include community college transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, and essays or a cover letter. Hopefully these documents will coincide to present a unified picture of the student. If the homeschool grades are significantly higher than the SAT/ACT scores or the community college grades, you might need to explain the discrepancy in a cover letter.

Producing an honest transcript that highlights the student’s accomplishments can be a fitting and encouraging encapsulation of these years.