Transcripts for High School (Part One) – Where to Begin?

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The end of the school year often signals the end of the chaos that sometimes ensues in our homeschooling adventures.  For homeschoolers looking at high school in the fall, it can be a bit overwhelming thinking about high school transcripts, curriculum, and making sure you help your student plan courses to complement the career goals he or she has.  If your student is unsure of future plans, that’s okay!

Those home schooling high school students frequently have similar questions:

  1. What needs to be included in transcripts?
  2. How do I show grades earned for each subject?
  3. What about keeping a portfolio? What is a portfolio?
  4. What do I do when my student completes my state’s requirements for graduation?

I hope to answer these questions for you!  Of course, some of these answers will vary based on your state’s requirements for home schooling, but I will attempt to give you at least a baseline.

First, make it a point to know your state’s home school laws.  You can identify those through Home School Legal Defense Association (  Once you know what is required for your state, you can begin to formulate a plan to record transcripts.

Conveniently, there are a lot of templates for high school transcripts!  You can usually find those easily by searching the Internet.

1.  The information needed on the transcript includes student name, student birth date, a list of all courses taken (this works best divided up by grade level that the student took the classes), and grades earned for the courses.  Including a grade point average (GPA) is not necessarily needed, but can be helpful.

2.  As the teacher, you enter grades for each semester and include hours of teaching instruction for each subject.  This is easier than it sounds and can be an estimate.  Many of us use textbooks or even software and the lessons will total the required number of hours needed for full credit in the course.

3.  A portfolio is simply an example of the student’s work throughout a school year or, for high school students, a sampling of the work completed throughout high school.  I like to include unit tests from each class (if possible), research papers, and anything that will create an accurate example of where my student was at the beginning of the year, middle of the year, and at the end.  The student’s work should reflect adequate progress and successful completion of the course.

A couple ideas for portfolio storage.



4.  When your student has earned the required credits (based on your state’s requirements), you have several options for acknowledging your student’s accomplishment and creating a solid record for college entry.  The simplest means is to couple the student’s transcript with a high school diploma.  These can be ordered from a variety of websites that cater to homeschoolers.  We prefer to use for our needs.  Many community colleges require a standardized testing (whether ACTs, SATs, or a college placement test) for determining academic level, so the proof of the student’s knowledge, understanding, and skill level does not simply rest with the grades parents give out.  The tests will solidify what your student knows.

These are the very basic things you need to get started on recording your high school student’s course completions and to begin on the home school path toward graduation!

Next time, I’ll be discussing how to credit unusual classes like ballet, theatre/drama, and building trades as well as ideas for graduation ceremonies for homeschoolers!

“And at the end of ten days it was seen that they were looking better and had taken on more flesh than all the youths who ate of the king’s rich dainties…As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all [kinds of] visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:15 & 17, Amplified Bible)

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