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3 Transcript Pitfalls to Avoid

3 Transcript Pitfalls to Avoid

3 Transcript Pitfalls to Avoid

It’s August already, and as the summer draws to an end, homeschool parents seem to get busier than ever. Summer can be a busy time! While I’m all for taking a break, it’s important to stay up on homeschool record keeping tasks in high school, especially your transcript. In fact, as I consult with homeschool families, I’ve started to notice some transcript pitfalls that are common to many homeschoolers. Keep an eye open for these 3 transcript pitfalls to avoid!

  1. Your homeschool grades don’t match your student’s college admission test scores (such as the SAT or ACT). I am not saying that test scores are the "real" part of your child's education, but they do reflect the learning your child has done. Make sure grades and test scores reflect and match each other as much as possible. (If your child tests poorly and their test scores do not reflect their knowledge, make sure to communicate this to colleges.)

    This isn't merely a warning not to inflate your child’s grades - it goes both ways. I heard from a parent recently who had a college request that she raise her daughter’s homeschool grades in order to match her college admission scores! That sure made me laugh.

  2. The tendency to convey your child as one-dimensional. While your transcript is definitely the place to show your student’s math, science, and foreign language accomplishments, it’s your student’s passions and delight directed learning that help a college see your student's unique aspects.

    Remember that colleges don’t particularly want another cookie-cutter kid. They see those all the time. You want your student to rise above the crowd and be different. You want your student to be a unique individual, a character, someone colleges have never seen before. The transcript is one of the places to reflect this.

  3. Leaving out entire chunks of information. You might laugh at this, but sometimes homeschool parents seem to forget entire courses when they’re putting their transcripts together - usually because they haven’t kept good records! 

    I was working with a homeschool mother on a transcript for her high school junior. She and I went over every subject area they had covered, and discussed everything in detail from high school algebra to American Sign Language. Everything was complete. As I was leaving, I asked, “What are you doing this weekend?” The mom didn’t hesitate for a moment, explaining that they were going to a Latin competition that weekend. “Latin?” I said. “You never mentioned Latin!” This was how I discovered that her high school junior had already completed four years of high school Latin, and she had completely forgotten about it.

Although these common transcript pitfalls do happen, you don’t have to let them happen to you! You can create great homeschool records, prepare your child for college tests so they’re ready to show what they know, and represent their unique strengths and passions on their transcript so they’ll be offered awesome scholarships! Stay ontop of your records, doing a little bit each month, and you will never forget 4 years of Latin.

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Co-Op Classes on a Transcript

Co-Op Classes on a Transcript
There are lots of ways to put a co-op class on the transcript.

Some parents want to highlight that the class was taken in the co-op.  Other parents don't want the information necessarily to be included, they just want to know how to get it  on there the right way.  So let me describe the two ways to do that.

Option 1

You can emphasize the class was taken at a co-op.  That is particularly helpful in situations when you want to document "socialization" - like if you don't have many activities to document, or your child struggles with socialization for some reason.  Choose an acronym for the co-op, something like MHC, and then define your acronym on the bottom of the transcript, like "MHC indicates classses taken at Manhattan Homeschool Co-op."  A class title might look like this, "MHC: Biology with Lab." You can choose to use the grade provided by the co-op or not. If you were involved for all 4 years, the activity section of your transcript might say "Manhattan Homeschool Co-op 9, 10, 11, 12 - Yearbook Editor 12."

Option 2

You can choose not to mention the class was taken at a co-op. This is particularly helpful when your class is a combination of co-op and home, or if you feel the co-op was only a portion of the content of the class,or didn't represent the whole class for some reason.  It's also great if you are radically independent, like me, and wanted to proudly display your independent homeschool, like me. If you choose not to mention co-op, then just provide the name of your class, like "Biology with Lab." Again, you can include coop classes on the activity section, and again, utilizing their grades is optional.

The only time you "must" use co-op grades is when it is a school, parent partnership, or public school program.  If they give you a "transcript" then you need to use the grade they give you for the class.  If they don't give you a "transcript" then their grades are a "serving suggestion" like the grocery store advertisement that suggests a recipe for a roast beef.  You still have the option of slicing it for stir-fry, right?

My preference is to list the co-op class only on the activity list, and not include it by the class title.  I don't think there is any reason to include Co-ops on the class title, and I worry that a college might not understand, and they might mistakenly look for a transcript from the co-op in order to complete the application.

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Super Senior and High School Transcripts

Super Senior and High School Transcripts

Not all homeschool families have straightforward high school experiences! Some have switched between homeschool and private or public school during the high school years, and as they try to figure out whether their child is ready graduate, sometimes they realize that a 5th year might be preferable or necessary!

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Lee Binz
Hi, Jill. Sounds like you guys have made a plan as a family and that's great! You can actually count it on the transcript either ... Read More
Wednesday, 28 March 2018 16:34
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This Book is a Must-Read

This Book is a Must-Read
It was so nice to see a new 5-star review of my book, Setting the Records Straight.  Sometimes positive encouragement is so... encouraging!

Setting the Records Straight
5-Star Review by Susan Kilbrid

This book is a must-read for those of you who are thinking of homeschooling through high school. 

Lee Binz goes through the process of making a homeschool transcript step by step and makes what to some is an overwhelming job seem easy. The book is full of real-life examples of homeschool transcripts that her children and others used to get into the colleges of their choice. She breaks down the whole process of making a transcript into very easy steps.

One of the most important things I realized as I read this book is that I need to start working on my son’s high school transcript as soon as he starts high school and not wait until he is almost finished.

On a side note, I found Lee’s children’s transcripts a bit intimidating, not in the sense of actually writing one, but more of, “Oh my, is my son up to those standards?”  Luckily, she also presents examples of other homeschooler’s transcripts which made me not feel so inadequate!  Plus, it was actually good to see what other homeschoolers who made it into college did during high school to get into college. It’s definitely better to find these things out now, before my son is in high school, than to find out later when it would be harder to catch up.

I found Lee’s book very informative and highly recommend it.

To locate it on Amazon, go here:  Setting the Records Straight

I'm almost ready to publish my next book, College Admission and Scholarships.  The full title is The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships: Homeschool Secrets to Getting Ready, Getting In and Getting Paid.  I was really trying to use the title to really explain what the book is all about.  I'll bet you know exactly what your learn in the pages now, right?  Anyway, it's at the publisher now, and I'm hoping that later this spring we will have a new big and beefy book for you to enjoy!

The HomeScholar’s newsletter comes out on the first of every month.  Sign up now for your free monthly newsletter!
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"Your One Stop Shop for Transcript Help"

"Your One Stop Shop for Transcript Help"
Home & School Mosaics  wrote a wonderful review of my Total Transcript Solution!  Look what they said!

Your One Stop Shop for Transcript Help

Total Transcript Solution Review
By Renita Terrell

I LOVE this product!! I have a freshman this year and the information in this product and on Lee's website are invaluable. Completely invaluable. Total Transcript Solution is a gem to have to help you navigate the sometimes frightening waters of High School Transcripts. Shoot, even High School courses themselves. Lee has a no nonsense way of approaching the subject that makes it not only understandable but absolutely doable.

With The Total Transcript Solution you get access to her website as well as support and extras. There are so many goodies on there you will think it was Christmastime! I am not kidding you, there is so much information here that you will need TIME to digest and read it all.

This is your one stop shop for Transcript help.

Lee Binz has a practical way of guiding you that is firm in her knowledge yet gentle in her approach. She has "been there and done that" so she can guide the rest of us with strong assurance that we really can do it. Sometimes when someone has so much knowledge of their topic they become hard to understand or follow. Not so with Lee. She is right there with you leading you every step of the way with easy to understand instructions and guidance and a quick smile or laugh to set you at ease. She is easy to work with and is passionate about helping homeschoolers.

The Total Transcript Solution really is your one stop shop for transcript help. With your purchase you get a ton of FREEBIES! Who doesn't like freebies, right? On Lee's Homepage there is a list of Freebies but when you sign up for The Total Transcript Solution you get even more Freebies.

You just have to go and see for yourself all the amazing things Lee has for you when she helps you with your journey of homeschooling high school. The Total Transcript Solution is an all-inclusive transcript system that is just $47. With that $47 you get a month free trial to the Silver Care Club. Can I strongly suggest that you take advantage of this? It is completely and totally worth it. Seriously. After the month trial is over, the price of your Silver Training Club membership goes down to just $27 a month. You can cancel at any time but let me warn you, you may never want to!

With your Total Transcript Solution purchase you get access to the Silver Training Club Member's page with links and even more information. Lee has thought of everything you need to make you successful at planning high school and creating amazing transcripts. You should really check her website out You won't be disappointed!

Read the full review at Home & School Mosaics.

If you would like to know more about transcripts and the Total Transcript Solution, I have a free class you might enjoy.  A Homeschool Parent's Guide to Grades, Credits and Transcripts is completely free, and you can register for the class here: A Homeschool Parent's Guide to Grades, Credits and Transcripts.

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THANK YOU from Canada

THANK YOU from Canada

I love our neighbors to the north - and not just because I live in Seattle and can almost see Canada from my house.  And not just because my daughter-in-law is Canadian and calls her mother "Queen Mum."  I love Canadian homeschoolers because they are just like ALL homeschoolers!  They are parents trying hard to provide the best possible education for the children, for college and for life.   Three of my Canadian friends have assured me that my help is appreciated.  I'd love to help you too!
"Just wanted to send you a THANK YOU from Canada. Our son who just turned 15 yesterday (and has always been Homeschooled) has been accepted to our local University for a first year course. After he successfully completes, he will be able to be enrolled either part time or full time next year (his grade 11 year) They were very impressed with the portfolio we brought in and it was all because of you. The info you post on Facebook, the articles, and great ideas all helped in us putting together a great portfolio. The lady we met with LOVED it and said it is very obvious that we have an amazing Academic Partnership with our son. (loved that term and we are using it now) So thank you from CANADA!!!  YES you can help Canadians...people feel very threatened by how to get into University or College...but I found it quite simple and fun!!! Thanks to you!!"

~ Darlene in Canada

“Thank you so much Lee! You are such a blessing! I really appreciate it! I’ve been telling everyone about your ebook (which I actually printed because I can take it with me). You’ll likely have more future orders! This Canadian loves your resource!"

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Test Prep on a High School Transcript

Test Prep on a High School Transcript
SAT preparation is a good idea, but you don't want to announce "WE STUDY FOR THE TEST" in big bold letters, so I don't recommend the title "SAT Preparation" for a course title.  Instead, I prefer calling it something else.

Many public and private schools will include test prep in their regular English and math courses.  Others will provide separate classes for SAT prep, like you are doing.  It's completely fine to give credit for test preparation - either by using it as a component of another class, or by given credit as a stand alone class.

You can call it critical thinking, or study skills, college study skills, college readiness skills, or something like that.  I prefer "Study Skills" unless there is a critical thinking curriculum or discussion in your study - but that's just my opinion.

For credit value, estimate the number of hours spent.  If the student works 2-3 hours per week for most of the school year, then call it a credit.

Your best strategy for keeping all those balls in the air is preparation.  The HomeScholar Gold Care Club will give you the comprehensive help you need to homeschool high school.
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Homeschool Record Keeping Success!

Homeschool Record Keeping Success!
I met a friend in the grocery store today.  Her son had just finished his first year in college.  A year ago, she and I had spent an hour going over her homeschool records.  We talked about the transcript and how to write course descriptions.  I made suggestions and recommendations, but she did all the work - I only spent an hour with her!  But it gave her what she needed to write a 16 page description of her homeschool, complete with course descriptions and grades.  When we talked today, she was convinced that it was this documentation that got her son into the college of his choice - WITH great scholarships!  If you are thinking about using course descriptions with your college applications, you might want to work on last year's classes now.  They will be fresh in your mind.  If you want suggestions, I'm available.  If you want to see what mine looked like, you can purchase my book as a sample for a wide variety of classes.  Homeschoolers get pretty busy during the school year.  Working on course descriptions now, during the summer, can help you devote enough time to the project.

It's your last chance to win a free ticket to the Heart of the Matter Virtual Conference, which starts in 7 days.  Add a comment to one of my blog posts, or get a friend to sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter and you’ll have a chance to win!  The drawing is tomorrow and we'll announce the winner on Saturday!
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Converting College Credits to High School Credits

Converting College Credits to High School Credits
"Lee, question I can't find answered on your website. Did your sons take any community college classes while still in high school? How did you give them credit for that? Was one semester of a college course a full credit or half credit of high school?

Hi Renee!

We did take community college classes in high school, and it was a mixed blessing for us.  We did one year of Accelerated Distance Learning (homeschooling college) and one year of community college.  I have written about some of my experiences with dual enrollment community college here, so that you can read about the pluses and minuses.

You can certainly give them high school credit for every community college class.  Make sure your transcript matches the community college transcript exactly when it comes to the title and course number of the class, so the University you apply to will know the exact class your child took.  When you convert the college credits into high school credits, each 5 or 6 credit college class is equivalent to one whole high school credit.  It's unclear how to convert credits for a college class with less than 5 credits - each public school will do it their own way.  For me, I gave full credit for 4, 5, and 6 credit classes.  I gave 1/2 credit for 2 and 3 credit classes, and would have given 1/4 credit for 1 credit classes.  There is no real "rule" about how to do those.

One semester is absolutely one full high school credit.

Thanks for the great question!

For more information and help with high school credits, you can see my **FREE Homeschool Webinar! "Grades and Credits and Transcripts, Oh My!"
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