The full title of Janice Campbell’s session at the Cincinnati Homeschool Convention was – Teacher’s Toolbox: Planning, Record-keeping, and Transcripts as a Blueprint for Homeschool Success.
Janice Campbell has a book called Transcripts Made Easy. She also has a website: http://www.doingwhatmatters.com/
She heartily recommended doing the transcripts as you go. Include making a Class Profile, which is a short description of class descriptions, readings, assignments, grading criteria. Include booklogs and activity logs (extracurricular, field trips…) She gave us timeframes for updating records –
When to Update Records
- While planning high school
- At the beginning of each semester (15 mins each time)
- During the semester (5 mins periodically) – use a pocketfolder to put papers in
- At the end of each semester (30-60 mins tops)
- During the application process for college or other post-high school option
What to Keep
- Notes or records in a pocket folder
- written work with rubrics
- test scores
- work samples that show a progression: one from beginning, middle, and end. One per subject per month.
What Must a Transcript Show
- Highschool requirements met
- Ready for admission to next stage of life: college, military, trade school, etc.
Recommended/Required Courses- see your state’s requirements
First Impressions Count
- Challenging courses
- Consistent GPA range – over time
- Descriptive course names
- Comparable in form – 3 sections: identity, course records, basic info
- Content reflects student’s individual interests and aptitudes
3 Transcript Sections
- Identity: full name, school name, address, birthdate, dates of admission and graduation
- Course Record: list of courses taken
- Basic Information: grading scale, key to abbreviations, definition of hours in units
The “I Don’t Know” Child – Ask yourself: what was his skills? strengths? What was important to him? Equip this child for at least 4 years of college and a trade. She recommended the book Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith.
The “Too Many Interests” Child – ask yourself: does his interests go in cycles? what do they do that makes time stop? She recommended the book S.H.A.P.E. by Eric Rees
Campbell explained how to name our courses on the transcript. Look at the names of courses for secondary schools, college course names. Also, your state page will have course names and descriptions. The secondary school classification system can be found here- https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/2007341.pdf
She recommended keeping everything in a pocket folder and then cleaning it out throughout the semester. Look for good beginning, middle, and end samples.
Use FreeGPACalc.com to calculate a Grade Point Average.
For college essays, see Essays that Worked book, with samples of good student essays for college admissions.
You can create your transcripts by semester or by subject. Some colleges require one format or the other. Some colleges want to know when each course was finished. Parents – you can make your school a magnet school, such as STEM, art, etc. You can name your school with your focus included, such as Smith School for (enter focus).
Job experience can count as an elective. Foreign language: Latin is a plus for almost every field; but try to encourage some modern language.
Credibility Clinchers-make your transcript believable
- Standardized tests: aptitude SAT or ACT, Knowledge for placement: AP or SAT Subject Tests
- Co-op grades
- Distance learning
- College courses
Janice Campbell used Microsoft Word to keep her records in. She recommended that applications be printed on cream or gray paper, sign and date in black or dark blue ink, send in a sealed envelope, which is separate from other documentation. After graduation, submit a second, complete transcript with all grades and the exact graduation date.
Tips for Late Starters
- Focus on accuracy and clarity, not perfection
- Start with a simple framework – the 4 yr plan (resource: http://www.doingwhatmatters.com/high-school-a-four-year-plan-for-homeschoolers/)
- Add in “Credibility Clinchers” (see list above)
- If you need it tomorrow, use the easiest format: The Check-Off Transcript, found in Transcripts Made Easy