Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Homeschooling Through High School: A Review of Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork

We are homeschooling a high school student. Something I did not think was going to happen because our teen was happy attending our local public high school. Last summer he made the decision to be homeschooled so we set forth on a new journey. Getting the opportunity to review Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork by Janice Campbell from Everyday Education has been so helpful. Even though I was a high school history teacher and I have had experience with writing curricula, teaching teenagers, and grading and submitting grades, I have never had to do that for all the subjects nor think about preparing a transcript. The digital eBook that I have read for this review has been very beneficial for me as I prepare for our teen's final two years of homeschooling.

There are 6 parts to Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork

  1. Meet the Transcript
  2. Plan with the End in Mind 
  3. Keep Simple Records
  4. Grades, Credit, GPA
  5. Create the Transcript
  6. References, Resources, and Reproducibles 

I reviewed an updated 4th edition which answered questions posed from earlier readers and includes tips from experts providing guidance in their areas of expertise. The experts include:

  • Professor Carol Reynolds – how to prepare a student for success as a freshman in college
  • Judith Munday – a special-needs consultant who provides a chapter on records and transcripts
  • Kathy Kuhl – provides advice on timing & testing requirements

So what is a transcript and why is it important? 

Part One of  Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork breaks down the definition ("record of what a student has studied"), who sees it, the parts of the transcript, and an overview of the process for creating one. Just in the first six pages, one can learn so much about the requirements for preparing older children beyond one's immediate homeschool. The first part ends with "Where to Start in This Book" so even if you are under a time constraint (i.e. your homeschool child is submitting applications for college right now), you can use Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork.  

Basically, a transcript "can be seen as a snapshot of a student’s intellectual foundation, and as a passport into the next stage of life." It provides basic information about your homeschool and your teen's identity as well as the list of courses taken, their grades, and credits earned. 

Providing all the necessary information on a transcript is very important for your teen whether or not they choose to attend college making Transcripts Made Easy a valuable book for any homeschooling family.

Just a part of what Transcripts Made Easy presents! 

Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork is not just about transcripts! It also discusses the necessary skills and habits that should be cultivated in high school. Reading about the skills reinforced my own desire to work on essay writing, research papers, and citation with our 10th grader as well as continue guiding him in time management.

If you are starting to homeschool a freshman next year, then the chapter on scheduling courses may be very helpful. Options from a college-style schedule with humanities on Monday and Wednesday and math and science on Tuesday and Thursday to year-round homeschooling are described along with a sample four-year schedule laid out in a chart with tests to take, skills to develop, and a course plan.

A fantastic chapter to help parents prepare their children for the freshman year is written by Professor Carol Reynolds. Not everyone's college experience was the same and the further removed we are from that time, we may forget the reality of that first college year. Reading through this chapter helps provide good talking points for you and your homeschooled teen.

Other topics discussed include standardized tests, keeping simple records, naming of classes, defining a grade scale, and more!

Worried about grading? Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork covers this important homeschooling topic and offers advice on objectivity, standards, grading written work (essays, papers, etc). There is also information on how to prepare grades if you are unschooler.

What If Your Child is Not Headed to College? 

There is a chapter of college alternatives that discusses skilled trades (such as mechanic, builder, electrician, etc), along with resources for trades, entrepreneurships, apprenticeships, and guilds with lots of resources listed (e.g., websites to check out) and finally a small section on the military. And of course, the information provided on skills and habits to cultivate and even tips for surviving the first year as a freshman are all useful whether or not your son or daughter attends college.

What I Liked 

I really find the titles of the parts and the sections to to be very helpful in navigating the book. While I am not looking for any specific information at this time (our teen is just finishing his 10th grade homeschooling year), I know that as I prepare for the junior and senior years in homeschooling I will need more assistance.

I found Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork to be easy to read. While it could be an intimidating topic – preparing your teen for college – I felt that Janice Campbell walked me through each step clearly and concisely.

I love how all the information is presented. For example, there is a "High School Q & A" chapter, where I found answers to common homeschooling questions such as "How can I teach subjects I do not remember?" or "Does my student have to take a foreign language?"

How I will Use Transcripts Made Easy 

The information presented by Campbell that I was most interested in is that on granting credit and calculating a grade point average. I need to incorporate our teen's freshman year at public school and our homeschooling grades into one seamless transcript and this book has made me more confidant in my ability to do so.

Having the step-by-step instructions on how to create different transcripts—as well as the samples—is terrific. And having the sample text for high school diplomas? Perfect! I am also happy to be able to print out the subject worksheets and fill those out. I think sharing them with our homeschooling teen will also help him understand the process of choosing his classes.

I can see myself referencing Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to High-School Paperwork  on a regular basis as we progress through these next two years with our teen. It will also be useful to direct questions our teen may have about the process to the book for him to read up on grading, college, and more. I know that I will also want to look at it again when our younger children move onto their own high school years.

Looking for more information about Everyday Education or the author Janice Campbell? 

Don't forget to check out the other reviews!

1 comment: