Homeschooling High School: GPAs and Transcripts

My daughter is a junior in high school this year and has begun to apply for scholarships and is considering early admission to the university. As the year begins to wind down, we are giving more thought to her high transcript.

Teen girl holding hands in shape of peace symbol with text overlay "GPAs and Transcripts", magnolia tree in bloom in background

Many homeschool families get stressed by this aspect of homeschooling and fear the university will not accept a “homemade” transcript. The process of calculating your child’s GPA and creating a transcript is not difficult. There are many tutorials online to help guide you through this process.

Through our research – talking to local high school teachers and admissions counselors at our state universities – we have found it is best for high schoolers to use an unweighted GPA. In other words:

  • A’s receive a 4.0
  • B’s receive a 3.0
  • C’s receive a 2.0

I strongly suggest that the course be taken over again if the student earns anything lower than a C. Though our preference is to keep it simple, you can use half-points or quarter-points if you want to use a plus/minus grade system.

However, as many of the courses my daughter has taken are dual-enrollment course at the local community college, I opted to not use letter grades on her high school transcript. Instead, we will use a mastery approach. We do not consider a course complete until the material is mastered at the appropriate level.

The Core Courses

To apply for admission to a university in Oregon, the courses that students must have completed are outlined as:

  • Language Arts – 4 years (12 trimester credits)
  • Math – 3 years (9 trimester credits)
  • Science – 3 years (9 trimester credits)
  • Social Studies – 3 years (9 trimester credits)
  • World Languages – 2 years (6 trimester credits)

In a future post, I will share more details about the language requirement and different avenues by which to fulfill it as homeschoolers.

What About those Electives?

In addition to the student’s GPA, admission requirements also assess student preparedness and academic potential by looking at the unique context of each student’s personal experience.  Academic performance is not the sole criterion and successful applicants demonstrate a wide range of passions and life experiences.

Teens have many different interests and as they pursue their passions, homeschool parents often wonder how they might translate these hours onto a transcript. I previously wrote a post detailing the ABCs of High School Electives and provide a peak into how this can be done easily.

Academic Rigor

Often homeschool families and/or high schools will weight the GPA because they want to show that students with a weighted grade have completed an academically rigorous course (as in 5.0 for a rigorous course instead of 4.0).

However, it is much easier and more effective to show academic rigor by simply including the level of rigor in the title of the course on the transcript. For example, if your homeschool high schooler completed an honors level language arts course their senior year, the transcript might say: English Language Arts IV (Honors).

Please note that the College Board owns the term AP, so all courses that call themselves such must have approval. However, students may prepare for and take AP exams without having completed an approved AP course. It is important to confer with the university of choice whether they will accept AP exams for university credit.

For more information on homeschooling high school transcripts, two of my favorite resources by fellow homeschoolers are:

The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Unschooling High School Transcript from Joan Concilo at Unschool Rules

Do You Make This Big Homeschooling High School Transcript Mistake? from Heather at Blog, She Wrote

Finishing Strong #124: Resources for Homeschooling Teens

Welcome to Finishing Strong ~ a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

I am delighted that families homeschooling middle and high school age students are coming together and finding inspiration in one another. That’s has been the goal of Finishing Strong since its inception. Thank you!!

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

Featured this week is a Science Milestones post highlighting the impact Mary Anning had on the field of paleontology in its early days as a scientific discipline. As a woman, she wasn’t given the credit she was due until recent years. Read The Heroine of Lyme Regis to learn more about her.

finishing strong 124

Below are some of the posts I enjoyed from last week, as well as the one that received the most clicks (in the #1 spot). Did I choose one of your favorites?

1. 6 Steps to Fit in All the Subjects for Homeschooling Each Day

A peak into how one homeschool family covers history, geography, reading, spelling, math, science, Bible, penmanship, grammar, and electives all in one day of homeschooling. Can it really be done?

2. The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Unschooling High School Transcript

I absolutely LOVE Joan’s post and found so much valuable information in it that I felt compelled to share her post with you. She walks you through transcript-ese, what to include and even what is not necessary (SAT scores), and detailed examples of how to translate life experiences and studies to course descriptions and credits. This is a must read post for anyone homeschooling high school! 

You might also be interested in learning about the process of High School Forecasting – tips on coordinating extracurricular schedules, CLEP exams, and coursework.

3. How to Teach Literary Genres with a Library Scavenger Hunt 

While we visit our local library regularly, Stacey’s post made me realize that I’ve always directed our activities with my daughter in mind. We’d covered genres and library skills years ago and I thereby presumed my youngest is familiar. However, her post has inspired me to take a little more time on our next visit to ensure my youngest has the research skills and knowledge he’ll need as an independent learner.

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As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Please Share!

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years


Finishing Strong #81

Welcome to Finishing Strong, a weekly linkup for those homeschooling students in middle and high school years. Hosted by us here at EvaVarga, along with our friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan & Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight – will find inspiration and ideas to engage your teens and preteens.
Finishing-Strong-500x500

Bloggers, you are encouraged to link up your best ideas, encouragement, and advice that’s appropriate for older kids being schooled at home. Make sure you take some time to read the posts shared below. I know you will find them helpful!

Continue reading

Finishing Strong #51: High School Credits Edition

Finishing Strong is a link up that focuses entirely on homeschooling middle & high school students.

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #51

It’s Co-Hosted By – Aspired Living, Blog, She Wrote, Education Possible, Eva Varga, & Starts at Eight

Every week, our faithful readers join us in sharing inspirational stories, valuable insights, and practical tips for schooling teens at home. It’s not always easy, so it’s crucial that you travel the journey with others – a community. That’s what we’re here for!

Are you worried about homeschooling high school, especially credits and transcripts?

Here are a few of our most read posts from last week that are all about high school:

Homeschool High School: What Kid #5 Had on His Transcript from 7 Sisters Homeschool

It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School from Annie and Everything

Our Steps to College – 3 Ways to High School Credit from BJ’s Homeschool

What About High School Credits? from Year Round Homeschooling

Thank you for being a part of our community!

Add your ideas, unique learning approaches, and encouragement for homeschooling middle & high school students below.

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 5 sites. If you were featured, make sure you add an “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Share the love.

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Was your post featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Bloggers, by linking up, you may be featured on our co-hosts’ social media pages or our Pinterest board. We may even select you to be featured in a future post!

We love people who SHARE WITH US!

*By linking up, you are giving us permission to share your images, always with credit!


Homeschooling in California: Preparing for College

A couple weeks ago, I spoke in length about the options available to families who choose to homeschool in California.  For some, homeschooling high school is a long way off. For others, like us, it is just around the corner.

My daughter will be entering 7th grade this year and we are committed to homeschooling through high school.  She is already far exceeding my expectations in mathematics and strives to be fluent in Mandarin.

Regardless of her career path in the future, it is crucial that we are prepared and knowledgeable in regards to the options available to us as her high school years approach. I have thereby begun to gather resources and together, we have already begun preparing for college

preparing for collegeGraduating High School

Private schools including home based private schools and private independent study programs create their own graduation requirements. Students enrolled in a PSP should check with their school for specific requirements.

Earning a Diploma

All schools, including home based private schools and public, charter and private independent study programs can issue a diploma once the requirements the school has set for graduation are completed.

Proficiency Exam

Students may also earn the equivalent of a public school diploma by taking the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE), as per California Education Code section 48412. Students may take the test if 16 years old OR if the students has completed one year at the 10th grade level OR if the student will complete one year at the 10th grade level in the semester the test is taken. 

College Bound

For students interested in attending university, some additional requirements (courses and exams) are not to be overlooked. Parents and students should be certain to inquire with each university, as requirements may vary.

Course Requirements

Freshmen applicants to four-year universities in California are required to complete a minimum of 15 year long courses (or credits) for admission. However, students may also meet this requirement by completing college courses or earning certain scores on SAT, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate exams. It is worth noting that most applicants have an average of 22-26 credits when they enter the university as a freshman.

  • History/Social Science ~ 2 courses
  • English ~ 4 courses
  • Mathematics (including elementary algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra) ~ 3 courses
  • Lab Science ~ 2 courses
  • Foreign Language ~ 2 courses
  • Visual/Performing Arts ~ 1 course
  • College-Prep Elective ~ 1 course

For more specific information regarding course requirements, including specific test scores, click here.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement courses are courses that either offer an in depth, advanced study of a subject, or explore subjects outside the scope of typical high school coursework. These courses may be taken through private schools or through local community colleges; however enrolling in AP courses is NOT a requirement for college admission or for taking college Advanced Placement exams.

Homeschoolers have the option of studying any subject in depth, at an advanced level, so even if your student hasn’t taken courses labeled “AP”, they may still opt to take AP or CLEP exams at the college level to test out of coursework.

Exam Requirements

In lieu of a high school diploma, the California University system also requires the Certificate of Proficiency awarded by the State Board of Education upon successful completion of the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE), a proficiency exam from another state, or a GED.

Depending upon the university, freshman applicants must also submit the following test scores:

  • ACT Plus Writing, or
  • SAT Reasoning Test

For more in-depth requirements for admission to a California university, visit the University of California’s Admission Requirements.