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Monday, February 4, 2008


So, everyone always asks me, What About a Diploma, What about a Transcript, Should we get them a GED, etc etc. I'll answer some of these questions here.

Without a doubt my standard answer is DO NOT GET A GED!  What connotations does a GED bring along with it? High school dropout!  I'm sorry, my children are NOT high school drop-outs. They are very well educated people, thriving and I do not want that "stigma" attached to them.  Further, I'm PROUD of the fact that we homeschool and hope to show colleges or employers the reality of what my sons have learned, and that won't happen with a GED. can we show colleges or employers what our children have learned, in terms they can understand? Well, most obviously, by their SAT/ACT scores. This is pretty much common place practice for college admission and will go far in showing "where they are" educationally.

Beyond that, a simple transcript can help. I like to think of applying to colleges as a game...they MIGHT ask for a diploma, they MIGHT ask for transcripts, they MIGHT ask for an essay.  I say cover all bases and be prepared, SIMPLY. Not years of teaching TO something in order to make a transcript, not spending gads of money in order to get an accredited diploma (unless this is ultra-important to you!), but very simply documenting things so that when the time comes you are prepared.

I keep records very simply...have for a long time now so that when transcripting for High School it's already right there! See my BINDERS post. There are some great books on transcripting but it really isn't that hard! I keep a binder with various things we've learned over the years.  You may also want to keep a simple log of hours . I don't. I just estimate in my head. The basic premise is....120 hours of learning = a credit.

So, if we just go once to an aquarium I would categorize that under a broad science category if indeed I had a broad category. If not, well, not everything you do will be able to fit into some category, some things you just do BECAUSE!  However, if my son was into Marine Biology and the aquarium was just one trip of many under that topic, and he was reading books on it, watching documentaries, etc and I could estimate that he did 120 hours on that topic...I'd give him a Credit for Marine Biology.

Sometimes, the accumulation of learning is also over 2 or more years. For example, last year was a Legislative year. We did a LOT of lobbying as a family, went to Carson City and toured the Legislature, Supreme Court, Governor's Office, saw the State Constitution, etc, followed bills and learned how Bills are introduced and the whole process of becoming a law. However I don't think it added up to 120 hours. In 2 more years it will again be legislative session and Brian will again be included in my Volunteer Activism. By the end of that session he will have accumulated at least 120 hours and so I will give him a credit for American Government then.

A home-made transcript can include ALL learning. At home, in the community, college classes, online courses, you can add it all up on one nice transcript. Asteric what was done at Community College, Double Asteric Online courses, or whatever marking system you choose.

Some other "basics" to know

Looking over the Course titles and descriptions can help you title your courses, and of course you can name your own course...World War 2 studies, Study of Japanese/Asian Culture, etc.

In reviewing the technology course descriptions of a local highschool, I realized my son, after 8th grade, had already not only "taken" but mastered and continues to apply principles learned in, "website science" and "computer applications" .  Our kids can use their God-given interests and talents and WE can fit them into nice boxes for their transcripts!

Here's an example of a transcript   Sample Blank Transcript  that my friend in FL made. Her kids were unschooled all the way through High School and they each gained admission to college with this transcript. Each child's transcript was  tailored to their individual interests and classes taken within the community. It's very very simple!  You can copy/paste this transcript, delete course titles, add in your own, assign grades and voila! Not much time required and certainly not much stress!

Hope this helps you in your unschooling journey!!

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