Some days I’m really excited about preparing my son for high school and college; other days I’m in denial about how rapidly that season is approaching. We started our homeschool journey when my oldest son began first grade and he is now finishing seventh grade. My first thought when the review for Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork by Janice Campbell became available was that the review would not apply to me since I did not have a high school student. Then I quickly realized that with my son taking Algebra in eighth grade next year I would need to decide how I was going to do his transcript. I had never heard of Everyday Education but a quick look around their website showed me that they had a lot to offer and I was excited to read the book.
We reviewed a digital copy of the book but my need to highlight gets the best of me and so I printed out the pages so that I could hold them in my hands and highlight things that I found interesting or important. I like to read in bed at night before I go to sleep but I was a little worried that this material might be too dense for bedtime reading. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Though there is a lot of information, the author’s style of writing made for easy reading.
Based on the title, Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork, I was expecting information on how to make a transcript, forms, and recording keeping. While all of that is included, I was pleasantly surprised at how much more was packed into this book. The book goes through the planning process for high school and helps you decide what classes your student needs to study, skills and habits that they need to cultivate, various ways that you can schedule high school courses, college alternatives, special needs considerations, and how to document life experiences. I read the book through in just a couple of days, highlighting as I went along, but I plan to go back and reference this book again and again as we plan for and work our way through high school.
I really appreciated the fact that the book was trying to present a one-size fits all answer to our students. For example, when she talked about scheduling high school courses she gave six different schedule examples. Some of those, like college-style schedule and year round schooling, were familiar to me but there were others like sequential scheduling and the one-subject plan that were new concepts for me. After reading over our options, my husband and I are discussing the pros and cons of various methods to help us decide on a plan for my son.
The book also talks about how to document life experiences and skills. For example, Campbell shares how you could document work done on a family farm or time spent learning to create a web page.
“Do not let educational experiences slip by because you can’t think where to fit them on the transcript-just add them to a Subject Worksheet and consult the Course Classification System for ideas on where they will fit. …Your student is learning daily from all that happens, and there is no reason why informal learning experiences cannot be structured to become credit-earning courses and preparation for life.”
I highlighted that quote in my book because we highly regard those life experiences I really appreciated that they could be used for part of his high school courses. She goes further into detail in the book as to how to document those experiences.
The books goes over grading, how to grade, what to grade, and even how to write a transcript for those that are using the unschooling method for high school. She did not give one right formula but lots of examples and options that you can use to make it work for your family and still have an honest transcript.
Then at the end after having worked through planning high school, keeping records, grading, preparing for college or non-college options, there are multiple examples of transcripts and other record keeping forms. She gives blank copies of the forms in the back as well as detailed instructions for creating those forms in a word processing program. She even gives examples and help with diplomas.
The final portion of the book is a glossary of important terms, a book list for parents, and a list of websites and resources that can are helpful for planning and learning. I had read several of the books, but I’m looking forward to checking out a couple of the ones with which I was not familiar.
All in all, I think Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork is a great resource for middle school and high school parents. This book can help you prepare for high school or if your student is already in high school it can help you get your records and forms together for college or whatever experiences your student is preparing for after high school. Check it out over at Everyday Education and don’t forget to check out what other Crew members thought about this book.
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