Let me start off by saying I am no expert, by any means! This is my experience with writing an Unschooling transcript. Those that have been here awhile know that my daughter is a Junior in High school and we started unschooling (definition) this year. If you want to know more about why we decided to unschool this year, please check out this video.
One of the things my kids decided to do this year was take some college level classes to earn credits toward their Associates Degrees. Their first semester Rylee was taking all her classes through the Estart Program through The Community College System of New Hampshire. We registered online with no issues and she took her 3 classes.
This semester she decided to take a class at another school that offered similar program for high school students. In order to enroll in this college, she needed a letter of recommendation from a school administrator, academic advisor or counselor at their high school. She also needed a copy of her current high school transcript and a letter from her parents for our intent to pay.
The letter of recommendation was our first small obstacle. I called the school and explained that Rylee is being homeschooled this year and she does not have a counselor. The admissions specialist informed me that since I facilitate her homeschooling I could right the letter. This was very quick and painless. I just wrote about her plans of earning her Associates Degree in Occupational Safety and taking a position at her father’s roofing company as an Occupational Safety Manager. This letter was accepted immediately.
Then I went on to write a 2 sentence letter indicating that I would pay for the class. Which I thought was ridiculous because I had tried to pay online several times, but there was an issue with her transcript and it wouldn’t finalize the registration.
Which brings us to the main obstacle of getting Rylee enrolled in this college to take one math class. According to this college she needed to take 2 general education classes and then she can take a class in a degree program. So, I started researching how to write a transcript for an unschooled student in high school.
We live in New Hampshire and have great homeschool regulations. All I need to do is a keep a portfolio of everything my kids learn all year and keep electronically or in a binder. I need to take a lots of pictures, keep brochures, list of books/articles they read, games they play, discussions we have, videos and movies they watch. Then every year a certified teacher reviews the portfolio to determine if they have learned enough to advance to the next grade. Since this is our first year we have not had to go through this process, but stay tuned I will take you along. I called Rylee’s old high school and asked them to send her official transcript along in case they needed last years.
I started digging through her portfolio and pulling out groups of things she has learned, watched, talked about or done to form a “class”. I also listed the 3 classes that she took from Estart Program. What works best for us is to continuously learn all year and we do not have semesters or quarters. We did take about a month off for Christmas break though. So, I did the best I could and sent the school what I had created.
I got a call shortly after indicating that they needed me to list grades for each of these classes. I explained to the woman that we Unschool in New Hampshire and grades are not required. She couldn’t believe that. She said “how did she take all these courses and not earn grades”. I explained to her what unschooling was and also the guidelines for portfolios in NH. She said she would need to call her supervisor and get back to me.
A few hours later I received a call from the supervisor stating that they were in fact going to need grades. I told her that these class are year long classes and that NH doesn’t require grades, but if they were necessary I could enter the grades I felt Rylee earned. She said that she didn’t want me to make things up. I again explained that Rylee doesn’t take official courses per se, but she earns credits for everything she does. The woman went on to say that she had never heard of unschooling and that she had work with homeschoolers before and never had to deal with this. I apologized and told her that I would revised the transcript and send her some grades. She again said that she didn’t want me to make anything up. She said that she would need to talk to the assistant director and get back to me.
Shortly after that the woman called back and indicated that since my transcript indicated that Rylee had not actually completed any of the courses listed on the transcript they would use last years transcript because she had completed classes. They already had the official transcript from the high school. Rylee was all set up and enrolled in her math class now. I asked the woman if this was going to be an issue next semester? She said that she thinks that this process is only for the first time a student enrolls and she should be all set for next sememster.
Fingers crossed I don’t need to go through that again. If you want to view what I did create for my transcript you can view it here. Let me know what you think. Also leave a comment if you have any experience with writing transcripts and if you had any issues with schools excepting them.