8 Things to Mark Off Your End of the Homeschool HIGH School List

Before you wrap up your high schooler’s year, check these off your to-do list. Time spent now = less stress later!

The end of the homeschool year brings celebrations, selling off curriculum, and giving our spaces a good cleaning.  But if you have a kiddo in high school, there are a few more things you need to do for those all-important high school records.

And here’s why. 

I made a BIG mistake when Elizabeth was in high school. Give me a time deadline, and I WILL get it done—but with seconds to spare. And that’s the short version of why I spent a couple of weeks in November 2021 with my fingers glued to the computer, getting her transcript and course descriptions done just before she was ready to submit her college applications. 

Save yourself (and your teen) that stress by doing these tasks every year.

1. Set up/Update Your Transcript

Every high school student needs a transcript. If you do nothing else, update your kiddo’s transcript.

What is a transcript? Essentially, it’s a report card.   It’s usually divided up by the school year, it has:

  • the name of each course your kiddo took
  • how many credits each course was worth 
  • the grade they earned

At the bottom of each year, you’ll enter the total credits for the year, as well as their GPA. Super simple. If this is your first year creating one, go check out this blog post, where I go into more detail.

If you haven’t started a transcript yet, here is a free transcript template.  Once you’ve created the transcript, it takes just a few minutes to update it each spring.

2. Write new course descriptions

Course descriptions are something you may need for a college-bound kiddo. Each class from each school year needs about a paragraph (or two) detailing what your kiddo learned, how you evaluated them, anything special about the course, plus some or all of the materials you used. 

Not all colleges want them, but take it from one of my big mistakes with kiddo #1, at least jot down a few bullet points now! I kept procrastinating until and procrastinating. And then, it was two weeks before she wanted to submit college applications, and I had to kick it into high gear. Don’t do that!

3. Is your teen taking the SAT or ACT next year?

Look up testing dates and put them on your calendar. Then, start researching any test prep they will need, such as practice tests or classes. Don’t write down just the one date your student plans to take the test. Write down a couple of additional later ones, so they’re on your radar if your student needs a retake.

Not every decision needs to be finalized now. But starting the research gives you an idea of all the decisions that you WILL have to make. Seemingly easy decisions are often far more complicated than we expect!

4. Is your kiddo taking an AP or CLEP test next year?

Contact your local schools now so you can find out who will let him sit for it & the registration process.   Not all schools that offer AP courses allow homeschoolers to join them.

If they’ll take any CLEP tests, hop on the College Board page and look up what testing centers are near you.  Also, look at the details in case you want to take the tests at home and use an online proctor.

5. Collect samples of work.

While I’ve heard stories that some colleges ask to see samples of work from homeschooled students, I’ve yet to speak to anyone who has actually had to produce their kiddo’s work as part of the college admissions process.  But…what if they do ask? Do you have work samples to show?

Before you cull everything from this school year, pull a few lab reports, writing samples, tests, etc. Keep the physical copies in a file or scan them with your phone & upload them someplace secure.

You’ll most likely be able to toss those files untouched in a few years. And if you do need them, you’ll be glad you took a few minutes each summer to compile them.

6. Jot down their activities.

The Common App has a section for your high school student to enter their activities. I intended to keep track of these as we went. And I started off strong. Enter 10th grade…and COVID. And that was the end of that!

By the time we were filling out her application, we had forgotten quite a few things.

While it’s still fresh, make a list of any volunteering your kiddo did, extracurriculars, sports, etc.  Also, write down the adult who was in charge & any other key details.

Lee Binz shares the idea of tracking activities on sticky notes. I can’t find it on her site (I heard it in a webinar) but it’s similar to the idea in the sticky note section.

7. Finalize transcripts.

Update their final grades and GPA. Print, sign, and put them away for safekeeping. You may also consider getting a copy or two notarized.

If your new graduate is off to college this fall, you need to send their final transcript to their school. You can do this via the Common App or directly to the admissions counselor.

8. Finally, a diploma.

While the transcript you created should suffice in most situations, creating or ordering one now may be worth it to you. We opted to spend the $30 to order one & save myself the chance of fighting bureaucracy later on.

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