Following these four guidelines will help you get started and stay on track with writing course descriptions:
1. First, let go of perfection, especially if you are stressing out so much you are avoiding it all together! Make it your goal to include 80% of the information about the course contents, and then maybe you will feel more comfortable. When you piecemeal things together, instead of using textbooks, it can be a lot to remember. If your goal is to write down at least 80%, then often you'll feel more comfy-cozy-secure in what you're doing. You absolutely want to capture the most important things, but that should be pretty easy considering they will be the easiest to remember.
2. Do a little bit every day. Put a box in your school room for records, and add to it as you can. As school ends for the day, throw information or papers in the big box. If that doesn't work, take notes in a notebook, journal, or even a calendar!
3. Every month, type up details. Try to input your notes or information from those papers you saved. Type the information into your rough draft of course descriptions and activity lists.
4. Every year, make records perfect. Work on making your course descriptions look good on a regular, yearly basis. I suggest spring, when the bulk of the class is already done, and all of the information is fresh in your mind.
Using these four ways, you'll easily remember what you need to remember! Keep up the good work, homeschool parents. You can do it! Start this process and the next thing you know, you'll be creating the course descriptions and records! Start this EARLY in high school, by 9th and 10th grade, so you have plenty of time to work on this. Then just be consistent.
A mission trip to Haiti, touring the castles of Europe, or sailing the globe - I'm always so intimidated by the awesome things homeschoolers have done! How do you document these amazing experiences? While they are ALWAYS educational and awesome, only high school experiences can be included in your high school records. Once your child has entered 9th grade, or is high school age, there are 4 ways to use huge, tremendous, wonderful high school experiences in your comprehensive homeschool record. Colleges love to see students' unique experiences, and this definitely helps when it comes to consideration for college scholarships.
1. List field trips on course descriptions. When you are traveling or visiting anything, it might be considered a field trip for one of your high school classes. A mission trip to Haiti might be a field trip for Spanish class, for example. Provide a descriptive paragraph of your class, list your textbooks or resources, but also list your field trips and experiences on your course description. (Need help? Take my free class on course descriptions.)
2. Add activities to the transcript. Put an abbreviated list of activities at the bottom of your official transcript to provide details about your student's unique gifts. Special trips with mission groups or service communities can be listed there. Just a brief mention is appropriate, since you want to keep the transcript concise, like "Mission Trip to Haiti 2023."
3. Add detailed information to the Activity and Awards List. On a separate list, you can give all the details, including the organization, type of activity, and hours and years it was completed. This is much more detailed than what is on the transcript and may look more like a resume. For example, "Mission Trip to Haiti with Habitat for Humanity: home construction, 100 volunteer hours, June 2023."
4. Consider topics for college application essays. A huge, tremendous, wonderful high school experience is usually memorable and rewarding for the student, so it's a great experience as a topic for your college application essay. The more unusual the topic you choose, the more likely the college will remember your child above all the other applicants' essays.
One Gold Care Club member worked on two course descriptions per week - that was her goal. She was extremely successful through the process. If you are stuck, maybe a more bite-sized goal will help you? Another member was so excited when her son earned $200,000 in college scholarships as the result of her careful and consistent record keeping. She worked hard constructing her course descriptions every year. She shared her experience here:
"You saved my life!!! You promised me you would see us through high school and you did. Your expert advice never failed me even though I doubted myself daily. Your name was mentioned weekly as we charged ahead through the maze of details that every senior has to face. You're my angel, my super hero and my sanity saver.
I started reading your books and attending your classes when my son entered ninth grade. How did you know us so well when we had never met? As a Gold Care member, I couldn't wait for Wednesday to talk with you because you helped me feel confident and capable. You were more than just a high school coach, you were like a best friend, only better. It was difficult to believe my kids would even be ready to attend college but it was my dream that they would. I agree, whole-heartedly, that every student deserves a rigorous high school education so they can attend (or not attend) a college of their choice. I could never have provided that education if I had not been encouraged by you.
As a stay home mom, my husband and I did not have the finances to help our son even consider anything but a local college. We have always taught that debt for college was something to avoid at all costs. It was you who prompted us to send an application to the most expensive engineering school in the State. I thought we were out of our minds but did it anyway. Crazy for sure, but it worked. This fall our son will be attending university with full tuition paid for the next four years. It's still too amazing to comprehend.
Lee, you have given us such a gift. I am still pinching myself because it doesn't seem possible. My son is heading to the college of his choice and only has to cover room and board for the next four years. He is starting to receive outside scholarships as well. My husband's family was not in favor of me staying home to school our kids. Even recently, my sister-in-law said I should have been working outside the home and homeschooling simultaneously. Ouch!!! When we received the financial package I couldn't wait to tell my husband that I had just made $200,000.
Of course my son has worked hard and his senior grades, as a dual enrollment student, were amazing. His transcript was amazing. His course descriptions took me months to write but I am so proud of the results. I graduated him with a beautiful homeschool diploma. We had a huge party at the park, and he felt so special. All because you showed me how to do the hard things well. You believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. God told me homeschooling was in my future, and I doubted. He said He would walk beside me and give me the people I needed to do this task. He never once let me down. The day you decided to help parents like me was the best day of my life. You're a blessing to our family. How can I thank you enough for your mission to help parents homeschool high school. My daughter thanks you in advance as she prepares for college admission. Thanks for being my hero, Lee. From one very exhausted and grateful mom."
~ Tamie in WA
Creating detailed records can improve the chances of fantastic scholarships. It's extremely satisfying to see all your hard work clearly laid out in black and white. While each day alone may look like chaos, in the bigger picture there is proven success with homeschooling. Get started creating your complete homeschool records today with the Comprehensive Record Solution.
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