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Homeschool Documentation and Work Samples

It is important to provide colleges with the information they need when going through the college admission process. Although the transcript may be the cornerstone of admission, colleges may ask for you to provide homeschool documentation in the way of work samples if they are considering your student for scholarship opportunities. Having your comprehensive records in order is important before you begin the college admission process.

Comprehensive Records and Homeschool Documentation 

Comprehensive Records - the dessert of your homeschooling journey! The icing on the cake, if you will.

College admissions is a high stakes business now and homeschool parents often feel ill-equipped to compete with public and private schools in gaining admission and scholarships. But, with comprehensive records you can compete! How can you as parents document your records so that colleges can quickly and accurately identify your student as the real deal?

A comprehensive record is your homeschool documentation, organized in a neat, easily digestible format that colleges will understand and appreciate.

It can include your:
• Homeschool transcript 
• Course descriptions
• Reading list
• Awards and activity list 
• Samples of work

The finished product will be authoritative portfolio documenting your student's education.

In addition to the transcript and course descriptions, I provided three writing samples with our comprehensive records. I made an effort to choose a range of writing styles; research, fiction, and poetry. I tried to use writing samples that I knew were very good. We had submitted a few writings to essay competitions to win scholarship money. When my children won scholarship money, I assumed the essay must have been good, so of course I included those into my comprehensive records.

This portfolio of records is the difference between my own kids not getting admitted at all to one university, to getting admitted AND getting big scholarships! It was well worth the effort.

Work Samples as Homeschool Documentation 

In our family's homeschool experience, it seemed that colleges asked for some pretty strange things when our sons applied for admission. One college asked for their transcripts in a sealed envelope, signed on the outside by the principal (my husband). Another asked for transcripts from a 'recognized homeschool agency' (what is that?!). 

A lot of colleges, though, want homeschool documentation in the form of samples of a student's homeschool work. At least this is a reasonable, and quite common, request. In order to prepare for this possibility, I set a goal to have at least one sample of work for every subject that I taught. Of course, the problem is that you don't really know in advance what colleges are going to ask you for. We did have a college that wanted a graded English paper, and another college that wanted math in my student's handwriting. I think the easiest way to be prepared is by having a sample from each class you teach. Don't worry though, if you haven't kept anything so far, and your child is going to be a senior next year, just start keeping things from now on and you should be covered.

Did you catch earlier that I said I saved a sample of work for each class on the transcript? It's important to have those, even though I didn't send those directly to colleges (I figured maybe they didn't actually prefer documentation of four years of PE, you know? That could get lengthy!) Instead, I made a note on each course description about how "written work is available upon request." In the event that they asked me for something, I ended up being able to give it to them.  Just remember, you can choose to save the BEST math test and the BEST English paper, but not everything!

Ultimately, I was asked for a "graded" English paper (presumably, a printed or handwritten copy along with a few grading marks on it) and a graded math work in the student's handwriting. A different college needed to see a lab report from science. My suggestion is to be well prepared. It's not possible to estimate exactly what information they may ask for. Instead of being concerned about it, simply try to maintain a couple of representative samples from each course. Then you'll be all set for anything!

If you'd like an example of the documentation records mentioned in this post, check out my Homeschool Transcript Template and Record Keeping Samples here!

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Friday, 30 July 2021

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