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5 Top Tips About Weighting Homeschool Grades

5 Top Tips About Weighting Homeschool Grades
I often get asked about weighting honors classes on a transcript. Have you taken my free class on grades, credits and transcript before? Sign up for free homeschool transcript help . Here are my top 5 tips about weighting grades. I don't recommend we...
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Options for Handling Homeschool Failure

Options for Handling Homeschool Failure
What would you do if your child REALLY failed a homeschool class - refused to do history, for example? Let's talk about how to cope, as a homeschool mom. There are many options for handling failed grades at homeschooling. Handling Homeschool Failure ...
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Recent Comments
Michelle Schefcik
Lee, what if your child took a dual-enrollment course and failed? The instruction was poor, tests were loaded with material not y... Read More
Saturday, 11 August 2018 15:30
Lee Binz
Dear Michelle, Oh dear, I'm so sorry to hear that! There are actually two things to consider here. 1. Learning the content Yes, y... Read More
Saturday, 11 August 2018 16:41
Robin
Hi Andrea, It's difficult to say, since there are many factors that will influence how you would proceed. In the blog post, Lee s... Read More
Sunday, 14 July 2019 01:50
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Take This Class and Love Every Minute of It!

Take This Class and Love Every Minute of It!

Take This Class and Love Every Minute of It!


Each time someone takes my free class on grades, credits, and transcripts, I ask for feedback. I update that class every few years, and feedback helps me to improve the class each time. But, I have to say, Cindy went over-and-above on her specific review of “A Homeschool Parent's Guide to Grades, Credits and Transcripts”. She said she loved every minute of it!
    Dear Lee,

I am happy to provide feedback.  None of it will be improvement because I loved every minute!

I was home all week with my six-year-old while my husband took a group of 22 on a mission trip.  Included in that trip were my 15-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son.  One of my goals was to update transcripts and START course descriptions.  We have homeschooled since the start and I was feeling uneasy about some aspects of our transcripts.  Books and research are my stress relievers so I began there.  I remembered some moms mentioning liking your talk last year at Modesto, CA so I started with you.  Wait! I prayed, then felt certain I was to start with you.  What I found was the friendly voice and mentorship I have sought for years and could not find.  You echoed so many of my own fears and pleasant discoveries and I knew you were a gift from God.

Most of the help that you gave me was the confidence to get started revising what I have already done and the courage to begin that which I have put off doing.  Specifically helpful to me was:

- You validated my one year over semester approach to transcript.  I have been using a template from HSLDA and it does not have a semester option.  We found that the grade didn't vary from semester to semester so this was fine, EXCEPT, every other sample (from the internet) was in semesters.

- You shared what you did.  As mentioned above, I only had samples from the internet.  No one will show me what they did.  I know some people feel embarrassed to share but seeing a real example from a person you know actually used what you are seeing makes a world of difference to a mom.  Which leads me to my next point.

- You don't see homeschooling as a zero sum game.  I love helping people.  I will happily share anything, and I have shared so many things.  Sadly, others don't always feel the same way.  My husband and I quietly did our own homeschooling thing since we didn't know anyone who did it.  Recently (since High School started), we have been more involved as the Lord has brought the opportunity.  We have met a few families who are very competitive.  I have been discouraged (more than I realized) but you have given me new hope that on a personal level I can turn things around and share you and your website and materials and underscore your attitudes of wanting all homeschooling families to succeed in their own way.

- You helped me see that it is okay to put on the transcript everything my son did.  We were embarrassed when we listed everything (and ran out of room since my husband must have it look pretty) so I began lumping things together in such a way as to make it look "normal."  I have had this nagging feeling that we were negating his accomplishments and hard work.  My husband is a youth pastor and often has my son teach.  We had none of that on there either.  He does so many book studies for personal devotions that I never thought of putting on his book list (Do Hard Things, Thirsting for God, Mere Christianity to name a few). In a nutshell, the truth is the truth and I need not fear what others think.

- You reminded me that colleges love homeschoolers.  I have heard that but not from a person who has actually experienced it.

While I didn't buy your transcript service (though I was sorely tempted), I would have had I not already done so much on it already.  I was happy to see you had books.  The webinar was a treat and one I hope to repeat often.  However, having your words in print will be wonderful.  I bought the one on admissions and scholarships for my son who is making applications this year.  While I wait for it to arrive I am reading your book on transcripts and course descriptions on Kindle. I will certainly share your link and the blessing that you are.  Please thank your whole family for me as I know it would not be possible without your husbands support and the inspiration God gave you to do your best for your boys.  Thank you for telling me in your book to consider you a friend because I do!

With a grateful heart,
Cindy

Have you learned about high school grades, credits, and transcripts yet? It's often the most-feared thing about homeschooling high school, and is a stumbling block for many parents. I feel that if I can remove the fear of high school transcripts, then parents can make an informed decision about homeschooling high school. You can take my free class on “A Homeschool Parent's Guide to Grades, Credits and Transcripts” and feel much more comfy-cozy within a short time! The class is about 1 hour, with about 1 hour of questions at the end, so you're sure to get the information you need.

Don't let the fear of transcripts prevent you from homeschooling through high school!

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Andrew Pudewa Recommends The HomeScholar

Andrew Pudewa Recommends The HomeScholar


Andrew Pudewa Recommends The HomeScholar


Recently I worked with Andrew Pudewa of the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) on a series of classes teaching parents how to determine high school credit for IEW products. We’ve known each other for many years and collaborated together on a number of projects before, and it's always fun. This time I enjoyed chatting with him about my Total Transcript Solution. This is what Andrew had to say:
“If I could go back to the very, very beginning, and say to my wife, ‘Sweetheart, I know this woman who will help you – let’s just get her services and do this the easy way,’ it would have saved a few hours ... Lee is just one of the most encouraging and common sense, down to earth, but careful people in this whole business. I recommend her highly.”

~ Andrew Pudewa,  Director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).

If you are experiencing anxiety about your child entering college and the real world, you want to hear Andrew’s entire review, including some great encouragement for homeschoolers, check out the YouTube video below to listen.



If you need to learn more about determining high school credit for your curriculum, or if you need help getting started on your transcript, I'd love for you to take this free class "A Homeschooler’s Guide to High School Grades, Credits, and Transcripts".

If you are ready to jump in, and make your transcript, but you'd like some moral support, check out the Total Transcript Solution.



Have you used the Total Transcript Solution? Please share your experience!

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Ooops! Not Done With Math!

Ooops! Not Done With Math!

Ooops! Not Done With Math!


What do you do, when you just aren't done with math before the year is done? Let me give you a few options, and you can decide which is best for your situation.

One Book In One Year is Impossible


You could measure math credits by counting hours spent on math. Some moms know their child can't complete a whole level each year. For them it makes sense to embrace the way God made your child, and give math credits not by textbook, but by the number of hours worked. In other words, it your young person worked at math for 45 minutes to an hour a day, then give credit for math, 1 credit per year. The title of the class is extra important in this option. You don't imply that your child got farther in the textbook than actually accomplished. To clarify that, you can call the class Algebra 1A, for 1 credit, for a whole year of work, for the first half of the textbook. Then call the class Algebra 1B for 1 credit, for a whole year of work the following year, for the second half of the textbook.

One Book Completed In Random Intervals


You could decide to give credit based on the completion date of each textbook. Some parents know the child is just working on their own time-table, being successful while only slightly slower than the average bear. Sometimes families will do year-round schooling, with math completion dates occurring at random intervals throughout the year. For them, it makes more sense to just give the credit on the month and year when each textbook was completed. So for this situation, math classes on the transcript might look like this:

  • Pre-algebra, 1 credit, completed 06/2014

  • Algebra 1, 1 credit, completed 12/2015

  • Geometry, 1 credit, completed 09/2016


That way is sometimes easier, I think, because there is less to keep track of other than completion dates. This may not be a good choice if a child is FAR behind, while still working hard all day, because they get short-changed for all the work they did just to get 1/2 way through a textbook.

Measure by Semester,  Not by Year


You could decide to embrace the random start and stop time of your homeschool classes. Some parents prefer to give grades each semester, rather than each year, because the timing is just too difficult to figure out when each class begins and ends otherwise. If you do that, then each 1/2 textbook you can enter half the number of usual credits and give a grade. So on the semester system, a math book is still 1 credit, but each semester is 1/2 credit. I to have some transcript templates with semester grades available for you to look at, but templates are usually just by semester or by year. You can still add one class at a time that ends at the semester, if you like. This works well if your child starts and stops many classes at somewhat random intervals. Every 6 months, update the transcript with what was completed in the previous 6 months.

Over-Picky Parents Expecting Perfection


You may need to just lighten up, and your child can complete a math book per year. Other moms are just expecting more than a public school expects. In other words, expecting a child who struggles to complete every single problem in the book, from beginning to end isn't always the best choice. After all, a child only needs enough practice to learn, not all the practice problems that are provided in the universe. And homeschoolers don't need to complete all the chapters in every textbook, either. If you complete 75-80% of the curriculum, then it's done. So maybe Algebra 1 or Geometry will be done sooner than expected.

If you need more help, I have some math articles to encourage you!

9 Ways to Actually Get Math Done This Year
High School Math Without the Moaning


What do you think? Which method would you choose?



 
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The Real Value of Grades on a Transcript

The Real Value of Grades on a Transcript



The Real Value of Grades on a Transcript


I always recommend that parents put grades on every class on your homeschool transcript. Either letter grades (A, B, C) or number grades (4.0, 3.5, 3.) will be equally helpful, but grades are important. I do not recommend using Pass or Fail on your transcript.

Colleges award scholarships based on the GPA of your child - and the GPA is determined by the grades you provide. Without grades, you can't get a GPA. Colleges may still award scholarships based on test scores, but give them the option of giving you their best scholarships by providing them with grades.

When my boys were in school, I did put grades on their transcripts. I've met some homeschoolers that would never put a letter grade on the transcript when they gave the grade themselves. I've met other homeschoolers that would never put a grade that they've gotten from accrediting agencies. But as I talk with colleges, they have made it clear: they want grades on the transcript.

All teachers worry about having subjective grades. Homeschool parents worry about that too. Just create a transcript with grades, putting on the transcript what you know to be honest and true.

Colleges know that in general homeschoolers tend to work for mastery. If you work for mastery in your own home, you could feel comfortable giving them a 4.0. This means that they knew it before moving on. It doesn't really surprise colleges when they see really good grades on a homeschool transcript. When they see you give a less than perfect grade, a lot of times that would say that you’re a rough grader.

Learn more about grading in this free online class: A Homeschool Parent's Guide to High School Grades, Credits and Transcripts.

As long as you have documentation for the grades you give and the SAT or the ACT scores. Those documents, when given together, look like a natural thing which doesn't freak them out at all. Learn more in this article: Super-Size Scholarships with Outside Documentation.

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Failing Grades in Online School

Failing Grades in Online School


Failing Grades in Online School


Many parents choose online classes for their students, and from time to time will experience the "crash and burn" of failing grades from these classes. How can you make sure your smart child is represented fairly on the transcript, even if your child has failed some classes?

If your classes are NOT accredited, then the class and grades are essentially like a homeschool co-op, and you are completely in charge of those grades. Their transcript is like a "serving suggestion" or recipe that you can use for informational purposes and modify it at will and is not sent to colleges. They only see what your child submits/does in class, and you are the teacher who sees the full picture. You are the real teacher here, and you can give her the grades she deserves. There are multiple ways of doing this.

  1.     Give a grade for what she knows.

  2.     Give a grade for her hard work.

  3.     Give extra credit so she can boost her grade.

  4.     Repeat the class if necessary, so she can learn what she needs to know.

  5.     Give a subject test to prove her knowledge. (SAT Subject test, for example.)


If your classes ARE accredited, then you have to work within their system to modify those grades. These transcripts must be sent directly to the colleges. You can't change the class titles, grades, or credit values, even if you are putting those classes on your own homeschool transcript.

Homeschool independently for more flexibility. When you homeschool independently, you have all sorts of flexibility to modify curriculum to keep your child challenged but not overwhelmed. When you are not independent, it's possible for kids to fall in over their head. When you homeschool independently, you can change your expectations, adapt assignments, and turn on a dime when facing difficulty.

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Great News About Grading Scales!

Great News About Grading Scales!
I have such marvelous news about grading scales! This is guaranteed to thrill! Or maybe not... Let me know after I explain the good news!

You are in charge of your homeschool policy. As the parent, you can choose any grading scale that you want to use.  If you are homeschooling independently, then you get to decide.

There are a few commonly-used grading scale options I usually suggest you consider.  Which of these will strike your fancy?

 Grading Scale Options


Option 1

97-100% = A+, 93-96% = A, 90-92% = A-, 87-89% = B+, 83-86% = B, 80-82% = B-,  77-79% = C+, 73-76% = C, 70-72% = C-, 67-69% = D+, 63-66% = D, 60-62% = D-,  <60% = F

 Option 2

A=4.0, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0

 Option 3

93-100% = A, 85-92% = B, 75-84% = C, 70-74% = D, Below 70% = F

 Option 4

90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, Below 60% = F

There are other options out there, but there is no "right" answer to the best grading scale. You can choose the one that's easiest for you to use, the one that looks the most intimidating, or the one that helps you sleep at night. You could even use the one your friends, neighbors, or public school uses, if you want to - it's totally your choice.

Choose the one you like, either for a good reason or for no reason at all. If you simply can't decide, then print this post, and staple it to the wall. Throw a dart at it (or a limp spaghetti noodle will work equally well.)  The grading scale closest to where you hit the paper? That's the grading scale option that you should use - it's the right one for you!


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A Matter of Honor

A Matter of Honor



A Matter of Honor: Honors Classes


Honors credit or no honors credit, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to give your child a C grade for an honors credit, or a B for a regular credit. First and foremost, your job is to teach your child at their level. Teach for success. It doesn't matter what the course is, or what the books you used. An honors course refers to the depth and extent of how far your child takes the content. Any course can be an honors course when accomplished by a student who goes above and beyond. However, there is no shame in having regular courses on a transcript. If it means a class without honors for your child to be successful, then that's what they should be doing in order to learn at their level.

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How Do I Keep A Record of Their Grades?

How Do I Keep A Record of Their Grades?
In this video, I share an easy, non-techie way to keep homeschool grades organized.




Subscribe to my YouTube channel. You will be notified when I create new videos on homeschool high school topics!
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Free Live Training Webinar on February 19th

Free Live Training Webinar on February 19th
Join The HomeScholar for a free LIVE presentation!



“A Homeschool Parent's Guide to Grades, Credits and Transcripts” will give you the information and confidence you need to succeed in creating AMAZING homeschool transcripts that the colleges will LOVE! There will be lots of time to get your high school record keeping questions answered by an expert!

Everyone who registers will receive an audio recording of the class, so while we are together you can just sit back and soak in the knowledge, store some of it in your short-term memory, knowing that you will be able to review the information at your convenience.

This online class will be on Tuesday, February 19 at 5:00 pm Pacific Time.
Hawaii-Aleutian....3:00 PM
Alaskan.................4:00
Pacific...................5:00
Mountain.............. 6:00
Central .................7:00
Eastern ................8:00
Atlantic..................9:00

 

Register TODAY for free! 


Plenty of time to ask questions and lots of fun prizes! Feel free to share with your friends!


Gain confidence! Get questions answered!
Learn the easy way to calculate grades and credits!



The HomeScholar’s Total Transcript Solution will take the fear out of homeschool transcripts! 
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Evaluate Without Grades

Evaluate Without Grades
When faced with courses such as math or spelling, most homeschool parents feel pretty confident in their grading methods.  But what about those more challenging courses, like fine arts, or even creative writing--how do you grade those things?  If you were teaching culinary arts, think about a yummy piece of chocolate dessert, and how you would grade something like that!



Of course, grades definitely have their place, but an equally useful method of evaluating your child’s education is using the concept of mastery.  Mastery simply means your student has learned the things you want them to and they are meeting your expectations.

Think about that piece of chocolate dessert again:  If you’re grading a student’s culinary arts class using the concept of mastery, you could use a variety of different criteria to evaluate them.  First you might consider their work based on taste, and then you might evaluate them on the appearance of their work, or their presentation.   You could really grade them on a variety of different things based on their overall mastery of culinary arts, all of which would be a part of their final grade.

It’s important to remember that there’s a huge difference between mastery and perfection. A great example of this would be my checkbook, because it looks like a bunch of chicken scratch.  Sometimes I do have to scratch things out and start subtracting and adding everything again, so I know that my checkbook is not perfect. At the same time, I do actually have mastery over addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; it’s just that sometimes I make mistakes in my checkbook (okay, a lot of times!). Whether you’re grading with or without tests, you still have to remember that a grade of one hundred percent may not necessarily mean perfection.

If you’re reviewing a test your student took, you could send it back so they can correct what they got wrong, or if you’re correcting an English paper, you could circle the mistakes you find and ask the student to correct it.  Both scenarios indicate that you have high expectations. If your child is meeting your high expectations, then it’s fine to give them one hundred percent for their work. That’s what I did most of the time; I gave my sons one hundred percent based on something they knew or produced or did, if they met my high expectations.

Don’t forget that you can give a grade for things that are not tangible, like oral presentations, classroom discussions, class participation, or finishing homework. Every time my sons completed a chapter of math, performed the end of chapter test and finished all their homework, I gave them one hundred percent. They were really working hard for these grades, and spent hours on math assignments each day, so I believed they earned some reward for all that work.  In the end, mastery of important concepts is really what you are seeking for your student.



Do you like getting this sort of help for homeschooling high school?  Gold Care Club members get extended answers to their most challenging high school issues.  Homeschooling is NOT the same as doing schoolwork at home.  There is LOTS of freedom!  My Gold Care Club will give you all the help you need to succeed!
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What About College?

What About College?
Do you ever wonder about things?  I was one of those moms that would worry and fret about LOTS of things.  Wonder what would happen if you homeschooled through high school?

  • What if you homeschooled independently?

  • What would you do about grades?

  • What about college?

  • Would colleges accept grades given by mommy?


If you homeschool through high school, prepare a high school transcript on your home computer, provide mommy grades and kitchen credits, WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

Let's see what happened to Mechelle...






Congratulations Mechelle!  Way to go!

If you have questions about college preparation, homeschooling independently, making grade, calculating credits, or creating your homeschool transcript, I would love to help!  You can join my Gold Care Club for personal assistance, and my book will help too Setting the Records Straight





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Acronyms for Outside Classes

Acronyms for Outside Classes
When homeschoolers take classes outside the home, the transcript can seem a little complicated.  You can make it easily understandable by simply using acronyms for outside classes.


Acronyms for Outside Classes


Choose an acronym for each location where your child took classes. Here are some examples:
DHS = Denver High School
HCC = Highline Community College
FHC = Family Homeschool Cooperative

Once you have chosen an acronym, use it on your child's homeschool transcript.  This will help colleges figure out where each class was taken, and where they can expect other transcripts to come from.

Place the acronym by class title on the transcript. For example:
DHS:  Algebra 1
HCC: SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology
FHC: Latin 1

Then in key or legend toward the bottom of your transcript, define what each acronym means.  It might look like this:
DHS:  Classes taken at Denver High School
HCC: Dual enrollment classes at Highline Community College
FHC: Homeschool co-op classes taken at Family Homeschool Cooperative

If the outside classes were taken at a brick and mortar school, your homeschool transcript grade should look exactly like the transcript grade that comes from that school.  Homeschool co-ops are not schools, so if they give you a grade it's really just a "serving suggestion" based on their interactions with your student.  If your student took classes at a community college, high school, alt ed program, or accredited online school, you must use their grades, and have them each send a transcript directly to the college.  In fact, if your child has withdrawn from public school, classes taken there can be listed on the homeschool transcript as well.


Will your child's transcript include a lot of acronyms for outside classes? Please share!



If you need any extra help, you will really appreciate my Gold Care Club, full of templates and tools to help you homeschool high school.
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Recent Comments
Shelley Mallory
My son has taken a couple of classes from a local high school, a few from a homeschool coop and the rest at home. All 3 had differ... Read More
Monday, 02 April 2018 22:18
Lee Binz
Shelley, That's a good question for Lee when you send your records in for review. Typically, you would include a key for your grad... Read More
Tuesday, 03 April 2018 19:34
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Sending Transcripts for Senior Year Applications

Sending Transcripts for Senior Year Applications
Is your transcript up to date?  Even if your transcript looks great on paper, it can be confusing to figure out how to submit a homeschool transcript when you are filling out college applications during the fall of senior year. Let me give you a few quick tips.


Classes 
Include all the classes your child is currently doing on the transcript.  Are you beginning Chemistry or Calculus this fall?  Put that on the high school transcript.  If your child intends to take certain classes in community college, include the names of those classes.  College expect this, and assume it is just an "estimate" of what the child will be taking.

Grades
Don't include final grades for classes you  haven't completed yet.  Instead, indicate grades are in progress (IP) or have yet to be determined (TBD.) You can indicate how many credits they will be earning, but don't put on a grade for a class until the grade is done.

Transcripts
When you are submitting a transcript in the fall, it's just a "transcript."  You may need to send in a transcript after first semester, an "interim transcript" that includes grades earned through December. Finally, when school is over for the year, you will be asked to submit a "final transcript" that include all grades for all classes, and indicated the date the student officially graduated.

If you need help with your transcript, I'll be glad to work with you!  If you haven't started your transcript yet, or if you don't like the transcript you are working with, then I suggest getting the Total Transcript Solution.  If you have finished your transcript, and you merely want some support and guidance, then The Gold Care Club will give you the personal help you need!

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