Catherine asks: How important is it to have a typical looking transcript with grades and a GPA vs a more narrative type of transcript or even one with courses listed but no grades, since our goal is mastery and so they’d all just be A’s anyway?
Perhaps you might attempt to think about this a little differently. Imagine yourself being a foreign language translator. Your job is to translate what you have completed in your homeschool, into words and numbers that colleges understand. Your job isn’t to alter your homeschool – simply do what gets results for you. Your job is only to translate your activities (whatever they are) into the “love language” of colleges.
I know that many colleges don’t mind a narrative description of a homeschool. I went to a Christian college fair last Monday, and there were a variety of colleges in which 15-20% of their student body were homeschooled. Those admissions people discussed narrative records in a very nice and receptive way. This weekend I’m going to a Homeschool College Fair, and I’m certain it is going to be equally welcoming to many types of homeschool records (or else they probably wouldn’t be at a fair just for homeschoolers, right? ) However I think the vast majority of colleges might not appreciate anything besides a transcript due to the fact it will look like a foreign language to them.
You may desire to simply cluster your student’s learning experiences together into groupings that are about 1 credit worth. Name it something that seems similar to a class title. Once he has put in a year’s worth of math work, for instance, you may name it “discrete math” or “concepts in math” or something. You might look at CLEP exams, and see which ones seem similar to academic content that your student has mastered, and record those subject details on your transcript. Have you looked at Barb Shelton’s Homeschool Form-U-La book? Her book isn't for everyone, but she gives you a good description of the best way to take what you have done and describing it in college-friendly language.
I hope that helps.