The Horizon and Beyond...

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As I read Judy’s post about another milestone in their family I couldn’t help thinking of an upcoming milestone in ours. In December, our youngest son will graduate from college and my husband and I are already patting ourselves on the back. We have five children and come December, all five will have college educations. I get a goofy grin whenever I think about it.

Like Judy, I can remember when the thought of homeschooling through high school left me shaking in my boots. I got an introduction to making limited transcripts for our older boys years ago when they went to public school in 10th grade after being homeschooled for several years. But as I homeschooled my two Sonlight educated kids I realized that they would graduate from our homeschool and I had to make full transcripts, issue diplomas and help with college admissions.

It was scary thinking about transcripts, credits, diplomas and college applications. I had friends who were going to weekend training seminars so they could learn how to do these things but I kept thinking,

“Could it really be that hard to do high school?”

I remembered what a wise woman once told me, “You don’t have to worry about everything, just make a plan and then do a year at a time.” Hmm…that sounded easier.

So, I got online and looked up what colleges and universities in our area wanted to see in their incoming freshmen. Then I made a grid that had 4 columns across the top, one for each year of high school. I put all the subjects along the left side, and then drew lines to make a grid.

Planning for High School

I PENCILED in the year we would do those subjects the colleges said we needed to have. Leaving room for electives and things I was unsure of, it looked kind of like the sample I have here.

This gave us a basic plan. As opportunities came up, such as swim team, etc., I added those to the grid under the category I thought it fit into. At the end of each year I updated the grid showing what we did and added the completed courses to the “in progress” transcript.

A transcript is just record or resume of what your child has done. If this scares you, remember this—THERE IS NO SINGLE RIGHT WAY to make a transcript. EVERY school and district has their own design, format and set up, so an admissions officer sees literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of various transcripts a year.  [Tip do an internet search for high school transcript and you will get lots of ideas.] Yours will not look any different to the admissions officer than any of the others.

There are a few things you must have such as your grading scale, the total credits given for a course, the student’s name, your signature…but the set up is up to you. Like Judy, I highly recommend Cafi Cohen's book, Homeschooler's College Admissions Handbook. It is an amazing wealth of information and will show you sample transcripts and how to plan a high school education.

I have gone to many homeschool conventions in the past years and colleges and universities are recruiting our kids. They are looking for a reason to admit them. They know they get top quality students who know how to think, study and learn when they admit home school students. Don’t let the fear of transcripts rob you of the joy of homeschooling your high school student. Your child will learn to think and digest material and discuss it with you at a whole new level. You will deepen your relationship with them while giving them the tools they need to enter society as an adult.

I am convinced that there is no better high school education anywhere than through Sonlight. Our kids can read, think and communicate at a level not often seen in incoming freshmen. You can do it. You can homeschool through high school; just take it one year at a time keeping your eye on your four year plan. And, for lots of great ideas and support, visit Sonlight’s “Parents of High Schoolers Forum.” The wealth of information and years of accumulated experience on this forum will amaze you.

Yes, Scott’s December college graduation will be quite a milestone in our family. We gave him the best we  had to give and now it is up to him—and the way I see it, the opportunities awaiting him stretch out to the horizon and beyond.

Take Care,



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  1. Pingback: The Horizon and Beyond… | Sonlight Blog - Home School News for Parents

  2. Kathryn Olson

    Thank you, Jill. Very encouraging. My homeschooler is only in 2nd grade this year, so high school is still a ways off on the horizon. But even so, your article encouraged me that if we decide to continue the journey that far, there will be plenty of resources available to help us with it. "Just do one year at a time" is my mantra, too. We love homeschooling so far, mostly thanks to Sonlight!

  3. Jill

    Hi Kathryn,

    I am so glad that my post was encouraging. I talk to so many parents who think they can't do high school or think they have to do a more traditional high school program than Sonlight's in order for their kids to go to college. It grieves me because I don't believe any curriculum is better for kids than Sonlight. It is an excellent preparation for them whether they go to college or not. Homeschooling through high school is very rewarding and I know when my kids went off to college I didn't have the thoughts many of my peers have, "I wish I had spent more time with my child--they grew up so fast and I missed it." We spent good quality time building great memories, transferring core beliefs and learning together. Parenting doesn't get any better than that.

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