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High School Record Keeping

Are Your School Records Private?
by Amy Cortez - Editor The Eclectic Telegraph
If you are a student at a private school or a public school you probably ought to know that your records are not really yours. This holds true for homeschooled students in most states in less you take care of this little detail. A little item called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows a school to release personal informational items such as: your name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance to pretty much anybody, including the military...[read on]

Why Keep Records?
It is important to keep good records of your child's homeschooled years, especially at the high school level if your student intends to go to college.

What kind of records should I keep?
One of the things I quickly realized at the high school level, not only are you the mentor, the chauffeur and the parent, you also get to be a guidance counselor. Probably the most important item you'll keep track of at the high school level is something called a "cum file" or High School Cumulative file. This file might contain:

Elements of a High School Cumulative file
Homeschool profile
"Extra curricular" resume
Letters of recommendation
Student profile

Homeschool Profile
A description of what your "school" was like. The general idea of this document is to describe in broad terms your philosophy on the elements that made up your student(s) high school experience. Subject. headers in this report might be: Description (of your homeschooling method), Mission Statement, External Resources, Community Service, Athletics. There might also be a letter from his guidance counselor (that's you mom or dad!) describing transcript or resume issues that may stand out in an irregular or extraordinary way.

Example Description of Community Service - "We believe in participating in the community and in giving back. You cannot be a member of a society or a citizen without participating in some capacity as a volunteer. In general, in our school we volunteer in places and activities that are interesting and that further our understanding of a topic or an issue."

"Extra curricular" resume
A description of what your student does when he's not studying "school stuff". The general idea of this document is to describe the fun, artistic, poetic, adventurous, generous, athletic aspects of your student. I divided ours by years. Subject. headers in this report might be: Live Theater, Film & Museum Exhibits, Science, History and Geography experiences, Community Service, Awards, Job History.

Example - A portion of an extra curricular" resume:

Science, History and Geography experiences

Bonsai Class at Cincinnati Khron Conservatory. April 2007.

SEMEDS Lab @WPAFB - visit to learn about nanotechnology used in commercial products. Wright Patterson Air Force Base. November 2006.

VEX Robotics Project - February 2007.

HO Scale Railroad Model 10ftx20ft project. 2005-ongoing.

Medicine Hike with a Botanist - Describes the medicinal uses and lore of local plants. Nevis French West Indies. February 2007.

Tour French West Indies - Windjammer’s S.V. Polynesia for 7 days in the French West Indies. St. Maarten, St. Barts, Nevis, St. Eustatius, Anguilla. February 2007.

Experience Scuba - 20 foot scuba dive in Caribbean Ocean off the Anguilla in the French West Indies. February 2007.


Letters of recommendation are written by coaches, mentors, team mates, professors people who know your student through academic, athletic, community service or recreational pursuits. The letters will describe the uniqueness of your student and why whomever is reading the letter might be interested in them.

Student profile is the overall academic picture of your student. It contains a cumulative transcript and course names/titles and descriptions. The cumulative transcript documents: the number of credit hours earned, GPA, footnotes about where classes were taken if you used resources external to your homeshool, the standards you used to measure your student's work.The course names/titles and descriptions document course names/titles and descriptions of the courses on the transcripts.

Elements of a Student Profile
Cumulative Transcript/portfolio
Course names document

Transcripts or Portfolio?
The first thing you have to decide is is if you will keep transcript or portfolio records. Discuss this with your student. A portfolio generally consists of descriptions and examples of the student’s work and accomplishments. It also includes, programs, articles, photos, letters of recommendation. As we are are eclectic homeschoolers, we decided to keep a kind of hybrid file that contained transcript records and a portfolio like collection of samples, should we need it.We decided that this hybrid kind of file would help college admissions officers to understand the uniqueness of the student applying. [More on generating transcripts]

Course names and descriptions
Course descriptions can be useful in describing what it was that you did - if that makes sense.

Choose a brief title or a specific name that will make sense to college admission officers. The description is a brief summary of what was actually accomplished by the student to earn the credit hour and grade points. The description can include the texts used, we listed these as an attachment the word Lab if the Science course had a lab element. If your course can be considered"Honors" or at an AP level, indicate that. NOTE: homeschoolers cannot say their classes were AP unless they actually took an accredited AP class. If your homebrewed course was AP-Like to prepare for a SAT Subject test, say that. If the course was college level and taken at at community college or other place, indicate that as well.

The use of correct terminology is important and the student and parent should know what each term on the transcript means. For example, Aerospace is Aerospace, not Physical Science. This fine tuning shows a special interest.

Attach these descriptions as the last page of the transcript.

Example - A Lab Course name and description:

Introduction to Aerospace Engineering and Design (LAB)
Three areas of Aerospace are explored in conjunction with two Lighter Than Air(LTA) vehicle construction projects. The three areas are, Basic Engineering, Drawing structures (with an emphasis on drafting aircraft) and Aircraft Structural Analysis. The LTA vehicles are created using physics, mathematics, and chemistry known to the student with the emphasis being on the application of this knowledge to Aerospace Engineering and design rather than on exposure to new science and mathematics. This class also introduces basic design drawing through a series of drawing exercises. The Aircraft structural analysis is a surface exploration with exposure to basic elasticity, energy methods of structural analysis, structural instability in aircraft structures. It includes reading on Aircraft structures, air worthiness and Aeroelasticity. Additionally, NASA FoilSim software will be utilized to make the connections between theory and practice.

Example - An AP-Like Course name and description:

Physics I - 101 & 102
A Combination of Classical Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism presented by MIT through Open Courseware. Intended to model an AP course to prepare the student for SAT Physics Subject test(s). (A detailed description of Classical Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism followed)

Example - Honors course taken at a remote source name and description:

Latin I Honors
Emphasizes grammar and vocabulary as keys to understanding and appreciating Latin. Students read works based on mythological themes and adaptations from primordial authors.This course is an introduction to the Latin language, with special attention paid to Latin grammar, syntax, and vocabulary for the purpose of developing some fluency in reading Latin prose. Through the readings, the course will also serve as an introduction to Roman daily life, there are additional readings on history, literature, and culture. (Northwestern University Center for Talent development)

Example - Course taken at a community college:

Technical Writing I - College Level Composition (Cincinnati State College)
A course on the principles and practices of composing various types of professional and technical communication. Topics include audience analysis, planning and preparing documents used for reference or instruction and integrating visuals with text.


Granting a Diploma
The diploma, promotion or honor roll certificate you issue in your home school is just as valid and represents the same work (if not more) than what you might receive from a "school". Completing high school generally means that a student has 19-25 Carnegie credits. On our High School Curriculum page there is a chart I compiled that shows what a high school program might look like if you are considering some sort of college career for your student. Different Universities expect different subjects on a transcript. Schools like MIT and Stanford will look for a transcript that shows a "strong program", where Carnegie Mellon and Brown University are looking for a "solid program".

Download your own to print and present! (PDF files)

Graduation Diploma
Promotion Certificate
Honor Roll Certificate


(Worthwhile items
to pass along to your teen)
A commencement Speech [PDF]
A good saying [PDF]
A good guide to life [PDF]
A Graduation Diploma - [PDF]
A Promotion Certificate - [PDF]
An Honor Roll Certificate - [PDF]
The transcipt format we used for college entrance: (.pdf) (.xls)


Beautiful young people are an act of nature.

Beautiful old people are a work of art.


Books I have used in our homeschool

(Written from a Christian point of view)














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