How to Handle Credit Levels on Homeschool Transcript

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This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Handle Credit Levels on Homeschool Transcript.

How to Handle Credit Levels on Homeschool Transcript

How to Handle Credit Levels on Homeschool Transcript

At, we often receive questions about how to show the level of rigor of high school courses on the homeschool transcript. It is a good question. Before we get started, remember there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. That means there’s not ONE right way to record levels of rigor. Even in the traditional school setting,  there is a variety of methods for this.

That said, Sabrina is sharing today about the way we have recorded level of rigor on our homeschoolers transcripts. It has worked well for decades and is still being used by our local homeschool community. Here goes:

So, a credit is a credit, right? Not really. There is a huge range of the kinds of credit teens are experiencing. For example: 9th grade English/Language Arts is WAY more work with many more components than, say, a 9th grade Social Studies credit. ELA includes reading, reading with analysis, writing of various kinds, vocabulary, grammar, public speaking…it’s a LOT. There is more work that goes into the life preparation that teens learn as they handle their ELA experiences.

On the other hand, studying American History (or another History) does not need as many hours. Your teen will be mastering information and materials in history class. There are a variety of ways to do this but it is less complex than ELA.

So, each credit is not the same.

Now, college admissions officers are looking for a certain kind of student that will enhance their student body and meet their college’s goals. The starting point of their evaluation of each student is their application, which includes their transcript. All credits are not the same in the level of rigor of the work completed.

Admissions officers do not know your homeschool high schooler. They do not know how awesome they are and how hard they have worked. All they have is an application with its transcript (and reference letters, of course). The transcript is vital because it gives a snapshot into all the things these busy admissions officers need to know about your teen!

In order to do their work as well as they can, they explain to schools about the things they are generally looking for.  One thing they are looking for is evidence of the levels of rigor at which your homeschooler has worked on each particular course. Thus, the idea of showing “levels” for each course helps admissions officers get a glimpse into your teens:

  • interests (especially for a major)
  • abilities
  • willingness to work hard at academics

So, showing credit levels on homeschool transcripts is valuable for the college application process.

Adjusting credit levels to teens needs and interests also helps you tweak high school courses so that they are best-fit for each student. Hey, that’s one thing that is SO awesome about homeschooling. We can tailor courses to meet our teens needs and interests!

For instance, perhaps a teens love Biology and is thinking about that as a college major. You might not only have your teen complete the Bio textbook and labs, but add lots of field trips, hands-on experiences, paper-writing, interviews and documentaries.

You want to show all this work on the transcript!

That’s what leveling-up is about for the homeschool transcript.

How can your teen show interests and abilities on the transcript?  Show  credit levels!

Here’s an overview of credit levels for the homeschool transcript.

Level 1 Remedial

This is for students with special need and truly struggle in certain areas. High school is a great time for remediating and skill building. This is wonderful! Homeschooling is about giving teens the things they need. If your teen needs remediation, go for it. (Level 1 courses, however, are not good for college-preparatory transcripts.)

Level 2 Average

This is a credit for average high schoolers. These are courses that most students can take and master well. They are not intense courses, not time consuming, not really college prep. These are courses that are good for workforce headed teens.

Level 3 College Prep

These credits are courses that prepare students for college. Courses include more intensity of assignments and require more time and work than a Level 2. Teens who do well in these courses are learning good academic skills (independent learning, study skills, time management) and subject preparation. College-bound teens should often be able to do much of this work with supervision but not much hand holding (although this varies by teen, after there’s not ONE kind of homeschool high schooler). Many homeschool textbooks are written at Level 3 College Prep. If a teen has a Level 2 text, add extra hours of experiences to bring this credit to level 3.

Level 4 Advanced

These credits are more rigorous (thus more competitive on the homeschool transcript). Your student can earn this credit by adding on about another 1/2 credit’s learning experiences to their textbook work. This can be done with reading extra real books (think rigor, so maybe 10 moderately-sized books) or 60-68 hours of field trips, research and paper writing, hands-on activities, interviews and shadowing experiences.

Level 5 Honors

These credits are highly rigorous. They require about double the work of an average high school credit. Add to textbook learning: 120-180 hours of reading extra real books (think rigor, so maybe 10 moderately-sized books) and 60-68 hours of field trips, research and paper writing, hands-on activities, interviews and shadowing experiences.

Many teens will not need Level 5 courses for all their courses. Choose core courses or electives that advance their college-major interests and/or abilities. Do not overload your teen (unless they are aiming for a military academy or highly-competitive college).

On the homeschool transcript, record the title of the course WITH the level at which the work is done. Be sure to include a key or legend at the bottom of your transcript that briefly explains how the levels are earned.

Do you weight these courses differently? There’s not ONE right way to handle this. Colleges have an algorithm that allows them to compare apples to apples on weighted and unweighted credits. (Thus, we don’t bother weighting.) Check out these posts for more on GPA and weighting.

Choose wisely on levels for your homeschoolers. Check out this episode on realistic expectations and for how to use levels with 7Sisters curriculum.

Join Sabrina for practical wisdom on how to handle credit levels on homeschool transcript.


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