We have good intentions. We know the documents are important, but we are also busy homeschooling younger kids, or maybe we are re-entering the workforce and "later" feels like plenty of time to take care of safeguarding a transcript.
Although it's easy for time to get away from us, this is an area where we owe it to our children to diligently record, save, and pass on homeschool documentation.
Homeschool grads make pleas about transcripts on Reddit.
We get emails and comments about lost homeschool records here at TheHomeSchoolMom.
State homeschool organizations get frantic phone calls.
The messages are like these:
"Where can I get my high school homeschool records if I don't have them from my parents?"
"My mom homeschooled me and gave me a diploma and transcripts, but I lost them. Now she has dementia and can't help me with the documents I need."
"The military wants a copy of my homeschool diploma and my transcript so I can enlist. My parents never gave me these documents. Now what?"
"I wasn't planning to go to college, but I'm working in a field I love and now feel ready to get the college degree that will help me in my career. What can I do if my parents, who died a few years ago, did not make me a high school transcript? They never thought I'd go to college either."
"When our apartment flooded, I lost my only copy of the high school transcript my mother made. What can I do? Who would have thought that I would need homeschool high school transcripts to apply to law school all these years later?"
"Mom did a great job of homeschooling us, but she died tragically before making us the transcripts we know she intended to make."
"I finished homeschooling a few years back, and now I'm going to trade school. I never thought I'd need transcripts because I wasn't headed to college. But the trade school wants my high school transcripts."
Homeschool parents: Create high school transcripts for your graduates and safeguard them for the future—no matter what you believe the future will hold for your adult child.
If you accept the responsibility of homeschooling your children through high school, you absolutely need to accept the responsibility of creating transcripts that will help them move through life after high school—a permanently accessible permanent record.
Why you should safeguard homeschool high school documents
- You don't know your child's future
You may not believe your child will ever attend college or interview for a job that will require transcripts, but many homeschooled teens grow and change immensely after they turn 17 or 18. If they decide to take community college classes—whether in their mid-twenties or their mid-forties—they will be asked for a high school transcript from their homeschool years! If they decide to join the military, they will be asked for their high school transcript.
Your child might move to a different state, which could have different requirements for certain opportunities than what you expect.
In short, your child may make choices you don't anticipate.
And hey, your adult child might even need to submit a diploma or transcript when filing the required paperwork to legally homeschool your grandchildren!
- You don't know your own future
You may feel you can always create transcripts if your child turns out to need them in the future. However, life is precious, and there is no way to know whether death, accidents, illnesses or crises will prevent a parent from creating a transcript when an adult child needs one.
- You don't know how records requirements might change in the future
The world changes. College requirements could change. Grad school requirements could change. Trade school requirements could change. Job requirements could change. We can't anticipate the ways documents could be needed in decades to come.
Public school divisions are institutions that continue generation after generation, so public school graduates can request copies of their records even decades after their high school graduation date. That is already the expectation for homeschool graduates as well, but there is no common repository for these records, so parents have to step up to make sure homeschool graduates have long-term continuing access to these necessary documents.
- Your child deserves it
Imagine your adult "grown and flown" homeschool grad has a new opportunity for education or work eight years from now—or eighteen years from now. Because of your foresight, they are able to find both a signed paper copy and a digital copy of their homeschool high school transcript. They easily add the document to their application, and there are no hiccups in being considered for the opportunity. Your child deserves nothing less than seamless access to the records you created for them.
After all, you cared enough to homeschool—you care enough for them to have a permanent record of their homeschooling!
What if you don't know how?
The main document you need to create and keep for your child is a high school transcript.
If you don't know how to create one, you can learn how. The process is not difficult, and thousands of homeschooling parents have been creating transcripts for years. We explain everything about how to create homeschool transcripts and have a free template you can use to create your teen's permanent record.
State and local homeschool groups often provide workshops and guidance on preparing transcripts, too. Start asking questions, and you will find lots of information that will help you create a the records they will need in the future.
Even if you homeschool your teen for part of high school, create transcripts to reflect that year or two of homeschooling high school. This may help your adult child in documenting gaps in their education record at some point in their future.
Recommendations for safeguarding homeschool records
After creating a transcript, you'll want to make sure your adult child will be able to find it and use it—not only now, but years from now. The same goes for your teen's diploma.
- As we note in our detailed guidance on creating homeschool transcripts, be sure to include graduation date and your signature along with credits. These simple details are required to make the records actionable by admissions departments. The death of a homeschooling parent can leave a homeschool graduate without the ability to obtain a signed transcript.
- In addition to making copies for current use (such as applying to college), make paper copies.
- Place several signed paper copies in your safe deposit box or home safe (where you keep birth certificates).
- Give a signed paper copy to your graduate and help them set up a file for important documents.
- Consider giving additional signed paper copies to a family friend or close relative.
- Consider giving all your children copies of transcripts for their siblings.
- Save signed digital files of your graduate's transcript.
- Email each child and attach the file. Make sure the email and the file are well-named so the document can be found easily in a search years later.
- Create folders on your computer for each child and place each file in their folders.
- Duplicate these folders when you get a new computer.
- Store the digital file in the cloud, sharing access with your young adults, your partner, and a close friend or relative.
- Revisit file access with your teens, young adults, and adults on a regular basis.
- Put a tickler in your digital calendar to remind you to "refresh" their access every 2-4 years.
- On that schedule, email them the attachment again; share the link to the google doc or iCloud drive again. Snap a scan with your phone and text it to them again.
- Once your adult "kids" seem to be more settled (such as having a permanent home, steady job, or consistent partner), present them with another file folder with a few printed signed copies of their transcript. Now they might have a file cabinet or place for important documents that they keep up with. Many will have misplaced or permanently lost documents parents gave them in their teens or early twenties.
Safeguard records—even if you disagree
Maybe you have philosophical reasons that make you disinclined to create and provide homeschool records. You may feel they emulate public schools in a way that is unseemly. You may feel they play into the hands of authorities in ways that make you uncomfortable.
Remember that while you have the right to your understandings and feelings, the choices you are making will impact a separate person—your adult child—who may be handicapped by your decision and may not even share your views.
Parents need to be unselfish here, so kids have the tools they need to live life on their own terms.
Make it a milestone—for you
Like most homeschooling parents, you probably do understand the importance of creating permanent access to your graduate's permanent record, and you do understand how easily time and circumstances could mean that a transcript could get lost through the years.
To help you get to the steps you need to take to create and secure a transcript, you may enjoy framing the process as a milestone for you. After all, each homeschool grad is your milestone, too!
Take yourself out for your favorite coffee or gather with a few close homeschool friends for a hands-on transcript workshop with snacks and music. You can celebrate your child's high school years by taking the proactive steps needed now to help your child have permanent access to their permanent record.
If your parents did not provide homeschool records
There are times when adults who were homeschooled need homeschool records but cannot obtain them from the homeschooling parent. If you are in this position, we have some suggestions for how to recover or recreate transcripts.