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Hi ladies...
What can you tell me about highschool transcripts? I have a friend asking me about this and I don't have the answers. Anyone go through this and find it easy? ( I was going to cross the bridge when I got there if college is in my highschoolers future) I also have a planner that I write some things my teens do that interest them that can easily transfer and be used as transcripts.

And too...since unschooling is such a lifestyle...is it possible to unschool on a couple of topics and it still reap some of the benefits? Again, I would love to hear more on this to give a friend of mine the best answers.

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Here's Sandra's page on college entry/high school transcripts for unschoolers, with plenty of links to explore:

http://sandradodd.com/teen/college.html

As far as your second question goes, do you mean that she wants to "unschool art but not math" (as an example)? She won't reap the benefits of real-honest-to-goodness-unschooling that she potentially could, if that's what she's thinking.

This might help clarify that idea:

http://sandradodd.com/pam/howto

Pam has 3 grown unschooled girls (all who have been or are in college; they've been an inspiration to loads of people.

More links are here:

http://sandradodd.com/help

Here's more at Joyce's excellent site:

http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/unschooling/willtheygetintocollege.html

http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/unschooling/howunschoolingworks.html
Two of my daughters haven't needed transcripts - one has graduated from college and is in graduate school and the other is a college sophomore. They went to community college first, and didn't need transcripts there, and then just used their community college transcripts for the next level. But, one of my daughters needed a high school transcript for her university. I wrote a narrative transcript that listed topics that were related to her activities and interests during what would have been her high school years if she'd gone to school. The university would take anything as a transcript, as long as it had a "graduation date" on it. In California, where we live, we operate as our own private schools and can "graduate" our kids ourselves. So that wasn't a problem for us.

Re your second question - can you sort of unschool a couple of subjects, but not all the way unschool? I, personally, wouldn't call it unschooling - I'd call it relaxed homeschooling. But, of course you can do it. If it was is a choice between full-on homeschooling every possible subject versus relax and just "cover" a couple of subjects in your schooling and focus on creating a stimulating and interesting environment the rest of the time? I'd choose the latter. But, you have more choices - you don't have to "cover" anything. You don't even have to think in terms of academic topics, you can completely and totally and thoroughly ignore them and focus, instead, on what your kids want to actually do and on creating a stimulating and experience-rich environment that supports learning as a natural part of your lifestyle.
On the second question, the philosophy of self guided learning is so powerful and valuable that it's a great thing for any body to learn about and explore, whether adult or child.

Unschooling on a couple of topics sounds a bit strange though, I don't have a clear vision of how that would work. Would it be the parent saying "for history and arts you can have two hours to study whatever you like"? That would probably be more interesting than following a specific curriculum from the parent as in traditional homeschooling, but I'd wouldn't call that unschooling. Or perhaps you mean something else, maybe it would help to explain more what you mean. Regardless of what you call it, giving the child more freedom to direct their own learning and engage in projects that they are interested in is a good thing, so why not give it a try even if in a more limited sense than unschooling.

As a teen, I had a friend who was going to a school with what they called a "seminar program" that was part of the public school system. It was only for the very advanced students and at the school there was no curriculum, no classes, no required projects. Some times famous scientists and authors would come and give talks. Students were free to do whatever they wanted and there were no grades. I am not sure how the school handled transcripts. A lot of the students did things like research into chemistry and biology, or wrote screenplays, or created video games. I found it interesting that a public school system had such a school. It seemed to me at the time that it would be good to extend that to all kids and not just a few. Apparently there was a long waiting list to get in. It was definitely not called unschooling by the school district and this was decades before I ever heard anyone use the term unschooling. There were clearly some similarities but students were required to be present during certain hours. No curriculum or classes and self guided learning in all subjects might be considered a type of unschooling these days despite it being in a specific building. It's not RU though. (Hm, I just now looked at the web site of the school and it is still only for the most advanced students in the district and still called "seminar" but it looks like it is now just a bunch of AP classes.)
Is your friend homeschooling or unschooling and in need of transcripts, or is she just asking you what you'll *do about them* for your kids? If her question is about what you are doing for your kids, is it really worth your time and energy to come up with some hypothetical answer for a friend? I say no.

You may hear a variety of answers about your second question. Personally, I don't believe it's possible to unschool only a couple of topics. I'm not even sure how one would do that. Essentially, you'd be saying to your kids "I trust you to learn reading on your own, but math is so big that it's just more than you can be trusted to manage on you own" or "yes, I trust you to learn all academic subjects, but listening to your own body about sleeping or eating, or your own wisdom about friendships and entertainment is just beyond you". Are those really messages children need to hear? That we trust them to figure out one aspect of life, but not another? It's not a message I want my kids to hear from me.
I know...it's so true and I did tell her that. She will just have to figure this one out and decide. It will be conflicting messages if she does just the 2 topics.
Thanks for your response.

Sylvia Toyama said:
Is your friend homeschooling or unschooling and in need of transcripts, or is she just asking you what you'll *do about them* for your kids? If her question is about what you are doing for your kids, is it really worth your time and energy to come up with some hypothetical answer for a friend? I say no.

You may hear a variety of answers about your second question. Personally, I don't believe it's possible to unschool only a couple of topics. I'm not even sure how one would do that. Essentially, you'd be saying to your kids "I trust you to learn reading on your own, but math is so big that it's just more than you can be trusted to manage on you own" or "yes, I trust you to learn all academic subjects, but listening to your own body about sleeping or eating, or your own wisdom about friendships and entertainment is just beyond you". Are those really messages children need to hear? That we trust them to figure out one aspect of life, but not another? It's not a message I want my kids to hear from me.
My son and I are putting together a "home school portfolio" for his Berklee College of Music application. It includes a "transcript", with descriptions of things he has done as a high school age person, somewhat divided into school subjects. It is in table format, and includes no grades, just things he did, described in a moderate amount of detail- lists of books he read, sports activities, classes he attended, things he did at home, jobs, apprenticeships, etc. I think anyone could do this, no matter what they have spent their time doing. We are doing it because he really wants to attend this particular college, its the only one he has applied to, and they have already awarded him an almost half tuition scholarship. He went to a summer program there, and really enjoyed it and thinks the environment is one that will allow him to delve into what he wants to learn about and do with his life, at least at this time.


The only thing I would suggest to anyone with an unschooled high school age kid is to keep as many records as possible, just in case. Photos, recordings, artwork, writing, any kind of record of anything at all your kid does during those years, just in case you might want to put together a transcript or portfolio one day. Not all unschoolers will want to attend college, or need a transcript or portfolio if they do apply, but having made notes and kept folders and old notebooks is really helpful right now. I am actually glad we had the state reporting requirements we did for the first time, since that did encourage me to keep more records. I wish I had more photos, especially. I did keep things like programs from concerts my son performed in, and attended, and some of those will go in the portfolio. We have video equipment and have recorded lots of concerts, too, and he is adding more to his youtube channel as part of the application, also.

Don't get me wrong - this isn't like high school kids doing things that will look good on their college applications. This is just keeping a record of what is happening while it is happening, whatever that might be and in whatever way you can. I think it just happens to make for an awesome "transcript".


And if you don't end up using it for a college application - it is pretty cool to have the records, anyway.
Heather McCarty said:
My son and I are putting together a "home school portfolio" for his Berklee College of Music application. It includes a "transcript", with descriptions of things he has done as a high school age person, somewhat divided into school subjects. It is in table format, and includes no grades, just things he did, described in a moderate amount of detail- lists of books he read, sports activities, classes he attended, things he did at home, jobs, apprenticeships, etc. ...snip

Congratulations on what he's accomplished so far and good luck to him. One of our nieces is at Berklee and she loves it.

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