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3 Tips for Creating a Homeschool Transcript

Creating a homeschool transcript is easier than you might think; it just involves keeping track and planning ahead.

While the idea of creating a homeschool transcript might seem overwhelming or intimidating, it’s really just another way of tracking your student’s progress and sorting it into a format that is accessible and understandable by post-secondary opportunities.

Even if you live in a state that does not require you to report your homeschooling [agenda] to them, it’s in your child’s best interest for you to keep track of their accomplishments so they have fewer hurdles when it’s time for post-secondary education or career options. Most higher education requires a transcript for consideration for admission. The military and many other jobs also require a high school diploma or equivalent. Creating a homeschool transcript is easier than you might think; it just involves keeping track and planning ahead, things you’re probably already doing on your homeschool journey. Here are a few simple tips:

3 Tips for Creating a Homeschool Transcript

1) Plan Ahead

We just said this, but: Plan ahead! Most states require some sort of record-keeping, which can help, but if yours doesn’t, make sure you have a plan for what you need to record starting before your student enters “9th grade,” or before they begin taking classes that can count toward fulfilling state graduation requirements. That means…

2) Know Your State’s Requirements

You should know your state’s requirements for graduation. Each state is different. Often there are diploma services that you can use that are specific to your state that can provide you with the requirements. You can also search for “[My State] high school graduation requirements.” Even if you choose not to follow the state requirements exactly, it’s a great guide to what future employers and higher education institutions are looking for.

3) Use Descriptive Course Names

Use descriptive course names when appropriate. If the curriculum or course name doesn’t clearly state what requirement is being fulfilled, feel free to change it to be more specific for the transcript. For instance, rather than using the more generic “Science,” you would want to state “Biology” or “Chemistry” or the appropriate focus if applicable. Using descriptive, familiar language will make the transcript more understandable for those reviewing it.

Homeschool Transcript Sample

There are loads of great resources and advice to be found on the internet. One source that has aggregated a lot of great information is the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

HSLDA has provided homeschool transcript samples, preparation resources, and much more more.

The most important thing to remember is that this is a component of your student’s secondary education that they will need in their post-high school life. By documenting their achievements, you’re sparing them (and yourself!) from trying to recreate their academic record from memory. By keeping an ongoing log, you’re simplifying the process. It doesn’t need to be difficult or overwhelming; after all, you’ve already done the hard work of homeschooling!

Learn about homeschooling in this blog series.

Seeking Research Participants

Would you like to participate in a research project on on homeschooling gifted children?

At Demme Learning, we support lifelong learning. Occasionally we get requests from colleges or graduate schools for assistance with research studies. So when we received a request from a doctoral candidate from Liberty University, we were happy to help!

Bridgette Whitlow-Spurlock, Liberty University School of Education Doctoral Candidate, is conducting a research project titled “A Grounded Theory Study of the Educational Processes Implemented by Parents Homeschooling Gifted or Twice-Exceptional Children.”

Her desire is to explain the choices made by homeschooling parents of these children regarding curriculum, instructional methods, and daily structure. Bridgette is a homeschooling mom of ten years. She is a director of a local homeschool community. Additionally, she serves as a volunteer with the Indiana Association of Home Educators Government Affairs Team as a writer.

If you are interested in learning more or participating in her research, please contact Bridgette at bwhitlowspurlock-at-liberty-dot-edu.

She will contact you directly with information about requirements and, if you and your student qualify, information about what participation in the project would involve. It’s purely voluntary, of course, and you can withdraw at any time.

Disclaimer: This is an independent research project that is not sponsored by Demme Learning. We’re simply happy to help a fellow lifelong learner!

What Makes Demme Learning Unique?

At Demme Learning, we trust parents to make wise and loving decisions about their kids’ educations.

At Demme Learning, we trust parents to make wise and loving decisions about their kids’ educations. We don’t only trust homeschool parents, or public school parents, or any other specific kind of parents. Engaged parents are crucial to children’s success at becoming life-long learners, regardless of their selected method of instruction.

Our primary goal in developing educational products is to provide essential resources to evaluate their child’s understanding that adapt to how their child learns, with clear instructions and simple yet effective methods.

Here are some of the ways we talk the talk AND walk the walk to trust and support parents with our key curricula, Math-U-See and Spelling You See.

4 Ways That Demme Learning is Unique

1) Clear, Explicit Instructions

We provide directions for instructor and students for each lesson in a variety of ways so there’s no guessing at what to do each day. You’ll know where to start and when you’re finished. Lessons are broken into small, active chunks so kids don’t get bored or restless. And we provide clear guidelines so you know when your student is ready to move on.

2) Curriculum That Meets Your Child Where They’re At

We don’t assume that a certain age means a certain ability or skill level. In fact, you won’t find grade levels at all in our curriculum. We provide clear, simple placement guides to ensure your student starts at the right place to address any gaps.

3) Lessons That Don’t Assume “One Size Fits All”

Students can move as quickly or slowly as necessary in our curricula. For instance, if your student quickly masters a math concept, there’s no need to complete all of the workbook pages. Move on to the next concept; we provide plenty of systematic review, don’t worry.

4) The Ultimate in Customer Service

An experienced support team ready to provide the ultimate in customer service. Everyone says that they have outstanding customer service, but ours is truly exceptional. Many of them have used our curriculum themselves with their own students. You will never feel rushed when you call; we’re happy to talk through any issue, whether specific to the curriculum or even if you’re just having a bad day and need an adult to talk to. Our goal is to provide “The Ultimate in Customer Service.” If we don’t meet that level for you, please let us know what we could do differently.

We know you have a lot of choices and put a great deal of careful thought into how you spend your curriculum dollars. Thank you for considering us. Our commitment to you is to provide a top quality product with the best support possible. We think you’ll be pleased.

Free Math Facts Music & Activities

Songs, music, and rhyme are all helpful tools to aid students with math facts. Download some math songs to sing while you’re outside! There are also activities for when the weather doesn’t lend itself to outside math.

To access your free math facts practice tools, please provide the following information.

Download free songs, activities, coloring pages, and more to help your students learn math facts!

What Makes Spelling You See Unique?

Are you ready to try something unique? Learn about what sets Spelling You See apart.

If you’ve ever taught a struggling speller (or been one yourself!), you’re well aware of the feelings of frustration and failure these students face.

They dread writing assignments because they know their papers will come back covered in red marks. They feel misunderstood when others trip on the errors in their writing and miss the message of the piece. It can be just as frustrating to teach these students, especially if you’re a good speller yourself.

We try everything we can think of: drilling phonics rules, creating word banks, having students rewrite misspelled words or consult the dictionary – yet certain students just can’t seem to spell.

According to research, spellers advance through a common progression of developmental stages as they develop spelling mastery.

Some of these stages last several years, although they’re independent from age or reading level, and students may move through more quickly or slowly than other kids, but they can’t be skipped.

Spelling You See follows these developmental stages.

A strong visual memory is essential to become a competent English speller; for young kids, this can be really difficult. Even if reading ability is excellent, spelling skills can seem to lag far behind.

Spelling You See: A Unique Spelling Program Based on Brain Research

Are you ready to try something unique?

We’re pretty confident it won’t look like any other spelling program you’ve tried. Knowing how students learn to spell and using a program based on research and developmentally-appropriate practices can help you guide students to becoming competent, confident spellers.

Spelling You See is a program that has been designed using the latest neurological research to guide students appropriately through the developmental stages of spelling. Here are some of the highlights of that research:

Stress is bad for learning. The hippocampus, the part of the brain we need to move info from short-term to long-term storage, is extremely sensitive to cortisol – aka, “the stress hormone.” If we’re anxious or frustrated, we physically can’t learn easily. Does “anxious” or “frustrated” describe your speller? Spelling You See is designed to minimize stress.

Spelling lists are boring. Regardless of reading level, Spelling You See uses short, interesting passages; carefully-researched, engaging illustrations; and top-quality colored pencils (or stickers, in Listen and Write).

Shorter is better. Neurological researchers have found that the human brain can actively engage with a subject for a maximum of 10 minutes. Each Spelling You See activity is designed to fit within this time frame in order to provide an optimal learning experience for students.

Context matters. Remember when we said spelling lists are boring? It’s easier to learn and remember material when it’s accompanied by meaning. We don’t use nonsense words, either – just real words in rhymes or nonfiction passages.

Same old, same old. That’s not a bad thing; learning becomes permanent when information is repeated regularly over time. We apply the same set of core activities (listening, reading, copywork, chunking, and dictation) to each week’s words or lessons.

Engages multiple senses. Yes, we just said “same old, same old,” but using a variety of senses in fun, colorful activities to interact with the lessons keeps things interesting. Remember those core activities we listed in the last bullet? Students using Spelling You See hear words and passages read aloud (auditory), mark letter patterns and word parts in different colors (visual), and write words in copywork and dictation exercises (kinesthetic). They’ll also read the passage aloud each day. Using all these senses enhances the student’s ability to master the correct spellings of words.

Intrigued? We’re not going to be falsely modest – it’s a great program and we’d love to see what you think. Let us talk to you about your unique situation and learn for yourself what Spelling You See can do for you.

Sign up for a free consultation today.

Get a free consultation from a Spelling You See expert.

Top 4 Reasons Why Math-U-See Is Unique

Here are four things that, added together with the integer blocks, make Math-U-See.

You’re at a homeschool conference and you overhear a conversation between two parents. One is unfamiliar with Math-U-See. In describing us, it’s likely the other would say, “You know, the one with the blocks!” And we’re fine with that. Our manipulatives are at the heart of who we are. But they’re only the most visible, memorable part of our math program. Here are four more things that, added together with the integer blocks, make us unique:

1) We’re Skills-Based, Not Grade-Based

Our focus is on concept mastery; math is cumulative, and each concept builds on the one that precedes it. This is why we use the unusual Greek letter names instead of grade levels in our lower levels. Each focuses on one primary topic, starting with addition and subtraction, then multiplication and division, and finally fractions and decimals. Our upper level math, starting with Pre-Algebra, follows a similar path to other high school math programs.

2) We Provide Thorough Instructor Support

You get an instruction manual and videos for your selected level. We ensure you have a thorough understanding of how to model and teach each concept. And if you have any questions, our top-notch Customer Service team is standing by!

3) Our Student Materials Are Clean and Uncluttered

They focus on practicing and reviewing concepts, while our tests allow students to show and apply what they have learned. If your student demonstrates mastery of a particular concept, there’s no need to complete every Student Workbook page. There’s no busywork, only useful practice and review.

4) We Focus on Conceptual Understanding

Students learn not only how to do math, but why. We build on the bigger framework underlying all math topics so students can build on previous understanding. We encourage memorizing formulas and facts, not as an end in itself, but so that students don’t experience cognitive overload and can zero in on learning new concepts and skills.

But we can’t be done without talking about the blocks. (Plus our other Manipulatives, the Fraction Overlays and Algebra/Decimal Inserts). Considered together, our Manipulatives are something special, if we do say so ourselves. In some recent research on manipulatives use, you will see that ours check all the boxes:

• They’re used from pre-K into high school. Everybody uses manipulatives for counting…but factoring polynomials? How cool is that?

• The manipulatives allow students to “see” concepts, first physically, then mentally as concepts get more abstract.

• Our manipulatives are only math manipulatives. They’re not teddy bears or coins or fluffy ducks. They don’t represent other objects and they have no extra features that can be distracting for learners.

• The instructional materials clearly demonstrate how the manipulatives represent the concept presented. Students then use the manipulatives to “teach it back”, demonstrating their understanding of that concept.

All things considered, we’re pretty proud of our award-winning math curriculum. We have helped countless students – and parents! – see the beauty and fun that can be found in math. There’s nothing better than those “Aha!” moments when a student who thinks they’re bad at math really gets a math concepts. The light bulb comes on, shining brilliantly and filling them with the confidence to conquer the next challenge.

Free Math Facts Music & Activities

Songs, music, and rhyme are all helpful tools to aid students with math facts. Download some math songs to sing while you’re outside! There are also activities for when the weather doesn’t lend itself to outside math.

To access your free math facts practice tools, please provide the following information.

Download free songs, activities, coloring pages, and more to help your students learn math facts!

3 Reasons Why Spelling Tests Don’t (Always) Work

What’s wrong with this traditional, time-honored method? Short answer: it may not work.

Does this sound like your spelling instruction, either from your own experience or with your kids?

Monday: Receive list of about twenty words; take pre-test.

Tuesday-Thursday: Interact with words on list through various activities (writing them ten times, sentences, word searches).

Friday: Take final test. And then, maybe even if you got 100% on the test…

Following Monday: Need to use one of the words in a sentence. Spell it wrong.

So what’s wrong with this traditional, time-honored method? Short answer: it may not work. At least, if the goal is to internalize proper spelling into long-term memory so kids can write clearly and effectively, it may not.

And isn’t that the goal of learning to spell? As an adult, I can count on zero fingers the number of spelling tests I’ve had to take.

3 Reasons Why Spelling Tests May Not Work

They Emphasize Short Term Memory

Quick, tell me what was on your grocery list from March 23, 2007. You can’t? Well, of course not, even though you could possibly have recited it the next day, or even a week or two after if you’re really good. But item list memory goes into short-term memory. That means once you don’t need it any more, it’s gone, erased to make room for more list items. That’s why your student aces their spelling test but can’t recall the proper spelling when they want to use the word in their writing. Which leads us to the next reason…

They Take Words Out of Context

When words are linked to meaningful context, the brain is more likely to transfer them to long-term memory. Contextually interesting passages at an appropriate reading level gives students something meaningful to connect the words to—creating linkage—which allows words to make it into long-term visual memory. (How many times have you written a word a few ways until it “looks” right? That’s long-term visual memory.)

English Has No Hard and Fast Spelling Rules

When we learn a “rule,” it’s almost always followed with a list of the exceptions to that rule. Traditionally, spelling lists are grouped around one spelling “rule” – a certain combination of letters that make a certain sound. Because English is a conglomeration of different languages – Germanic, Romance, Slavic, as well as words appropriated from virtually every spoken language in the world. This is why phonics is not our only friend when we get beyond consonant-short vowel-consonant (cvc) early reading words. There are many, many words that don’t follow spelling rules that need to be automatically available from our brains when we write.

Have You Heard About Spelling You See?

Spelling You See is a different (not difficult!) spelling curriculum that provides the tools to help students develop confidence in spelling through an effective, engaging, low-stress learning experience that looks very different from most other spelling programs.

Contact us below and get a free, no-obligation consultation from our experts.

Request a Consultation

6 Signs Your Math Curriculum Isn’t Working

Selecting a math curriculum is a huge decision for homeschoolers.

Selecting a math curriculum is a huge decision for homeschoolers. After all, math is one of the “Three R’s,” full of essential skills your student needs to master, now and for their entire life. Talk about pressure! So you do your research, and you weigh all the options (Wow…So. Many. Options…) and, with probably a little trepidation, you make your choice.

And now you’re second-guessing.

Whether you’re new to homeschooling or have previously used the same curriculum with multiple students with great success, it’s not uncommon to reach a point where you question your choice of math program. Flexibility is one of the many benefits of homeschooling, so if it’s not working, it could be time for a change.

How can you know if it’s really not working? Here are six clear signs:

1. It’s Too Hard

This curriculum is making your student hate math. Your student is struggling every day to maintain the small gains you’ve made. Maybe it’s moving too fast and your student can’t keep up, or maybe they’re spending an inordinate proportion of their school hours doing math. Maybe your student relies mostly on procedures and rote memorization to work out problems and you’re concerned that they may not be developing the deeper conceptual understanding necessary to progress. You’ve tried everything but standing on your head – you’re willing to give that a shot if you thought it would help – and you’re both feeling discouraged.

2. It’s Too Easy

This might seem like a good thing compared to being too hard, but being bored is another great way to encourage your student to hate math. We want our students to love learning, not be frustrated or bored by it. Have you consistently seen that your student zips through problems (especially word problems) and doesn’t have to take the time to think about breaking them down into smaller parts, approaching them from different angles, or try using different methods to solve them? Students who find their math program too easy might not be developing the problem-solving and critical thinking skills they will need as they progress to more challenging material.

3. It Doesn’t Equip Parents with Tools for Teaching

The curriculum presents concepts in one way and one way only – and that way doesn’t make sense to your student. And it’s different from the way you learned it, and the curriculum doesn’t explain it in a way you can confidently present to your student. You contact customer support at the publisher for advice. They repeat the same method you’ve already tried, and don’t have other suggestions on how to overcome this obstacle. Now what?

4. There’s Too Much Material

Again, this might seem like a good thing. But it’s easy to be overwhelmed, as an instructor or a student, if there’s too much to take in. We, as parents, want to get our money’s worth, so we may feel like we should use all of the materials provided – even if they don’t add value or even confuse things. It’s also important to have access to practice materials, but there’s no benefit to busywork if your student has mastered the concept.

5. There’s Too Much Teacher Prep Time

While we expect to put in some effort to teach our children, most of us want a curriculum where a lot of the leg work has been done for us. If we have to spend a lot of time creating or modifying lessons, making materials for activities, or practicing the concepts ourselves, it can drain us and take time and energy away from more enjoyable activities. Which leads us to…

6. Nobody Is Having Any Fun!

Math lessons might not be a laugh a minute, but they should provide a balance of challenge and enjoyment. If you or your student dread math every day, trust your gut: something isn’t right.

If you find yourself nodding in agreement to one or more of these points, it could be time to make a move. Our experts can give advice on how Math-U-See might solve your math problem. (Get it? “Solve your math problem?” We crack us up!) And if we’re not right for you, we’ll tell you that, too. Let us help with a no-strings-attached consultation.

Request a Consultation

Master Addition Facts with Free Music & Activities

Mastering addition facts is a critical part of becoming a confident math student.

Mastering addition facts is a critical part of becoming a confident math student. Songs, music, and rhyme are all helpful tools to aid students in memorizing and reciting their math facts. Maybe you remember Three Is A Magic Number, My Hero, Zero, and other Schoolhouse Rock hits fondly, and can still sing them word for word.

With the goal of memorization in mind, we’ve taken the Addition Facts songs from our Skip Count & Addition Facts CD & Songbook and made them available right here. So you’ll find the songs, sheet music, and coloring pages for seven different types of addition facts that could be tricky for students but provide an essential foundation for the next levels of math. The songs provide a memorable approach to the addition strategies taught in Alpha by including catchy phrases and silly sounds like “9 would like to be 10” and “slurp.” Keep in mind that information that is stored in the brain through singing a song is retrieved the same way it was entered; therefore your student may likely sing it in its entirety to arrive at the information he wants to find. Once the songs are learned, we recommend practicing and saying the math facts without the music to ensure that your has committed them to memory.

So we didn’t stop there, at just memorization. If you’re familiar with the Math-U-See approach , we don’t like to stop at just the “what?” of math facts – we pride ourselves on digging into the “why?” behind the “how?” To help your students get to the “why?,” our Curriculum Development team has come up with fun and engaging activities you can try together with your student. These hands-on activities use Math-U-See Integer Blocks or household items to reinforce conceptual understanding and mastery of single-digit addition facts.

Enjoy these fun ways to help build a strong math foundation for your lifelong learner!

To access your free addition facts practice tools, please provide the following information.

Math-U-See Skills Maintenance Program

The Math-U-See Skills Maintenance Program takes key objectives from the lower levels of Math-U-See and focuses on maintaining the skills students have learned through fun activities, the Math-U-See Manipulatives, and a student workbook.

This spring, we developed a summer skills maintenance program for a school customer. We took the key objectives from the Primer, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma levels and created a program that would focus on maintaining the skills the students had learned through fun activities, the Math-U-See Manipulatives, and a student workbook.

We have had similar requests from homeschool parents and we wanted to give you the opportunity to try the school version this summer. We’d also like you to tell us if this is something you would like us to produce for homeschoolers, even if now isn’t the right time for you.

We call it the Math-U-See Skills Maintenance Program, and we’d like you to try it and tell us what you think before we proceed with developing it as a homeschool product. It’s important to know that we haven’t made any modifications for homeschoolers yet. That’s why we need your feedback.

• This is a review program. We’ve selected key concepts for review that will best ensure your student is prepared for the next level of Math-U-See. Therefore, please select the level that your student has just completed, not the next level.

Download a sample lesson from Alpha here.

An example lesson from the Math-U-See Alpha Skills Maintenance Program.

• Remember, this was developed for schools, so the language is geared toward a classroom setting. However, the content and activities can easily be adapted for your homeschool.

• For $38, you’ll receive the Teacher’s Guide, Student Workbook, Activities, and Digital License for your selected level (currently only Primer, Alpha, Beta, or Gamma). You can also purchase an extra Skills Maintenance Student Workbook for $15 if you have more than one student working in a level. We’ll be sending a follow-up survey after a few weeks just to see what you think. It’s not required, but your feedback and experiences would really be helpful to make this product the best it can be.

Short Survey

If you’re interested in learning more, please say so on the following survey. Even if you’re not interested for this summer or these levels, we value your input on what you would like to see in a summer math program – please complete the survey anyway. And if you think a summer math program isn’t necessary (and you’re still reading!), we’d like to know that, too.

Introducing Our New Zero Block Kit

Complete your Integer Block Kit with our new zero block! Available now with free shipping.

April Fools’!

Are you mad? Read on for a make-up freebie!

We’re really sorry for pulling your leg, but hear us out: there’s a very good educational reason why we don’t have a “zero block” in our Integer Block Kit. As Steve Demme says, “How can you represent nothing with something?”


But the concept of zero is a critical one to understand at all levels of math; even though it literally means nothing, it does a lot and has a huge impact on all of the mathematical processes that it touches. It’s essential that the concept is thoroughly understood. The main difference between zero and the other numbers is that zero does not have a tangible visual form. This may make teaching the concept of zero more challenging than teaching counting and other early number concepts. As a result, it’s best to introduce it after a child begins to understand the value of numbers.

Reinforce the Concept of Zero with These Activities

Struggling to find a meaningful and creative way to teach the number zero? The zero experts in our Curriculum Development department have put together some activities that you can use to reinforce the concept with your math student.

1. Here are a few activities that you can use with students working in Primer through Beta to teach and reinforce the concept of zero.

2. Try these activities with students who are working in Gamma through Zeta.

3. Use these activities if your student is working through Pre-Algebra or Algebra 1 to teach and reinforce the concept of zero at a more advanced level.

This is the only Block Kit you’ll ever need, no matter what levels of Math-U-See your students are in.