Writing The High School Course Description

As your homeschooled student prepares to work on college applications it is important for you as the parent or guidance counselor to work on the course description. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can carve your own path for your child(ren). With that it mind your course description should reflect the unique nature of the homeschooling journey.

Here are some tips on how to write the high school course description.

  • Separate by grade. Open up a word document and create four categories for each grade. For example,

    • Grade 9
    • Grade 10
    • Grade 11
    • Grade 12

If you have your notes from past homeschool reviews with either your county/city Board of Education or from from your homeschooling umbrella you can list the courses under each grade. Let’s take a look at an example for grade 9.

  • Grade 9
    • Algebra I
    • English 9
    • Biology
    • United States History
    • Music
    • Physical Education
    • Arts

Now keep in mind that your definition of Algebra I may differ from another person’s definition of Algebra I. This is why the course description is so important. So when you say Algebra I answer the follow questions:

  1. What materials did the student use to learn the material? Was it self study, was it an online course, was it taken via a cooperative? Explain those materials.
  2. How many hours of learning was devoted to the course? A Carnegie Unit (a credit) equates to 120 hours of class time or contact time.
  3. What topics were covered? This allows you to list the concepts in your Algebra I course.
  4. How did you evaluate progress?

Here is a sample course description for Algebra I.

Grade 9

Algebra I

Primary Textbook: Saxon Algebra I – Paul Saxon

Supplemental Materials: Khan Academy

The course was self-directed and the following concepts were covered:

Algebraic Concept I

Algebraic Concept II

Algebraic Concept III

Algebraic Concept ….N

(Note: It is not necessary to bullet the concepts. They can be comma separated. )

Method of Evaluation: The student’s progress was evaluated through use of examinations from the teacher’s guide

Final Grade: B

vs another, less informative course description for Algebra I

Grade 9

Algebra I

Student learned about x and y coordinates and quadratic equation.

I know that is extreme but I think you can see the point. Make it easy for the reader in the admissions office. If they have a question about a course on your transcript they should be able to refer to the course description as a guide.

Sometimes we have a course that does not follow a traditional textbook or syllabus.

Grade 9


Primary Reference: Very Pink Knits → www.verypink.com

Supplemental Reference: Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Description: Student worked through swatches to learn knit stitch and purl stitch using both throwing method and continental method. For a final project, the student knit a doll sized (18 inches) sweater utilizing top down method . Garment was entered into local 4-H fair and won a 2nd place ribbon.

Total Hours: 60

Credits: ½.

It is not necessary to win a ribbon at the local fair to obtain credit but you get the idea.

Coming up: an article on creating the homeschool transcript.

If you have any questions or request for a future topic, send an email to msrobin [at] shahir.com.

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