Like many homeschool parents, you’re probably not thinking of creating a transcript for your 8th grade student. You might feel that it isn’t necessary to start a transcript until your child reaches 11th or 12th grade.

I get it. Thinking about the process of creating a transcript for high school is intimidating enough. But if you’re fortunate enough to still be in the middle school years and already thinking ahead about a homeschool transcript, then you’ll come out way ahead.

While an 8th grade transcript isn’t necessary, I’d highly encourage you to think of creating one. The high school years are busy ones. As a home educator, you wear not only the parent hat but also the teacher and school administrator hats. Being proactive and preparing early will give you a great sense of peace once your student begins high school.

In this post, I’ll give you some reasons to seriously consider creating a transcript for your 8th grader. Let’s begin!

1. It’s a great way to prepare for high school grading

Starting a transcript in 8th grade is an excellent way to get your student accustomed to being graded and understanding that getting good grades is important to their future success. Many homeschool parents don’t grade their child’s work until high school. Getting into the habit of grading your child’s work and recording those grades earlier than their freshman year will create good habits for you and your student. Eighth grade is a good time to start preparing your student for the more rigorous expectations that high school will bring.

2. It’s a crucial way to prepare for public high school, if that’s your choice

Will your child be going to a public school for high school? The public school may want a transcript that shows the courses, subjects, grades, and exam scores for your child’s 8th grade year or even all of their middle school years. If you begin a transcript at the beginning of 8th grade, you will be prepared when enrolling your child for high school.

3. It helps you plan

A transcript can be used as a valuable planning tool. You can plan out all four years of high school courses while your child is completing 8th grade. If you use a transcript app such as Transcript Maker (try a 14-day free trial now), you have the option of modifying course statuses to designate proposed courses. Having a transcript at the ready will give you a sense of peace when your child enters 9th grade. Once high school begins, all you’ll have to do is record the grades and change the course status for each completed course.

4. It’s the perfect way to work ahead

Is your 8th grader taking high school courses? If so, your student will be earning high school credit and you will want to be sure to include these courses on a transcript as they show prospective colleges that your child was academically gifted prior to beginning high school. Starting a transcript sooner rather than later will help to keep track of what courses were taken and what grades were earned.

5. It helps you and your student prepare for exams and deadlines

An 8th grade transcript can be used as a place to record all the deadlines for important exams—such as the PSAT, the SAT, and the ACT—as well as when to file the FAFSA. Some of these deadlines are much earlier than one would expect. Having this information in one central location is a great way to make sure that you meet all deadlines.

Once a deadline passes, you can change the notation of when the PSAT is given to the score your child earned on the PSAT. Students can take the PSAT as early as 8th grade. This exam is the first in the SAT group of assessments and is offered to 8th and 9th grade students between the fall and spring. The PSAT 8/9 can be viewed as a practice for the PSAT 10. Students with high enough scores on the PSAT 10 can qualify for a National Merit Scholarship.

6. It helps with competitions

An 8th grade transcript may be useful for proving passing grade status for competitions. Many states have “no pass, no play” rules in place that require students to prove that they are passing their courses in order to participate in competitions, such debate teams, spelling bees, 4-H contests, sports, and other extracurricular pursuits.

Wrapping up

As a veteran homeschooler, I talk to many parents who have to scramble at the last minute to create a transcript when their child wants to take college courses for dual credit, or when other occasions arise when they need to provide a transcript unexpectedly.

It’s much better to start as soon as you can and add information to the transcript as you go rather than try to cram four or five years (if your child earned high school credits as an 8th grader) of courses and grades onto a transcript in a hurry to meet an important deadline.

My best friend says, “Be kind to your future self.” Creating an 8th grade transcript is a great way to do just that.