If you have a child who is learning about things on their own, just because they are interested and not because you made them, then your child is engaged in delight directed learning. This kind of learning should go on your child’s transcript too, right along with the things they are studying formally with a text or something similar, even though they might not be using any books!
To keep track of what your child has done and translate it into a course, keep a list of all their learning activities, group them together, label each group as a class, and then put that class on their transcript. That sounds big, so let’s break it down into smaller pieces, using my sticky note strategy.
Divide a yellow sticky note into nine little boxes. On each one, name an experience/educational activity that your child has done, which you’re trying to figure out how to record.
Note the year your child did the activity. That gives you an idea what the completion date was.
Estimate their grade. Think about whether they completed that experience to your satisfaction.
Estimate the credit value. Put down the approximate number of hours they were doing it or the credit value if you know the credit value. If you know that they’ve spent two-hundred hours on swim team, that’s what you would put in that credit section.
Brainstorm subject areas for the activity. If ballet is the activity, maybe the course could be P.E. or maybe fine arts. Maybe your child does three different kinds of dance, like ballet, hula, and swing dance; you might be able to combine all of those into one class called P.E. or Fine Arts.
Group activities together. Search for similarities and join things that are similar into groups. Put those groups together into one course, to form a whole credit. Think about what kinds of things you might group into generic titles. Maybe your student is interested in Home Economics, so you put everything they do related to cooking, cleaning, or child care into one course. If your child seems to do a lot of art, put their needlework or craft activities together for a credit in art. Perhaps they get paid for whatever it is they do or work. In that instance, that credit could be called ‘Occupation Education.’ Sometimes you’re not really sure what your child is learning, because they’re speaking in foreign languages like C++ or Java, and you don’t know what it means. In that instance, you could call their coursework ‘Technology’ or ‘Computer Class.’
Make sure to give your child credit for the learning they do on their own, not just the activities which you assign to them and test them on. Delight directed learning is real learning that has a place on your child’s transcript.