I hope you are enjoying this Memorial Day weekend with your family.
This weekend, my oldest daughter, Kate (26), is off at Comicpalooza – one of Texas’ largest pop culture Cons – volunteering behind the scenes for the third year in a row.
My oldest son Josh (23) introduced us to Comicpalooza when he was 14 working for a STEM education company. Part of his job was to set up all the Minecraft servers for their group parties and activities – which included Comicpalooza.
Attending that first Comicpalooza as a family opened the door to a whole new world. The kids – especially Kate and Es – found a whole world of people who loved the same things they did.
During her last year of “high school”, Kate also added Anime cons to our experiences. As an adult, she has found volunteering at Comicpalooza to be the best way to meet – and hang out with – her people.
What does all this have to do with our May theme of ‘Let’s Build a Transcript”?
Well, today’s topic is planned high school credits versus “Captured” high school credits. And Comicpalooza provides some excellent example fodder for captured credits.
Planned high school credits are those credits you plan for in advance. Before your teen even begins, you’ve identified (hopefully together) that this is going to be a credit (or half credit). Your teen then works through whatever framework you’ve decided would make up that credit.
Planned credits are the common way to approach high school credits – for both conventional schools and in the homeschooling world.
These can be classes, courses, curriculum, unit studies, dual credit, a custom credit you’ve planned in advance. An activity or interest that you pre-planned as a credit.
The credit (or half credit) is pre-identified, and just added to the transcript when complete.
Captured credits – or what Julie Bogart calls credits that are “documented from behind”, are credits identified after the fact – after the learning, skill development or experience has taken place.
Sometimes the activity, learning, experience, topic, or skill is the credit. And sometimes it’s combined with other learning, skills, or experiences to create a credit.
So using Comicpalooza as an example…
Pre-planning a credit from an event like Comicpalooza would not make sense – and would probably take the fun and joy out of it.
But afterwards, there may be possibilities… depending on how your teen engaged and what activities, learning, skills, and experiences were gained as a result.
For example, if Kate started volunteering at Comicpalooza during high school, then it could have become a piece of her community service credit.
Josh’s Comicpalooza experience actually was part of his Work Experience credit. Weeks of preparation and set up went into the company’s booth and Minecraft experience at the event. Plus Josh worked the technical side of things at the event for three days. All part of his Work Experience.
My younger daughter, Es (19), loved to attend the informational panels at Comicpalooza, learning from, and talking with, industry experts. One year, she and I attended workshops and panels on writing and publishing fantasy fiction, analyzing comics as literature, and podcasting.
The Writing Fantasy and Comics as Literature experiences became part of her English credits. Not credits in and of themselves, but elements of more comprehensive English credits.
These are captured pieces and parts – building blocks – of credits. But what about earning a whole or half credit because of an event such as Comicpalooza?
It depends again on the activities, learning, skill development, and experiences gained as a result.
So if your artist spent the months (or weeks) leading up to Comicpalooza creating art to sell, planning their booth, and figuring out how they were going to display and sell their creations – then yes, it’s possible for a credit or half credit – maybe in Art or Marketing, or Entrepreneurship. This was the case with a friend’s son.
Or, if your teen spent hours and hours in the months and weeks leading up to the con, researching, designing, building, and perfecting their Cosplay costume and persona, then yes. There’s probably enough there for a half credit, and maybe more.
That’s where the questions on the Identifying Credits worksheet (in the Free Resource Library) can be helpful — for brainstorming the depth and width, and how much credit to assign.
One homeschool teen we met began as an adaptive cosplayer – building costumes around her wheelchair. That morphed into hosting panels and workshops teaching others how to cosplay as a wheelchair user. Her first panel was at Comicpalooza – and then began speaking at Cons all around the United States.
Both a Public Speaking credit and a Cosplay Costume Design credit were definitely credit possibilities. And more – again depending on the depth and width, and types of learning, skills, and experiences gained.
Remember, credits are a reflection of the learning, skills, and experience gained over the high school years or at the high school level.
For the transcript, credits do not need to be planned ahead of time. The options for captured credits are wide and varied, and come in many forms – across a whole slew of interests, passions, and deep dives.
We don’t make things up – ever. But we definitely can capture that delicious learning and experience that happened organically through pursuing their interests, passions, and deep dives.
Until Next Time, Happy Learning!