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Keeping Homeschool Records



There are several types of homeschool records that homeschoolers may have to keep, each one having different requirements. This article covers many types of homeschooling record keeping including records required for your state and records that will be useful and/or necessary for secondary school or college applications.

Homeschool Records for the State

  • Satisfy state requirements for curriculum coverage, hours of schooling, assessment results, progress reports, etc.

Requirements vary by state. New York, for example, requires both attendance records and quarterly progress reports for homeschools. Pennsylvania requires a yearly portfolio to be submitted including materials, work, standardized assessments in grades 3, 5, and 8, and a written evaluation. Special additional record keeping is required in North Dakota, for example, for children with developmental disabilities. Check with your state for their homeschool records requirements.

Homeschool Records For Yourself as Teacher/Parent

  • Know what the plan for the week, day, class period is. 
  • Be able to recall at a later date how various approaches, techniques, and lessons worked, how long they took, etc., to inform future teaching. 
  • Keep family memories that transcend the fact that something took place during “schooling time.”

When you homeschool, your experiences with your children are serving a variety of simultaneous purposes, so your desires and needs as a parent may add on to the record-keeping you feel you must do to be a good teacher.

Homeschool Records For Your Child

  • Portfolios of work, projects, artwork, etc., that will assist in future studies, serve as mementos, etc.

Looking back on early work can be a source of pleasure, but can also serve well for future studies. For example, a list of the states and their capitals made to practice handwriting in grade 3 might serve as a study sheet for US geography in grade 5.

Homeschool Records For Future School Applications 

  • Admission to formal schooling at some level (e.g., high school or college)

Documenting achievements of a variety of kinds may be of assistance in the admissions process. You may wish to do some general research as well as check with some particular schools about how they handle homeschool admissions. For this purpose, if not for others, you will want to document extra-curricular activities.

Types of Homeschool Record-Keeping

So after you establish your purpose(s) for record-keeping, you can begin to consider what kind of records need to be kept, when, and how often. 

  • Attendance records 
  • Schedule
  • Lesson plans 
  • Notes on how lesson plans worked
  • Papers, projects and other coursework completed by the student, captured in whatever way is appropriate, along with grades and/or other evaluative comments. 
  • Portfolios 
  • Grade reports or alternative (e.g., portfolio or narrative evaluation) 
  • Assessments with scores 
  • Photographs or videos or audio recordings of classes 
  • Journals kept by you and/or students

Once you know the types of homeschool records, you can consider the materials and organization. This will partly depend on your personal preferences for, say, three-ring binders and looseleaf paper; legal pads; a journal stored in a word processing document; etc.

Also worth looking into are pre-printed forms--there are free ones as well as commercially created ones, and they include both printed versions and software--and information on how to use language to best convey to educators your child’s homeschool accomplishments.

Resources:

General Information About Record Keeping for Home Schooling:

  1. homeschooling.about.com/od/records/
  2. homeedmag.com/HEM/HEM155.98/155.98_clmn_tkch.html
  3. user.mc.net/~kwentz/eduspeak.html
  4. pipeline.com/~wdkmg/homeschool/UnschoolingRecords.htm

Printable Home School Resources:

donnayoung.org/index.htm

State requirements:

hslda.org/laws/default.asp

College Admissions for Home Schoolers:

  1. homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/olderkids/CollegeHSpages.htm
  2. learninfreedom.org/colleges_4_hmsc.html
  3. hslda.org/docs/nche/Issues/C/College.asp

The Language of Education:

  1. user.mc.net/~kwentz/eduspeak.html faculty.washington.edu/krumme/guides/bloom1.html

Written by Mary Elizabeth

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