Why Keep Records?
It is important to keep good records of your child's homeschooled
years. Homeschool record keeping can be as important as the course of
study that you choose. Well-documented records could potentially become
critical at some point in your future. Sometimes this documentation
is required for school officials, application for enrollment in a new
school, legal matters, or possible family matters. Stay on top of your
record keeping so that if you ever need them, everything will be in
Some states require that a record be maintained of school work completed
during the year under existing homeschooling laws. Other states require
only that you track the number of days spent, and average number of
hours per day. Still others require no records at all. Tracking your
students' progress and work completed is a small task when done regularly
on a daily or weekly basis. Attempting to document what was accomplished
during weeks or months past can be a monumental effort. Journal records
documenting what was done and what was learned can be extremely valuable
to you as the teacher and your students when assessing goals and accomplishments.
Reasons to Keep Records
Being Prepared and Organized in how your home and homeschool operates
is the key to sanity! Organization helps you to mentally prepare
your presentation of lesson work on a daily basis.
Proof that "education" is taking place. Who
would want or have good reason to know this? College? Grandparents?
School officials? Legal/Court? Applying for a scholarship?
Records of this nature enable you to hold onto memories,
parents' or kids,' giving you something to reminisce with in years
This type of tool helps you see where you've been and
what has been accomplished and mastered so you can re-evaluate
where you're going and what to do next, what to emphasize, and
what to eliminate.
See and know the overall picture of where you're headed; Record
keeping helps keep your student headed in the direction where
you both want to go. Helps you verify that your child is equipped
and prepared for the future they are destined for.
These are items that can be part of or included in a creative,
well-presented, well-rounded portfolio. You want it to represent
your student's progress, accumulated knowledge, and/or expertise
in a particular area.
How to Keep Records
You basically need to keep 2 kinds of files. The General
Student File contains basic administrative materials. The School Year
File contains academic and attendance materials and is kept on a yearly
Tips for Record Keeping
It's easier to do your quarterly progress reports and/or report cards
if you keep a daily journal of some sort. Record keeping doesn't have
to be complicated. Simple records are fine, just be consistent.
Record Keeping -- In a Nutshell
General Student File
Obtain your child's cumulative (cum) file from the public or private
school they previously attended if you are withdrawing or did withdraw
your student from public school. Place it in this file. Keep any
correspondences regarding your students withdrawal, including
the certified mail receipts. Start this file or portfolio if your
child is just beginning to home school. Keep you child's health
and immunization records in this file. Use this file to house school
year files from previous years. Keep transcripts in this file.
School Year File Contents:
1. Annual Homechool Notification
This is the method you use in your state to notify the Public School
system that you are going to be homeschooling your children. Keep
any letters or other correspondences from the district. Always use
certified mail, keep these receipts as well. Make a couple of copies
of what you receive from Public School system in response to your
notification to keep with you for discounts and other places where
you may need proof that you are legally home schooling.
2. Course Survey
Keep a course of study (course survey) on file for each year. A
course survey is a list of the subjects that will be taught and
what materials will be used to teach each subject. This can be an
overview or a detailed survey.
3. Attendance records
This can be accomplished by keeping a school calendar of the days
and hours your child "attends" school.
4. Progress Report
It is helpful to keep a record of the child's progress in each subject.
You can do this as a progress report or a report card. If your child
is high school level, you'll need to begin a high school transcript.
Keep samples of your child's work. You might also like to keep a
record of books your child has read.
5. Extra Curricular
Keep copies of anything pertaining to athletic, music, dance, artistic
and scholastic activities that may be viewed by outsiders to your
school as "extra curricular". Keep documentation of community
service and other volunteer projects.
Examples of Record Keeping Tools
All of the items contained here are tools that you may or
may not choose to use. I have used them and have developed my own "record-keeping-system"
using these tools. You may develop your own record-keeping-system from
the ideas here.
| School Calendars
There are many ways to keep s school
calendar. You will tailor your "school time" to how you
A Daily Log
Use a daily log to comment on progress, as an attendance record.
There are many ways to document your school week.
Calendar or Plan
This is an example of how to outline your school week. There are
many ways to plan your school week. You may not necessarily stick
to a plan at all, but a plan none-the-less helps! [Example
- PDF Download]
This is an example of a quarter plan. A quarter plan helps you determine
the duration and number of times a subject occurs in a week, the
total hours you need to plan for and the school year boundaries
you will present the subject. [Example]
A Credit Hours chart
A credit hour chart can help you plan the total hours a student
spends on a subject. This helps you determine credit hours for a
- PDF Download]
| Course Surveys
A Course Survey Overview
Outlines briefly what you intend to present through out the school
year. Generating a survey at the beginning of the year can help
you plan what you intend to teach. Typically the course survey will
vary at the end from what you wrote originally. It's fun to keep
the "original" and an updated version to see how the game
changes as your student does. [Example]
In some states, you are required to submit a plan of what you intend
to teach. A course survey overview suffices that requirement. You
will need a more detailed course survey for transcript or portfolio
A Detailed Course Survey
Can help with creating transcripts and portfolios. In this type
of survey, you go to a higher level of detail in your planning.
Optionally you can include a book list of your intended texts. It
is important to update a detailed course survey throughout the year
so you have an accurate record of what you did. [Example]
Read more about my own course surveys [here].
||A progress report outlines your progress.
It states what you did and sometimes, how well you did it. [Example]
|Grade sheets keep track of how well
the work was done. They can be a worthwhile measure of the teacher's
work too! You can make tests, or you can evaluate the work done.
A grade book is a cumulative record keeping that helps you generate
a report card. [Example]
A syllabus is an outline of a course.
It is useful in reminding you what you plan to present, or as
a record of what you did present. We develop our own study guides
that contain a syllabus, the list of resources and activities
we want to do.[
Portfolio & Transcripts
Preparing for a portfolio
review involves sorting through all of the material that has been
collected through the year and deciding what contents will best
reflect the homeschool year.
A portfolio review, is one way annual assessments are done is some
states. There is no right or wrong way to create a portfolio. The
materials contained in a portfolio are decided by the parents and
student. Material chosen should be varied to reflect what the student
has learned, experienced and accomplished. Items you might include
A journal or "School Calendar" which notes activities
2. A list of resources such as books, computer software, and
field trips. Attach or blend this list into your "Course
Survey" for the year. Attach a list of the books read
by the student to the "course Survey" (be sure this
list has the title and author's name).
3. Samples of the student's work, chosen by the student and
parents. make sure these samples represent the subjects you
4. Photos of field trips, artwork, projects and family life.
Generate a "Yearbook".
5. Information, letters of notification and awards from activities
"outside" the home school.
6. Standardized test scores, if you do testing. Your assessment
measures grades, or progress report (one or both).
Preparing for a portfolio review involves sorting through all of
the material that has been collected through the year and deciding
what contents will best reflect the homeschool year. The purpose
of the review is to provide a general overview of the homeschool
year, demonstrate that the child is engaged in homeschooling and
that progress is being made.
(Returning to Public School or for High School)
Transcripts may be required for college entrance or for re-entry
back into the public or private school system. You can generate
your own transcripts from your homeschooling records. The example
I have shows the elements of a transcript and how to keep track
of "credit hours".
also have a page dedicated to keeping records in High School for
college entrance here: [High
School Record Keeping]
diploma, promotion or honor roll certificate you issue in your home
school is just as valid and represents the same work (if not more)
than what you might receive from a "school".
your own to print and present! (PDF files)