In a homeschool setting, you want to create some accountability in the form of homeschool records. Keeping good records is essential to documenting your child’s success. Besides, it is the law in most states to keep detailed records of your child’s educational journey. But keeping detailed homeschool records is often easier said than done. Many homeschool parents feel overwhelmed by what to document, what to skip, and what to keep. If you are choosing to homeschool your children for the first time, we are here to help breakdown exactly how you can keep homeschool records with ease.
How To Keep Homeschool Records
Keeping good homeschool records often boils down to the organization. A good organization at the beginning sets an excellent precedent for the entire school year. Generally, homeschool record-keeping breaks down into five key areas: documenting subjects, noting attendance, lesson plans, portfolio of work, and progress reports.
1. Documenting Subjects
One of the first aspects of keeping homeschool records is breaking everything down by subject. Generally, the primary subjects are reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Of course, that varies based on the age of your child. You can also add on any other subjects you want, such as art, music, language, or even bible study. Create a binder dedicated to each subject. This is where you’ll store all of your homeschool curricula for every subject. Don’t feel the need to document every subject each day. Just make sure you touch on all of them to create a well-rounded homeschool experience. Keep your curriculum binders as the first part of your homeschool records.
2. Noting Attendance
Here is where plenty of homeschool parents go awol. Just because a child is learning from home doesn’t mean attendance doesn’t matter. Create an attendance log and document 180 days. That is how long a traditional in-class school year lasts. Check off attendance once a day in your teacher planner or calendar. This is also a great place to keep track of which subjects are being taught on a given day. Keep in mind that some homeschool laws will also keep records on just how many hours per day are being dedicated to homeschooling. Keep that information with your attendance records. Eventually, store your attendance records in a binder labeled “attendance” with the school year noted clearly.
3. Lesson Plans/Journaling
Create several binders dedicated to lesson plans and have a notebook dedicated to student journaling. In your lesson plan binder, write down the exact amount of work in each subject that your student is going to complete. Update as you go and write in exactly which activities were completed on a given day. The format of your homeschool record-keeping is entirely up to you. However, it is important to update daily, so you don’t lose track of what you’ve done. Make sure you’re specific enough with your lesson plan updates that you can see a student’s overall progress.
4. Portfolio of Work
You’re going to create a binder that showcases your student’s portfolio of work. The goal is to have a minimum of three samples for each subject. We like to keep more than that to demonstrate how much students grow over time. Make sure you pull samples from the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. Portfolios are a great way to assess just how far a child has come over the year.
5. Progress Reports
Finally, you’ll have to think in terms of a traditional school and keep semi-annual progress reports. You don’t have to dole out something like a report card. All you need is a checklist of objectives in each subject. Then, write a paragraph highlighting that student’s goals and progress. With a progress report you can to look back at what has been accomplished and set new goals for the rest of the year. It also helps you to assess what a student needs to work on. Set some goals and let the students set goals for themselves as well. Legally speaking, progress reports are the most important form of record keeping you’re going to need during the homeschool process.
Homeschool record keeping is all about creating a well-organized format similar to a traditional in-class experience. With that said, your state may require different things based on their homeschool laws. Some states are more stringent than others with record-keeping, so check with your local department of education to see what they require before you get started.