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Whether or not you keep homeschool records might be determined by the rules and regulations imposed by the state you live in. However, even if your state does not require you to turn in records each year, it is very important that you document certain things for your homeschool.
The task can seem burdensome - you're already having to choose curriculum, plan lessons, grade assessments and reports, not to mention actually teach the lessons, and serve as lunch-lady and recess monitor.
You might wonder why you'd want to go through ANY extra effort required to keep records! But...
After all of the work you are putting in, I'd question how can you NOT keep a record of all the accomplishments that are happening in your homeschool!
Unfortunately, sometimes situations arise that would really benefit from having adequate documentation to protect you.
Why Keep Records if I'm Not Required To?
You don't have to saveeverything your student does; some items are more beneficial than others to keep.
Creating a portfolio is a great way to keep and organize important work and documents each year. What you save may vary per student, but here are a few examples of what you can keep in your student's portfolio:
In addition to those items above, make sure to check your state requirements to make sure you are tracking the necessary things.
For example, in Missouri, it is suggested we log hours of instruction completed by subject and location to ensure we are meeting the requirements, so I would want to add this to the portfolio.
Aside from an online application like ArrowTrac, there are other ways to organize all of this information. A binder and page protectors will work really well, or you can simply store documents in a file on your computer (just make sure you have it backed up!).
A digital portfolio has the benefit of being able to include audio files if you’d like (think a recording of your child playing an instrument, or reciting poetry), and you can easily add photos of your children during their school day, or take pictures of completed projects.
Your overall goal is to show a variety of work that represents the progress your child has made over the school year. Plus, having this portfolio will be fun to look back on for both you and your kids!
These suggestions are optional, but you might consider keeping these items (or copies of them) in your portfolio. Even if they aren’t required homeschool records (check with HSLDA or your state to know for sure!), they might come in handy at some point:
If you’re like me, you’ll hold onto everything way too long, but if not – and you’re wondering how long you have to keep everything – at least 2 years during elementary and middle school years. You should plan on keeping all 4 years of high school work and records indefinitely.
Hopefully this gives you a good idea of what kinds of records to keep for your homeschool, and why you’ll want to keep them!
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