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Homeschool Record-Keeping Tips

September 02, 2019 3 min read

This post is brought to you by our friends at ArrowTrac!  If you haven't yet, head over and sign up for a free trial so you can begin to confidently track your homeschool today!

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?

  • Keeping records of your child's progress academically is part of your responsibility as a homeschool parent.  Without them, you would have a hard time demonstrating that you are in fact giving your kids a great education, should this ever come into question - hopefully it never would! If your kids need proof of education, you want to be able to provide it.
  • If you plan on homeschooling through high school, you will need good records to aid in creating transcripts and diplomas, as well as documentation for scholarships and possible military recruiters.
  • If you ever go the route of enrolling in public school, good records will help place your child into the correct grade or classes.

So what exactly should I be tracking?  And how should I track it?

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:

  • Typical daily schedule
  • List of curriculum used (textbooks & workbook names)
  • List of courses and class descriptions (a full course description sheet might be appropriate for high school courses)
  • Samples of worksheets
  • Writing samples
  • Book and reading list
  • Assessments throughout the year (including but not limited to report cards, list of grades, standardized test scores if applicable)
  • List of extracurricular activities
  • Attendance Record & documentation of field trip days

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!

Other Files to Consider Keeping

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:

  • Your personal Philosophy of Education statement
  • Mission & Vision Statement for your homeschool
  • Copies of birth certificates & immunization records
  • Any records from previous schools attended
  • Record of any correspondence with public school
  • Receipts for materials spent on your homeschool and/or a supply list
  • Awards and certificates your kids have earned
  • Transcripts (also include information about your grading system/how you grade)

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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