Where Should You Start?
Keeping homeschool records can be a source of anxiety for new homeschool parents. If your state has fairly rigid requirements or you are homeschooling a teen, you might be feeling the pressure to keep thorough records.
What does the term “homeschool records” mean?
The term is thrown around on homeschooling blogs, but as a new homeschooler, you may not be aware of the documentation needed for your child.
Generally, “homeschool records” can include any or all of these: a curriculum plan, your Intent to Homeschool notice, an attendance record, a portfolio of progress throughout the year (dated assignments, tests, quizzes), a transcript, a report card, an immunization record, placement test score, and more if your state requires.
There’s good news, though: your state will usually tell you what’s required when you first register!
Even so, figuring out homeschool record-keeping can be stressful, especially for new homeschoolers. Here are our best articles to help you get started!
- How to Keep Homeschool Records
- Homeschool Records
- Guide to Portfolio Assessment
- Answers to Your Homeschool Questions
In addition to record-keeping, you may be anxious about planning your homeschool year. The thing is, there is a lot of pressure riding on your homeschool plan.
New homeschoolers usually over-schedule, which leaves them stressed and without time for corrections or discovery. However, under-scheduling can also be just as detrimental to your homeschool.
Without a semblance of structure or routine, it may create a stressful year of guessing your way through the curriculum.
You probably already know this, though, and that’s why you’re feeling anxious. How can you achieve the right balance to leave room for changes but stay structured enough to make adequate feedback?
To answer those questions, we’ve gathered several articles with our best tips about homeschool planning!
- Simple Homeschool Planning
- Our Best Homeschool Planning Tips
- Back to Homeschool Planning
- 5 Tips for Planning a New Homeschool Year
How to Keep Homeschool Records
To keep homeschool records, you’ll need templates for the required form as well as updated examples of your children’s progress. In the end, the purpose of record-keeping is to have proof that your child is being adequately educated and progressing as needed. This evidence is for your own records, state assessments, and the information you’ll need if you ever have to prove the quality of their schoolwork.
On that note, check with your state to make sure you can provide everything required.
As for how to keep records, we recommend creating a portfolio in a 3-ring binder for each child. In this binder, you’ll start by adding your curriculum plan and objectives for the year, an attendance record, their current transcript, and a report card. These forms will be filled out as you go through the year(s). Then, as the homeschool year progresses, add copies of important assignments and projects like quizzes, tests, essays, labs, etc. At the end of the year, fill out the transcript and report card accordingly.
Use our free, printable, portfolio organizer below to keep everything manageable.
Portfolios can become messy and over-complicated more quickly than expected, so organization and selection are key. Here are practical ideas and templates to get started!
- 5 Reasons to Use Portfolios in Your Homeschool
- Homeschool Portfolio Printable Organizer
- Homeschool Organization: 5 Easy Ways to Stay on Top of Homeschool Record-Keeping
While not all states require portfolio assessments, there are still a few important reasons to consider keeping a portfolio for each child. Portfolios are an example of their best work and progress, so if the question of your homeschooling quality ever surfaces, you can easily provide proof. Further, future colleges may request portfolio samples to admit a homeschooled student.
Finally, keeping portfolios can help encourage yourself when homeschooling gets tough and you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall!
High School Record Keeping
High school can feel like another level of homeschooling altogether. It’s intimidating due to the pressure of college admittance relying on your child’s high school experience. However, it’s completely possible to continue homeschooling through high school! Not only is it possible, but your homeschool graduate can get into great universities!
Find homeschool high school printable templates, guides, and downloads for the following:
- A way to track daily and weekly grades
- Volunteer or community service tracking
- Athletic or extra-curricular tracking
- A four-year plan or high school credit planner
- A weekly task planner for the parent and the teen
- A high school GPA worksheet guide
- A high school transcript template
- Professionally designed diploma templates
- Free printable teen planner
- Credit planning for high school
- Dual enrollment guide for homeschooling high school
- High school graduation requirements by state
“We were nervous about homeschooling through the high school years. There is a lot of pressure for their future success and all. With research and templates for homeschool records (portfolios and transcripts), it’s actually easier than expected!” –Sandra, G., Chicago, IL.
How to Plan Your Homeschool Year
Even for Type A, super organized parents, homeschool planning can be a challenge. If you are the creative Type B personality, it may be even more difficult to fold a curriculum into a tidy schedule. One of our most helpful solutions to homeschool planning is using a pre-planned online homeschool program, like Time4Learning.
These online programs are ready-to-go and your students can start immediately without you having to plan out the weeks or months.
However, some kids just don’t learn well with online programs. It all depends on their learning style. If you need to use a print-based curriculum, they often come with schedule suggestions, so first take a look at those. However, if you are on your own for scheduling the curriculum, don’t stress yourself out too much.
Here are a few easy steps to plan the year:
- Divide the coursework in half for two semesters.
- Divide each half into quarters for the four months per semester.
- Divide each section (which is one month) into four weeks of lessons (4 weeks per month).
- Assign the lessons to the upcoming weeks, but leave the daily schedule with wiggle-room for changes.
- You might even want to leave the weeks with wiggle-room–because life happens. For example, schedule four weeks of lessons over five-six weeks instead.
Most of us moms are addicted to planners and beautiful stationery in general. We may find ourselves buying multiple planners simply because they looked too cute to pass up. Thankfully, a beautiful planner can also help you feel more motivated to keep using it throughout the year!
To help new and experienced homeschoolers alike with organizing their homeschool years, we have three FREE downloadable planner options!
The first is for the homeschool parent scheduling the year, the second is for teens, and the third is for middle schoolers/upper elementary! It is so important to teach your kids to manage their time and these planners help!
While planning your homeschool year is an intimidating prospect, take time to consider the best approach for your lifestyle. Perhaps you want to sit down for several hours to get it all done at once, or perhaps you need to just do a little at a time. Whichever option helps you feel less stressed, go for it.
Our top recommendation is to start early so you don’t feel the stress of the starting school year.
Lesson planning can be overwhelming. To be honest, even those of us who have homeschooled for years still find it a topic of procrastination. Homeschool planning doesn’t have to be super complicated though, it’s just a lot to organize. Here are our best suggestions for planning the year!
- Organizational Tools for Lesson Planning
- Video: Best Homeschool Planning Tips
- 5 Tips for New Homeschoolers on Planning a New Year
“When we started homeschooling, planning was a nightmare. We were either far too structured or not structured enough.” –Bailey, N., Richmond, VA
Whether you are a traditional homeschooler or you plan to travel as road-schoolers, you’ll still need some kind of schedule to make progress during the year. This is especially true if you live in a state with several requirements for homeschooled students. For planning a high school year or just simple ideas for homeschool planning, these pages will help!