Just like tax records, documents for homeschooling are a necessary evil.
Some states require submission of homeschool records and others do not. Whether you are sending documents into the state or not, there are records you should be keeping safe and secure throughout your home educating years.
The official, or sometimes legal, homeschool records, do not include book reports, essays, or prized toddler artwork. Homeschool records are school records that document official school business.
The following is a sampling of recommended records for safekeeping, even if your state does not require them.
Attendance records showcase the days you held school. You can mark a calendar, including the daily number of hours school was conducted. Pencil in the hours and summarize at the end of the month.
Most states require 180 school days. A simple excel spreadsheet or word document may be used to tally the days and hours spent homeschooling. Online time sheets are available to print off free of charge if you want a more detailed record.
Here’s a popular resource with free attendance records:
If you immunize your children, have these records on file. There is no secret to immunization records. Your pediatrician or family care provider has cards available to make documentation easy and efficient.
Have a couple of copies on hand in case the original gets misplaced. In the event that your child returns to public school, immunization records must be current and readily accessible. Of course, there are exceptions when it comes to immunizations and school officials should be willing to work with you no matter what your stance.
School Documents – The Legal Stuff
Keep copies of any paperwork that your state requires in order to legally homeschool your child. A copy of the declaration of intent sent to the school district, homeschool registration forms, and a brief summary of the curriculum may be needed. These are documents required by your state – just in case your homeschool is audited or your child returns to public school.
If you are not sure what your state requires, review the information here:
Test Scores and Transcripts
Some states require standardized testing to be administered annually. Whether you opt for a testing agency or administer the test at home, results should be kept in a safe place. In the event that your child returns to public school, these records may be required.
You may choose not to issue grades until middle school or high school – that is fine. Grade forms and transcript templates, as well as other pertinent record keeping supplies, are found at Donna Young and several other online transcript agencies.
A good time to get organized and start planning for high school record keeping is before your child enters 9th grade. It is never too early to plan for the future. Check with college admissions offices online for a complete list of the homeschooled student requirements. As homeschooling becomes more the norm than the exception, colleges are accommodating of required homeschool records.
Optional Records (Thinking About College)
While not required by states, other records may come in handy if your child plans to attend college. Documenting important milestones can provide you with comparison charts and help you plan for the following year. Optional records worth keeping include:
- Portfolio of sample work (essays, literary pieces, and book reports)
- Yearly reading list (make note of the books your child reads)
- Summary of education goals or plans for the year (broken into subjects)
- Field trip descriptions (why they were important)
- List of classes or extracurricular activities your child participated in (chess club, book clubs, sporting activities, art classes)
- List of accomplishments and recognition (include licenses and certifications, special programs, math contests, writing contest awards, etc.)
- List of community service projects (including volunteer work, church-related work, charitable organizations)
Even if your child does not plan to go to college, a transcript, sufficient high school records, and a diploma are important for future employment.
One last note – Don’t get overwhelmed.
You don’t have to record everything. There will be times when you just want to discuss a book with your child or build blocks with your toddler. You don’t have to write down each activity accomplished in the day.
Remember, quality time spent together is more important than checking off a box. If your children are young, you have time to work through the record-keeping bumps. Always remember the real reason you are homeschooling.
Celebrate together, record later.
Bio: Brenda Rufener is an award winning author, occasionally blogging about the reality of homeschooling on her blog Homeschool Diaries. Find her recently released homeschool book on Amazon and join thousands of other homeschool parents on her Facebook page.