Just like tax records, there are certain homeschool documents that are important.
Whether you live in a state that requires you to submit records or not, certain documents should be kept safe and secure.
Legal homeschool records do not include book reports, essays or prized toddler masterpieces. They are official school records that document official school business.
The following are recommended records to keep, even if your state does not require them:
Attendance shows the days you held school. You can mark a calendar, which includes the daily number of hours school was conducted. Pencil in the hours and summarize at the end of the month.
States require 180 school days. A simple excel spreadsheet or word document can also be created to tally the days and hours spent homeschooling. Online time sheets are available to print off free of charge if you would like a more detailed record.
If you immunize your children, have these records on file. There is no secret to immunization records. Your pediatrician will provide you with a card so that shots are documented regularly.
Make a couple of copies to have on hand in case the original gets misplaced. In the event that your child returns to public school, immunization records must be current.
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 brief summary of 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 is required of you, review your state information here:
Test Scores and Transcripts
Some states require annual standardized testing. If your child is tested by a professional agency or yourself, file the results. In the event that your child returns to public school, these records may be required.
You may choose to avoid grading 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. SAT and ACT scores should also be filed.
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.
While not required, 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 include:
- Portfolio of sample work (essays, literary pieces and book reports)
- Yearly reading list
- Summary of education goals or plans for the year (broken into subjects)
- Field trip descriptions
- List of classes or extracurricular activities your child participated in
- List of accomplishments and recognition (includes licenses and certifications)
- List of community service projects
Even if your child does not plan to go to college, a transcript, sufficient high school records and diploma are important for future employment.
Over the next couple of weeks we will discuss homeschool planner choices and non-traditional learning records.
Important note: There is no need to over do it. Don’t record everything. There will be times when you just want to discuss a book with your child or build blocks with your toddler.
If you get bogged down with paperwork you and your child may miss out on bonding and quality time. Don’t run off to document every time your child meets or exceeds a milestone. Celebrate together, record later.
Further reading and resources: