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Homeschool Record Keeping: What You Should Be Tracking & How to Do It Efficiently

k-12

As proof of your child's education for both public authorities and prospective schools, your homeschool record keeping must be meticulous. However, such record keeping can be a time-consuming process. This post looks at what information you should be tracking and how to do it efficiently.

Importance of Homeschool Record Keeping

Comprehensive homeschool records provide proof that your child is fulfilling all of your state's education requirements, according to the law. They can also pave the way for your homeschooler's next step, such as college or trade school.

What to Track

The specific information you need to track in your homeschool records may vary from state to state. So use a trusted resource to familiarize yourself with the homeschool record-keeping requirements in your state.

Homeschool record keeping often includes test scores.

Attendance Records, Test Scores & Assessments

Aside from documenting attendance and test scores, homeschool record keeping can help you assess your child's academic progress. If your homeschool student has particularly well-written reports or term papers, be sure to save these examples of his or her work.

Curriculum & Supplementary Materials

You'll want to have a record of the curriculum you use to teach each subject, along with a list of supplementary materials such as the books your homeschool student read. Also keep track of any homeschool field trips used to enhance the learning experience.

Immunization Records

While only four states currently mandate proof of immunization for homeschoolers, your circumstances or state's policy could change. For example, perhaps you're homeschooling because your family frequently moves due to military or work assignments. As a result, you may move from a state without mandatory immunizations to a state where proof of immunization is required. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) posts information explaining school vaccination laws across the country, including possible exemptions.

Some states require immunization records for homeschoolers.

Physical Education

Some states require records of your child's physical education program, such as how many hours of the subject your child enjoys per week and what activities are included. You may also want to track statistics, such as how long it takes your child to walk or run a mile.

High School Transcript Considerations

When your homeschooled child enters the high school years, it's especially important to start building a solid transcript for prospective colleges, trade schools, or military academies. The transcript should include standardized test scores from the ACT or SAT.

Further, some states require high school students to complete a certain number of hours of service-learning activities, such as volunteer positions or internships. So you'll need to describe the nature of the activities and track the time devoted to them.

How to Track Records

Electronic Record Keeping

Try a homeschool-specific software for your record keeping. Some of the top choices include Homeschool Tracker, which has a drag-and-drop planning calendar, assignment descriptions, grading tools with built-in calculations for weighted grading, and generated reports. Homeschool Tracker is cloud-based and securely encrypted and backed up every day. It also allows you to create logins and permissions for multiple people, including school district officials.

Similar online homeschool record-keeping tools are:

Consider electronic homeschool record keeping.

Old-School Record Keeping: Paper Planners

The most efficient way to keep records is really the way that you personally find easiest. Due to the recent popularity of bullet journals and the ongoing popularity of journal writing demonstrate, many people relate better to the idea of keeping records on paper.

If you're a bigger fan of record books than record-keeping software, just be sure to keep backup copies. These can be photocopied or scanned.

How to Maintain & Send Records

Keeping Copies

Your local school district may periodically ask for copies of your homeschool documentation, such as attendance records, grades, or test scores. Every time you send homeschool records to education authorities, always keep copies for your electronic or paper files, and, to be on the safe side, keep them for several years.

Sending Hard Copies

When sending hard copies of your records, be sure to make copies yourself, including any dated cover letters. If you have a flatbed or document scanner at home, put it to good use by scanning all of the documents you intend to send to your local school district. You can find a flatbed scanner that easily hooks up to your laptop for under $75.

Hard copies are an important part of homeschool record keeping.

Sending Email Copies

Hard copies aren't the only type of paperwork that gets ''lost in the mail.'' Sometimes, emails aren't transmitted or are inadvertently deleted by recipients. So make sure you keep your sent emails! Having a dedicated email account for your child's educational correspondence will allow you to more efficiently sift through and organize all of the homeschool-related emails you've sent or received.

For rich homeschooling resources that can make homeschool record keeping easier, try the personalized online homeschool program from Study.com. You'll get access to an extensive curriculum, answers to complicated homeschooling questions, and support from expert educators.

By Michelle Baumgartner
August 2021
k-12 homeschooling

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