Sometimes record keeping can be the hardest part of homeschooling. Just when you think you have a system down, you find yourself pulled in 20 different directions and the work piles up to unmanageable levels. This is when having a system is handy. It could be as simple as piling everything in a box for the year, or as detailed as daily entries in a teacher’s record book. You can grade individual papers only, or cross post the grades in a yearly record.
Checking your state’s homeschooling law is critical on this issue. Some states require detailed records and samples of work, some require nothing. Some states have mandatory testing, others don’t. Even if your state does not require any record keeping, it is still a good idea to have some kind of system in place, just in case of overzealous school officials, nosy neighbors, or persons with “the best interests of the children” “at heart”.
Some online curriculum programs even keep records for you. I am sure there are computer programs that can do this as well. If you are clever enough you could probably design your own computerized record keeping system. I am still doing mine by hand, with pencil and paper. I know several parents who use specially designed worksheets they have printed out.
Here is my simple system to give you ideas:
1 – grade each paper turned in;
2 – in a weekly calendar book, post each grade, as well as non-graded work completed;
3 – place all completed work for the year in an 18 gallon plastic box, place the weekly calendar book in the box at the end of the year.
4 – Place any projects, books not being resold, pictures, copies of videos and miscellaneous items in box. Tape and label box and store away.
We rely heavily on pictures and videos to document projects and work, so it is critical that I copy all school related media to a usb or sd card or make a hard copy of pictures to store in the box. This takes a little extra time, but I feel it is worth it for the permanent record. It is okay to revise your system from time to time, as your needs change and your abilities evolve. Our system has changed over the years but the important thing is that we do maintain a permanent record of work accomplished.
Start with whatever you think will work for you and tweak your system as you go along. You will be glad to have records if you should ever find yourself in a situation where your child’s learning or your qualifications as a teacher are ever questioned. It will also prove helpful when it comes time to make up high school transcripts.
If you enjoyed this post, there is lots more information on homeschooling in my new book: