Homeschool record keeping can be intimidating.
Before you get too into the process of homeschooling, it is critical that you understand a bit about the requirement to record and document what your child is learning, their grades and progress and much more.
Your state often places these types of requirements in place to monitor homeschooling families and ensure the education of children.
Some states require much more thorough records than others do.
In all cases, you personally should want to have a record of what you are doing with your child, how well they are doing and what they have achieved for your own needs.
The problem is, many homeschooling parents struggle with this aspect of organization.
It really is not an easy process, but it can be a successful one if you concentrate on the opportunities that are available to you.
Homeschool Record Keeping
Homeschool record keeping may seem overwhelming – especially in the beginning.
Unless you are a super-organized person who thrives on record-keeping, then you can take a record keeping approach much like you do a curriculum choosing one. Take your time.
Once you make the decision to start your homeschool journey, grab a planner. I’m partial to the The Homeschool Binder because it has everything I need.
The kinds of things you want to keep up with:
- Daily activities of all kinds (took a walk, cooked with kids, etc)
- Lessons learned, insight from the kids
- Physical activity
- Any “school work” that you did
- Educational shows you watched, experiences you had
- Basically just a rundown of your day
This way, you have a record of what was done each day that you can transfer to more formal records later if you need to.
You don’t have to start with this “basic” record-keeping method, if you don’t want to. But for a first-time, overwhelmed homeschool parent this can be life-changing advice.
Once you have more of a handle of things, you can always switch to a more formal record-keeping system.
But the basic idea of keeping homeschool records are to know what you did each day and who attended.
Some states have different requirements, but the most problem you will run into is usually going back and converting your handwritten notes into a more formal record.
I don’t suggest you keep records this way forever, but in the beginning it’s more than sufficient.
And if you feel more comfortable, you can keep this information in an Excel spreadsheet right from the beginning.
What Homeschool Records Are Important?
Once you get ready to keep more formal records (or if you want to keep them from day one) the next step in the process is knowing which types of records you should be tracking. Here is a list of things you should track regularly.
- Quarterly Reports
In a traditional school, children are given these reports in the form of report cards, detailing where the child stands at any given point. This report should specify the class, the curriculum, who taught the class, and the grades the child earned during those classes. These are detailed reports, giving information about each activity and the grade earned.
- Goals Tracking
Here is another area that your child can benefit from: goals planning. Homeschool teachers can use this to help them to establish firm goals of what they want their child to learn as they work through the year. This is incredibly helpful especially as your child gets older.
- Grade Reports
While quarterly reports are long and detailed (outlining every class and activity in some cases) grade reports are different. They are short and to the point, broken down by just the subject and the letter grade earned in the quarter based on the information that is placed in the quarterly report. At the end of the academic school year, this information should be used as a way to show where the student stands in terms of moving up a grade or staying where they are. They work much like report cards do in the traditional school setting.
- Day Planning
As a homeschool teacher, you should be focusing on planning out your educational goals for the week. You can accomplish this by simply providing yourself with a planning record. You can use this to help you to run the classroom and help you to schedule everything that needs to be accomplished in an effective, easy to use manner.
Other Homeschool Records to Keep
In some states, you may need to keep a record of the time the student spends learning.
For example, did he partake in science this week? How many hours of science did he have? This is important for a number of reasons.
First, it shows the state that the child has received the necessary training they need in their homeschool setting.
In addition to this, it also helps you to know where your child is at in terms of education. Has he obtained enough guidance in the area that are most important?
How Not to Stress About Homeschool Record Keeping
If so, you are not alone. Many parents struggle to stay organized when it comes to record keeping because it is very easy to say, "I'll catch up on those tomorrow." But, you can make it a habit.
After activities are complete, work with your child to go over their work. At that time, write down the grade they received.
In some families, this is a very open process where the child fully knows what they are getting and how well they are doing.
It can even work as a motivation tool to help them to surpass their last grade.
Make it a habit from the beginning to keep accurate records for your child. This simplifies the process and gives you the aid you need.
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