What Constitutes Record-Keeping?
Record-keeping needs raise a popular question among homeschoolers. What exactly goes into our records? How much do we have to keep? Is there a template? What information do I really need?
Because each state has different record-keeping laws, the best way to answer those questions is to encourage parents to start with state laws. Determining local laws creates a foundation to build upon. From there, each family can keep records according to their personal preferences and their student’s post-graduation plans.
Points to Ponder
As you expand on the foundation of your state’s requirements, here are some thoughts to consider.
Pick a Spot
Choose a single record-keeping point. This could be a notebook, a planner, a binder, a crate with hanging folders, or any combination of these. Keeping everything in one place will make it easier to consolidate later.
Record-keeping is much easier if it is done in weekly blocks rather than at the end of each semester or year. Each week, jot down grades, attendance, and notes about the week. Make note of field trips or special activities. Then look through tangible work for the week. Did a writing assignment stand out? Was there a particularly fun art project? Choose one assignment per student to keep from that week.
At the end of each semester or year, take some time to sort through what you have saved. If you have kept up with grades and assignments weekly, this should not be an overly time-consuming project. Choose a few of the top assignments to keep – perhaps one from the beginning of the year and another from the end to reflect an improvement record. Depending on what you have saved, you can choose a couple of items per subject or just choose three or four overall assignments. Tally up grades and record them in your planner or notebook.
Homeschool records do build up over the years! To keep it simple, use crates to store annual records. Using hanging folders, place assignments and any grade reports into one folder per year, either giving each child a crate or a designated folder color, if you are storing multiple children’s records in one crate. Find another crate or tub to store your annual record-keeping notebook or planner. Determine the amount of space you want to or are able to devote to long-term record-keeping storage, and make decisions about what to keep based on the available storage space.
Student and High School planners make it easy for your children to help keep records. Each year, these planners can be slid into the annual folders along with assignments being kept.
A Few More Thoughts
Simplicity is the key as you consider what records and assignments need to be kept each year. Your goal in record-keeping is two-fold: meet state requirements and record tangible progress from the beginning of the year to the end and from one year to the next. With a little bit of planning, you can accomplish this without consuming large amounts of time or storage space!