Depending on your state homeschool laws and requirements you may be required to keep records of what you do with your child at home. Also, some curriculums that you use may require that you track your progress.
If your state does require this to happen find out the specifics. Here are some sample questions that you may want to give to your state office of education so you know better what is expected of you.
- Is it required of homeschoolers to keep track of attendance?
- Are there a minimum number of hours/days in the school year?
- Do you have the traditional school year or a full twelve months to meet the above guidelines?
- Does the state have forms or ideas on how to best keep track and report these items?
- Do you have to have 180 days or just x amount of hours per year?
- Are work samples expected to be kept or given to anyone at the state or county offices?
Some online sites will have you believe that you need to buy certain software or purchase downloadable forms. This is just not true. In most cases if you have to keep homeschool records it can be done in a simple notebook. One mother says that she uses a notebook where she places the date, and the subjects. Under the subject she adds the concept taught and then there is a place to mark how much instructional time was there. She uses a calendar to mark the days that “school” was actually accomplished.
When homeschool parents get marking down records it can seem overwhelming, it is time consuming and tedious. They may also feel like there is a lack of time spent compared to what the state expects yet the homeschool curriculum is being done and lessons are accomplished. They just may not take as much time as expected. One method of marking things is to keep a calendar planner with the subjects in each day and how much time is typically spent on that subject. Just check them off as you go. Then the time is already written in. Even if you don’t do to the minute what the sheet says you are probably not accounting for certain things that you do in your own home or community that actually do count as instructional time and educational. Remember to give yourself credit for every little thing.
Record keeping needs to meet state requirements but it also needs to happen in such a way that the homeschool family does not feel overwhelmed.