If you went to a public or private school, you probably remember your dreaded report card. It was either a trophy or a terror, but it provided a means to show your progress and accomplishments. Although the specifics vary, all states require documentation from homeschool families; they do, after all, set the legal standards for education. So, how should you go about homeschool recordkeeping? There are many different ways and programs you can use, but not all are built alike. Here’s what you need to know about homeschool recordkeeping to be successful this year!
Homeschool Laws Matter
States vary drastically with what is required for homeschool records, from very little oversight to a full portfolio and evaluation. It’s important that you know what is required in your state in order to be up to speed and compliant. Find your state homeschool laws quickly and easily here. Recordkeeping can include grades, attendance, subjects, immunization, and whatever else your state requires. So, let’s dive into the ways you can make homeschool recordkeeping work for you.
Four Homeschool Recordkeeping Options
1. Keep paper records at home in a homeschooling portfolio.
This option may seem old-school (pun intended), but may work best for you. A portfolio is a collection of documents that illustrate what your child has learned, how his or her accomplishments were achieved, the resources used, and how much progress he or she made. This reveals a lot more than mere grades. They can also include PE records, attendance sheets, field trip souvenirs — you name it! An added bonus is that a portfolio doubles as a memory book to treasure for years! Want more tips? Check out this resource on creating the best portfolio.
- Notebooks The most common portfolio is a three-ring binder. Subject dividers with letters or words make organizing (and finding!) papers simple and straightforward. Features like clear protectors and photo pages protect precious papers and drawings, while pockets can hold bulkier project items. (Hint: Don’t use rubber bands to hold paper together; it doesn’t take long for them to go from rubber to sticky fossilized remnants.)
- Accordian files These are clever and simple to use. They take up only as much space as they need to and eliminate the need to punch holes in papers. Just drop your stuff into the pocket and easily fish it out when needed!
- Bins A quick online search or trip to a local office store will reward you with different storage bins. These can hold file folders, accordion files, mementos, crafts, and anything else that fits. They provide protection and can be stored away in the attic or closet or wherever is convenient.
2. Online homeschool recordkeeping
You and your student are probably on the computer most of the day, so you could choose online recordkeeping. It eliminates the papers and organization, which is great for teens! No muss, little fuss, and no storage space needed! The Broward Homeschool Parent Support Group lists several recommended options for online recordkeeping, which are subscription-based. This option frees up your computer’s storage and frees you up from losing data should the computer crash!
3. Software homeschool recordkeeping
There are many inexpensive pay-once-and-done software packages you can install on your computer. Again, The Broward Homeschool Parent Support Group has a listing of available software. Remember to save early and often so that nothing is lost!
4. Accredited Homeschool Academy recordkeeping
Because Bridgeway keeps academic records for all of our students, your own recordkeeping is kept to a minimum. Simply record your child’s test scores and mail them to our office on a periodic basis. We manage report cards and transcripts and provide state-required standardized testing services so you can focus on what’s most important: teaching your child. Bridgeway Academy has programs and articles that can help you with the recordkeeping and grading processes.
Let Bridgeway Academy make it easy for you! With the right tools and help from Bridgeway Homeschool Academy, you can keep and share accurate records in record time! If you have any suggestions for success, please share them with us!