Saturday 2 March 2013

A little Word on Homeschool Record Keeping

Homeschool Record Keeping
Some home schooler's wonder whether record keeping is worth while and others are plagued by a deep fear of being checked up on which drives them to keep reams and reams of records. Record keeping during homeschooling does not need to be fear driven or brushed aside I think a healthy balance somewhere in between is a good place to be.

Record keeping is different in every country / state in the world so it's important that you check to see what the legal requirements are.

Planning your homeschool year is a great place to start with your record keeping. You can use this as a check list at the end of each day and by the end of the year you will have gathered a substantial list of what has been completed.

A word of caution, when we purchase a curriculum we somehow feel compelled to check every box and do e-v-e-r-y assignment and at times this can be to the detriment of our learning experience. Remember that you are the master and that purchased curriculum is your servant.  Use it as such.  For some reason when we pay money for something we feel compelled to use it from A to Z. Remember that not checking all the boxes is not an indication of failure but rather indicates an attitude that you have evaluated whether or not you need to complete the said assignment to accomplish your goal. Setting up goals and planning go hand in hand with good record keeping.

Consistent record keeping is especially important in the High School years. You will need these records to provide accurate details to future employers and tertiary institutions.

The first key to keeping excellent records is being consistent. The second key to unlocking record keeping is to find what works for you and stick to that method. As homeschool parents we live in a costant state of doubt and the result of this is looking at what others are doing and feeling that you need to change and be like them. Rule number one is: "Do not compare your system to someone else unless you are looking for a method to improve yours or your system is not working."

What should you keep records of ?
Generally records fall into one of three main categories.
  1. Academic
  2. Additional information.
  3. Transcripts
The HSLDA has an excellent pdf document you can down load titled HSLDA Guide for Homeschooling through High School. This document has a comprehensive summary of what to include in each of these categories.

It is exceptionally important to be familiar with the local laws governing homeschooling where you are so that you know what sorts of records are important for you to keep.

Lee Binz from The Home Scholar has some excellent YouTube video's on Transcripts and how to.

Legal Requirements {Australia}
  1. Queensland
  2. Northern Territories
  3. Western Australia
  4. South Australia
  5. Victoria
  6. Australian Capital Territory
  7. New South Wales
  8. Tasmania
In the USA a good place to start is HSLDA and for the rest of the world they have a comprehensive International Homeschooling contact list.

A word about technical terms (jargon)
There is nothing like sitting in a room full of people who use big words and you have no idea what on earth they are talking about.  Over at Time 4 Learning they have an amazing Homeschool Glossary for you.

Thankfully I read some books by Ruth Beechick who is an excellent encourager. She helps you to understand the daily tasks you do with your children can be categorized into the fancy school terminology (technical jargon of schools). All you need is a little understanding and a little bit of vocabulary building on your part as well as taking some time to evaluate each activity and reclassify it. This in turn will make your homeschool records take on a more professional feel. I highly recommend Ruth Beechick's book: You Can Teach Your Child Successfully.

How to keep records 

When I first started homeschooling I used my Sonlight Instructors Guide and checked off each task as we completed it. This guide is an excellent resource for record keeping and planning ahead.  I am currently using The Well-Planned Day Homeschool Planner and another one that looks great is The Ultimate Homeschool Planner published by Apologia Ministries.

Record Keeping on the Net
What are some of your favourite resources to keep records of your homeschool journey ?  Please share the link in the comments so that I can add to the above list.


This post is part of the Home school High School Carnival.  Don't forget to pop on over to Creating with Wisdom to read what others are saying about this topic.

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  1. This is great, Chareen! So much information and good advice. Thank you for sharing these links and your own experience:)

    God bless:-)

    1. I'm looking forward to reading what others have written on the topic as it's definitely not my strong suit :) I enjoyed the topic because it helped me grow as a home school mom.

  2. Great post! Good on you for spending time checking out all those references, Chareen!!

  3. "Remember that you are the master and that purchased curriculum is your servant"

    Totally understand what you mean by this! Even when you don't purchase a curriculum you can sometimes become a slave to your own plans.

  4. My son has always wanted to live in that we "know" you, he has decided that we can come visit you! ;) what are your laws about schooling unrelated kids?!? ;)


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