Easy High School Record Keeping for Homeschool Parents
Record keeping! (I’m not talking about that cute little sparkly box filled with your vinyl 45’s.) It kind of brings on a deer-in-the-headlights look when some of us are faced with keeping records for our high school students. I remember saying that we would take homeschooling one year at a time when we first started ten years ago. I honestly could not look ahead to the high school years at the time, since my son was only in kindergarten. Many homeschool moms (including me) are stressed out and intimidated at the prospect of keeping good records and creating transcripts, but I have happily discovered that it is not that difficult if you keep track of things as you go along.
Everyone has her own system for organization, but for me, simplicity is the key. My state requires that I maintain a plan book or diary including subjects taught and activities in which we engage, a portfolio with samples of my children’s work, and a semi-annual progress report including a record of attendance. This gives me a good bit of flexibility when it comes to record keeping, and I do not have to replicate what the school district does.
I have always kept a notebook divided into sections for our academic schedule, book lists, field trips, community service, and activities (such as recitals and art show participation). Some curriculum guides provide the academic schedule, but for some subjects, I simply make a copy of the book’s table of contents and check off sections as we go. My notebook has an academic schedule section for each of my children, but most of our field trips and other activities are shared, so I just write them up, adding photos, brochures, and other information about what we did. I start a new notebook each year, and they are really more like scrapbooks now, as I look back on what we have done and how much my boys have grown.
Now that my son is in high school, he keeps a notebook of his own, and all of his essays and lab reports go in it behind his schedule pages. His notebook is divided into sections for each of his academic subjects, and he also documents time spent with music lessons and practice, art classes and shows, and filmmaking projects (fine arts). I check his notebook each week to make sure he is on track. This gives me an “at a glance” record of what he is doing, and at the end of each term, I have everything right where I need it to transfer to his progress report and transcript. My son’s transcript is a work in progress, and I will not have to try to remember what we did in ninth grade when twelfth grade rolls around.
There are many options available for record keeping, but the key is to simply keep up with it. I might not mark things off every day, but at least a weekly check-in helps me stay organized, so that when progress report time comes, I do not have to scramble. It might not be as much fun as dusting off those old top forty hits and dancing around the house, but at least I can relax and feel confident that we are covered.