What type of records should you keep as a homeschooling parent? The answer to that question depends greatly on where you live and the age of your children. Record keeping requirements vary greatly from state to state. In Arkansas, you are not required to keep records. In North Carolina, parent were required to keep attendance records, standardized test scores, and provide access to immunization records if asked for them.
All homeschool parents should keep records of their child’s progress. You never know when life will demand that your children enter traditional school. Without any records, it can be a source of great aggravation.
All parents should keep a copy of standardized test scores, attendance records, and a list of books read and subjects taught. If you start out your school year listing all the textbooks you plan to use and write a short paragraph of what you plan to accomplish in those subjects, you have enough record keeping for most areas.
Middle and high school
Once your child reaches middle school and high school--record keeping changes. This is where you start preparing transcripts for colleges. At the middle school level, start making a list of every subject your child studies. List the textbooks used, other reading, lab work, and projects done. Give real, meaningful grades based on a 4.0 scale. If you start in middle school, by the time you child gets to high school, it will be a breeze.
Know the graduation requirements for your state. Homeschoolers do not have to abide by those guidelines, but they are a good place to start when planning your homeschool high school years. Then, check what the local colleges require for admission. Finally, make a list of colleges and universities that your child wants to attend. Find out what they require for admissions and make sure you cover those subjects.
High school students that are college bound will need to take the ACT or SAT. The Examiner article, Homeschooling through high school: choosing the ACT, SAT or COMPASS exam, covers this topic in great detail.
If you child has a learning disability or physical limitations, you should keep records of this. Most states that require standardized testing will make allowances for children with disabilities, but you must prove that there is a situation that will prevent your child from either taking the test without modifications or exemptions.
Remember, just because your decide to keep records that are not required by your state’s homeschool law, it does not mean that those records need to be shared with public school officials or anyone else. Record keeping will make your life easier, especially when it comes to creating high school transcripts or if your child will eventually attend a traditional school.