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6 Tips to Simplify Homeschool Record Keeping

Updated: 4 days ago

As the end of the school year draws near, do you find yourself drowning in a sea of unsorted papers and projects? If so, know that you are not alone! Homeschool record keeping is something that many homeschool families struggle with, especially in those first few years and in the years where your children create all things prolifically! If you’re like me, you probably feel guilty tossing your children’s work in the trash, but yet you know you can’t keep it all. When facing an ocean of decisions it can be difficult to decide what to keep for your records and what to let go. I’ve discovered some tricks and methods along the way that help me stay on top of my homeschool record keeping. It laid to rest my end-of-the-year shuffle through tests, quizzes, and reports in order to complete the required yearly assessments, report cards, and transcripts, and I no longer have a mountain of paperwork cluttering my home. Here are my best tips and tricks to simplify homeschool record keeping.

  1. Determine what is required by your state. Homeschool laws vary by state. Some require that you keep a certain number of samples of work by subject or by year. Some may require lesson plans, test and evaluation reports, grade cards, attendance records, immunization records, and transcripts; others may only require your yearly assessment form to be retained in your records. Other states do not require you to keep any records however it is always a good idea to keep records for yourself. How long you must keep them will vary as well by state. It’s important to understand what you are required to keep in your records and ensure that you have exactly what the law requires in case authorities ever challenge your homeschool. It’s safe to keep everything for 7 years (just like taxes)! In Colorado, you need to keep an attendance log, test or evaluation results, and vaccine records. If you do not vaccinate according to the required school shot schedule and participate in a homeschool program through a public or private school you are free to write your own exemption letter. If your children participate in a program through a school, you must comply with SB163 requirements which dictate the use of the non-medical exemption form.

2. Choose a storage method. How you choose to store your homeschool records will depend on how much of their work you are required to keep, space restrictions, number of students, and personal preference. Here are a few options: a. Binders- You might choose the binder method, in which you keep a binder for each student where you keep all of their records. A binder is easily organized with the help of dividers, folders, and sheet protectors. They take up minimal space, and they’re easy to grab off of the shelf whenever needed. b. Files- If you have several students who are required to keep extensive records and you have the space, a dedicated filing cabinet can be a huge blessing. Place each child’s files in a separate drawer or separate them with dividers. Then you can have a file for each child’s attendance records, grade reports, test results, yearly assessments, and samples of work by subject. c. Boxes- Some homeschool parents find it best for their family to have a storage box for each child that they place the required paperwork in throughout the year and then store on a shelf for the required time. They start a new box each year and toss the oldest box when they’re no longer required to keep it. However, this method is usually less organized and can still leave you scrambling and sorting if and when those records are needed.

3. Start the year with a plan and stick to it. Before your school year starts, develop a plan of what you will keep throughout the year. Prepare each child’s binder, files, or box and mark them clearly with their name and the year, and place them somewhere that is easily accessible. Starting your year off with an organized record keeping system in place makes it much more likely for you to stay organized.

4. Purge and file regularly. It’s best to do this on a daily or weekly schedule. You don’t have to keep every assignment to have a good homeschool record. As difficult as it may be to toss your child’s work, sorting through it regularly and tossing what is no longer needed will keep your stress levels low and your records organized. Choose only those things which are required to include in their record and place a limit on what you keep for sentimental reasons. Choose only the best art projects and the most significant assignments and accomplishments to keep for mementos and toss the rest. If you’re really having a hard time letting some things go, scan them or take a photo of them to keep in a digital file on your computer.

5. Get your children involved. When children are old enough they can be involved in their own record-keeping. Let them choose items that are special to them to file away, and after they have seen their test scores, have them place them in the appropriate file immediately. This will take a lot of stress off of you by keeping things organized as you go, as well as teach your child excellent organization skills.

6. Outsource record keeping. This is an option that will completely eliminate the stress of keeping homeschool records. Membership in Statheros Academy offers the option of outsourcing your record keeping; allowing you to leave the daunting task of compiling records and recording grades and transcripts to someone else. Membership also gives you access to teacher and student IDs, homeschool coaching, parent and professional evaluations, high school guidance counselor, high school transcripts and diplomas, and much more. We are constantly adding membership benefits so check back often. In addition, Colorado residents have the option of our umbrella school to meet their reporting requirements. Enrollment is open now and the school year begins July 1st and ends June 30th of each year.

Whatever record keeping method you choose, it’s important to start early, stick to your plan, and stay on top of it throughout the year. This will make the end of your school year a time to celebrate all that your children have accomplished instead of stressing about all the paperwork that you have left to do. Start strong and organized to finish strong! We are here to help so contact us at Statheros Academy for any questions you may have. We exist to serve you.


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