With Christmas fast approaching, we know this is a busy time of year for you and your family. Along with family get-togethers, decorating for the holidays, and taking time to reflect on the true meaning of the season, homeschooling in December is sometimes a bit harried, isn't it? We do understand. In the midst of it all, we encourage you to remember that your time and sacrificial love for your children are the most treasured gifts you can give.
How can we make your life a little easier in the New Year? How about by sharing the whys and wherefores of recordkeeping? Although being organized and keeping records may or may not be one of your strengths, we hope these tips, resources, and ideas will give you the motivation you need to put in some effort now so you will reap the reward of saving time, energy, and tears later on. Keep in mind that your child will often need to provide accurate details of his high school coursework to prospective employers and colleges or to the military.
Recordkeeping is simply a recording of the curriculum/course work completed and the grades earned by your child. This evaluation is acquired from tests, quizzes, projects, etc., and provides a progress report for your student. By recording the courses that your child has already taken, you will then be able to note which courses still need to be taken, as well as to determine which electives and extracurricular activities you may want to include the next year. It is important to keep these records even if your children's current plans don't include college. You never know how their plans might change as they mature.
If your memory is anything like ours, you won't want to rely on just your mental recollection of what was accomplished in the high school years! Instead of racking your brain trying to remember from year to year what your student accomplished in your homeschool, set up this simple method of documentation:
- Work Samples: For each high school course your child takes, make up a manila folder. Include in the folder a one-page course description, a few samples of daily work, and any major tests or papers completed.
- Credit: The course description page may include the name of the course, the book titles and publishers, the number of credits you awarded for the course, the year it was taken, and a brief listing of the concepts covered in the course. A simple way to list these concepts is to include a copy of the table of contents from the textbook you use.
- Test Results: You may also want to keep a folder labeled "Test Scores" and include any achievement test or SAT/ACT/PSAT score reports from tests taken during the high school years.
- Year By Year: For each year during high school--9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade--keep a master folder that includes a current copy of the high school transcript and a listing of any extracurricular activities, jobs, sports, clubs, or community service that your child participated in. (If you need help creating transcripts, evaluating credits, or calculating GPAs, refer to our November Homeschooling Thru High School email newsletter at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=2692 .)
- State Requirements: Check out any additional recordkeeping requirements that may apply specifically to your state at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=2693.
Don't panic if this sounds overwhelming! There are other options available for you to explore. Your records can be kept by an online company or by an umbrella school. Even some large curriculum providers are offering this service. So you see, recordkeeping does not need to be a chore--keep it simple and you'll reap investments down the road.
Some online companies that offer recordkeeping services include:
- Academic Records by Classical Conversations
- Home Life Academy
- Homeschool Reporting Online
- Hunter Systems
- My School Year
- CreditPro High School Time Log System by Education Plus is also available to help you track high school credits.
Now that you have a handle on your documentation and direction for the upcoming year, we want to help you keep up your motivation, which may be sagging after the holidays. In next month's newsletter, we will offer encouragement for meeting the constant daily challenges of homeschooling (Reminds us of a song we know--"It's My Homeschool and I'll Cry If I Want To" . . . stay tuned!)
Until then, we warmly wish you a joy-filled and blessed Christmas.
Looking forward with great anticipation to 2006 along with all of you,
Becky and Diane
HSLDA High School Coordinators
This resource is an article from the Homeschooling Thru Highschool newsletter (12/1/2005), and is provided by the Home School Legal Defense Association as a service to the homeschooling community.