Step #9: Set up Record Keeping Systems

By Colorado law, homeschoolers are required to keep attendance, immunization, and test score records.

Attendance

Attendance can be kept merely by marking days on a calendar. (Colorado law requires 172 school days, averaging four contact hours per day.) If you want to be more detailed, you might want to log each day with what was accomplished by each child. This can be helpful for high school students when creating a transcript. It can also be useful to review the log when making lesson plans to help you to set realistic daily goals.

Immunizations

Your doctor’s office or county health clinic can provide you with an immunization record card. Keep it up-to-date by writing dates and immunizations given, or by asking the nurse to do it at the time of the visit. Those who choose not to immunize their children can keep on file either the physician’s certification that immunizations would endanger the life or health of the student or a document certifying that the parent’s personal or religious beliefs oppose immunization.

Test Scores

A copy of your children’s test scores is to be sent to your school district or registry or kept by a private school after grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Don’t forget to keep the original in a file at home.

Other Record Keeping

Any record keeping you desire to do beyond what the law requires is up to you. If you are a “visual” person, getting lesson plans and assignments and schedules down on paper can be a great help and relief. If, however, keeping track of things on paper is a struggle for you, don’t feel you have to do it, as long as you can function well without it! One caution: don’t wait until your children are in high school to start keeping records. It might take some time to establish a system that works for you.

Transcripts

For instruction and development ideas for producing and maintaining your child’s transcripts check these web sites.

http://www.donnayoung.org/forms/planners/hs-transcript.htm
http://www.hslda.org/highschool/academics.asp
http://www.hsncommunity.com/pg/blog/hsnation/read/6877/free-transcript-downloads

Report Cards

Although we are not required by law to give, or keep a record of, grades and report cards, grades are important to some homeschooling families. You can make up your own report cards or use ones offered in homeschool record-keeping packages. There is also software available.

Lesson Plans

Lesson plans can be tools not only for daily use but also as a permanent record of what each child has accomplished. Lesson plans can double as an attendance record, too.

There are many different ways to make lesson plans. What you choose needs to reflect your personality and your goals. The detail-oriented, organized person might like the more detailed grids and will probably plan several weeks, or maybe even months, in advance. A more flexible person might like a simpler, more general format and will make plans on a day-by-day basis. You might want to see all your children’s assignments on one grid, or you may want separate pages for each child.

Assignment Sheets

There are many different ways to give assignments. Very young students might not need assignments at all since a lot of their learning is done spending time with you. As children get into elementary grades, a simple check list might work. Sticky notes as book marks inside a book can work. Upper elementary students might profit from their own assignment notebooks where you give daily assignments or write reminder notes. You could give your junior high and high school students the opportunity to make their own assignments by giving them weekly or quarterly goals and teaching them how to divide the work into daily portions, giving them the freedom to do bigger chunks less often if they wish. If planning is a struggle for a student, begin teaching this skill with only one subject.

If you do use assignment sheets, they should be tailored to your own needs and personality and to your student’s ability to follow written directions.

Your record keeping system will be unique to you. Copying someone else’s system may or may not work for you. Give yourself the freedom and the time necessary to develop a system that is effective for you.