I have received quite a few emails lately on how I keep track of homeschool attendance, hours, school work, records etc. I have one word for you today. Binders.
It depends on your state requirements as to what you’re required to keep for homeschooling records. For our state, all I’m required to keep is a record of my hours and what curriculum I used and that’s it. You can find out about your state requirements here: www.hslda.org
For my own conscience though I keep the following for each year:
A Yearly Records Binder:
This is my yearly binder. It has tabs for all of the items listed below, and I keep it on our shelf in the schoolroom for easy access.
- Legal Docs: I keep my annual “Notice of Intent to Homeschool” form, or enrollment in an umbrella school, etc. in this portion of my binder.
- Receipts: I keep all receipts together for things I’ve bought for each school year. We aren’t allowed a tax write off right now, but a girl can dream can’t she? Plus it’s good for budgeting purposes. And it definitely came in handy when I purchased software from Adobe and wanted an educational discount!
- Lesson Plans : I print out our lesson plans from Homeschool Tracker each week. During the week we cross things off as they’re completed, then I add them to my records binder. I have dividers that separate out the lesson plans for each child to make it easy.
- Record Keeping Software: Right now I use Homeschool Tracker to keep track of our hours, and it will print out all kinds of reports, hours, attendance, grades and lesson plans to name a few. Best part, it’s FREE! (When you go to their website, click on “The Basic Edition” and you’ll be taken to the free version.) Another option, Homeschool Skedtrack, is one that I haven’t used, but a friend recommended it to me. It’s an online record keeping site and is also free.
- Spoiler Alert: I say “right now” in regards to my software because my husband is currently working on a software program for me to store all of this stuff. Hopefully one that is super easy to use, effective in purpose, and maybe even pretty if I can swing it!
Here’s a view of my binder with tabs. This year we are participating in an options program that offers elective type activities for my kiddos. I keep all of the papers etc for that as well as all of the above listed items in this binder.
Student Work Binders: I get a 3” – 3 ring binder for each child each year. It has dividers that separate each subject and I file our work in the binder as it’s completed. Ie: tabs for Math, Language, Phonics, Spelling, Art (I only keep stuff that fits), Science; Handwriting. The below binders are 3” binders, they store quite a bit of work. And I keep the current year’s binders on our shelves in our homeschool room for easy access.
(Click here to download an MSWord 2010 editable version of my 3″ spine labels.)
Crafts: Most art projects hang around in our room on a clothesline type display, then I toss them as we put up new ones. Harsh I know, but I’m so not a packrat and besides, there are pictures of everything on my blog, so that’s my consolation.
Work in progress:
I have the kids put their completed work each day in stack-able file trays. They go by age, so the top one is Strawberry Shortcake’s work, then Turbo’s, Tinker’s, and finally the Teeny Tot’s work. Once those get full…or whenever I think about it... I take the papers and put them into the binders. That way at the end of the year I’m not having to go through mounds of paperwork.
Also, I don’t put work in these trays until they’re graded. Right now it’s easy for me to grade things on the spot as they’re working, so when they finish something, they’ll hand it to me. I’ll either grade it immediately, and hand it back, or set it on my desk until I have a free minute then grade it. They are all required to correct any mistakes that day before their school is considered done for the day.
Once it’s grade and entered into my computer it goes in these files.
Long Term Storage:
Previously, I have stored all of our yearly work binders in the basement on shelves. Now that we’re up to 4th grade, the shelves are getting full. I will probably change from storing the binders to just taking out all of the work and using heavy rubber bands to keep the years work together then storing them in file boxes. I’m not actually required to keep all of their work however I do…just in case…you never know.
So that’s my storage plan, for now anyhow. I’m sure as the amount of bulk increases, and my tolerance for clutter decreases, the mounds of school work may start making its way out the door. But until then I’ll be keeping our work.
You can visit the www.hslda.org website to find out about requirements in your state.