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Because most homeschools can be subject to an inspection by your state's department of Administration, division of Non-Public Education, you should set up and keep a portfolio for each of the students you are homeschooling.
Your portfolio should include your letter of intent to homeschool, medical and immunization records, learning objectives for the year, lists of curriculums, reading lists, and, most importantly, a record of your child's work in each of his or her subject areas. Even though this is a big job, it's well worth the effort. You'll enjoy looking back through old portfolios to look at stories, pictures and projects.
Because grades are not required for homeschool students in every state, parents can elect to either award grades or not for those states that don't require it. If your state does require grades, there are several places online where you can find templates to print (they even leave space for you to print the name of your school).
Since colleges are still very grade oriented, its not a bad idea to keep report cards—even if its not required. Keep records of how you arrive at the grades you assign. And, if you don't want your children influenced by report cards, you don't even have to show it to them—just save them in a file as part of you home school transcripts.
It's never a bad idea to keep detailed records, even if the state you live in does not require you to do so. Being at your professional best not only sets a good example for your kids, but will establish a history that you can go back and check on.
If you ever want your child to go back to public school, records will help in the transition. And, if you move to another state, the documentation could make the move a bit easier.
One of the more complicated aspects of homeschooling is deciphering the ever-changing home schooling requirements with which you will have to comply.
Each state has its own rules and regulations, making the task of keeping up with the home school laws stressful. To make sure you are in compliance with your state's laws, it might be wise to consult with an attorney. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
In general, content standards are intended to be guidelines. Depending on where you live, you may have more or less flexibility in what you teach your children.
Check out your state's homeschooling requirements before you decide on your child's course of study.
|Sheri Ann Richerson