If you are doing your own thing with respect to homeschooling, rather than using a private independent study or public school charter program, you are free to choose the way in which you set up documentation and how often you update the cumulative file. If your child is enrolled in a program, then you'll need to follow the school's record-keeping guidelines and schedule.
There are some record-keeping essentials that should be kept in all cumulative files and updated on a regular basis:
- Attendance Record - this is a legal requirement in generally all states. It proves your child is actually attending school. Keeping this document adheres to the compulsory attendance rules.
- Course of Study - this is an accounting of what subjects your child/student is currently doing. It is a plan of what you will complete over the school year. Curriculum is also listed here.
- Grade Reports - exhibits the level that the child is achieving. Some opt to use progress evaluations instead of letter grading. If you have a high school student, keeping a traditional grade report, one that provides letter grades, is necessary particularly for children heading off to college afterwards.
- High School Transcript - very important to keep for students in 9 - 12th grades. This record should list courses, grades, grade point average, cumulative grade point average, credits earned for each course and total credits earned overall. I use a software program for the CA School of Excellence students, which calculates everything for me as I enter the data. You can also compute all of this manually as there are many resources available that will show you how to do this step-by-step, and its really not that difficult to do.
- If you don't document, it's like your child/student is not attending school at all.
Depending on the state in which you homeschool, there may be additional documents that you are required to keep inside the child's file. For this reason, it is a good idea to join a homeschool organization or support group in your area (or at least contact one) so that you can stay updated on all the relevant homeschooling laws and policies, because they do differ from one jurisdiction to the other.
Some Resources That You May Find Helpful:
Homeschool Record-Keeping Forms on About.com
Administrative Homeschool Planner Forms
Homeschool Skedtrack is a free online lesson planner, scheduler and tracking system
My Mardel Homeschool is a free online lesson planner, scheduler and grade tracking system. You can create transcripts and courses of study as well.