Parents who homeschool their children in Michigan aren’t legally required to keep records on their child’s schooling, so there are no suggestions for exactly what to keep and how to organize it.
“That’s totally up to the parent,” notes Tami Feldpausch, analyst for the Michigan Department of Education.
Though not required, keeping homeschool records has its perks for these students and families. For instance, if your child transfers into a public or private high school in the future, they’ll need transcripts. Even for colleges, they’ll need transcripts – and relying on memory isn’t ideal, notes Christina Strickland, a metro Detroit mom who homeschooled her two children, runs the Modern Homeschool Family website and works with Michigan Homeschool Connections.
“Maybe you do have to move to another state where record keeping is required,” says Strickland, who has written about this topic for other homeschool families as well. “Particularly, if you are moving to another state in the middle of the school year, you’re going to want to have that list of things you’ve done.
“You just never know what life is going to throw at you and it’s better to be safe than sorry,” she adds.
Plus, keeping track of your child’s progress can be encouraging for both you and your child if ever you feel discouraged about how homeschooling is going in the moment. “That really helps build confidence in your child, too, when he or she can look,” Strickland notes.
And, you won’t remember everything when you go to put together a transcript – plain and simple. “Same concept of keeping a baby book,” she explains.
How to keep homeschool records
Don’t worry. Keeping track of your child’s homeschool records doesn’t have to be complicated, Strickland emphasizes. With her children, she kept three-ring binders. “I created for them a daily planner worksheet and then a daily journal,” she says. Here, her daughters kept track of what they learned each day, what they did and what they’d like to learn the next day.
You could organize your children’s binders by subject or year – whatever works for you. In her post on the subject, Strickland has a few suggestions of what to keep organized, including lesson plans, worksheets and more.
How to do it is up to you, whether you go the physical binder route or a system where everything is scanned and stored digitally. Decide to sit down once a day, once a week or maybe even once a month to organize it all.
“Find the system that works for you and just keep at it,” she adds.
More resources on homeschool record keeping
There are plenty of resources on the web, too. Talk to other homeschool parents to see if they have any advice on what they like to do to stay organized.
Or, even “a really quick Google search will bring up a lot of options,” Strickland adds. Google “homeschool record keeping forms” and free results like this come up, offering several templates. On Modern Homeschool Family, Strickland offers free printable pages to help kids (and high schoolers!) keep track of their daily tasks and assignments. Or, research some digital software (though it may cost you a fee).
Pinterest is another treasure trove for homeschool ideas and printables.
“New homeschoolers have all these questions, ‘where do I start?’ – ‘where do I begin?'” Strickland says. “You can make it as simple or as complicated as you want.”
Interested in homeschooling? Read up on the advantages of homeschooling – and then learn more about what’s required when homeschooling in the state of Michigan, visit the MDE’s website michigan.gov/homeschool.