HOMESCHOOL RECORD KEEPING

Just like your banking records, there are certain papers that are useful for you to stash away for the future, whether for a school official, or for your children, or for you to reminisce!

It is helpful to put together a portfolio each year, even if you use a testing option to verify your progress to the school officials. Because I use a homeschool lesson planning/record keeping book that is fairly comprehensive, all I need to add to my lesson plan book are some photos and samples of my girls’ work. Your portfolio for the year might include:

  • Your school calendar, with field trips, outings, sports events, etc. marked (as well as any attendance records).
  • Your typical daily schedule. You might even include your teacher lesson plan book or journal.
  • Lists of the materials you used this year. I like to include how much I spent and where I purchased my materials, for future reference.
  • Report cards/grades, if issued, and any standardized test scores or evaluation reports.
  • List of extracurricular activities and field trips.
  • Photos of your child studying, playing sports, learning on field trips, socializing with others, etc. Also, photos of projects your child has completed.
  • Reading lists of books completed.
  • Projects and achievements.
  • Samples of his best work. You might collect these weekly, then cull monthly
  • Checklist of life skills acquired.
  • Audio or video tapes of your child reading, playing an instrument, reciting from memory, etc.

There are general homeschool records you will probably want to keep in your files. While not all of these are required by state or local authorities, some helpful records to keep might include:

  • Copies of birth certificates
  • Immunization records or waivers
  • Previous school records
  • Test scores
  • Annual student evaluations
  • Copies of all correspondence with school officials, including Notice of Intent forms
  • Copy of your degree or diploma, or teaching certificate, if applicable
  • Receipts for educational materials
  • List of in-service training that you have completed (homeschool workshops, book lists of resources read, tapes, support group topical studies, etc.)
  • School photos
  • Awards and certificates
  • Transcripts
  • Key to your grading/evaluation system
  • Your philosophy of education/list of goals
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HOMESCHOOLING IN WASHINGTON

Each state has it own rules surrounding homeschooling and it is important to stay current on the location that governs you. We started homeschooling in Washington state and we continue to file our annual letter of intent there.

Homeschooling in Washington requires children between the ages of 8 and 18 years to attend school or comply with the homeschool laws. Below are the ways in which you can qualify to homeschool your child in Washington State:

Option 1: Homeschooling under the homeschool statute:

1. Meet the teacher qualifications. 

You must be qualified to operate a homeschool program by either:

  1. Instructing only your child and being supervised by a certificated person (i.e., the certificated person and the parent together plan the educational objectives; the certificated person has a minimum average of one contact hour per week with the child; and the certificated person evaluates the child’s progress); or
  2. Instructing only your child and having either 45 college quarter credits or the equivalent in semester credits (approximately 30 semester credits, since one quarter credit equals two-thirds of a semester credit); or
  3. Instructing only your child and having completed a course in home-based education at a post-secondary institution or a vocational-technical institute (these courses generally do not require an extensive time commitment); or
  4. instructing only your child and being “deemed sufficiently qualified to provide home-based instruction by the superintendent of the local school district.”
2. File a notice of intent. 

You must annually file a signed declaration of intent to homeschool by September 15 or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester. File with the local superintendent or with the superintendent of a nonresident district that accepts the homeschool student as a transfer student. The declaration must include the name and age of your child, specify whether a certificated person will be supervising the instruction, and be written in a format prescribed by the superintendent of public instruction. HSLDA has a declaration of intent form available for our members’ use here.

3. Teach for the required number of days. 

You must teach 180 days per year, or average 1,000 hours per year.

4. Teach the required subjects. 

Your homeschool curriculum must include occupational education, science, math, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, and the development of an appreciation of art and music.

5. Conduct an annual assessment. 

You have two options for the required annual assessments. While the results of the assessment do not need to be submitted to the public schools, they must be retained as part of your child’s permanent school record.

The assessment options are:

  • Ensure that a standardized test approved by the state board is administered annually to your child by a “qualified” person (i.e. anyone qualified by the test publisher to administer the test), or
  • Have your child evaluated by a certificated person.

Option 2: Homeschooling with a private or denominational school:

1. Enroll as an extension program of an approved private school.

Approved private schools are permitted to allow families to operate their homeschools as extension programs of the school. You will need to locate an approved private school that allows extension programs and enroll your child in that school. A list of approved private schools is available here. The best way to determine if a school accepts extension students is to visit the school’s website or contact the school directly.

2. Comply with the private school’s requirements for its extension programs.

The importance of recordkeeping

You can find Washington’s specific record-keeping requirements, if any, above. These records may be helpful if you face an investigation regarding your homeschooling or your student needs to furnish proof of education.

These records should include and be maintened for two years:

  • attendance records
  • information on the textbooks and workbooks your student used
  • samples of your student’s schoolwork
  • correspondence with school officials
  • portfolios and test results
  • and any other documents showing that your child is receiving an appropriate education in compliance with the law.

Student’s high school records and proof of compliance with the home education laws during the high school years (including any type of home education notice that you file with state or local officials) should be kept on file forever. HSLDA’s high school webpage has additional information about homeschool recordkeeping.

If you are interested in the curriculum we use to not only meet, but exceed the requirements click here.