The words “record keeping” strike panic in the hearts of many homeschool parents. Take a deep breath; I’m here to walk you through this. According to the Washington State law (RCW 28A.200.010 (2)):
You must keep records.
Daily record keeping is the easiest way to track your instructional and educational activities. You can create a chart on Excel, with a column for each subject (Washington has 11 core subjects, but some can be combined) and the day of the week. In each box is recorded the activity done (i.e. book title and the page numbers read,) assignments completed, location of field trip, etc., and the time spent on the lesson. I like record keeping on the computer because you can store it digitally and keep records by year. I recommend Google Drive for saving documents for long-term.
If your child is not enrolled in a private school, there is no minimum time requirement. In high school, if a college or school were to ask for proof of credits earned they may ask for this information. This is not common, but it is always better to be prepared! If your child is enrolled in a private school program (such as Academy Northwest), they need to complete 1000 hours and 180 school days.
All students enrolled in my learning center are required to also maintain a portfolio for each year. I require this because it validates your record keeping, and helps you see what you and your child have accomplished during the school year. I recommend using a three-inch three-ring binder, with tabs for each subject. Finished work gets puts into the binder. Workbooks can be stored in a page-protector; online class grades can be printed and inserted into the appropriate section. I also like to see my students keep a reading list of all the books they have read that year. Another reason the portfolio is really helpful is when it comes to doing year-end assessments. One of Washington State requirements for homeschooling is that your child is tested, or has an assessment done by a certified teacher. The assessment can be easily and accurately done when the teacher has work from throughout the school year to evaluate. Having it all in one place means you don’t have to scramble to collect what you need at the end of the year.
As you can see, record keeping doesn’t have to be a big strain on your day. Find a daily record-keeping system that works for you, create a routine to keep it going, and assemble a yearly portfolio. You’ve got this, you can do it!