Before beginning homeschooling, the teacher must realize that he or she is the recordkeeper for each student. As in all government and private schools, there are three types of records. The first is every aspect of a student’s work. In Pennsylvania, homeschooling parents must turn in a portfolio of student’s work every year to an evaluator, who must put his or her evaluation of the student’s progress in writing. Though different states use different terms, this portfolio includes examples of academic work, tests, quizzes, showing progress in learning throughout the year. It also has a brief description of outside activities the student has participated in, including pictures. It will be a thick notebook by the end of the year.
A traditional teacher uses this type of material to evaluate progress throughout the year. These periodic evaluations are called grades and these grades are recorded in a gradebook. Though homeschoolers rarely use gradebooks, relying instead on a pass/fail system, they need to be able to show to an outside evaluator how the student is progressing in each subject area.
The third type of record is a transcript. Up to this point, there could be a great deal of variety in recordkeeping. A transcript, however, needs to include certain things. A certified transcript from a traditional school will be recorded on a paper with a watermark and have a seal from the institution. Homeschool transcripts to colleges and institutions looking to hire a graduate should at least be notarized. The information included in a traditional school transcript will include the courses taken, when and who taught the course, the grade, teacher comments (usually in code), date of graduation, honors and special recommendations, (such as proficiency in foreign languages). Certified transcripts from traditional schools are rarely more than two pages.
A homeschool transcript is required by law to show the same information. Since homeschoolers are rarely graded, this will end up with more than two pages. Without a grade, you must still show what subjects were taken, when, and how well your student did in each subject.
We strongly recommend that you grade your students and keep records of those grades. Whether you choose to record grades on a spreadsheet, a piece of paper or only use written evaluations, backup, backup, backup. Keep a record on your computer, on at least two backups, keep a paper copy and backup offsite. Your student could possibly need a transcript after you have died from old age. Not only do you need to backup your transcripts, you need to notify people where these backups are. These transcripts are so important that their location should be included in your will.
Homeschooling for less than $100 per year per Student
This figure of less than $100 per year is for electronic curriculum. Nothing else is included in this figure. Any extracurricular activities such as music, field trips or sports are extra. Any device to read the e-books is also extra. An Amazon Kindle is the least expensive option at this time at $139, with a stripped down model for $79.
We write questions to go with existing inexpensive e-books, usually $1-5, and write our own books. The total cost for the least expensive option is around $25.