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It’s that time of year again! For many, it’s the last month of school before summer break, and you notice that your homeschool did a lot of work this year, it is breaming from every basket, container, or storage box around your home. Should you throw it all away and start again next school term? Should you keep everything in a large storage cabinet? Should you take photos of everything and store it in the cloud? Just what do you do with all your homeschool stuff, and what about the curriculum or books You didn’t finish, or your kids lost interest in? In this article, we will explore, “How to Collect Homeschool Records and Why You Need To.”

Why You Need to Collect Homeschool Records

If you live in a state that requires you to collect and turn in your homeschool records, then you already know the importance of making sure you have everything together. Especially if your homeschool requires the review from an evaluator, who meets personally with you and your students. They will often review your students’ academic progress by looking at records or portfolios.

Know your states requirements here.

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Creating homeschool memories!

However, if you don’t live in a state that has these requirements, you might still be wondering if you should keep records anyways. The short answer is, yes! As the coordinator and head of our private satellite school, I require my parents to turn in different items and paperwork so that I can construct a portfolio for them with all their records.


Your homeschool records will not only hold the most important information your child took away from the year, but also memories. It allows you to document and hang onto work samples, tests (or state tests results), awards, certificates, school photos, videos, and all your most precious homeschool moments, even the hardest times!

What you keep track of depends on why you need to collect your records. No matter the reason, your portfolios will hold both your important records and treasured memories. So, if you need to keep them to comply with your state homeschool laws, I suggest always keeping your original versions and only turning in digital copies.

Also, regarding memories, you don’t officially need to keep records for any age under the required age to start formal teaching. For example, ages 0-5 or even 6. Once official school age starts, you will want to collect records. Other than that, you are keeping precious homeschool memories to look back on.

Things Happen

If you fully intend to homeschool forever, like a lot of homeschooling families, you might not still see a reason to keep your records or a portfolio.  However, “things happen.” Meaning maybe your family experiences a hardship for whatever reason and now your kids have to attend public or private compulsory schooling for a while or even permanently.

Many times, schools require your student to enter at the grade level for their age. Your child might be young in a higher grade, or maybe they did dual enrollment courses, because homeschool allowed them to advance. Without your homeschool records, you have no choice but to comply with the school, setting your student back.

However, if you kept your records and scores, the administration could evaluate them, even test your students if necessary and place them where they are academically.  Good records will help you and your student if you transfer back to or need to enter public school, enroll in private school, or even apply to college.

Public School Records?

Do you need to know how to request your students public school records? If your students did anytime in public school or private school, you need to collect their school records for their portfolio too! See How to Request Your Childs Public-School Records.

Good Policy & Progress

You never know the reason you will need your records, but keeping track of learning is a good policy. Don’t forget that records help monitor your homeschooling progress. You can discover what works best for your student and what doesn’t work. They help you create goals so you can move forward with the best game plan.

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Homeschool is the future

Records also give your student feedback on how they are doing. Especially high school students who need to keep track of everything for their transcripts.

Online Program Homeschool Records

Even if your student uses an online program, you will want to print their records, adding them to their portfolio. Most online homeschool programs only provide the curriculum; you are still the homeschool teacher and facilitator. Therefore, keeping records is the job of the parent.

If your student is in a Private Satellite School, they will still require you to turn in work samples, and keep track of certain items to build up your portfolio.

If your student attends online classes or instruction, you still want to either obtain the records from that source, or document them for your records. All these resources will build a powerful portfolio for future use.

What You Need To Collect

When thinking about what you need to add to your students portfolio for their records, think about what you decided to use for their curriculum this year, officially or unofficially. This is where your homeschool planner comes in handy. You will need to create a schedule for when you will gather your samples, so things don’t get lost. This is done quarterly in our homeschool, but not religiously.

Make sure you have a list of what your state requires and collection dates, if you live in a regulated state with homeschool requirements.

First you would need to collect attendance records even though your student is homeschooled. Some states require it like California for instance. Next, you’ll want to look to your planner to see your list of curricula or learning resources. You will document these down as well.

If you used an interactive planner, like this one below, just save the pdf and add it to your records! That’s why this is hands down the best planner, and one of our shops’ most popular items in our homeschool community.

Collection List

You do not need to collect and save everything your student does. However, you do want to show growth and achievements. One of the best ways to do this is with work samples.

In addition to attendance records, and curricula used, collect:

  • Artwork: your student can help you select work that makes them proud to add to their portfolio.
  • Final projects
  • Records from any other place of education, such as community colleges, if DE (dual enrollment) was done.
  • Tests: helps with self-reflection if you give them or if your state requires testing, includes any curriculum tests you had your students do. Get the good, bad and ugly for a better picture of progression.
  • Grades, no matter how you gave them out.
  • PE or physical education hours. Some states require physical education such as daily work outs, sports, etc. It’s good practice to help your student document their physical education outside of traditional learning.
  • Work samples: these will be samples from everything they used for their curriculum. They will be things like writing samples, math samples, language arts samples, science, and social studies samples.
  • Awards and certificates. Many homeschool parents give their students awards to document their achievements for certain subjects. Check out our shop for some good free options you can download today and personalize for your students!
  • Any memorable images or videos you captured during homeschooling. From nature studies to field trips, and science explosions or cooking in the kitchen. These are more personal and really for you and your homeschool family’s enjoyment.

Don’t Cheat!

It is really easy and tempting to just collect the best of everything, but its not a real reflection of your students progress and will cheat them out of the homeschool experience, which includes one-on-one learning, tailored curriculums, and advancement.   

Observe the subjects most challenging to your students, revisit, and engage in conversations about their learning to deepen their understanding.

Immunization Records

If you live in a state that requires you to collect your child’s immunization records or exemptions, like California, be sure to have those files on hand for all your students. Usually, your child’s pediatrician will have these records for you. Don’t forget to request them when you visit or print them off the online database for your clinic or hospital.

How To Collect Homeschool Records

Now, we get to the how of collecting homeschool records. This process can be made easy or complicated, it just depends on how organized you are with your student’s schoolwork. To see a demonstration of this process, click here, or visit this article.

Step one

Start by filling out a real homeschool planner. You will determine how many days you will have homeschool and plan your breaks, family vacations, etc.

This is important because you want to make sure you meet any state requirements for instructional teaching days. Even if not required, having a homeschool plan like this will help your family be flexible.

I plan by semester and calculate about 175 teaching days or learning days as this is what is required for my state. We always end up going over, since there is never a dull moment. However, this does help us plan a month worth of Christmas vacation as this is our favorite time of the year. Then all our families have summer birthdays, so we like to end just before birthday season in June.

We have done year-round homeschooling, relaxed homeschooling, and sabbatical homeschooling before finally just taking an eclectic approach to scheduling. So, step one will help you take attendance and plan your collection of grades, samples, and tests.

Step Two

This step involves planning out your curriculum for the year, books you plan to use,  gathered resources, unit studies, etc. You will document everything in your homeschool planner. This planner has an interactive curriculum shopping list, where you can also record your curriculum, a goals list, and homeschool planning section. If you don’t use a planner like this one, even other planners can be photographed or scanned, so you can have a record of your plans.

Step three

You can start by taking photographs of the covers of your curriculum and books. Not one-by-one, that could be tedious. Group resources into desired sections. This way you have a clear view of exactly what you used, authors, etc. You are also able to look back and reflect on what didn’t work for your family. So, any curriculum or books you ended up not using or finishing, you can document along the way, and avoid for the next year, or decide to use them later.

Take images of any of your students completed notebooks, getting some of their best and not so good work, this is called work samples. Scan photos of their tests, assignments, reading logs, awards, certificates, report cards, immunizations or exemptions, and pretty much anything you want to keep a reference for.

Step four

Gather up all your images and pdf’s and make them into one large pdf in which you can compress. We recommend Foxit, adobe, or any other PDF editor that will allow you to organize and manipulate your files.

Now you will organize all your files within the pdf. Attendance, planning, medical records, all go first. Following that will be your work samples and scanned images of awards, assignments, images, etc. No matter how you do the latter, the beginning of the pdf should compromise all your homeschool organizations and official docs.

If desired, add in videos from your homeschool journey, leave notes about the details of the video. Label images and artwork within the pdf. PDF editors usually have a commenting tool, use this to your advantage. If you struggle with adding videos to your pdf’s, consult the user manual, or link to videos in your storage system, YouTube, or Vimeo.

Now you have a complete record.

Where To Store Homeschool Records

After all your hard work, you might be wondering what to do with your all your records.

There are two ways to store records: traditionally by keeping everything in an organized portfolio or digitally.

The digital way is by far the best, as you do not need to keep anything once its digitally filed, and it cuts down on the bulk you could obtain with multiple students. Images and files are stored where they cannot be damaged in fires, floods, or any other natural disaster. If you decide to go the paper route, be sure to organize all files as stated in this article and keep them in a safe, dry, and clean place.

For those storing digital files: now you can store a copy, if desired within the cloud for faster reference, homeschool drive, or any other virtual storage system you decide to use, dedicated to homeschooling records storage.

You can also store your homeschool drive in a safe or file cabinet.

In Conclusion

Collecting homeschool records or a portfolio of records is beneficial for your homeschooling family. Not just for legal matters but to be able to look back on how your students have grown over the years. My students enjoy looking back at past work, images, photos, and videos of them homeschooling over the last 11 years. I have records from when some of them were just starting out around a year old! Yes, you can start homeschooling at that young of an age and younger! This article covered the “Why, What, How and Where,” for collecting homeschool records.

You can also reach out to the HSLDA, if you live in a state that requires you to collect more items such as test scores, immunization records and other complicated items.  Always know the regulations for your state, so your homeschool can comply every year that you have chosen to homeschool. And if you are a traveling homeschool family, military family, or just happen to make a move in a state with certain regulations you are not used to, you will be happy that you have chosen to be organized and kept your homeschool records!

If you have any questions regarding the article, leave a comment below or contact us. For more examples on work samples, subscribe to be updated for updates on our Homeschool 101 articles.

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