by Karen D. Koch
Wrapping up the end of the school year is always a challenge for me. I don’t ever feel as if we’ve done all we could do, but we also need a time to regroup and conclude. Even though we’re dying to do fun and relaxing things when summer comes, I make myself spend time each June wrapping up homeschool paperwork and recordkeeping. I strongly recommend homeschoolers do a few end-of-year tasks so you can truly rest and take a break without the un-done tasks hanging over you. These provide useful records you may need in the future. You can thank me later.
- Complete Those Transcripts. If you have high school kids, complete a transcript, even if it’s imperfect and needs revising later. CHEA Members have access to our Transcript Creator by logging in to our website. The module saves your work, so you have a draft as you go and can update it at any time. You may think you’ll remember everything, but just like things in the baby book, if you don’t write it down when it happens, you may or not remember it accurately later. I have a friend who was homeschooled years ago, but his mother failed to complete a high school transcript for him. This has served as an unnecessary barrier for him.
- Consider Writing Course Descriptions. This can be as simple as a list of the courses taken, books used, and highlights. I had not kept up with these in high school for my #2 child, as I was very busy with my oldest son. But then I had to painstakingly go back through three previous years of high school curriculum to re-create his course descriptions for his NCAA eligibility status. I’m glad I have them now, but it would have been smarter if I’d done them as I went. I’ll do better with Child #3. These can be very simple for the younger ones: Completed Saxon 3 through lesson 110 and all assessments; Read [list books] for history, watched [list movies, documentaries], and visited history museum.
- Summarize Your Year. With younger students, you can complete a general summary or lists of what they completed as well. Write down the books they read and that you read aloud. Make note of the math, science, and language arts they completed. You can include special events, recitals, field trips, school photo, and more. I keep a large envelope for each child each year. At the top I write their name, grade, and the calendar year. I file things like library reading certificates, book reports, programs from events attended, etc. I write highlights for the year (including family events and trips) for each child on the outside as we go through the year, but you could review your year looking back and do it all at once. After 15 years, I have 37 of these stuffed envelopes, which contain more school information that I could possibly remember, and everything is with the right child’s envelope for the correct year. I keep a school days’ book for each of the four kids that includes their school photo and highlights for each child as well.
- Get the Kids Involved. Have your kids write down highlights from their year or orally tell you what they learned (depending on how old they are). If you made goals at the beginning of the year, they can review how they did. The kids’ thoughts may surprise you — I’m often amazed at what they have learned and what they remember. Perhaps consider a family schoolyear digital scrapbook they can work on with you. File the kids’ thoughts or notes in their cum files, which brings me to #5.
- Make File Folders for Cumulative Files. I you don’t have these yet, do them now. I use file folders of a different color for each child. Keep test scores, written notes and summaries, transcripts, and other records here. You may never need them as proof of homeschooling, but it’s a good idea to keep them current anyway. Keep them all in one place so you can find them when needed. Mine are in a plastic magazine rack on a bookshelf in the schoolroom.
- Enjoy Your Accomplishments. Looking back over cum files and our individual file folders each year, the kids and I are always amazed that we’ve done a lot more than we remembered. Rest, be thankful, and look forward to a new school year ahead.
Karen D. Koch has been homeschooling for 15 years. She survived the high school graduations of the first two. She is grateful that, thanks in part to complete cum files and transcripts, both sons were accepted to the college of their choice. She serves as CHEA’s Communications Assistant.
Chuck and Pam Geib will present a Recordkeeping workshop at the 33rd Annual CHEA Convention July 7-9 in Pasadena. We have the entire digital Convention program for you to view.