Part I – Do I need to keep records for my homeschool?
And if so, what type of records?
According to Hawaii’s homeschool law, homeschoolers in Hawaii are required to keep records. According to Chapter 12 Compulsory Attendance Exceptions, (8-12-15), these records should include:
- Commencement date and ending date of program
- Record of the number of hours per week child spends in instruction
- Subject areas covered in the planned curriculum
- Elementary school – language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, art, music, health and physical education
- Secondary school – social studies, English, mathematics, science, health, physical education, and guidance
- Method used to determine mastery of materials and subjects in the curriculum
- List of textbooks or other instructional materials which will be used; list shall be in standard bibliographical format (author, title, publisher, and date of publication)
A number of other valuable records include:
- Correspondence you have with the school. That includes your copy of the Notice of Intent, whether it is your letter to the school or the Form 4140. And of course, include the school’s acknowledgement of your NOI.
- Annual reports to the school, whether they are your child’s test scores or the written evaluation by a teacher or yourself.
- Member or contact information if you are a member of Homeschool Legal Defense Association or homeschool under an umbrella program.
The above records meet the requirement of Hawaii’s homeschool law and protect your legal rights. But record keeping does not end there. Below are some other items to consider. These records can help you evaluate your homeschool so you can wisely plan for the following year – what worked, what did not work too well, what are other subjects should be included (or excluded), what, if any, changes or supplements are needed to the curriculum, etc.
- Goals – long and short term goals including academic, spiritual, character, etc.
- Schedule – yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily schedule
- Lesson plans
- Grades – if given for semester and yearly for each subject
- Test scores – standardized testing as well as subject tests
- Samples of work – math papers, written assignments (reports, essays, poems, research papers), art work, etc.
- Photos of projects and experiments in science, art, geography, etc.
- Narrative evaluations, journals
And then there are those records that are important for the future – you know the things only God knows but we need to be prepared for. What happens if you move to another state or if your child seeks employment during or after the formal school years or if your child pursues the military or college? (Many of the items listed have already been mentioned above.)
- Course of study – description of courses and method of evaluation
- Test scores
- Sample work
- Records of community service and volunteer work
- Records of extra-curricular activities – music, sports, clubs, etc.
- Records of additional classes – CPR, computer classes, etc.
- Awards and certificates
- High school transcripts
- Recommendations by teachers or other adults