No matter which option you choose, you will be required to legally document your child’s progress and schoolwork. Although different options specify slightly different methods, documentation is basically divided into three categories: a Plan Book, Portfolio, and Progress Report. Please note that Option 3 requires the upkeep of all three of these documents.
Record keeping is one of the most important aspects of your homeschool because it is the proof that you are actually teaching your child. Should any issues arise regarding the legitimacy of your homeschool you need these records to show that you are homeschooling in accordance with the state law.
PHEA requires parents to submit grades for all students in eighth grade and above. For more information see our high school section.
Please remember that documenting your homeschool requires complete honesty. The grades your child receives should be reflected on test scores, especially in high school. Misrepresenting their grades will not get them anywhere, since scholarships, colleges, and employers look for verification of their abilities.
A plan book is the documented record of your lesson plans. These may be kept by day, week, or month, and you choose. The plan book can also hold the record-keeping portion of the school (i.e. grades, attendance, and evaluations). You can make your own plan book based on your needs, or buy one from any number of resources, including teacher supply stores and a few businesses on the Internet. The plan book should reflect records for each child in each of the required academic areas of reading, writing, math, science, and history (in 7th–12th grades literature and composition in lieu of reading and writing).
A portfolio is folder or notebook containing samples of child’s work in (at minimum) the five required academic areas of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies (in 7th–12th grades, literature and composition in lieu of reading and writing). It can be detailed or as simple as you choose. Items which might be included are: written reports/essays; photographs of science fair or art projects; reading lists; math/spelling/grammar lessons or tests; certificates and awards; field trip log including family travel; and photographs of a child engaged in an activity (music, sports, science lab, history projects, speech, theatre, club meeting, or social event).
A progress report is a summary of the child’s progress during that quarter or semester, and it can be done in different ways. The following examples are given to help you, but it is not an all-inclusive list.
(a) List each academic subject followed by a letter or number (preferably a percentage) grade. (i.e. Math: A (96%); Reading: B+ (89%); History: B (87%).
(b) Assign “satisfactory / unsatisfactory” grades for certain subjects (especially for grades 6 and below)
(c) It is helpful to write a few sentences about a child’s specific progress (i.e. “John has mastered his ‘6’ multiplication tables and is working on his ‘7’s’. He has worked through p. 68 in his math book and has an average quiz grade of 85%.”)
(d) You may list accomplishments in each subject with an assessment of that work (i.e. “Jessica finished her French 2 textbook, read and wrote a report on two short stories written in French, and presented an oral report on life in France, in which she earned a grade of ‘93.’”)
(e) Because of the need to provide information to prospective colleges in a concise form, we strongly recommend that you issue letter or number grades for students in 8th grade and beyond.