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Everest Academy is a ministry of Everest Family Church in Hayden. We offer freedom along with quality resources, information, activities and support to those homeschooling in Alabama. We believe that the parent has the best interests of their children at heart. We believe that the parent is the first and only teacher that a child needs. In keeping with this philosophy, we wish to be a very hands-off cover school and allow the parent to lead and guide their children in the direction and at the pace they feel is best suited to their children. We ask only for what the law requires while offering support along with quality resources to aid families in their efforts.

Record Keeping

Hey Veteran Homeschoolers! I am working on making a resource for new homeschoolers where they ask the questions and you give the answers. My goal is to provide advice, resources, and most of all to show that there is more than one way of doing things. 

Please contact me with your answer to the following question. I have already included answers that folks sent me on Facebook. I will not add your name, so feel comfortable in speaking freely. Please give as much info as possible including links, details, explanations, etc... I will add your answers to this page so that new homeschoolers will have a resource to refer back to again and again.

You can contact me at everestacademy1@gmail.com with your answer.  Please put "Blog Challenge:  Record Keeping" in the subject line.  

Thanks!
Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question:
What is your method of record keeping? Do you keep records? How do you keep up with attendance and grades? 

My Answer:  I keep minimum records for my family.  When both of my kids hit high school age, I started keeping a "transcript" for them.  Generally I would sit down every few months and just jot down whatever they had been doing.  I may/may not decide to use the information on their final transcript, but I would rather have it down in writing so that when it comes time for final transcripts, I am not trying to remember what they had done for the four years prior.  Currently I have my 14-year-old write down everyday whatever she did that day including documentaries, field trips, book work, exercising, etc.  

Everest Answer:
  • Attendance Record - No yearly reporting.  State law requires that the principal teacher (you) keep up with attendance.  Please do so.  Everest only requires that an attendance record be turned in when withdrawing from Everest Academy or graduating (or upon request).  Everest only needs to know days of unexcused absences from learning. We require 160 days of learning out of 365 possible days. That being said, there should not be any unexcused absences. You keep up with your attendance and only turn it in when you need a transcript generated (at graduation or if transferring). You may keep up with attendance however you see fit. For your convenience, here are two options: Excel Grades & Attendance  and Attendance Form.
  • Grading - No yearly reporting.  Everest only requires that a grading report be turned in when withdrawing from Everest Academy or graduating.  How you keep up with grades is a personal choice. Everest only needs grades when you need an official transcript generated. Excel Grades & AttendanceHomeschool Tracker, and Homeschool Skedtrack.  *Please note:  We do not have an account with these websites.  Please sign up as an individual family.  



Answers:
There are lots of free resources for this. One that I love is Homeschool Skedtrack. Its a great planning resource with options for grading and report card printing. There are also excel templates for attendance and grades. http://www.homeschoolskedtrack.com/


I use Google Docs. Free, easy and always there. If anyone wants to take a look, I'll be glad to show them.


Homeschool Tracker Plus keeps our attendance and assignment records/grades.


I print off a free daily attendance sheet from Donna Young to keep our required daily record. We don't do grades. I also buy the teacher book at Target in the dollar bin (they have put out the same one for several years now) that has each week divided into six subjects. Instead of subjects I use the three spaces per page for each of my three kids. Then I have nice big squares to fill in what they do each day. I find that is a great way to keep a relaxed/unschooling record of what each child is doing and reading every day.


I bought a $5 teacher's assignment planning book at the local teaching supply store, and it's working wonderfully to keep dates/subjects/material covered straight for progress-report time.


This year it's all on the online website. It keeps track of the grades, the attendance etc. The last two years it was a combination of online and offline curriculum. For the offline curriculum, I kept a daily/weekly log and added the number of days up at the end of the year to be sure I had the mandatory days in for our state.   I keep the grades quarterly log. We turn the courses and grades, attendance and extracurricular activities on the computer and we print them out quarterly for the cover school. File keeping is important. We also make sure we write down everything we do, even if we think it's not important because everything we do can be counted toward something for hours. Suppose you decide to take your kids bowling... that can be counted as PE. The zoo can be science. The museum, the library, even keep track of church activities including Bible study. Also volunteering should be recorded. The day, the thing they did, the hours, etc. You never know where that can fit into something later. Take your kids grocery shopping and teach them about home economics. Make it a math lesson or even a social studies lesson if you go to the produce section and tell them to find 10 or 20 produce items that have come from different states or even another country. Grocery shopping can be a health lesson if you are trying to teach them health courses. Writing everything down is important. Dates and that in a separate log for attendance. And I back everything up onto an external hard drive just in case my laptop crashes. You could even print everything out weekly or monthly and file it if you don't have an external hard drive. You can buy the journals, log books and date books from office supply stores, if you don't want to keep your records on the computer..



http://www.homeschoolreporting.com/ It is $20 for a whole year for an entire family.


Haven't had to worry about it too much yet, but when it comes to it, I'll put it all in a teachers binder, with tabs for each week and subject.


Attendance: I log everything we do on a calendar--typically including approx. time spent. We consider our school year as 24/7, 365 days a year, so I don't keep a log of actual days or hours "in school" or "absent". We may even watch a documentary on a "sick" or "off" day, so we really don't have those days, making it difficult to count them. If you average 640 hours (4 hours of school time for 160 days) over a whole year--365 days--that would only be 1hr 45min per day. I figure some days we spend 2-3 hours, others only 1 hour, but it all averages out to more than enough to cover 640 hours worth of learning in a year. It's hard to go a whole day without learning ANYTHING. So, even on a day with no "official" learning, at the very least, we will spend at least 1/2 hour discussing something. Grading: See above answer.


I think attendance is ridiculous- we learn every day unless someone is hospitalized and grades have been kept in a log, but I think I will now start doing them on my computer.


I am a member of HomeschoolPlanner online. You just punch in the days you are doing school and you can give your kids the grades in a report card like form (but it is more like a transcript style than report card). It is nice and gives you some accountability if you ever needed it.


I don't grade yet so there is nothing to track but I use a planner to record the days we homeschool and what we covered that day. I have done this since Kindergarten.


I mark the date of attendance with a running total on the top of my Sonlight Instructor's Guide. Grades are kept in a notebook for each subject. I then do a monthly summary sheet with a summary of what we did that much total days of attendance and grades.


I am not an attendance tracker . I just note when we don't hold class or if someone is sick. if we make our day great, if we don't I really have not worried about it as long as the kids finish there units for the year.


Every day is a day of learning at our house, so attendance is pretty easy to keep up with. We do not keep track of grades.


At this point, we are not doing grades. I know we will have to when our oldest gets into high school, but for now I'm not doing grades. As for attendance, I keep a calendar on the wall and for full days of school I put a FD, for half days HD and if we take a trip we put that on our calendar as well. At the end of each month I tally up the number of days (FD) and put that at the corner of the next month and keep a running total that way. It has worked for us :)


Each year I purchase the Class Lesson Planner from Christian Liberty Press. I order one per child. That's where I keep up with grades, attendance and weekly lesson plans. At the end of the year I file them with all previous years lesson planners. I am on my 4th year doing it this way and love it.


As a former public school teacher, I am pretty methodical as to how I keep up with records. I have a yearly chart for attendance which I mark every day we have classes or a field trip. That way, I can easily count the number of school days we have accumulated. As for grades, Abeka provides forms for keeping up with them, plus I have a grade/plan book that I record them all in.



I have always kept up with grades and attendance. When we started homeschooling, we lived in a state requiring attendance reporting, so I had to track at least that but decided to track grades as well. Then, moving here, the first cover school we joined required attendance and grade reporting. That was easy since I was already in the habit and had tools in place to do so.  From the beginning, I've used free resources downloaded from www.donnayoung.org to keep track of everything! She has spreadsheets for grades, attendance, etc. that will even print reports for you. The spreadsheets are very user-friendly, already coded to calculate grades based on a grading scale that you enter, and will even calculate using weighted grading percentages should you desire. Thinking ahead to protect those who are less spreadsheet-savvy, she locked all the formats and formulas so you cannot accidentally change or delete the codes that make the spreadsheets work. She also has high school planning and record keeping tools that I am just getting into but look like they'll be very helpful as we move into that part of the journey.


We have used The Well Planned Day for a number of years. This year, they have introduced and online version. It's not in the beta phase with the first version to be released by the end of this month. It has many excellent features including attendance, grading, curriculum, assignments, and extra curricular space. In addition, it has home budgeting, shopping lists, to do lists, etc. I absolutely love it! The only drawback is that it is a little pricey. I'm fairly frugal, so the only way I justified the $40 a year is the fact that when I am away for a week and my mother-in-law assumes the teaching, she'll be able to pull up the information online and see what we have done, and see the assignments. When the first version is released, it can also be accessed via iPhone and iPads. With all that said, it is a personal preference! It is so simple to just add your "start school" day to a calendar and mark each day of attendance, or "x off" any days a child does not have school. Just remember, that even when sick, a child almost always learns something, unless it is a severe illness. There are many learning videos and tv shows which would count as learning and thus, a school day! Grading is a matter of preference also. I choose performance grading, since my children are older. In younger years, it's not that important. As a parent, you know if your child is learning or not. In the middle and high school years, it is my opinion that it becomes more important, as records will need to be produced for college.


We unschool. Really no need for attendance or grades. My kids learn each day from simply living and they come up with the most brilliant stuff. They never cease to amaze me! My oldest 14 started recording what he does each day in a notebook. We will translate it into subject categories later for high school credit purposes so he will have no problem entering college should he choose to.


Well, since we belong to an awesome cover school (Everest) the only requirement is 160 days of learning per 365 days. So, barring some ongoing national disaster on our front lawn we should not have to keep up with much paperwork for the cover. However, I am a bit OCD so I keep records for my own sanity. Each 7th week I prepare an outline for the next 6 weeks. I have a form for each week with what we plan to accomplish each day. Then each day I have a spreadsheet from 7am until 7pm. When we finish a subject for the day, I mark it off on the weekly calendar and write on the daily what we did and for how long. These go in a 3 ring binder. Each 6 weeks I file everything for that 6 weeks in a manila envelope or two. As we finish workbooks I also have an envelope for them. My daughter and I need a schedule and lists or we would get nothing accomplished. If we tried to be unschoolers we would end up being couch potatoes. As for curriculum, I go to the school supply and look through books, workbooks, games, etc. and just pick what I think we need. Also, we use the internet (mostly Enchanted Learning). This has only been our first year but so far this has worked for us.


Our cover school (Hope) requires report cards and attendance records quarterly. We, too, need structure to get things done or we will go off on a tangent and return only to find the year completed and no math done. (Flylady would call me a SHE, sidetracked home executive)


The most laid-back Mom I knew, when I questioned her, had a secret--she planned ahead. So, we plan the days we will school and the holidays we plan to take before the year starts. We plan the curricula we will use for each class, lay out how we plan to finish the curricula over the year, per quarter and then per week.( Another inspiring lady told me to start with the big picture, then keep breaking it down into smaller and smaller bites)


We never follow it exactly, but we start with a plan so that when we graduate from high school, we've covered all the bases for college entry.


Well now "the unschooler" will weigh in... :-) No records, no grades, no attendance chart... I have a really cool administrator :-) who requires nothing more than the law requires... which is to send in a letter of intent to the local school board, once - unless you move to a new district.


I do keep an informal journal and jot down what we do, where we go, etc. I also note the weather - strange, I know. ?? :-)..... I keep up with "days schooled" only in case we are questioned. To us, every day is a school day because there is ALWAYS the opportunity to learn something!! Sometimes I do this daily, sometimes weekly... just depends. I learned a long time ago that for US, pre-planning and over-organizing took the fun and spontaneity out of our lives, and true learning did not seem to take place as easily. Obviously you must pre-plan for some things, but most days we just do what we need to/want to do, no plan, no schedule (I don't like that word - bad word, bad!! :-)


You always crack me up. From our posts we almost sound like polar opposites. But we both get a lot accomplished. If anyone questions the way to do things the "right" way - the two of us are great examples of how it doesn't matter how you do it - as long as your children are happy and learning - you are doing it the right way.  And we get along great with each other too, imagine that :0


Wouldn't the world be boring if we were all just alike?? I have no desire to be a Sheeple, and I love it when someone is trying something in a way that is all their very own. I learn so much from everyone else's point of view! You all amaze and inspire me...........


Our cover school (Everest) only requires what the law requires and asks that I please don't send copies of records to them, records take up a lot of room..LOL But, I do keep track of everything that we do and the days they are done on at Engrade.com . I print out a 9/10 week report to just have on hand if ever questioned what we have done or covered, just for my peace of mind mainly and so the kids can see just how much they have actually done.


Our cover school only requires we keep attendance and we do not send it in. We have school 365 days a year. They are always learning something. Of course, there's the usual math, science, history, vocabulary, writing, etc. But there's also working with dad on fixing a push-mower or helping mom in the garden. And, of course, we can't forget the always popular, laying in a hammock reading a Bassmaster Magazine (and falling asleep) reading class. We don't keep grades exactly. Jake and I know when he understands a math problem or whatever and then we move on. If he's having problems we work on it until he's not. We don't particularly like our school super-structured. If science has gotten interesting and an experiment is taking longer than we thought -- who cares. Let's keep on doing science. I love homeschooling.