In Pennsylvania, the first piece of paperwork requiring completion for the new homeschool year is an affidavit notifying your local school district that you will be schooling your child at home under Act 169 of the PA state education law. To learn exactly what your state requires, visit HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association). They list requirements per state. Some states, like Pennsylvania, strongly regulate homeschooling and require more paperwork. For example, Pennsylvania requires an affidavit, achievement test scores, and professional evaluation at the end of the academic year. Another great resource for determining exactly what your state law requires is your state homeschool association. In Pennsylvania, the state association is CHAP (Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania).
The amount of paperwork required can depend upon not only your state’s laws but also your child’s level of education. If your children are in the elementary level, you may have to keep a record of their attendance, a list of books read, and a record of their grades in the form of a report card. As your children reach the level of high school, you will want to complete a transcript of courses, a record of grades earned in each course, a course description and/or syllabus, and a list of extracurricular activities and volunteer hours. Again, HSLDA and your local homeschool association are great resources of information including sample transcripts and other required forms as well as templates for required paperwork. Personally, I utilize a simple attendance calendar, reading list, and transcript form that I found online at Ask Pauline. If you are technology savvy, you might prefer to keep your records online through a program like Homeschool Planet from the Homeschool Buyers Co-op.
Paperwork doesn’t need to be complicated nor does it need to be stressful. When I first started homeschooling my son, I wrote very detailed reports. I actually provided too much information thinking I needed to justify every decision I made while educating my child. As we enter our ninth year, I have learned to relax. I keep my information to the minimum requirement and only provide the basics. I use standard forms for record keeping that make the process simple and stress free.
Now that we’ve covered paperwork let’s discuss the planning required for homeschooling. Some people, like my dear friend Sara, are talented and will create a lesson plan for each one of their children. Others will follow the lesson plan provided with their chosen curriculum. Yet, others, like me, will pick up curriculum here and there and implement lessons on a daily basis with a wing and a prayer. No one way is the right way. It truly depends upon your own personal preferences and your child’s needs.
When I first started homeschooling, I chose a rigid curriculum and followed their lesson plans. Since then, I have become much more flexible. My son has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (High-Functioning Autism), ADHD, and Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia (Learning Disabilities). Due to these diagnoses, we modify our lessons and daily schedule as needed. If my son is having a good math day, we may spend additional time studying/practicing math that day. If he is having a horrible math day, we may stop lessons and move on to another subject and return to the math later in the day or even the following day. I gauge his tolerance levels and modify our schedule accordingly.
Thank you to Kelly from God’s Writer Girl’s Blog for today’s article on Planning/Record Keeping
Meet some of the Crew participating in this weeks blog hop:
Jodi – Insane in the Mombrain – Jodi is blissfully (?!) rocking this homeschooling journey with three punks still at home. It’s “not back to school” time, because she schools year round, but it is time to get organized and refreshed. Let the fun begin!
Karen – Tots and Me…Growing Up Together – I am a homeschool mom of 4 young children. This year I will be teaching a 5th grader, 4th grader, 2nd grader, and kindergartner doing 1st grade work. I’ve been blogging since my 5th grader was doing home preschooling at 2 1/2 years old. I love sharing what we are doing in our homeschool (lessons, crafts, recipes, books we are reading, and LOTS of pictures). Stop by and see what we are up to. I love making new friends
Kelly – God’s Writer Girl – Kelly is the single mother of a unique teenaged boy with diagnoses of Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities. Her blog, God’s Writer Girl, focuses on offering encouragement for life’s journey for which she draws inspiration from her own life: eight years of homeschooling, her son’s perseverance and abilities, and her own journey with chronic pain and illness.
Kellyann – Walking Home … – I am a homeschool mom of 3 (who are currently in each school bracket – elementary, middle, and high school aged) who is passionate about helping others reach their homeschooling goals and potential through reviews and teaching, training, and mentoring others. I also help co-lead a large homeschool group coordinating field trips, events, classes, and activities.
Kemi – Homemaking Organized – I have been homeschooling for 8 years and have found that one of the best things I can do is to share what I’m discovering along this journey.
Kirsten – Doodle Mom’s Homeschooling Life – Homeschooling mom, former senior market analyst, former Biophysicist. Now I write blog posts about homeschooling and product reviews for the HomeschoolReviewCrew.com while my teens sleep in.
Kym – Homeschool Coffee Break – I’m about to start my 20th year of homeschooling – wow! My three oldest kids have graduated, and my youngest will be a junior this year. We’re eclectic homeschoolers, and the focus with this youngest student is definitely music and the arts. I love coffee and history, and try to encourage other homeschool moms through the co-ops and fellowship groups I’m in, and through my blog.
Thank you for stopping by the Homeschool Review Crew today. We’re glad you’ve decided to join us for our 5 Days of Back to School Blog Hop. Please read some of these additional posts about Paperwork and Planning linked below. We hope you will join us tomorrow for posts about Outside the Home.