There are a few things that every parent should keep as they homeschool, both to stay in compliance with any laws and to help you prepare for college applications.  The first thing that you need to keep is anything that’s required by state law. In my state, we have to keep our declaration of intent to homeschool, our annual assessment, and our immunization records.

In addition to satisfying legal requirements, it’s important to keep things that will be required for your student’s transcript. Just keep something to remind yourself that you actually did teach Latin for four years. You also need to keep things that colleges may ask for, which unfortunately are not always predictable! My children applied to multiple colleges, and not one of the colleges asked me for the same piece of paper!  Sometimes a college might want a graded English paper, sometimes a math test in the student’s handwriting. Sometimes they will want a lab write-up for science.  Because it’s hard to know what they might want, try to keep a couple of things as a representative for each class that you’ve taught.

Another important thing to keep is a reading list. A reading list is just anything that your child reads, so you can include the books that you assign for school as well as books that were read for pleasure. Colleges want to know what kind of reading level your child is at, and what sorts of interests they have. One of my sons had a lot of classes that were chess-related, and thus he read a lot of chess books. An easy method to track books that your child has read is to keep your receipts from the library and the curriculum providers that you buy from. You’ll have most of your books on this list.  You only need to include title and author, there’s no need for a full bibliography.

Colleges will also sometimes ask for course descriptions. A course description is a 5th grade writing assignment—just a descriptive paragraph about what you did in that class. A course description is not something that requires a four-year degree in education; it’s a 5th grade writing assignment, so don’t panic and think that you have to write up a lengthy literary thesis!  Simple is just fine.

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