By now, most of you have begun another school year and I hope you are off to a wonderful start. The beginning of each school year is a great time to take a few minutes and lay out a plan for recordkeeping that will save you valuable time in future years when these records will come in handy. What records do you need to keep?
The answer to this question will vary depending on the state in which you live, so be sure to check out the HSLDA legal analysis for your state and note any recordkeeping requirements such as attendance, hours of instruction, testing requirements, and so on.
For each high school subject you are teaching, come up with a simple course description that includes the titles of the books and authors of any materials (textbooks, videos, magazines, etc.) you plan to use for the course. Write up a scope and sequence that provides the concepts you plan to cover (if you are using a high school textbook, a copy of the table of contents will do). You’ll also want to determine how you plan to evaluate your teen’s coursework. Will you give test and quizzes, or assign papers and projects, or perhaps evaluate the discussions you have with your teens? As the parent, you determine the method of evaluation that you feel best suits the course. I believe it’s fine to take into consideration the daily assignments that your teen completes, so you may give this a percentage value, and then incorporate it into the final grade for the course. Grading guidelines and samples are provided on HSLDA’s website.
Another part of recordkeeping involves evaluating credit for a course. If you are using a standard high school textbook, the publisher of the course has likely determined the amount of high school credit to be awarded. Typically, courses that take one year to complete are awarded one credit, and courses that are completed in one semester are given ½ credit. If you are putting together your own course (such as a unit study) or if you do not use textbooks but instead use a variety of teaching materials, you’ll want to log hours. For a core course (such as English or history), logging 150 hours would equal one credit, and for an elective course (such as phys ed, art, music) logging 120 hours would equal one credit. For more information on evaluating credit, click here.
Keep a sampling of daily work and major tests and papers for each high school course. You may never need to produce these records for anyone, but they serve as back up to all the courses you list on the high school transcript.
Speaking of transcripts, see an earlier post above for many details relating to transcripts, and also check out these samples and detailed instructions relating to transcripts.
Recordkeeping for high school does not need to be difficult! The records you document now will be helpful when your teen completes job and college applications, or applies for scholarships.
HSLDA members may feel free to contact me or the legal department by email or phone with any questions. I am available to help you!