Unique Homeschool Portfolios, Record Keeping And Transcripts (Interest-Led)
One of the most challenging aspects of interest led learning is figuring out how to keep track of all of it. Because our children are the ones guiding much of the learning, how do we keep records, design homeschool portfolios and create high school transcripts if we take an interest led approach to homeschooling?
Over the past 12 weeks, I have shared a lesson plan and learning recap each and every week. I am doing this in the hopes of showing the reality of taking an out of the box approach to homeschooling and allowing your child to guide your learning decisions.
My Approach To Homeschool Record Keeping
Records Of Learning
Now that an entire quarter has passed, it is time for me to capture our learning in preparation for my son’s high school transcript. This record of learning serves as our primary homeschool record (see examples below). Although my son is now in 9th grade, this is essentially the same process I have used since elementary school for homeschool record keeping.
Although my state doesn’t require a portfolio, at various points in our homeschooling journey we have had to submit records of learning and examples of learning as part of his services through our school district. This is also the same process I used then for recording our learning.
Capturing Interest-Led Learning For Homeschool Portfolios, Transcripts And Records Of Learning
During our days together, I keep track of our learning in the Notes App on my phone. It is convenient as I can simply grab my phone when something comes up that I wish to document and take a picture, save a link and/or jot down a quick note.
These are not fancy. The goal is to jog my memory when I put together our weekly recaps.
You can see every single week’s record in my 2022 weekly lesson plans and recaps.
See all our weekly records for the year (so far) HERE.
As time allows, I will often begin compiling the weekly records into monthly learning summaries. I have not been as diligent with monthly summaries this quarter, mostly because my weekly recaps are clearly documented and visible in my blog posts each week.
Now that I have the specifics of our learning recorded, it’s time to translate them into a record of learning consistent with our state standards.
Aligning Your Homeschool Records To State Requirements
My state’s minimum standards for receiving a high school diploma are as follows:
- 3 years of Language Arts
- 2 Years of Mathematics (either Integrated Math or a minimum of Algebra 1)
- 3 years of Social Science (including US history and Geography, World History, Culture and Geography, One Semester of American Government and One Semester of Economics)
- 2 Years of Science (including biology and physical science)
- 2 Years of Physical Education
- One year of Foreign Language or Visual/Performing Arts or Career Technical Education
Our state also has a set of university bound standards. They are as follows:
- 4 years language arts
- 3 Years Mathematics
- 2 Years History
- 2 Years Science
- 2 Years Foreign Language
- 1 year Visual/Performing Arts
- 1 Year College Preparatory Elective (chosen from the subjects above, including visual/performing arts)
Although my son has no plans to go to college post-graduation, I use the university bound standards as a guide for all of my record keeping and transcripts.
An Example Of Interest-Led Homeschool Records
This is my record of learning for the past twelve weeks. If you refer back to my weekly summaries, you will see how all of the little, interest-led details come together to form this unique record of learning (i.e. without a formal curriculum or scope and sequence).
Language Arts 9
- Literature Study
- The Island of Doctor Moreau
- A Tale of Two Cities
- The Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
- The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
- The Crucible
- Mythologies of the World
- Creative Writing – short stories
- Vocabulary and Spelling Practice
- Figurative Language Activities
Integrated Mathematics 9
- Everyday Math – multiplication and division word problems
- Squared and Triangular Numbers
- Primes and Composites
- Statistics and Probability
- Units of Measure
World History, Cultures and Geography
- Countries of the World Study and Mapping
- Eastern Europe
- Russian and Ukrainian Culture
US History and Geography
- How History Is Documented
- Ancient Indigenous Cultures
- The Declaration of Independence vs. Current Events
- Mississippi River Mapping
Biology (Life science)
- The Scientific Method
- Ethical Obligations In Science
- Genetics and Mendel’s Law
- Cellular Biology
- Evolutionary Theory
- Animal Adaptations
- Marine Biology
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Beginning Physics
- Observing the planets
- Intro to NASA
- Rock Climbing – minimum of 2 x’s weekly
- Physical Therapy – once weekly
- Intro to Drawing (offsite at private school)
- Art History – Medieval Art
High School Transcripts For Your Homeschool
The records above serve as the basis for my son’s high school transcripts as well.
My oldest son graduated last year and is now in his second semester of college. His transcripts were based on this exact method, and we had no problems at all with college acceptance (he was even awarded a full scholarship to his first choice school).
This list was one I found helpful to determine what to name certain courses of study for high school transcripts —> Sample High School Courses For Strength Based Learning
At the end of this semester, I will use our quarterly records to complete my son’s transcripts for his freshman year of high school. (Don’t worry, I promise to share.)
Want To See All Of Our Learning Records?
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.
I love seeing how you have pulled it all together. We are homeschooling high school in the same state, and I also use the same public high school and state school admissions requirements as my guidelines. We have also been homeschooling a very long time and yet the worries and self-doubts are real. It is a great responsibility being the primary adult ensuring our kids have what they need to transition out of our homes. Thank you for continuing to share!
I appreciate you so much, Nicola. Thanks!
Thank you SO much for this!! I have been using Airtable for our records and am loving it! (I used to use notes and seesaw, but MUCH prefer using Airtable now!)
We are mostly unschoolers now but I imagine that we’ll need to get more structured as he gets older (at least in trying to align something to standards). Thank you so much for helping me begin to orient towards how on earth to do that!
Airtable is a great option! I know a few other homeschoolers who use it as well.
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