Homeschool Archives - Raven Cruz

Category Archives for Homeschool

Homeschool Grades: Keeping Grades for One Student

One of the biggest issues that I ran across when I started homeschooling my daughter was the fact that a "normal" grade book, like what I used in the classroom, would not be sufficient for recording her grades. I wanted to keep efficient homeschool grades, but I only needed to keep them for ONE STUDENT.

Even if you have more than one child that you are homeschooling, you probably have a similar issue. Unless you students are in the same grade or same class, you need a grade book that keeps your children's grades separate.

What's the solution? Well, I created editable and printable one-student grade sheets. The grade sheets include 3-subjects per page with 15-days each, including a space for a progress grade. Keeping this progress grade up-to-date will help you not get bogged down at the end of the semester when you are trying to get ALL THE THINGS finished.

Homeschool grades and how to keep them for one student.

Now that you have the record sheet solved, you may be wondering "How many grades should you record per week?"

How Many Grades Should You Record Per Week?

As a classroom teacher I was required to record two grades per week per subject. I generally chose some type of assessment or task that showed student knowledge and growth.

Honestly, you can have as many grades that you want, just make sure they represent a measurement of your child's growth. You don't have to grade everything. Busy work for example... not only do I suggest not grading busy work, I would not recommend using it at all. It's like empty learning calories. Your child does not gain anything from completing the busy work and it basically just wastes time. UNLESS you are using it as a type of reward for your child. Maybe if they have worked hard in a class they can have something fun to do instead of their normal work. I like to use color-by-number worksheets or learning games for good behavior.

Keeping homeschool grades for one student.

What Grading Scale Should You Use?

If your state does not have a set scale that you are required to use, you can choose your own. Check your state homeschool laws here.

If it were me, I would use the grading scale for the school district that you live in. That way when you figure your child's transcript, they will be on the same playing field as their peers.

Homeschool Legal Defense explains in depth more about grading scales and letter grades in this article. HSLDA is a good information source for homeschool parents.

How to do a Transcript for High School Students

TRANSCRIPT!? I have to do a transcript? How do I do a transcript?

I cannot tell you how many times I have had this said to me. DON'T STRESS! The only thing you need to do is keep track of your child's grades. I recommend a transcript service. If you are a member of HSLDA and have homeschool insurance with them, which I highly recommend, you can get their transcript service for a discounted price. If you are not a member it is $24.95 per year and worth every penny. I only purchased this my daughter's senior year because I truly didn't need it before then. I think I only paid around $15 since I am a member.

HSLDA’s Transcript Service

How to do a transcript for high school students.

What if Your Kids are in the Same Grade?

That's GREAT! It will definitely save you time if your children are in the same grade or class. Plus, I created grade sheets to accommodate that situation. They all include 3-subjects and 15-days per page, plus room for a progress grade. Check out the grade sheets if you are in need. 

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How to Start Homeschooling: 5 Useful Tips to Get You Started

So you made the decision and now you need to learn how to start homeschooling your kiddos.

Before I share my helpful tips, let me just start with saying that I am not a lawyer and everything in this post is not legal advice. 

So what are those FIVE things?

  1. Getting homeschool insurance.
  2. Know the homeschool laws in your state.
  3. Plan an efficient record system.
  4. Create a homeschool calendar for the year
  5. Choose your curriculum and compose a scope and sequence for the year

You Need Homeschool Insurance

The first thing I would tell any new teacher or homeschool parent is to get insurance to cover yourself. There are so many situations in which you might need help, insurance should be the first thing you conquer on your homechooling journey. Plus, it's super affordable so don't stress!

how to start homeschooling with homeschool insurance ideas

I am serious... homeschool insurance will cover you A.S.A.P. There are people out there that are completely against children being homeschooled. From my experience, they will not hesitate to share their opinion on the subject with you, which includes harassing your children about what they do all day.

The insurance that I recommend is Home School Legal Defense. HDSLA has an affordable monthly fee and also offers a discount if you purchase a yearly membership.

Check the Laws in Your State

This is probably a given, but each state has different laws about homeschooling. There are a few states, like Oklahoma, that are easier to homeschool in than say... New York or Vermont.

HDSLA offers an interactive map, Homeschool Laws by State, to help parents navigate what they need to do to get prepared. 

Also, just keep in mind, if there is ever a question, stick with what the federal law says. What does that mean? Well let's say some states don't require you to keep records in any form, but federal law does require record keeping. You keep the records to cover your hiney. That's just an example, do the research for yourself, please.

know the homeschool laws in your state

Develop an Efficient way to Keep Records

Developing an efficient record system is key to staying organized, but also keeping yourself covered legally. By now hopefully you have researched what type of records you need to keep for your state. 

A regular grade book purchased at a school supply store isn't necessarily ideal, but if that is all you have, you can make it work. You can also check out the grade sheets I made specifically for homeschooling my daughter.

The grade sheets have 3 subjects per page and track 3 weeks per page.

You may also want to purchase report cards.

With all this in mind, understand that you will probably fine tune your record keeping method as you go. 

how to start homeschooling and keep good homeschool records

Create a Homeschool Calendar for the Year

Your state will require you to teach your student for a certain amount of days per year. For example, my state requires 180 days with five professional days. Now, for the rest of the 175 days... lets just use that as our example, yours may be more or less.

This is where the calendar comes in. You will most likely want to plan in holidays, vacations, etc... through the school year. Starting from the first day you start school, plan out those days. Then, count out how many days you will need to teach. Yes, you can count weekends as long as you will be teaching on those days.

You can download the free calendar I made here.

creating a homeschool calendar

For those five professional days I plan some type of homeschooling professional development for myself. Search your area for homeschool expos or conferences. In my state, children are not required to do school work on professional development days.

Professional development is a type of maintenance of your homeschool knowledge and expertise. PD will help you be a better homeschool teacher and become more prepared and confident in your teaching.  Plus, it is a good way to network with other homeschool parents

Compose a Rough Scope and Sequence with Your Curriculum

"WHAT IN TARNATIONS IS A SCOPE AND SEQUENCE!"

Don't stress! A scope and sequence is not a scary thing, I promise. Many curriculums have these included. If not, scan the table of contents, this is a good place to start.

Why do you need a scope and sequence? Teachers use scope and sequences to plan out their curriculum for the year. Also, this is the time that I cut out chapters or lessons I don't want to teach.

Of course, you may have to change some things you planned. You know, fractions are hard! 

Having a list of your state standards (if required) is probably a good idea. This way, you know you are including chapters, lessons, objectives, etc... that you need to teach your child. Don't skip the chapter on the properties of multiplication if it is something you need to teach. You know what I mean?

create a scope and sequence

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You may also like this free resource

I hate it when I invest in something and later feel like what I purchased was not worth what I paid.

Alternately, I love it when I can provide teachers and homeschool parents with quality resources that they can utilize.

For that reason, I compiled a free resource containing ONE task card out of every task card in my MEGA bundle. That way, teachers can try the resource before they make an investment.

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