Create and keep records.
Step 9 of the Ten Steps to Successful Homeschooling
Create records in order to comply with legal requirements (see Step 1: Know the Law) and also to make transcripts and resumes easier to compile when they are needed.
See also Required Courses from Step 1: Know the Law.
Here are some hints, tips, and templates for scheduling your home-schooling time and keeping records:
IHIP - Individualized Home Instruction Plan
IHIP - information from the DoE.
The format below can be used for both IHIP (Individualized Home Instruction Plan) and quarterly reports. I keep it on my computer, and simply write over the previous entry under each subject every time I need to make a new report, and that saves me loads of time. I save a copy of everything I submit, putting the new date in the saved file name, so if my paperwork is lost or misplaced it's easy for me to send it again.
My first IHIP took me more than a day to write and ended up being fourteen pages long! Now that I know what's really necessary, I spend about an hour writing an IHIP or quarterly report, and it takes up about two pages.
The following is an IHIP outline for grades K-8 (subject requirements and hours required change for grades 9-12). The same outline can be used for a quarterly report. The first subject, math, has been filled in with a sample of a first grade math curriculum. Although this is written like a list, I usually prefer to write a short paragraqph under each heading. Feel free to modify this format and create your own IHIP form, but don't forget those required minor additions at the end like "arson prevention."
See our page on Grade Levels, Standards and Benchmarks and do note that homeschoolers do not have to follow the bd. of ed. guidelines, and do not have to write IHIPs or assessments that are at "grade level."
Remember that the P in IHIP stands for Plan. Here is where you write down your plan for the year. During the course of the year, you can change the content, the texts, the manner in which the child learns, and still fulfill your IHIP if the required subjects and the number of hours are covered.
Here are templates in Word format that you can download to fill out and use for your IHIP or Quarterly Report.
The templates follow the format below.
(IHIP or Quarterly Report) for (child's name)
age:____________date of birth:____________ grade level: 1st Grade
(date of report)________________________
MATH (sample curriculum for 1st grade IHIP)
[Child's name] will learn to:
clocks, coins, math texts and workbooks (titles), rulers, scales, measuring spoons, cards, dice, math manipulatives, graph paper.
SPELLING (combined with language arts)
ENGLISH (combined with language arts)
GEOGRAPHY (combined with social studies and science)
U.S. HISTORY (includes PATRIOTISM / CITIZENSHIP)
HEALTH (combined with Science) (sample health curriculum for any age)
(Child's name) will review health precautions and disease control, including AIDS awareness and ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND DRUG ABUSE. (He/She) will also review preventative health care practices, including dental care and hygiene.
Materials will be obtained from libraries and medical offices as needed.
In addition to the subjects listed above, (child's name) will continue (his/her) training in: HIGHWAY SAFETY, TRAFFIC REGULATIONS, BICYCLE SAFETY, FIRE & ARSON PREVENTION AND SAFETY, PERSONAL SAFETY, WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF EMERGENCY.
[Child's name] will attend the substantial equivalent of [required days/hours for grade level].
Quarterly reports will be submitted by the following dates:
[Child's name] has received a total of 225 hours (or more) of instruction.
(225 hours for grade 1-6, or 247.5 hours for grades 7-12)
[for IHIP and quarterly report]
This 5th grade "Unschooler's IHIP" (download in Word format) was created by a homeschooling parent who wanted to share it with others. She has been submitting paperwork like this for years, without receiving any complaints. There is just enough detail on each subject to show that the parent has clear intentions with each subject and that all requirements will be met. Each year only small changes are made on the IHIP to reflect what the child is doing. Here are the parent's comments on paperwork and record-keeping:
"I use the quarterly forms. I don't use the IHIP form, because I have my own boilerplate that I use every year which states that we unschool and has no reference to text books, although it does say we might use books if we choose to. But I DO use the quarterly form, because I find it keeps things simple for me. If it were up to me, I might just type on and on about all the things that we do, so the forms keep me succinct.
I also use their suggested dates for paperwork even though as a year-round user it makes the first quarter huge. I split up what "curriculum" is suggested to be covered for the year into four parts and put it on the forms. I use about.com for this. It helps to provide language for stuff I am sure we cover in unschooling ways.
I use a week-at-a-glance to keep a record of what we actually do (it is also our calendar), and that is the scope of it! Seven pieces of paper a year: LOI, IHIP, 4 Quarterlies and an Assessment. Not a big deal. I cut out the about.com lists in several subjects and tape them to the back inside cover of my planner each year. I divide them with markers so I know what I'll write on each quarterly. I am always amazed when we cover something listed, and it helps to stop me from worrying about whether or not we are learning!
My son is now entering 5th Grade, but we have done testing since 3rd Grade, and this is the first year we will submit our test to the DOE, because submission is not mandatory each year. (So this year 8 pieces of paper.) Of course we will update our paperwork as necessary as he progresses through the system, but once you've done it, you will see it is not very difficult. Certainly not as hard as getting your child to school every morning!"
— Emma Goldman-Sherman, homeschooling parent
One parent files the following very simple quarterly report, the same report for each quarter, after filing a detailed IHIP at the beginning of the year.
[student] is progressing at a satisfactory level or above in all subject matter.
We have had instruction in all the following areas, as per Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education and
Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP): Reading, Writing, Spelling, Language Arts, Arithmetic, U.S. History, Geography, Science, Health, Physical Education, Music, and Visual Arts.
We have covered at least 25% of the planned material for this quarter.
[student] had no absences from instruction this quarter, and has exceeded the required hours of instruction (225).
|9:00 - 10:00 a.m.||Math||Math||Math||Math||Math|
|10:00 a.m. - 12 noon||Writing||English||Spelling||Writing||English/Spelling|
|12 noon - 1:00 p.m.||Lunch||Lunch||Lunch||Lunch||Lunch|
|1:00 - 3:00 p.m.||Social Studies||Reading||Science||Social Studies||Science|
|Afternoon||Physical Education, Music, Art|
|9:00 - 12 noon||Math||Reading / Writing||Math||Reading / Writing||Field Trip Day|
|12 noon - 1:00 p.m.||Lunch||Lunch||Lunch||Lunch|
|1:00 - 3:00 p.m.||Science Experiments||Social Studies||Science Experiments||Social Studies|
|3:00 - 5:00 p.m.||Music||Physical Education||Physical Education||Art|
The thematic method gives math and science their own day, and humanities (social studies, history, language arts) their day, so that the same theme can run throughout the day. A child can read an historical novel in the morning and examine the documents and study the facts that afternoon. A child can learn the math in the morning necessary to accurately record that afternoon's science experiment. Music is the logical art to add to a science/math day, while visual art might enhance a day of reading and writing and history. The field trip will likely encompass all subjects, including phys. ed., and should be related to the topics of study.
|9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.||All subjects taught, all pen and paper tasks done. (When tutoring, you need half of the time that you need when teaching a large group. You might find that you can still reserve Fridays for field trips and remain ahead of standardized goals.)|
|1:30 - 6:00 p.m.||Outside activities, field trips, internships, studies applied, extra classes, special interests (chess, theater, etc.).|
Half or more of the learning is applied and experienced, done outside the home and outside the classroom.
An unschooler's schedule might be created as the day happens, with no plans other than the child's project-in-progress. After the project is completed the parent can document the subjects covered. For example, going birdwatching and building a birdhouse would include: science, physical education, arts & crafts, math (measuring etc.), reading (about birds), . . . you get the idea.
This is Step 9 of the Ten Steps to Successful Homeschooling
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