We just have to have records, in case we ever get inspected by Child Protective Services and they ask to see them. It's not likely we'd ever get inspected, and educational concerns are not considered reportable in Missouri -- so there'd have to be some other concern, but then our homeschooling could end up under scrutiny as well as every other aspect of our lives.
So I keep a log where I write down the various activities my 8yo's been doing (you don't have to start record-keeping here 'til they're 7, so I have 4 years before I start logging for my 3yo). Then I write what subject I feel each activity most closely goes along with, and the time spent. I also write periodic progress reports, and save a few pieces of work; all this has to be saved each year "just in case."
I've known some former homeschooling parents here who didn't bother with keeping records, and it never caused them any problems. But if they'd ever been investigated, they'd have had to try to manufacture some records really fast, and I wouldn't want that kind of stress.
I know I am a little off topic. Would anyone be able to dialogue with me offline on unschooling in Missouri? And how they keep the requested records and still unschool freely. And I love hearing where to unschool next!
My, how the time flies! The 8 year old I wrote about above is now 13, and my younger dd is now 8, so I've been keeping records on her for a year now. We're still in Missouri, and the requirements are still the same as they were 5 years ago.
My 13-year-old dd has actually just started the 8th grade in public school, it was an experience she really wanted, so I am back to just keeping homeschooling records on one. What I wrote above, which I'm quoting again below, is what I'm still doing.
"So I keep a log where I write down the various activities my 8yo's been doing (you don't have to start record-keeping here 'til they're 7). Then I write what subject I feel each activity most closely goes along with, and the time spent. I also write periodic progress reports, and save a few pieces of work; all this has to be saved each year 'just in case.'"
When enrolling my older dd in school, I basically just made her a transcript, because the school district requires an academic record, an attendance record, and a disciplinary record. I started the transcript with a short note explaining that dd had been homeschooled up to this point and had had perfect attendance and no chronic discipline problems. The magnet school she's attending requires students to have at least a 2.0 grade point average, and since I'd never assigned dd any grades, but just logged her activities, I explained in the opening note that I had logged the hours dd had successfully completed, and that I considered "successfully completed" work to be work of a C level or higher, so dd's grade point average was well above a 2.0.
Then I started with dd's most recent year (7th grade), and worked my way back to her second grade year, and wrote down the number of hours successfully completed in each of the core subjects of reading, language arts, social studies, science, and math, and the number of hours successfully completed in any electives such as physical education, art, music, and so on. I tallied the hours up to demonstrate that she always completed a total of 1000 hours every year, with at least 600 hours being in the core subjects.
Following her 2nd grade transcript, I wrote a note explaining that I hadn't kept records of her homeschooling prior to the year when she turned 7, because that is not required in Missouri. I didn't provide them with any information about the work dd actually did in any subjects -- and we never actually used a curriculum anyway, other than the fact that she did do some math work and watch some science videos at Khan Academy during her 7th grade year. I figured I'd wait and see if they asked me for more information, and they never did.
She has just received her midterm grade card, and we are really proud of her. She got A's in theatre arts, language arts, science, and physical education, B's in history and one hour of math, and a C in her other hour of math. This is an unschooled child, a child who was free to pursue her own interests and learn about what she wanted to learn about, to the extent that she wanted to learn about it. And she has been able to start school at age 13 with others in her age group, and hold her own, excelling in some areas, and struggling a bit in others, just like any other normal kid her age.
It feels really good to know that what we've been doing, and are still doing with our younger dd, really works and really is good preparation for them, for whatever they decide to do in the future. And it also feels really good to have this confirmation that my record keeping really is sufficient as well.