Record Keeping Requirements
he Minnesota statute is for homeschool record-keeping is relatively non-specific. As such, families can choose to keep records in a variety of ways. Below, you will find some information on what you need to know about meeting the Minnesota requirements for homeschool record-keeping.
What the Law Requires
The statute that applies to homeschool record documentation, Minn. Stat. 120A.24 subd. 2, states that homeschoolers need to maintain records that show that all of the “required subjects are being taught and proof that the yearly tests are being administered.”
The required subjects (Minn. Stat. 120A.22 subd. 9) include:
- basic communication skills (including reading, writing, literature, and fine arts)
- mathematics and science
- social studies (including history, geography and government)
- health and physical education
The statute indicates that records must include: “class schedules, copies of materials used for instruction, and descriptions of methods used to assess student achievement.” Ultimately, all this record-keeping is required to show that you’ve met the requirements if–in the very unlikely event–you are ever questioned by the state about your homeschooling methods or results.
This requirement may seem daunting, but it is important to remember the spirit of the law. The state simply wants to know that you are including those areas noted above in your child’s homeschool learning and how you are accomplishing that. Please note that there is no required amount of time spent on each subject, nor is there an indication on how they must be covered or recorded.
Suggestions on Record Keeping
Often, the way you choose to keep records will mimic the way that you homeschool. If you plan ahead and keep a strict adherence to a schedule, you will have those records of what you’ve done. For some, though, it is easier to record in retrospect what they’ve accomplished, either by keeping a journal or using a teacher’s plan book, but recording what you’ve done instead of what you’re planning to do. Any of these methods will also help meet the requirement of including class schedules, as you will be noting the number of days that you worked in different subject areas.
For families who work in a more cross-curricular way, such as with a unit study focus where the subjects may blend together, you can identify and record within your child’s projects how various subjects are being learned and practiced. For example, making maps about the geology of the United States would fit in both the science and social studies categories. Almost any unit study or project will include reading and writing. The learning isn’t any less legitimate just because it’s not it’s own specific subject, so definitely be sure to give your child credit for the learning that takes place along the way to a greater goal.
If your child reads a lot or you read a lot together with your children, a reading list can be an essential part of your record-keeping. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but do find a place where you can quickly and easily add books to your list as you go. Many homeschoolers are voracious readers and it can be hard to keep up, so try to make your reading list as simple to update as possible.
However you homeschool, it’s good to keep work samples as you go along, both for record-keeping and for looking back on in future years.
It is a good idea to keep a calendar or note in your journal days that your child attends any classes or activities you sign up for. Often, homeschoolers try to expand on those experiences, such as reading the book before you see the play, or reading about a composer before a concert. Be sure to record those activities, as well. And, just because you’re having fun doesn’t mean learning isn’t happening! So when you do things like go for a nature walk or play a game where there’s word or number play involved, make sure to take note of those things, too. There’s science and physical education on that nature walk and math or spelling/reading practiced during those games.
Testing and Assessment
If you give your children tests throughout the year in subject areas or give grades on assignments, keep those records as proof of assessment. Some families choose not to do written assessment (outside of the yearly testing requirement), but instead work alongside their children and assess a child’s abilities as they go–by watching them work through their math problems or by discussing scientific concepts with them to see if they understand, for example. In that case, the assessment would just be considered verbal and children could be considered as “passing” at 100%, provided you are moving at their pace and waiting until they grasp a concept before moving ahead.
This requirement also refers to keeping a copy of the receipt from the required annual standardized testing for all students ages 7-17. If you want to enroll your child in school at some point in the future, note that standardized test scores are sometimes requested to help determine grade placement.