Recordkeeping as storytelling . . . is that metaphor resonating with you? (And if you’re landing on this article without having read part 1 or part 2, we suggest you go check those out!)

Well, just as there are different types of stories, there are different ways of writing stories.

Some authors use a desktop computer. Others pop open their laptop . . . and take it with them from the kitchen counter to the living-room couch (and later to the coffee shop).

Some authors handwrite their stories or record them as audio files before typing them into Word. And speaking of typing—there really are people who still use typewriters! To each their own!

The point is, just as there are many ways to write a story, there are many ways to keep homeschool records. Below, we’ll talk about a few . . . but you might come up with a completely different, creative idea that works perfectly for you!

Three-ring binders

These allow you to neatly organize your child’s work and other homeschool records with labeled tabs and clear protector pages. Consider planning a school day for your kids to create their own binders, design covers, and maybe even come up with titles and “chapter” names!

Photo album pages

These can protect and display art projects, pictures of extracurricular activities, and anything else you want to keep from wrinkling. (Disclaimer: album pages can protect your records from tearing, but they can’t keep you from bursting into tears when you reminisce over the creative work of your kiddos years later!)

Accordion files

When you want to avoid punching holes in schoolwork, or just want to drop records into a single place where they’ll stay organized until that beautiful day when you can peruse Pinterest for recordkeeping inspiration—these are handy! This system of recordkeeping also allows for quick access to papers and tests when you need them.

Digital Slideshow Presentation

Keep track of the details of your child’s educational story in a presentation program like PowerPoint, Keynote, or GoogleSlides. While this method isn’t suitable for submitting records to officials, it can be a delightful way of retaining and sharing the highlights of your child’s story, and it enables you to easily create slide presentations of things like field trips. (Plus you’ll have a slideshow ready for your teen’s graduation celebration—but be sure to bring the tissues . . . sniff, sniff!)

PRO TIP: Remember to keep copies or backups of all your records. You don’t want risk losing them if the unexpected happens—such as a computer malfunction or house fire.

Homeschool planners

These recordkeeping systems track assignments, curricula, goals, vision, and lots more. Homeschool planners can often be customized to the needs of your family and can help you stick with your planned story line—busy lives make it so easy to get sidetracked!

Click over here for a few examples of homeschool planners and planning forms. And there are lots more. You can do an internet or Etsy search—but be ready with a cup of coffee and a comfy chair for a good long while!

Tracking software and online services

Think of these as your story editor and publisher all in one! There are many software and online tracking options that can help you create very professional transcripts, report cards, immunization records, and more.

General Recordkeeping—All Grades

  • Applecore offers a variety of recordkeeping plans. Keep track of each student’s grades and attendance with a free account or upgrade your plan for the ability to create and save all the reports you need—like transcripts, report cards, attendance, weekly schedules, and more!
  • Homeschool Minder provides both teacher and student logins for access to a calendar, attendance, grade book, lesson planner, student records, reports, and customizable tracking and reporting. Try it for free with a one-month trial.
  • Homeschool Skedtrack is a free online lesson planner, scheduler, and tracking system rolled into one. The system’s automatic scheduling helps you adapt to day-to-day changes while tracking your students’ grades and hours throughout the year.
  • Homeschool Tracker gives you flexible online record keeping, planning, and reporting for a monthly or yearly fee. Tailor your user experience to your needs for each student on a daily or yearly basis, from scheduling assignments and chores to creating custom grade reports.
  • My School Year allows you to create and easily adjust lesson plans, track attendance, hours and grades, and create professional reports for your records. You and your student can stay on top of things through individual accounts with helpful email notifications and a user-friendly interface. Explore the program with a free trial and sign up for a monthly or yearly fee.

Transcript Services—High School

  • HSLDA Transcript Service is an online subscription designed to simplify the creation and storage of your students’ transcripts. It streamlines the process by offering automatic GPA calculation, professional formatting, and easy online access. HSLDA members receive a discount.
  • Transcript Pro is available from Education Plus as a CD or download for a one-time fee. This software not only generates professional transcripts for your students, but also helps you audit your academic history and determine potential classes to add.

Homeschool groups

Some states have laws that make provision for families to homeschool under the oversight of organizations called umbrella, 600, or church schools. Families sometimes submit their records directly to these “schools” rather than to the state or school district. And many umbrella schools will maintain students’ records, even providing report cards, transcripts, and diplomas. (Some curriculum services, distance-learning programs, and co-ops offer these options as well!)

If you’re like most writers, you’ll need some help brainstorming and editing sometimes. Remember that HSLDA’s Educational Consultants are available to HSLDA members any time to assist you with recordkeeping. We love it when you reach out to us!