Homeschooling high school isn’t necessarily harder than homeschooling the early years. But what changes is the amount of paperwork required! All of the sudden, you need to be serious about having a paper trail when you’re tracking high school progress. Make sure you stick around to the end of the post so you can grab some FREE forms to help you with high school paperwork.
High School Blank Planning Sheets
Before you get to the high school years, it’s a great idea to brainstorm a general plan to follow. This doesn’t mean that what you write down is set in stone. But at least it gives you a place to start.
The easiest way to do this is to print off some blank planning sheets and fill in options. You might have 2-3 math curriculums that are top of mind. Go ahead and list them out.
High school English courses can fulfil varied content area topics, so go ahead and list out ideas for grammar, literature, and writing.
If you’re coming up blank with curriculum and resource ideas, then head to Pinterest and search for “homeschool high school curriculum” for inspiration and recommendations from families who have used it. I love to get my yearly lesson planning done in less than an hour and then use Trello to keep it running smoothly.
Now that you have your high school years generally mapped out, concentrate on the one right in front of you and get that curriculum ordered. Remember, the spring is a popular time for curriculum companies to run some great sales!
Tracking Daily Progress on Trello
The absolute easiest way we’ve found to keep our teens’ daily progress in line and accountable is on the free site Trello.com. I can plan a whole school year’s assignments and schedule and get it on Trello in less than an hour for five kids! Each Friday it takes less than five minutes to copy new boards for the coming week.
My kids love being able to move around their weekly schedule as needed, while still keeping track of progress. I love being able to check in at any point to see what’s been accomplished and what still needs to be done.
We archive the boards each week, which means, if there’s ever a need to check back or have a “paperless” trail, we can still access them. But we don’t have crazy paper planners lying all over the house either. It’s all online, which we love. And did I mention that it’s free? Thrifty homeschooling for the win!
Keeping a Binder of Paperwork
But you’re still going to have some sort of paper trail of work in high school. So the best way to deal with this is to be organized from day one. Each high schooler should be able to keep track of his own grades. We do this with a grade tracking sheet that the kids keep a running total of points earned and points total.
They also file all their completed paperwork behind the appropriate grade tracking sheet – whether it’s math tests, English papers, history work, or book lists.
At the end of the year, I transfer the final grade to a transcript that sits in the front of that teen’s binder. Once they graduate, I’ll be able to make a neat, final copy online from all the data that we’ve been tracking.
Making a Transcript
So what about a transcript? It doesn’t have to be complicated! But again, the key is to start writing information down early in the process. I’ve seen too many families try to scramble together a transcript in May of the senior year. It’s nuts! Not only is it stressful, but is it actually honest? If you’re scrambling and can’t find all the paperwork, are you even assigning accurate grades?
In order to take the stress out of high school and be as transparent as possible with our grades, we start filling out a transcript copy in ninth grade.
Your final transcript will need all the normal identifying information, your teen’s address, date of birth, along with proper names of courses, letter grades, and GPA. Don’t forget to include innovative electives, volunteer work, and special awards and recognitions.
So what’s the bottom line with tracking high school progress? It’s not difficult, but it does take a measure of organization and planning ahead. If you need some of these forms or resources in your toolbox, feel free to grab a copy at these links.
- Yearly blank planning sheets
- Trello training
- Interest-led elective tracking sheet
- Grade tracking sheet
- Yearly Lesson Planning in Less Than 1 Hour
Abby is a former public school teacher, now homeschooling her five children. She’s in the trenches just like you and knows it can be challenging to be home with your kids all day while you struggle to keep up with the housework and educate your kids (and maybe even work on the side!). She blogs over at www.4onemore.com and hosts the Homeschool with Moxie podcast.