How Long Do You Keep Homeschool Records?

How long to you keep homeschool records? We know that we are required to keep certain homeschool records. But, if you’re moving or purging, how long should you keep them?
If you're moving, you may want to downsize your collection of homeschool records. Or maybe spring cleaning compels you to clear out some of the excess clutter in your record-keeping. Whatever your reason to simplify and downsize... How long do you keep your homeschool records?
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If you’re moving, you may want to downsize your collection of homeschool records. Or maybe spring cleaning compels you to clear out some of the excess clutter in your record-keeping. Whatever your reason to simplify and downsize…

How long do you keep your homeschool records?

There’s nothing required in South Carolina’s homeschool law. But, the record-keeping you do is meant to open the doors of opportunity. So, we have asked our panel of experts–our 3rd Option Association Directors–to give us their advice. Here’s what they had to say:

Jennifer Ackerman from Ninja 3rd Opt
I had a box for each child and had them take it when they moved out. They went through it and kept what they wanted. Some of the six that have moved out kept quite a few things, others just kept a couple if anything! The best part is I let them decide so if they wanted something later, it was on them! I’ve only got two more to go so there is a light at the end of the tunnel!”

Angela Jordan Perry from UCH Unlimited
“I share that a good rule of thumb is 3 years. For me though I keep everything until they graduate. I have the space to do it.”

Leslie Graham from Safe in HERALD 5
“I think after high school the only thing that needs to be kept is transcript and diploma. Everything else is personal choice. But I did read once where a home schooler had to show a state college their science lab notebooks, etc.”

Rachel L Ward from Homeward
“I tell members to keep all for a year. Then, purge and only keep samples and memories in a small file. For high school credit courses, keep the syllabus, samples and any documents that would show a college what was completed (ie lab notebooks). Once a student is in college, then I would only keep what you wanted to keep. The biggest reason to keep a paper trail is for transitioning into a school or college. Colleges have asked for science syllabi and honors courses syllabi.”

Carol Anne Wright Swett from Academic Advantage Association
“I suggest that families keep high school info until the child has finished his/her SOPHOMORE year in college — in case they transfer from one college to another. I’ve had that happen and had the student have to provide the high school transcript. Theoretically, once they have enough hours to transfer as a sophomore, that should be enough for the college transcript only. BUT . . . you never know, so I kept mine till my older son was in his 3rd year of college.”

Kim Andrysczyk from SC TOP:
“I keep everything. It’s sentimental to me. My daughter used her homeschool records in a class project in college–so it was helpful for that. I think the point of record-keeping is personal reference anyway. It’s like asking how long do you keep your diary–your personal thoughts and feelings diary. How long do you keep that?

But for elementary records…maybe some elementary test scores…like Duke TiP 4th-6th grade talent search might be meaningful long term.  But, we want to be regarded in the same way as any other elementary program. So what elementary records would be required from a public school? I can’t think of any.”

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Lara Caldwell of The SC Homeschool Accountability Association (TSCHAA)
“The only issue I have experienced with a member was a DSS investigation and the court wanted everything. It makes sense keeping high school records, especially transcripts and course descriptions. Some families keep too much, and the records become a space hog.”

Carol Mayo Brownell from HEART
“We tell our members there is no guideline. If you only kept report cards, that’s very little space. I can’t imagine needing a portfolio after about 2 years (for a DSS situation). It is frustrating how many parents are not keeping the VITAL high school diploma and transcript if the child doesn’t attend college immediately. We have some sad situations where kids from 2004 can’t find records and get into college or the military. Now, keeping a portfolio for sentiments..of course I do!

Wendy Graham from Christian Homeschoolers Association of South Carolina (CHASC)
“I tell members that they should try to keep at least the last two to three years but it’s perfectly acceptable to pare down previous years and scan them if space is an issue. I tell them to keep the high school portfolio until the child moves out and then give it to them.

I have had students return to school after several years or go to school for the first time years after they graduate. Also, I have had a few interactions where the perspective employer does not want to accept the high school diploma or transcript and that’s where proof came in handy. Though totally wrong that the family had to do it, they chose to educate the employer. Anyway, I recommend keeping the high school stuff indefinitely because, well, life. All of it can be scanned onto a disc or jump drive if necessary, so space is not a huge issue.”

So there you have it…lots of practical advice and experience. Everyone seems to agree that it is a personal choice for the most part. Just a few things are essential as “Forever Documents”. You can give the rest of the records to your student for them to decide what they want to keep.

What do you think?
How long do you keep your homeschool records?

More about forever documents:
Homeschool diplomas and transcripts are forever documents that open the doors of opportunity.

About Kim Andrysczyk

Homeschool veteran, Association Director, coffee addict, sarcasm expert, and accidental blogger. I'm here to encourage you thru the tough times and inspire you toward excellence. If I can make it, so can you!


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