Documentation for your Homeschool

South Carolina option 3 requires you to keep 3 types of documentation. A journal or plan book, a portfolio with samples of academic work, and semiannual progress reports.

Journal or Plan Book

The journal or plan book is the daily documentation for your homeschooler. It looks like a dated journal or calendar and records how many school days you have done and what subjects were covered. Which method you choose depends on your personal style.

A plan book is used when you plan your homeschool lessons and activities ahead of time. At the end of the day or week you can make corrections so that the plan reflects what you have done in your homeschool.

A journal is a good method for families who do not plan everything in advance. Each day that involves education, you record what has been done. Lessons, activities, etc.

The format of your journal or plan book can be paper or electronic. It can be a simple spiral notebook with dated entries, a student planner, a note-taking app with photos attached, an online lesson planner, etc.

Portfolio with samples of academic work

The portfolio contains samples of work. It does not need to be all of the student’s work. You only need one folder or small box per academic year. At a minimum you should keep samples of all the core subjects spaced throughout the year so that progress can be seen. The portfolio samples can be real or electronic photos. Just make sure you have a good backup if going electronic.

Some examples of things to put in the portfolio: worksheets, writing samples, book list, drawings, art, workbooks, print-outs from an online curriculum, certificates of completion, etc.

Semiannual progress report

Twice a year you need to write a progress report for your child. Once around the halfway mark, and once at the end of your academic year. The progress report should include all the core subjects and any other subjects you cover. You may include attendance or the number of education days in the half year. The format can be in paragraphs or it can look like a report card. Elementary students do not need grade letters. However high school students who plan to apply for college should use a standard grading system.

What counts as school? 

Here are some examples. These may count as core subjects or as electives:

  • Field trips, educational events, museums
  • Art projects, art appreciation, wood working
  • Music – singing, playing, appreciation, performing, attending performances
  • Physical education – sports, playground, tag, trampolines
  • Board games, Coding, Educational games online
  • Creating – Legos, obstacle course, treasure map, cardboard box house
  • Life skills – baking, typing, etiquette, party planning, new chores, grocery store
  • Nature activities – identify bugs, bird watching, hiking, fishing, flower pressing, gardening
  • Animal care, learning about animals
  • Reading – books of interest, magazines, cereal boxes, music lyrics, library trips
  • Audio books, podcasts
  • Documentaries, How-To videos, online research into interesting subjects
  • Writing – journals, songs, notes, signs, homemade cards, menus
  • Outdoor play – fort building, hole digging, collaborative play, exploring
  • Volunteer opportunities