For 1st-6th grade, I recommend that parents keep a copy of some of the previous year’s work. For example, the following items are helpful: a few end-of-the-year handwriting samples, the last 2-3 math tests (or samples of math work completed, list of books read by student, list of curriculum used for each subject (including weekly time spent in each subject area), list of any grades recorded, and a description of any field trips, extra curricular activities (language, PE, music, art), or projects completed during the school year. If the student is learning art, include a sample. I would keep at least two years worth. Many schools keep a folder with such information on a student to pass on to the next teacher each year. If the student has taken any learning style inventories or assessment tests (Stanford, IOWA, etc.) include these items as well.
For 7th-8th grade, do the same as above (minus handwriting sample). There should be more end-of-the-year test grades and more detailed grade reporting for each subject area. If a science or English research paper is done, keep this (a student in these grades should be doing at least one research paper a year).
For 9th-12th grade, same as for 7th-8th, plus make a transcript! If you opt to use something like the A Beka DVD Academy or North Star Online Academy, the school will provide a transcript. If you are not using such a system, a detailed listing of all books used, time spent, and grades received should be recorded. A sampling of research papers and essay papers should be kept. If you are not part of a diploma issuing “school,” the GED may need to be taken upon completion. For some colleges, the SAT or ACT should be taken the junior and/or senior years.
Just a side note: Students in the 3rd and 4th grades in the US are now learning computing and typing skills. Many schools are requiring papers to be typed in the 6th grade. Many great typing tutorials are available these days and make great “seatwork” when a parent needs to be working with a second child on something else. Typing Tutor Deluxe and Mavis Beacon are good typing programs. For free typing (and other online) programs see: https://theeducationcafe.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/game-on/.
Updated August 2014.