Have you done your Declaration of Intent?

DOI September (1)

It’s that time of year again.  As a reminder, you must submit a Declaration of Intent by September 1st or within 30 days after a home study program is established… and EVERY YEAR AFTER THAT. This is an annual process so don’t forget to file every year.  To complete your declaration of intent in Georgia, click here.

Looking for a group?  Join EPIC today!  To join click here https://www.homeschool-life.com/2453/signup

Quizzes, Tests, Grades, Oh My!

Quizzes, tests, grades, Oh My! is right!  How do you keep track of it all?

Homeschool requirements and reporting vary from state to state.  For example, in Georgia parents are required to “write an annual progress assessment report in each required subject area for each student. These reports shall be retained for at least three years.”  This assessment could just be a description without grades or it could be a formal.  However, if you are planning to send your child back to public school, or your state has additional requirements here are some options to help you meet your requirements.

Five J’s Free Gradebook

Gradebook+ is a free gradebook and record-keeping spreadsheet template for homeschool. The mom created Gradebook+ to use for her own high school son, but it can be used for any grade level. It’s easy-to-use and customizable to fit your own homeschool, and detailed instructions for using the spreadsheet template are included.


ThinkWave is a free online gradebook that is intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Flexible grading with points, letter, and custom grades. Custom reports (like attendance) produce beautiful .pdf documents. Student & parent access.

Homeschool Tracker

Save time and stay organized with Homeschool Tracker. A flexible, online tool for homeschool record keeping, planning, and reporting. (approx $65 per year – 20 students, 3 teachers)

Homeschool Minder

Homeschool Minder helps you organize lessons, assignments, and grading so you can focus on what’s important, education.  (approx $39 per year- unlimited students, 1 teacher)

How do you handle grading, attendance, etc?  Comment below.  We’d love to hear your ideas.

The “A” Word

by Kendall Watkins


Accreditation in the homeschool community is often misunderstood and sometimes controversial. Many families opt to have their student’s transcript accredited. Many do not. Still, some families choose accreditation for one student and not another. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to accreditation. Each family must evaluate its own philosophical, practical, and financial considerations when deciding whether or not to go the accredited route. There are no wrong or right decisions.

Many factors go into making this personal decision. Consider the following when making your choice:

  • The Georgia Home Study Law does not require accreditation.
  • All colleges and universities in both the University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia accept unaccredited transcripts. Note: Evaluation of applications of unaccredited homeschool students may differ from that of accredited students. For example, standardized test scores may be weighted more heavily than GPA. Inquire.
  • Unaccredited homeschool students are eligible for HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships as entering freshman, not retroactively as was the case in years past.
  • Record keeping is required for both accredited and unaccredited transcripts.
  • The vast majority of private Georgia and out-of-state colleges and universities accept unaccredited transcripts.

In addition to the above considerations, peruse several college websites to determine whether accreditation would be of any practical benefit to your student. Many college websites contain pages dedicated specifically to homeschool applicants. In the event information that will help you make an informed decision is unavailable, speak with an admissions representative.

If you need help determining how to evaluate whether you want your student to have an unaccredited or accredited transcript, or need help creating a transcript for your student(s), contact Kendall Watkins at kendallwood@comcast.net .

Disclaimer: This article does not provide legal advice and may not be relied upon as such. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

DIY Scholars Consulting

Email: kendallwood@comcast.net Call: 404-375-5434 Website: www.DIYscholars.com

3 Tips to Wrap Up the School Year

Placeholder Image

As the school year draws to a close there are a few things to consider before you put the books away.  Documentation and Next Year.  How will you document your child’s progress?  What will you do next year?

Here are 3 tips to help you wrap up the school year.

Tip 1: Check Your State Laws

Each state has different compliance regulations for homeschoolers.  To find your state rules go to www.hslda.org.  If you live in the state of Georgia our rules are pretty simple. <!– page title – can be overridden by –>   You must do a nationally standardized test in grades 3, 6, 9 and 12 and you must write an annual progress assessment report in each required subject area (Math, Reading, English, Science, Social Studies) for each child. These reports must be kept for at least three years.

If you find that you are not in compliance in an area (i.e. you did not give a national standardized test like the ITBS or Stanford 10) seek to rectify it as soon as possible.  EPIC Homeschool Network, Inc. has testing sessions in the fall and in the spring so contact us to register.

Tip 2: Prepare Your Documentation

After checking your home school laws now it is time to prepare your documentation such as attendance sheet and  report cards.

We have attached some documents that our members have found helpful.

Tip 3: Look Ahead

Don’t end the school year without doing some evaluations on what you are currently doing and look ahead to what you will do next year.  Did your curriculum work this year for all of your kids?  Why or why not?  What will you change?  When will you start the year?  Check out our Tips for Navigating Homeschool Conventions for a free curriculum budget worksheet.

If you are homeschooling high school students you need to ask your child, “What are your future career goals?”  If the answer is “I don’t know” then think about some summer experiences to expose your child to different careers.  If their answer is in one or more areas, that is great!  Look up the top 5 schools in each area and what their requirements are for home school students.  You do not necessarily need to have an “accredited” diploma to enter college, however, some schools do have special requirements.  If  in doubt, accredited diplomas always makes it easier, check out North Atlantic Regional High School at  http://www.narhs.org/.  They will evaluate your child’s course of study and issue you an accredited diploma.  There is a charge though so sign up early!

After you have wrapped up the school year, now it’s time to take a break!  You have earned it.

What are some things you do to wrap up your school year?


New Homeschoolers

So you want to homeschool and you don’t know where to start.  Here are 10 steps to help you get up and running if you live in the state of Georgia.  Please note that these are suggestions!

Why Homeschool?

First, think about the reason WHY you want to homeschool.  Do you feel that the curriculum at the school is not rigorous enough or too rigorous?  Would simply changing schools solve your problem?  Did you see something in your child that you think you would be able to develop further?  Do you want your child to have undivided attention?  There are several reasons WHY people choose to homeschool, what’s yours?

Who Will You be Homeschooling?

How many kids do you have?  This is an important question to answer because it helps you to narrow down your focus as you are looking for curriculum that will fit your family’s needs.  The other big WHO is do you know your child’s personality?  Do you know who they are?  One of the biggest mistakes is trying what works for someone else’s child and pushing it onto your own.  Your child is fearfully and wonderfully made.  Ask God to show you who your child is and what they need?

What is Your Vision and Mission for Your Homeschool?

A vision provides guidance and inspiration as to what your homeschool is focused on achieving in three, six, nine, or twelve more years, the vision tells the future.  A mission defines the purpose of homeschooling.  It answers what you do as a homeschool family, who you do it for, how you do it.  It is based on the present and should be focused on a shorter time frame, approximately one to three years.  In the beginning you will find your mission changing often as you get to learn your family and develop your routines/systems.  I recommend your mission be revisited every year.

How Will You Homeschool?

What curriculum will you use?  Here are some things to consider:

  • Public Virtual Charter School. If you like the curriculum of the public schools, you don’t mind the testing then you might want to consider Public Virtual Charter Schools like Georgia Connections Academy, GAC High School, Georgia Cyber Academy, etc.  If you choose this route you do NOT complete the Declaration of Intent.
  • Traditional.  If you would like to take the brain work out of developing your own curriculum consider a one-stop shop option.  One-stop shop curriculum include traditional homeschool programs which require you to pay for their curriculum and resources such as Griggs University & International Academy (www.griggs.edu) and A Beka Book Homeschool (www.abeka.com ) to name a few but there are other options that are even more inexpensive and/or free. Check out the Rainbow Resource Center (http://www.rainbowresource.com/). It is by far the most comprehensive center which offers a review on almost ALL the homeschool curriculum out there.  You may even email them and ask for a free catalog to be shipped to your home.  It is thicker than the Bible…. I kid you not.
  • Online Home School Curriculum. Do you like the idea of doing it online?  There are online websites such as www.starfall.com , www.time4learning.com  or https://shop.edmentum.com/us/georgia .
  • Other Types of Homeschool Styles: Classical, Unschooling, Eclectic, Charlotte Mason, Unit Studies

Homeschool Laws

The next step in homeschooling is know the laws of homeschooling. For Georgia Homeschool Laws go to http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Pages/Home-Schools.aspx .  For other states visit Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLD) http://hslda.org/ .

When Will You Homeschool?

Will you homeschool year round or take the typical school calendar?  I recommend year round or as close to year round as you can make it to give you more flexibility in your schedule.  Will you homeschool in the morning, in the evening?  Some parents work in addition to homeschooling and that is not unusual.  Schedule your time based on the needs of your family.

Get Your Curriculum, Create Your Schedule

Once you have identified your child(ren)’s learning style and determined your home school approach, it is now time to get your curriculum and create a schedule that works for you and your family.  They key is to be flexible.

Where Will You Homeschool?

In the kitchen, in the living room, outside?  Do you have an area to designate as the homeschool room?  Do you WANT to have an area designated?  The joy of homeschooling is that you can do it wherever you want.  The library is a great place as well.

Next Steps

Go to your child’s school and show them your printed out version of the Declaration of Intent and formally withdraw your child from school.

Get Support and Resources

EPIC Homeschool Network, Inc. services students in the metro Atlanta Area.  Join us.  We have monthly meetings and field trips. We even have a yearbook. Go to https://epichsn.com/membership/ to learn more.