“Does Timberdoodle keep track of grades or issue report cards?”
Since we are a curriculum resource (not a long-distance school), we aren’t able to track your student’s work or issue a certificate of completion. As an independent homeschooler you would serve as administrator for any record-keeping or grading that your state might require.
Homeschool regulations vary from state to state. A good place to find out what the procedure is in your state is to check the Homeschool Legal Defense Association website. Information about homeschool laws for each state is available at https://hslda.org/legal. Our handbooks do include space for record-keeping so you are able to track what you have covered throughout the year.
Here is a brief overview of what subjects each state requires and how that lines up with our Curriculum Kits: https://timberdoodle.com/blogs/td/timberdoodle-and-state-homeschooling-requirements
If your concern is that your children might be returning to a traditional classroom setting next year I would encourage you to contact the school to find out what their requirements are for students to be placed in a certain grade. They may have a placement test, or they may want to see a list of material you covered this year, or something like that.
“Does Timberdoodle issue a high school diploma?”
Again, since we are not a school, we are not able to keep transcripts or award diplomas. However, you certainly can do both of those things while using our curriculum.
The folks at Homeschool Legal Defense Association have created an excellent, helpful resource on diplomas, and what is necessary to award a diploma – it’s easy, with fewer requirements than you might expect. The information from HSLDA is very comprehensive and helpful, and you can read all about it at https://www.hslda.org/highschool/diploma.asp. HSLDA also has several helpful resources to guide you in creating a transcript. You can find samples and more information at https://hslda.org/content/highschool/academics.asp#transcripts.
"Do you have any tips for calculating grades for a high school transcript?"
When it comes to creating or maintaining a high school transcript many homeschool parents feel a little overwhelmed with the idea of assigning grades. Check out our blog post with suggestions on how to grade for high school: https://timberdoodle.com/blogs/td/how-to-grade.
“I love all the hands-on activities. What is the best way to showcase these in a portfolio when your state requires one?”
We've not had to face this ourselves. You might include photos and/or descriptions of the activities along with a list of the hours your child spent on "critical thinking skills" or "logic." You might also check with https://hslda.org/ or your local homeschool group for ideas.
“What determines if my child gets promoted to the next grade?”
As an independent homeschooler you would promote your child to the next grade level once they’ve completed the material for their current grade level. It’s as simple as that.
In reality, many homeschoolers don’t pay a lot of attention to grade level. The student just continues progressing through the materials, learning as they go. The concept of grade level is really more for classroom settings where multiple children are at the same level, so it’s important to know if each one is ready to move onto the next level.
“How do you know if your child is ready to advance to the next kit? If they aren't, should you buy another current level kit or just keep practicing the same activities from the previous year kit?”
One good way to know if your child is ready to move to the next kit grade level is to look at the placement tests. For younger children, we have full placement tests that would tell you where your child is. In older grades, you would want to look specifically at the math and language arts portions to gauge their readiness.
Most likely, children are generally ready to move on to the next year's kit, perhaps with an exception or two. For example, if your child is moving into 3rd grade but tests into 2nd-grade math, you would probably want to purchase a 3rd-grade kit minus the math. Then you can figure out why your kiddo didn't master the math you used in 2nd grade. Is he missing just a few concepts that you could tackle over the summer? Is he missing more of the math foundation and you didn't realize that at the beginning of the year? Does he have some sort of learning disability that is impacting his math skills? Did the math program just not "click" with him? Has he always struggled with math, so is math just something you'll expect to move slower in?
There are countless reasons why your kiddo may not be moving through the grade levels as expected, but that is the beauty of homeschooling! You get to figure out what makes your student tick and teach him how to learn all that he needs to know.
“Should my child finish the whole workbook before moving on to next year’s?”
That would depend on the product, child and why you never finished. Re-evaluating or setting something aside is always okay!